ABOUT THE FARM
Honoring Our Heritage
The farm’s name, Shireford, is a blending of our maternal family names: Brookshire and Crawford. Both families have a farming heritage and we honor their histories in our name. We call the land where our farm is located Drystone Ridge or in the Scottish language, Drystane Brae. It is named so because we sit on a ridge looking out on the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Part of the inspiration for our family farm is the crofting tradition from our ancestral homeland of Scotland. Crofting is a community-based system of growing crops and pasturing animals around small home places. We're also just beginning to use the ancient craft of dry stone walling to build some of our barriers. This technique uses natural stone stacked without mortar to construct a wall or fence.
Nostalgia is the longing for an earlier time. Maybe a time when life was simpler and communities were close-knit. Our farm’s story begins with the realization that life today is becoming frantic and disconnected. There is nothing wrong with technology and activities per se, but when life is filled with so many gadgets and distractions that there is no time for the most meaningful things in life it's time to reassess.
Shireford Farms is a new journey for our family. We're starting a small farmstead growing enough food for our family and a little extra to sell or share with the community. We're also preserving a tradition. Unique to the Scottish Highlands and Islands, crofting is a system of land stewardship based on agricultural communities of small farming units. These were originally tenants on large estates but today crofters can own their land and typically work together for environmental and community wellbeing. We also chose to focus our animal breeds and produce varieties on heritage and heirloom. We believe that preserving foundation stocks and maintaining diversity rather than replicating homogenous and engineered food sources is the best way to preserve the richness of nature. Without heritage stocks, our food supply becomes suspectible to disease, tastes bland and generic, and is devoid of the nutrients that sustain a healthy life. Plus, heritage and heirloom varieties are often more unique and interesting.
Our farm is small surrounded by a community. Large-scale commercial farming is usually hidden away on thousands of acres of vacant land. Not only is the land vacant of people, it is clear-cut of trees and off limits to wildlife. Shireford is a permaculture styled farm meaning we work with nature to be sustainable. Manure is composted to fertilize fields, trees provide produce for us, shelter for the domestic animals, and habitation for wildlife while birds provide natural pest control. We serve our community by farming in a way that enriches and preserves the landscape for future generations. We also serve our community by using the farm to build relationships. We are gearing up to host community events and provide education programs for children, and our farm is open to our neighbors and visitors. Shireford is a place to make friends. We give back to our community by offering surpluses to friends, neighbors, and families in need.
Our family heritage includes a faith community who emigrated from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our ancestors, the Scots and Scots-Irish were largely Presbyterians whose tradition teaches that all we have is a gift from God. It is a privilege to care for the wonderful gifts of our children, our land, the plants and creatures under our care, and the people that come into our lives.
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. Genesis 28:3
Our vineyards, orchards and gardens are not much more than patches and our livestock flocks and herds are just a few animals, but that's the point of it to make do for ourselves with some extra to share with others. Thank you for sharing this journey with us and let us know how we can better serve you.
Our Mission and Values
Our mission at Shireford Farms is to help preserve a tradition that values the land, nature, and community. Farming is certainly not the only virtuous way of life worth keeping, but it's the journey that we chose for our family.
Our farm exists to provide sustenance to our family and friends. What we can't use ourselves, we sell in limited quantities or give to meet needs in our community. Our website is here to share our experience and resources with others that are interested in this way of life and to encourage them to give it a try. As the saying goes, if we can do it, anyone can. Products can be purchased individually but we intend to specialize in offering start-up packages to new farmsteads. This approach will require time to develop synchronized breeding and harvesting so we have the right products at the right times and in the right configurations. Thank you for your patience as we build our product varieties and we hope you will visit us online or at the farm to share this journey.
If you're interested in knowing more, please Contact Us. We look forward to connecting with you.
We’d love for you to come experience the farm and buy our products. Our heritage breeds include St. Croix Hair Sheep, Maremma Livestock Guardian Dogs, Dexter Cattle, and several kinds of poultry. You can read more about each breed on the Our Animals page. Heirloom and native produce include muscadine grapes, tomatoes, berries, and other fruits and vegetables available in season. A list and description of produce from our gardens, vineyard, and orchard can be found on the Our Produce page. Occasionally, we’ll also have handmade crafts and baked goods for sale when have the right materials or ingredients to make them. Please bear with us as we grow our product offerings and enjoy the journey of growth with us.