I’ve been lucky enough to spend time on Roaming Acres Farm. I am new to ostrich, bison and pig farming. Each day that I am on the farm I learn something new. It amazes me how complex this business is. There are so many aspects to it and each day Todd juggles everything with what appears to be effortless skill and ability. He rolls with the punches and changes plans on a moment’s notice. “The animals come first,” he says. It’s easy to see how much he cares for his farm and the animals he raises. So, in an effort to sum it up, here is Roaming Acres 101.
Roaming Acres is located in Sussex County New Jersey and owned by Todd Appelbaum, farmer, business owner, father of adorable twin boys. As I stated, he raises ostrich, bison, and Berkshire pigs or hogs as they are sometimes called. Each animal is free-roaming meaning they are free to move about in their pasture; they are not confined to a building. They have to be fed, watered and looked after. Roaming Acres is a registered USDA farm and the animals are routinely checked by the USDA. This ensures the consumer that the farm and its animals meet USDA standards for the consumer’s protection.
After the animals reach the appropriate age Roaming Acres has most of them processed into the Products sold at Farmers Markets in New York and New Jersey. The rest are sold to other farms, food service companies, restaurants or zoos. Breeding stock is kept to produce more animals so the process can continue. The animals are feed a natural vegetarian diet. Todd is thoughtful about what he feeds his animals and mixes his own feed. Alfalfa is used in one of the mixes. If smells great and the animals love it.
Morning comes early on the farm. Each day brings its own agenda. There is always the care and feeding of the animals that needs to be done. Farm hands help tend to the animals while Todd manages various other tasks such as delivery of animals to processors and other locations (some of which are across the country), pickup of processed goods, general errands, farm maintenance, inventory, readying the trucks for market, answering phone calls, meetings and the list goes on. A typical day ends between 8-9 pm and this is seven days a week! Being a farmer is hard work and takes a huge commitment many are not willing to undertake.
Spending time on the farm has reinforced my belief in supporting farmers. Many people don’t take the time to appreciate the work, heart and soul they put in to each day to bring us the best product they can. I eat healthier because of them and enjoy the fine products they sell; the quality is higher, the taste is better and the benefits are greater. Come visit us at one of the farmers’ markets on our Markets page and try the products Roaming Acres produces.