Always Grateful Homestead

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Our Story

    My husband, Eric and I live in Madison County Virginia, in the shadow of the Shenandoah Mtns…such a beautiful area! Eric, born and raised right here in Madison County, and me, relocating from the heart of Brooklyn 36 yrs ago, we are the ‘North meets South’ family! We enjoy a quiet, yet BUSY life ~ We have 2 awesome sons, Jason and Gavin, that we couldn’t imagine being without! Along with our fur-babies; dogs & cats, feathered ‘girls and boys’ and the mud lovin’ band of American Guinea Hogs, we are a FAMILY !
I began raising chickens several years ago, even though my husband was raised with chickens – as a city girl, what would I know about chickens, right ? Well, I soon learned these ‘girls and boys’, were my therapy after a hectic day. It was decided right then and there, I would love to expand the small chicken coop and empty hog pen to a small homestead to tend to in my retirement. Retirement is a few years away, BUT at the moment, we now house 130+ chickens (you know all about chicken math!) and a family of 11 American Guinea Hogs. I’ll have PLENTY to do in my retirement when it arrives! Hence, Always Grateful Homestead was born!
We raise rare and heritage breeds of chickens and hogs, not to mention the breeds that add those beautiful pastel colors to the egg baskets! Our feathered family includes Salmon Favorilles, Golden Cuckoo Marans, Dominiques, Silver Cuckoo Marans, Crested Cream Legbars, Olive Eggers, Spitzhaubens, Olive Eggers, Black (& Blue) Australorps, Guinea fowl ….. ALL with very unique personalities! This year we have added Saxony Ducks and Bronze Breasted Turkeys! After careful thought, we also decided to add various colors to our family of Australorps and Orpingtons. Next Spring (2021), Dwarf Nigerian goats will join our farm family! We wanted to raise and offer these unique and unusual breeds to the area, and be the local and trusted resource.
Our hog family, Frannie, King Louie and ‘kids’ are part of the oldest heritage breed in America, the American Guinea Hog. They are gentle and docile – loving the ear scratches and belly rubs. They are social, vocal (!) and entertaining at times. But no mistaking, the meat of these hogs is nothing short of delicious.
We have not completed our journey yet, but with the full support of my husband, family, close friends and our customers, who are on this journey with us, we thank YOU with heartfelt gratitude and respect. The countless hours of hard physical labor, at times has seemed unending, but we can see the end of the tunnel and we are almost there!
If you are in the area and would like to come see our lil homestead on the hill, we welcome you !
Our best to you,
KarenMarie & Eric Smith