FORMER APPRENTICES

Several former apprentices have agreed to share what they are doing in their part of the world. Perhaps one of these farms is nearer to you than Swoope, Virginia.  Many people ask us about what our apprentice graduates are doing. While many are not farming, some are, and doing it quite effectively. If you would like to learn from them, or just see what they are doing, or buy their products, here are the ones who are actively farming and who agreed to be featured on this list.

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Galen Bontrager

Kalona, IA

Galen Bontrager, an apprentice in 2003-2004 has gone back to his roots in Iowa. He currently farms full-time raising salad bar beef, salad bar lamb, pastured broilers, turkey, and eggs. He conducts farm tours and does speaking engagements as well. His farm is listed on www.eatwild.com and www.localharvest.org. Contact him for his products and tour/speaking availability.

Galen Bontrager
1840 500th St SW
Kalona, IA 52247

Phone: (319) 683-3199

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Tyler Jones

Corvallis, OR

Afton Field Farm

Tyler Jones was an apprentice 2002-2003 and now farms fulltime in Corvallis Oregon with his wife Alicia on their 106 acre farm, Afton Field Farm. They raise pastured poultry (eggs, broilers and turkeys) oak savanna pork, and grass-fed beef and lamb using multi-species rotational grazing.

They sell on-farm to individuals, at the Corvallis Saturday Farmers’ Market, and to buying clubs and restaurants from Eugene to Portland.

You can find Afton Field Farm listed at eatwild.com and localharvest.org. They host Field days with Joel at their farm, similar to Polyface, as well as butchering demonstrations, work parties, and Farm tours. Tyler also regularly speaks and lectures at universities, conferences, workshops, classrooms and private groups/clubs. Please contact them for more information about their products, events and speaking availability.

Afton Field Farm
3375 SW 53rd St.
Corvallis, Oregon 97330

(541) 738-0127
Email Afton Field Farm
Visit Tyler’s website
Read their blog

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Nathan Vergin

North Garden, VA

Born in 1988 Nathan Vergin grew up on his family’s farm in MN where they raised cows, goats, sheep, ducks, chickens and pigs. Being home-schooled allowed him to work full time at Shepherds Way Farm, a large sheep dairy and farmstead cheese making operation. Nathan moved to Staunton, VA in 2005 to work as an apprentice at Polyface Farms. After completing his apprenticeship Nathan stayed on a 2nd year as apprentice manager. In 2008 Nathan moved to the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains where he accomplished a cheese making and cooking apprenticeship at Caromont Farm. In 2009 Nathan married his wife Amy and went back to work for Polyface managing the Greenmont rental farm, purchased a small herd of Jersey cows and started his own business, Silky Cow LLC.  After building the business for 2 1/2 years they moved in the winter of 2012 to a new farm in North Garden.  He is offering grass fed raw milk cow shares, pork and chicken eggs to the local area.

Silky Cow, LLC
3951 Thomas dairy Lane
North Garden VA 22959

540-290-2819
Email Nathan Vergin

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Nathan Joppeck

Wellington, OH

Nathan Joppeck graduated from the Polyface apprenticeship program in 2005 and now farms in Wellington, Ohio with his wife, Jessica, and son, Owen. He also receives help from his parents and brother. Nathan’s farm, Fair View Meadow Farm, is a 60-acre, diversified farm which specializes in grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, free-range eggs, pastured pork, grass-fed lamb, organically-grown fruit and produce, and other natural products.

Products are sold primarily through buying clubs and local retail establishments, but orders for chickens and other freezer meats are taken each year. Nathan is also available for speaking and teaching about local, healthy farming. Please contact Fair View Meadow Farm for more information about products and speaking availability.

Fair View Meadow Farm, LLC
22735 Pitts Rd.
Wellington, Ohio, 44090

Ph: (440) 647-2485

Email: agrassfedfarm@yahoo.com

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Peter Burns

Ridgway, PA

Pete Burns graduated from Polyface’s Apprenticeship program in 2005.  He came back to his home farm with a renewed vision of where to take it.  10 years later his family farm: Heritage Farm, is a thriving multi-species pasture based farm in North Central Pennsylvania.  With the help of his wife, family and apprentices they raise GMO free pastured poultry, eggs, grass fed lamb, and grass fed beef, and GMO free forest foraged pork and offer a Raw Milk Cow Share program.

Heritage Farm’s market reaches from Warren PA, all throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area, and to State College Pennsylvania.  We sell at 2 local farmers markets, a Co-Op and have an array of Buying Club locations.  Pete has spoken at Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, as well at local Universities across Pennsylvania.

Heritage Farm can be found on Local Harvest, EatWild and at their website.  Please contact them for product availability as well as speaking availability.

Heritage Farm
28235 Lake City Rd
Ridgway, PA 15853
814-771-7678

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Jordan Green

Edinburg, VA

Jordan Green experienced Polyface as an apprentice from September 2001 through November 2002. From 2004 through July 2009 he served his Country in the United States Marine Corps.

In July 2009 Jordan and his wife Laura, started their own farm in Edinburg, VA. They manage 250 acres and raise salad bar beef, Pastured chicken and duck eggs, pastured broilers, pastured pork and pastured lamb. On cold days they build handcrafted rustic furniture.

J&L Green Farm
4176 Swover Creek Road
Edinburg, VA 22824

540-333-1468
Email Jordan
Visit J&L Green Farm Website
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