Leaving comments here is a a great way to reach me with questions. No posts are too old – one of the wonderful things about the internet. I read all comments because every comment is emailed to me and only shows on the blog after I approve it to cut out the spam.

Best Way to Reach Us:

  Comments & Questions: Here on the blog in the comments of any page.

CSA’s, Retail Orders, Roaster Pigs, Piglets, Breeders & other things to Walter:

Wholesale Orders:

PIGLETS? If you have not already put down a deposit you are too late for this spring and summer. Next available piglets will be in October. Consider raising winter pigs.

Phone is not a good way to reach us as we are typically outside. It is also very hard to understand people’s messages and you might not get a call back if we can’t understand your phone number on the answering machine. I won’t call back on “how to raise” or “how to vet” a pig questions – I’m not a vet, I don’t do phone tech support for pigs and I don’t like talking on the phone. Please use email or blog comments for questions. I’m really serious about this.

Retail Direct: We do sell directly to individuals – See the Product menu above. We do not have a farm stand or store front so there is no option of coming to the farm to browse what is available in the freezer. We sell out completely most weeks so there is very little meat in the cooler – we keep most of our stock on the hoof in the fields. If you’re looking to buy in small quantities please visit the many fine stores that carry our products. Also see the Literature page for our brochure, order form and other information. To get the best price, buy through the CSA, as a Whole Pig or consider the Farmer’s Basket or other box specials.

Wholesale Direct: We primarily sell wholesale through local stores and restaurants throughout Vermont and some in New Hampshire. If you would like to carry our products please see the Wholesale page in the Products menu.

Questions: Feel free to leave questions on the various blog posts. It is fine to leave questions in comments on old posts that are relevant to your question or if you’re not sure where then simply use the FAQ. By leaving questions in blog comments the information gets shared with others who will have the same questions. This benefits everyone. Explore the search function in the upper right hand column, the tag cloud a bit lower in the right column, the list of favorite posts, most commented posts and such. Note that I devote more effort to questions that get asked on the blog than to questions that are emailed to me because more people will benefit from the answers. Sometimes an answer will get turned into an entire post. Share the knowledge. Note that I am not a phone person – please use comments or email.

Farm Tours & Visits: If you come to the farm to pickup pigs or meat we can give you the quick driveway tour but we’re not setup to do farm tours, seminars, classes, internships, mentoring, workshops or agritourism. My blog is how I share what we do. Head on over to our Farm page and watch the eight minute video tour of our farm and butcher shop. You’ll get to virtually sit in the field and have a pig snuffle your nose. On my blog you’ll find approximately 2,500 articles and over 13,000 photographs from our family, farm, animals and Vermont through the seasons – more than you could ever seen in a physical tour plus it saves gas! Be sure to also read the over 25,000 comments at the ends of articles which contain many thousands of questions and answers. On the blog you’ll see our family, animals and farm from all the seasons of the year. You can leave comments and ask questions on all the posts back to 2005 – I read all comments and answer questions. Check out the various Virtual Tour posts in particular. Also see the search box, tag cloud and favorite articles lists in the right column. Want to pet farm animals? Visit Shelburne Farms in the Burlington, Vermont area or Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH for great family fun. They are setup for animal petting and such. They have tame animals that are used to being handled by visitors and will make for a wonderful family outing. If you desperately want a driveway tour then buy a pig of meat.

Internships: We’re not setup to do internships or apprenticeships. There are many how-to articles on our Farm Blog that explain how we do things. Look in the right hand column on the blog for a list of favorite articles. If you’re interested in raising pigs check out the discussion groups on Yahoo: Pastured Pork and Facebook: Pastured Pigs for Meat and Profit, the HomesteadingToday Pigs Forum and the excellent book “Small Scale Pig Raising” by Dirk Van Loon which was recently updated in 2014. [Froogle, Amazon]* Another book I sometimes suggest is “Nontraditional Feed Sources for Use in Swine Production” by P.A. Thacker & R.N. Kirkwood[1]. If you’re interested in interning then visit WWOOF and find out about opportunities around the world.

Dogs should not be brought to the farm. Realize we have a large pack of large livestock guardian dogs. They might think your dog is a threat to our livestock and eat your pet – No kidding. Our dogs normally and naturally kill and eat coyotes and other predators. Your dog will look like a coyote from their perspective. Please do not even bring a dog and leave it in your car as our dogs will likely jump up on your car to investigate and they have sharp, hard claws that will scratch your car’s paint. Best to leave your dog at home.

