Albemarle Couple Finds Success in Small Farm - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Couple Finds Success in Small Farm

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A small farm in Free Union is working on making a big name for itself.

Since starting up in 2010, Free Union Grass Farm’s products have quadrupled and landed on the shelves on many local markets. Every day, owners Erica Heller and Joel Slezak ride their four-wheelers through their farm. It’s not the typical life of a young, engaged couple but they love their work.

"I think it’s fun to get up every day and work you know 10-, 12-hour days, just be outside in the sun. We eat amazing food you know, grown right here,” Slezak said.

Raised on the farm he and his fiancée now own, Slezak says he's glad there's a demand for their products in central Virginia. "Went to college in North Carolina and came back and found a bustling food culture that we could tap into,” he said.

Their chickens, cows, and ducks are all free to range 53 acres of farmland. "They do all live outside on grass, on pasture, and get rotated and moved all the time,” Heller said.

Rotating their animals properly allows them to sustain their land and introduce new animals. "We are moving into a larger pork production that may be year-round,” Slezak said.

Slezak and Heller have only been farming for five seasons, but their products are gaining popularity in local markets, and they’re proud of the success they’ve had. "It is always very flattering when our names on the menu and we are listed in a lot of local eateries,” Slezak said.

Tours of the farm run from April through October and they say the summer months are peak season for their chickens and beef.

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