The Prevailing Winds of Weatherbury Farm
[This article was previously published in the summer issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]
by Rachel Zegerius, Assistant Director of Development and Communications at The Cornucopia Institute
Nestled in the tightly woven hills of the Washington Valley, 35 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, rest the rolling pastures of Weatherbury Farm, purchased by the Tudor family in 1986. Historically a sheep farm, in the mid-1800s this region produced one-quarter to one-third of all of the wool in the U.S. The Tudors still keep a small herd of 10 to 15 lambs in homage to this agricultural heritage.
It took only one season at Weatherbury for the Tudor family to decide that they wanted to seek out alternative farming practices, in contrast the high-input methods being advocated for by extension.
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Both Dale and Marcy came from multigenerational farm families. They remember the days: their parents didn’t spend a lot of money on fertilizers; they spread manure and made hay—an approach that may be considered “regenerative” farming today. So, in 1988, they stopped using chemical inputs altogether.
Over the next several years, the Tudors raised a family on the farm, built a successful cow/calf operation, and ran a rewarding agritourism business—all while also hosting an on-site, farm education program. Weatherbury offered farm vacation stays as a bed and breakfast for 25 years, from 1992 until 2017.
In large part, the Tudors have kept the farm economically viable over the years because of their unique proclivity to adapt, evolve, and grow access to new niche markets.
This continuous innovation sets Weatherbury Farm apart and is personified earnestly by their son, Nigel. His decision to move back to the farm opened the door for their expansion into grass-fed beef in 2007. Read Full Article »