Well behaved children are welcome when you visit to pickup your pigs or meat but we do not have a playground and farm’s are not “child safe” places. There are dangerous things on a farm so children should stick close to the adults and not wander.

Phone is not a good way to reach us as we are generally outside in the fields or woods and we go to bed early. Please do not call after 7 pm even to leave a message. The phone is for sales only – email the way to ask questions. In voice mail is very hard to understand people’s messages at times, especially if you’re calling on a cellphone, and you won’t get a call back if we can’t understand your phone number on the answering machine. If you have a question about ordering you can call at four-three-nine sixty-four sixty-two in Vermont (area code 802) from 12 noon to 1 pm or 5 pm to 6 pm on Monday, Tuesday or Saturday. I realize many people enjoy chatting on the phone but I really don’t – I’m just not a phone person. Email is much better than phone since I am usually outside on the farm, in the forest or cutting meat in the butcher shop.

I hope you enjoy my blog, a taste of farm and family life in the mountains of Vermont. Perhaps if you are close you’ll be able to also enjoy our pork through local stores and restaurants as well as buying directly from use through our CSA, roasters, live piglets or other pork products. We enjoy sharing the bounty of our land as well as what we have learned over the decades.

Buy Locally, Think Globally, Do Good, Live Well & Prosper.


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
252 Riddle Pond Road
West Topsham, VT 05086

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT)
Vermont Fresh Network,
Rural Vermont
The Vermont Grass Farmers’ Association,
Vital Communities,
and a farm.

Vermont Dept of Agriculture Wholesale & Retail Licenses
USDA Inspected & Slaughtered

*Note that I have no affiliation with the book sellers. These are just search patterns that generally will find used copies of excellent books for you.

487 Responses to Contact

  1. Tony C. says:

    Hi am looking for 5 pieces of real sheep knuckle bones. Please help…

  2. Iain Cameron says:

    Hi Walter,
    Great website; very informative and hugely drole… unusual characteristics in many of your competitors’ sites.
    I’m raising a small group of Large Black gilts for the freezer; they’re on pasture plus fruit/ veg/ bread etc, and I’m topping them up with pig nuts from the local agricultural merchant. I have previously worked with the ‘1Lb of food per animal per month of age (up to 6)’ formula, but this has produced overly fat meat. Is there any scientific way of judging fat cover so as to alter the pig nut accordingly? Or is it just a gentle squeeze/pinch when they’re not looking?
    Many thanks, and keep up the good work!
    IainC, Shropshire, England. Where we don’t all boil all of the food!

    • Fat cover is typically measured along the spine at about the ninth rib. Old way was a special knife they stuck down to the bone. Modern method is more humane with a sonogram. I do neither. I watch the shape of the animals. Their jowl, back line, hame line, hips, etc. I’m both their creator and their disassembler which gives me a lot of opportunity to develop a keen eye from experience. You can do the same even with a hired butcher just by carefully looking at you pigs, save pictures, and then looking at the cuts of meat. Develop a keen eye in all that you do.

      • Iain Cameron says:

        Thanks Walter. Keen eye in training. And I’m plotting a graph of weights (calculated using your string formula) week by week, hoping to spot any trends. So far, they’re just getting bigger!

      • Iain Cameron says:

        Hi again Walter,
        Following your advice above, I’d like to think that my eye is becoming developed with respect to my pigs’ outlines, and that I can assure myself that they’re not getting over-fat. But I’d be kidding myself! They look like happy pigs, and my graph is showing an average 10Lb per week weight growth, using your string method.
        Now that the pigs are about to enter their last month before slaughter, I was trying to find your blog about feeding them to influence the taste of the meat. But I can’t. My pigs live under a beautiful old English Oak tree, but this year has produced a dearth of acorns. I’m feeding apples and maize cobs in addition to their commercial feed and the pasture that they’re on, but I wondered if you had found any particular feed-stuff which gives a similar taste to the acorns which my girls will sadly not be experiencing. Alternatively, do you have any advice about what is best for influencing the taste of the pork in their last month?
        Many thanks,

        • Flavor is developed primarily in the last month of life but extends out to the last 90 days based on my experiments.

          There is a lot of talk about feeding acorns. The traditional method was to feed them during the grower phase but this detail seems to be lost in the modern discussions I read. Acorns can impart a bitter taste to the fat and meat. Generally acorns were fed for their energy and protein during growing and then the animals were finished on whey, milk, corn and apples.

          You can try finishing some different pigs on different things and then taste test them. I don’t have oaks so I have never done acorn feeding.

