FALUN — When the Price family read magazine articles on heritage farming, they were inspired to start Wind River Farm.
"When we moved here, we just wanted to raise a couple of animals to feed our family," said Angela Price.
The family now raises American Red Wattle hogs, several breeds of chickens, guinea fowl, Red Wattle/Large Black cross hogs, dairy goats and bees.
"Newer is not always better, so we started learning some of the heritage ways of farming along with the heritage breeds and we just evolved into this," Price said.
Price and her husband are both Army veterans and members of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas, and anticipate being able to put a "Homegrown by Heroes" label on Wind River Farm products.
"This is a heritage farm, which means that the animals we raise are heritage breeds," Price said. "They're animals our great-grandparents would have raised."
The Prices recently started raising registered stock American Red Wattle hogs.
"We just fell in love with them; they're just amazing," Price said.
The American Red Wattle hogs get their name from the pair of wattles under their chin and the red color of their meat.
"They're well taken care of, they're well loved. They know no stress and that makes a huge difference in the quality of your meat," Price said.
American Red Wattle hogs are considered a threatened breed by the Livestock Conservancy.
"To preserve them, you have to eat them. You can't just raise hogs for nothing," Price said.
The hogs graze in a pasture of grass that also has root vegetables planted in it.
"At least 80 percent of their diet will be grass, and then they'll get pumpkins and kitchen scraps," Price said. "They like a varied diet, just like we do."
Giving the hogs a natural diet is a priority at Wind River Farm.
"They get no antibiotics, no hormones," Price said. "We let them be as natural as they can possibly be."
To add protein to the hogs' food, Price cooks eggs — shells and all — produced by the farm's chickens.
"Where a commercial hog probably takes between five and seven months to grow to butcher weight, which is about 250 pounds, these guys will probably take around eight to 10 months," Price said. "We try to speed that up a little bit with eggs, goat milk, cheese — anything that's got protein in it."
The hogs can weigh close to 900 pounds, necessitating sturdy enclosures.
"Hogs are extremely hard on fences," Price said. "They're very curious in nature."
Wind River Farm started selling pork products last year and is adding pastured chickens this year. Price is making scented soaps from the hog's fat and dairy goats will soon provide milk that can be used in various ways.
"I love making my own yogurt, so I'm hoping to start doing that with our goat milk," Price said.
Catnip and mint grow wild on the farm, and Price hopes to encourage other native flora while also planting garlic, spinach and lavender.
"We're adding more and more grow beds all the time," Price said.
One of her favorite vegetables are French Breakfast radishes.
"You've never had a radish until you've eaten it roasted," Price said. "We toss the greens in; they're edible, as well."
For more information about Wind River Farm, call 256-346-6337 or visit https://www.facebook.com/windriverfarm.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.