A few hours north of Philadelphia are the Pocono Mountains. Well-known on the East Coast for luxury resorts, a NASCAR track, and some of the best camping in the U.S., the Poconos are also where you can find millennial farmer Nolan Thevenet raising heritage-breed hogs deep in the woods.
In 2010, at age 21, Stryker Farm’s owner Nolan Thevenet decided to drop out of college and follow his dream of working outside and being a farmer. Though his friends and family were at first freaked out by his foreclosure on a "normal" professional career, he reassured them with jokes, saying “What could possibly go wrong?”
The idea for Autumn’s Harvest Farm was born in 2001 when Tim and Sarah Haws went on their first date.
“It was on our first or second date, and Sarah was telling me how she always wanted to hatch chickens,” Tim explains. “She told me how she used to take eggs out of her family’s refrigerator and put them in a drawer.”
Bill and Paula Koch of Thistle Down Farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky, have been in pursuit of perfect pork for more than 25 years. Thistle Down Farm is a family affair born from a three-prong passion: Bill’s worldwide search for the best tasting pork and the ideal methods for raising pigs, paired with Paula’s lifelong love of agriculture and her father’s decades-long meat curing experience.
Their small passel of Ossabaw and Mangalitsa hogs enjoy year-round pastures where they graze on bluegrass, orchard, fescue, clover and alfalfa. In addition to open pasture, the hogs are supplied non-GMO pelleted feed (made up of less than 10% corn), plus a daily slop made from orchard grass, oatmeal and wheat. With room to forage and socialize, the pigs develop fats and flavors only conceivable in a stress-free environment.