  3. Etienne says:


    have you thought about selling semen from your boars? So far I have no practical experience, but it can be harvested when a boar mounts a sow in heat, and kept a few weeks at room temperature with the right semen extender.

    I am interested in your genetics, but even importing semen might be difficult.


    • Are you volunteering as the collector?

      • Etienne says:

        If the plane tickets weren’t so expensive and the visa requirements not so complicated I would…
        Otherwise, would you let a vet/technician on your farm to collect it, if the costs are covered by the sale of the semen? Do you know of someone you trust who is experienced in doing it who you would let? About how much would it cost, without the regulatory stuff?

        • It’s an interesting question. I have been asked by many people for sales of semen. I don’t know anyone around here who does it.

          • Etienne says:

            I know you rarely have a vet at your place, and don’t like it because of the risk of disease transmission, but is there one you trust? Or a good agricultural school around?

          • Yes, there is a vet we work with. She has a traveling office – her truck. When we sell breeders that will travel out of state it is required to get a vet health certificate. She just does livestock. When she comes here she makes us her first stop of the day, she washes her truck prior to coming here and she parks the truck at the entrance, booties and suits up to come to the animal areas and then we do all the actual animal wrangling so she’s not actually in with the animals and not touching the animals. This provides excellent biosecurity. If you’re in Vermont I highly recommend her. She is Alison Cornwall of Health Farms Veterinarian Services.

          • Dawn says:

            The collection of boars can be an interesting experience to say the least. I didn’t like the old cheesecloth in a small thermos method so I bought a goat AV (Artificial Vagina) unit. This made the process not such a hands on…er…job…:O) I still have to provide the ‘squeeze’ with one hand and most find a gloved hand acceptable. The goat AV unit collects the semen in a more sterile pouch that is not easily spilled. From that unit you can then strain out the before and after plug material and add the semen extender, put the semen into straws and either ship it or freeze it.
            Being safe while collecting and right after can be an issue as some boars will want to take a nap afterwards or find food and then take a nap, or they are just really pissed off enough for you to be their food.

  4. Etienne says:

    Hi Dawn,

    Interesting trick with the goat AV. Could you make a video from the collection with the goat AV? If you do and do not want your friends making fun of you, we don’t neet to see your face or recognize you.

  5. Hoteles en Cancún says:

    Hello Walter, I can really say that you have a very good blog.

    Keep doing what you do, never stop dreaming that you inspire many more people

  6. Stinson A Troutman says:

    Stinson A Troutman from Rochelle GA Mr Walter Jeffries I am interested in raising pasture pork. What breed you would recommend. I am interested in raising the heritage breed. I like a 3/4 / 1/4 cross mother and a 3/4 / 1/4 = offspring. My e-mail address: Thank!

  7. Samantha Brock says:

    You mentioned using a 4x4x4 container to transport spent grain. How do you get the grain out of the container to feed? Do you just scoop it out from the top? We thought about putting an ager in the bottom of the container but didn’t know if that would work or not. Scooping out that much grain a day isn’t ideal…

  8. Kelly Rousseau says:


    Do you sell bees in the spring? I am looking to purchase a nuke if possible or a 3 pound package.

  9. Annabel says:

    Help…. We have a new mamma pig that is building a nest out in the open with no covering. We are expecting heavy rain the next few days and I am unsure what to do. She has access to an area in the barn with lots of hay, and we just placed a temporary shelter out in the field for her, but she is still choosing to have no covering. Do you have any suggestions? I am concerned about losing piglets if they get cold and wet.

    • I would be most concerned with a puddle forming that can cause drowning. As long as the nest is draining in this season they should be fine temperature-wise, in fact over heating is more of an issue than cold. Pigs come from swamps.

  10. Dawn says:

    If you are really concerned about it lock her in the barn. And don’t give her a ton of bedding as they tend to cover the piglets and lay on them! I give them just enough to satisfy that nest building phase, take away bedding while they are farrowing, then add more in when I remove the soiled bedding. Even when mine do have them out in the open none of them have minded having a shelter built around them. Whatever you decide to do can set the precedent for how she will perceive you after this. Meaning she may see you as a threat or she may accept your human presence. I cull the ones that want to eat me to protect their young. The way that I have caught them to bring them into the barn (which seems to tame down that protective mode) was to take the 2 horse trailer out there and put her feed in the trailer. When she gets in I shut the door. Then I gather up the babies and put them in the front compartment. When I get them back to the barn I take the babies, give them their iron shots, put them in the stall when they have stopped squeaking about the shots I unload the sow into the stall and leave. Always carry a board and a shovel with you when out with animals in their pasture.

