Events & Workshops

 cropped-cukewithlogo11 For now, we are keeping our focus local- working in our community to promote sustainable farming and local food initiatives.

While we won’t be exhibiting at fairs or conferences, our products will be available at the Independence Online Farmers Market year-round.

FAIR_LOGOCarroll County VA Agricultural Fair
August 25-30 2015
Barn yard exhibit of heritage breeds for county
School children and fair attendees.
“Rare at the Fair” Heritage Livestock Breeds Week

small-logoOrganic Growers School
Saturday & Sunday, March 6-8 2015
22nd Annual Spring Conference
For healthy eaters, home growers, & farmers

Mother Earth News Fair- Asheville, NC
Saturday-Sunday, April 11-12th 2015
Western North Carolina Agricultural Center
Booth E-6  Silver Fox Rabbits & Buckeye Chickens.

5th Annual Grayson LandCare Save Green Expo
Saturday, September 13th 2014, 9:00am – 3:00pm
Crossroads Institute, Galax, VA

Hinesite & Moon Shadow to Exhibit Rare Breeds

11081223_10206178441641038_691350570503436820_nTwo local farms in Fries that feature rare heritage livestock breeds have been selected to exhibit their animals at the Mother Earth News Fair to be held in Asheville, NC April 11 and 12.

Cynthia and Rick Taylor of Moon Shadow Farm raise Silver Fox rabbits and Buckeye chickens on less than one quarter  acre just outside the town of Fries.

Kendy Sawyer and husband Bob Hines of Hinesite Milking Devon Cattle focus on American Milking Devon, breeding, milking, and training these heritage cattle near Old Fries Junction.

Photo 1 - Kendy Sawyer with working cows.The Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville will host more than 200 hands-on workshops that cover organic gardening, food preparation and preservation, natural health, renewable energy, homesteading, small-scale livestock, green building and remodeling, green transportation, and related topics. Local and national experts on sustainable and rural lifestyles will lead the sessions. Over 18,000 people are expected to attend the two day event.

Cynthia Taylor said, “Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by the farmers of earlier times. These are the breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. They were carefully selected and bred for survival and self-sufficiency — fertility, foraging, longevity, maternal instinct, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites. These all continue to be important attributes, especially in our times.”

“Applying to be a part of the Mother Earth News Fair was a bit intimidating,” Kendy Sawyer said. “As a rare breed steward, it’s important to reach out to let people know that a cow like this is available: they produce wonderful milk on grass in family-sized fields, grow beef that is ranked as one of the best tasting and finest textured in the world, and will pull your plow, log, or wagon.”

10384832_10206178436520910_3874215861250956484_nShe continued, “When people learn about livestock from conventional sources, they learn about conventional livestock. Right now, many people are interested in cattle because prices are high. I try to send all my heifers to homes  to be bred to purebred Milking Devon bulls and where they will be milked; not to the sale barn. Of course, not every calf is perfect, and those are delicious. I keep in touch with other small breeders, and can often bring people and animals together if I don’t have the right cow for a family. My main goal is to find the next generation of rare breed stewards for these marvelous animals.”

1904151_758491384230816_8334135116157537036_nSawyer added, “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase livestock suited to homesteaders and small holders. Each of these heritage breeds is multipurpose. Unfortunately, they have become very rare because modern industrial agriculture is based on single purpose animals.”

Taylor agreed, “We have inherited a rich variety of livestock breeds. For the sake of future generations, we must work together to safeguard these treasures.”

“These rare animals are not novelties or just for historical displays. Since the ability to succeed in an industrial environment has never been bred into them, most still have good immune systems and ability to thrive on simple feeds, outdoors. This is a definite advantage in today’s world,” Taylor said. Both families are active members of The Livestock Conservancy, an organization which works to protect rare breeds. They breed animals to traditional standards.

11079673_10206178436440908_6657953305632585984_nTaylor stated, “We are excited to exhibit these great breeds. The Buckeye chickens are multipurpose, growing quickly to produce a good sized fryer in 18 weeks, or maturing to a laying hen that produces up to 200 eggs per year. The best part for us is the taste. This chicken has an excellent flavor you just don’t get from the commercial breeds.”

“Silver Fox rabbits also are multipurpose, raised for both meat and fur. Their fur is very unique silver-tipped black. We are learning to tan hides so we can utilize the furs in crafts and clothing, as farmers before us have done. Our breeding program is working to bring the breeds back to the rare breed standard and preserve these great genetics.”

10411064_721847531228535_3920216471773485235_nSawyer, who volunteers at the Matthews Living History Museum and Heritage Day near Galax and Independence, Virginia, noted, “These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment, and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture. People may wonder how animals as common as cows and chickens can be endangered. However, just as there are endangered wild species such as pandas, tigers, and elephants, there are also endangered livestock and poultry breeds. Specifically, 21% of the world’s 8,000 livestock breeds are in danger of extinction.”

Sawyer concluded, “Milking Devon cattle, Buckeye chickens, and Silver Fox rabbits are far from the only endangered farm animals. There are over 200 breeds including goats, sheep, swine, and horses that are critically endangered. Small-scale farmers are in a position to benefit from the unique attributes of rare breeds, while gaining the satisfaction of preserving this valuable genetic resource for future generations.”

Happy New Year!!

We are spending the winter getting the new place habitable and planning lots of great projects for the spring/summer!1489173_1452837138263027_1923744111_n

We will be enlarging the rabbitry with larger cages to house breeding pairs or mamas with kits and try to solve the ventilation in summer / warm in winter dichotomy.  We hope to create a movable colony set up on pasture as well.

We have great plans for a compost-fed, egg-mobile for chickens and also set ups for several breeding groups of Buckeye chickens.

The goats will be happy to have a new pasture with rotational paddocks and the addition of ducks to the system.  Hopefully we will breed Rosie and have new goat(s) in June.

We will have a booth at the Independence Farmers Market this year selling “Bunny Berries” for folks gardens, mushrooms, marmalade, garlic (and maybe a few veggies), rabbit, and anything else we can come up with.DSC02269

We will also be expanding our crops of medicinal herbs and non-timber forest products.

It looks to be an exciting year with lots of new ideas to sprout and grow!


Welcome to Moon Shadow Farm VA!

Welcome to our new Farm Blog!

2014 has been a super busy year on the farm!!

  • We spent the winter renovating our house in Fries                 house reno2   977287_10201176265069750_1772792806_o
  • We picked up our Silver Fox rabbits in January


  • Early spring we laid out our garden at mom’s place in Spartagarden1  garden2
  • After talking about the need to clear the backyard of overgrown honeysuckle, multiflora rose and poison ivy, a goat shows up- Rosie!

rosie goat

    • Since you can’t have just 1 goat- we got Casper!casper
    • In May we bred our 2 Silver Fox does & in June- our first littersbunny nesting  bunny babies bunny baby  bunny!
    • In June we hosted our first farm tourfarm tour
    • In July we got our flock of Buckeye chickensbuckeye1 buckeye2 buckeyes3
    • August Harvest Time!


  • Finally!  After over a year waiting, in September we bought the 14 acres & house adjacent to our farm!10606333_1544850525728354_5384949558186263768_n 10603422_1544850559061684_8981500095637307750_n 1546201_1544850505728356_2232273518545008334_n
  • And just last weekend, We had a great time showing off our bunnies & chicks at Grayson LandCare’s  Save Green Exposmcomposite_low_res

Can’t wait to see what next year holds for Moon Shadow Farm VA!