The history of Walnut Hill Farm at Elm Springs, LLC began with a telephone call in the spring of 2000. Our neighbor called with a question. How would you like to purchase the family farm? The immediate answer was yes, and what an adventure it has been since that day.
We purchased Elm Springs Farm in the Spring of 2000 and renamed it Walnut Hill Farm at Elm Springs. The elm trees are long gone and the only portion of the original 1843 farm still in agricultural production is the 38 acres we operate. While the elm trees no longer exist, the spring that allowed the original farmstead to exist is as healthy now as then. We’ve researched the farm back to the original Blackburn owners and there have been some interesting twists in the farm history. We are proud to own this parcel of land with it’s rich agricultural history. With some of the information we have found it’s helping us to restore the property to it’s former glory while using some of the same type of livestock that could have been found here.
The Blackburns are still with us, there is the Blackburn family cemetery near the house, a slave cemetery 100 yards away, an old ice pond, and two beautiful black walnut trees that have witnessed the Blackburn ownership, if only those trees could tell their story.
There have been many changes since that phone call. The first year was one of evaluation, what was there, what could still be used, what needed to be fixed, and could the old farm house be saved? The answer was the fields were in OK shape but needed work, the farm fencing was a disaster waiting to happen, there were numerous old implements waiting to be recovered for what purpose we had yet to see, and saddest of all the old farm house was a victim of time, neglect and termites, it had to go.
Walnut Hill Farm will show you a modern approach to farming using both “old” and new breeds of livestock and methods. Think about the animals that were raised and bred to work on a farm with little grain input; no added growth hormones or antibiotics; these are a perfect fit for a modern grass based farming operation.
We use a grass based philosophy more in tune with the old breeds than modern commercial livestock operations. You will not see confinement feeding, you will see animals on pasture doing what they do best while rotated through the farm to best utilize the grass and distribute their byproducts equally over the entire farm adding to the soil fertility and improving the land. The pigs are raised on dirt not concrete, in large pens using the Swedish deep bedding method. This allows them to root and make compost that is spread on the pastures to improve the soil.
You will learn how we reduce the pollutants from our farm and keep it out of the ponds, streams, lakes and bays. Learn now we are encouraging wildlife through use of riparian areas.
Experience Heritage animals on a working farm; see how we respect their historic traits while using modern farming practices. Walnut Hill Farm is home to; American Milking Devon cattle, Tamworth pigs, Hog Island sheep, Belgian horse, two mules, chickens, and Toulouse geese. A tour could include a hayride through the property while we discuss the benefits of rotational and multi-species grazing, planned or implemented conservation methods, integrating modern and Heritage livestock. We will also discuss future plans for Walnut Hill Farm.
As of December 2014 Walnut Hill Farm has been placed in a Conservation Easement with Stafford County that will forever preserve it as a farm.