Our Story

Why we do it and how we got started...

 

us and Pig Pig us hiking in the Alpine Lake Wilderness

 

R Heritage Farm, owned and ran by Ben and Monique Russ, is a small 20 acre family farm dedicated to producing free range pasture raised Berkshire pork. Our farm is located just outside of Yakima in the Ahtanum Valley which is known for it's rich soil, fertile pastures, and beautiful weather. In addition to our beloved Berkshire pigs our farm is home to rare heritage breed chickens, turkeys, and geese, and our farm dog, Reiley.

 

Our “farming” history began in 2004 in Gold Bar, WA, but back then we were really nothing more than homesteaders. We were eager to produce our own food, but we knew nothing about anything we were doing. (I still don’t own a book on how to raise chickens, and everything we have learned and accomplished has been by trial and error.) Our first experience with chickens was awful and I couldn’t garden to save my life. In fact, if the apocalypse would have happened we would have starved. When I look back it’s amazing how much we’ve evolved and how much we’ve learned over the years.

 

In 2009 we started getting serious about producing as much food on our small plot of land as we could because we were anxious to get away from all of the processed food, inhumane livestock raising practices, and commercial production methods. One night we watched Food Inc., and it changed our life forever. What we saw in that movie compelled us to do more and more research about commercial farming practices, and over the course of several months I literally spent hundreds of hours researching commercial food production, chemicals, livestock breeds, regulations, food ingredients, etc, etc.

 

By autumn of that same year we bought our first cow, and in 2010 we got more cattle, a large flock of chickens, and we bought our first pigs. For the next few years we raised and produced our own meats and as many vegetables as I could get to grow. We made many mistakes, and learned many things the hard way, but more importantly we learned to listen to the animals. In fact, the animals have been our biggest teachers, and they’ve taught us time and time again how NOT to do things.

 

Of our teachers the pigs are our favorites; they are remarkable animals and we love them all. Our first pig, Miss Pig Pig, who we bought as a baby and is our farm mascot and beloved pet of the farm taught us that pigs love to give muddy kisses, run and jump into plastic kiddy pools, play tag, and love to snuggle up with us in the pasture. All of our pigs (including our boar) have shown us that pigs are wonderfully gentle, social, and fun animals to own. They each have their own unique personalities, are calm, playful, have kind temperaments, and they actively seek out human interaction. Even the animals we raise for food have these wonderful attributes, and it's hard not to fall in love with each and every one of them. Because emotional connections can be made processing day is never easy, but knowing our animals lived a fun, happy, healthy, and stress free life make it easier.

 

We take our job of providing all of our animals with the best possible life very seriously, and it’s the focus of our farm. After realizing that there was demand for what we were raising and how we were doing it we decided to turn our farm into a business, so in 2012 R Heritage Farm was born. We vowed that we would continue to raise the heritage breeds we’ve come to love, and we’d use the same raising practices we’ve used for the past few years. Since starting R Heritage Farm we’ve learned there is a vast difference between raising a few animals for your own family compared to raising them to sell at markets. Regardless, we’ll never switch to commercial breeds, and we’ll never employ the use of confining portable tractors which are popular among so many farmers.

 

Instead, we’ve slowly learned to become more efficient and we are constantly adapting and changing our farming model based on the needs of our animals. I expect farming will be a lifelong learning process, but I’d like to think we have a good foundation built. Raising animals on our farm has been an extraordinary experience and both my husband and I love what we’re doing. Livestock farming isn’t easy; it’s emotionally trying at times, it’s year round work, and it’s hard physical labor. This isn’t a hobby – it’s a lifestyle, and there’s nothing glamorous about trudging through mud, mucking stalls, or working long hard hours in the rain and/or bitter cold.

 

 

However, the animals make it fun, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to sit down at the dinner table and know the food was produced from your own farm. At the end of the day knowing that the food we are eating is wholesome, pure, safe, and that the animals we raised lived a happy and healthy life is what drives us to raise our animals for our table and yours.

 

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Customer Comments - About us

People never believe me when I say this, but when I found out that R Heritage Farm was going to be at my farmer's market, I literally got a little tear in my eye. I don't eat meat because I don't agree with the way most animals are raised in this country, and when I saw the website for this farm I was overwhelmed. Finally a farm that does it right!


Ben and Monique are dedicated to giving their animals the most humane existence possible, even going so far as having special GMO-free feed made for their livestock. When I talk to them I can tell they really care for their animals.


I still don't eat meat, but when my family does, it's pork, chicken, or turkey from R Heritage Farm.

   ~B. Idol



 

So glad I was introduced to you and so glad you are raising such high quality animals.

 

   ~P. Goldberg



 

Thank you for doing what you do!

 

   ~M. Kjosness