Seeders: Greg Smith & Hilary Craig, Piggyback Ranch
The Farm: 54 acres with plenty of pasture for pigs, yaks, chickens and alpacas – Northeast of Bend, OR
What They Seed: Pasture raised, heritage breed pigs (Glouchestershire Old Spots, Large Blacks), yaks, alpacas, chickens (Red Rangers) and a donkey named Leroy. Also sell piglets and breeding stock.
Where You Can Find Them:
Online/Farm-Direct: Contact Piggyback Ranch through their website to find out what they have available. They offer a great CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program too.
With Hilary’s finance and business sense and Greg being a man of all trades, they make the ultimate farming power couple. Craig was born and raised in Oregon, spending most of his upbringing on the coast before moving to Bend and taking up contract and welding work (even building rollercoasters for a while). Hilary was originally brought to Bend from Seattle to go to college and become an accountant. She was living on a beautiful 8 acre property outside of Bend when the her and Greg met. They eventually decided to start having a few animals (chickens, pigs) and a garden “and then we went over the top”. Beyond enjoying their own products and selling to their family & friends, they recognized that the demand was there for good, locally raised meats. After doing some research, Greg and Hilary ended up on a waitlist to get Gloucestershire Old Spots breeding stock from a farm in Missouri. An unfortunate accident with the farmer there forced her to give up her herd and at the drop of a hat Greg found himself driving a truck and trailer out to Missouri with a friend. They even scored a couple of piglets that ended up riding the 2000 miles in a dog carrier in the backseat.
It didn’t take long before Hilary and Craig outgrew their 8 acre farm, with only 2 acres in usable pasture and 2 in chestnut orchards. Luckily the stars aligned again and they found a 54 acre property to move onto in December 2013. Now they have their heritage breed pigs, a herd of alpacas, chickens and even some yaks roaming on the property. They’re in the process of settling in this first season and working out an ideal plan for utilizing the space and rotating animals around the pastures. Eventually they have dreams to incorporate agritourism into the property: offering a special service where people can come, bring their horses, ride through the adjacent BLM land and enjoy farm-fresh meals.
At this time, Piggyback Ranch offers a CSA program where members are offered their choice of $10 shares at least once a week when their animals are slaughtered. Their good friends at Cinder Butte Meat Co help with the butchering.
Hilary and Craig at Piggyback Ranch believe heritage breeds are important and make a good point that by us creating a demand for their meat now, the animals will be around for future generations to enjoy. Plus is just tastes darn good.
“We have a lot of pet pigs”