  11. Dawn says:

    Nothing new..I haven’t started breeding yet for Jan/Feb/March pigs. Soon though. And I need to find out soon if my 9 year old boar is still fertile or at least see under a scope how swimmingly his swimmers look.

  12. Marsha says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Walter and Family. I just read this article in the New Yorker and immediately thought about you talking to your dogs. I thought you’d enjoy it. My 14-year-old dog died about the same time as Hanno and your story helped me. Now I have a new puppy that I’m trying to learn to talk with. Thanks again for all your posts!

    • Establishing 2-way Yes and No is was the big break through for us. After that everything can be 20 questions but what I found was that they’ll quickly pickup more words and teach you their words once they know you’re worth talking too. Now we rarely have to resort to the 20 questions to figure out what they want to say.

  13. Marsha says:

    I guess you could not access the article from the link – therefore, I’ve pasted the story here. Enjoy! Marsha
    Notes of a Gastronome

    The man who communicates with gobblers.

  14. Derron says:

    Hey… I Have 1yold Gilt who’s a week late and teats started forming about a month now but no milk, I was wondering if its possible that fat can be mistaken for mammary development. With your experience have you ever seen a gilt teats develop and ends up not being+ pregnant?

  15. Darren Godette says:


    I’m wondering what vaccines you use if any.

    Thank you

  16. Chrissy says:

    Hi there I’ve been reading your stuff, a lot of the old forum posts on and I am just wondering if you ever do interviews or conferences or something. I feel like you’re kind of the pro on pastured pork, but I only have seen you on this blog and the old forum posts. I’m sure you’re a very very busy man and maybe you dont like the spotlight. Just wondering!

  17. Jerilyn Ingram says:

    I lost 2 piglets a little over 3 months old. I breed my own GOS pigs and they are out on rough pasture and I feed whey and seaweed meal. I sent the piglets for an autopsy and it came back “Hepatosis dietectica results from a deficiency of selenium and or vitamin E (alphatocopherol) in the ration and is exacerbated by low methionine and cystine levels and high fat levels in the diet.” Any thoughts on what I can do with their feeding regimen to correct this?

    • That is odd. In the kelp that I use there is plenty of selenium. In fact, the selenium is a big part of why I feed it. I raise on pasture with a high pasture diet consisting of ≥80%DMI pasture/hay + 7%DMI dairy (mostly whey) + apples, pears, spent barley, etc as available. I haven’t bought grain based pig feeds in almost two decades. See the diet section of the Pig Page for details and links to deeper articles. I have GOS as some of the genetics I’ve worked with but that doesn’t make a real difference on this issue.

      What you’re doing is similar enough to what I’m doing that I’m surprised at the diagnosis. It is remotely possible that it is a genetic issue. I have twice had lines of pigs that I identified as not being good at up taking minerals from their diet which resulted in rough coat and the appearance of mineral deficiencies even though they were on the same regime as other pigs that did fine.

  18. Chrissy says:

    Hi there! I recently read an article on some permaculture research site that said you could feed a pig up to 40% fresh cow manure. I posed this question to the kfc forum and they thought that sounded gross. We have kunes and a cow, and thought it’d be great to at least feed our breeding stock cow poo, seeing as they love it anyway. What do you think about this? Would it affect flavor if we were to feed a lower amount to a meat pig?

    • I’ve read it as high as 100% but I’ve never tried this. The concept is that cows are inefficient digesters so there is a lot of feed value in their manure. If you try it I would be curious to know of the results.

      • Chrissy says:

        Thanks for replying. I will be trying this with our kunes this winter. Planning on feeding barley and alfalfa cubes soaked in milk, some stored beets/squash etc, and cow manure. They sure love to root around in it, I’m curious how much they’re eating. Will let you know!

  19. Chrissy says:

    Thanks for replying. I will be trying this with our kunes this winter. Planning on feeding barley and alfalfa cubes soaked in milk, some stored beets/squash etc, and cow manure. They sure love to root around in it, I’m curious how much they’re eating. Will let you know!

  20. Marc says:

    Do you have pig ears available?

  21. Carter says:

    Can’t find the search feature on your site to find archived blog posts by topics. Your site used to have one. What am I missing? Can you point me to it? Thank you for sharing your experience.

  22. Polly Mckenney says:

    Where are you located?

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