L & L Pastured Farm
MAKING A NAME FOR ITSELF – AND ITS PIGS
Captivating personality traits distinguish his pigs from more than any other animal he raises, says 28-yearold James Lohrey. A curious Charlie, a dappled Socks,and two temperamental sorts, Kirk and Tiberius, are the fitting names he has given to a few of the 12 pigs he cares for in the upper pasture of his parents’ (Cathy and Robert Lohrey’s) 32-acre farm.
This same level of respect and understanding for animals transcends to how he raises poultry, ducks, turkeys and rabbits. Meticulously designed living arrangements for more than 80 rabbits on another section of the farm’s property, provide fresh grass to eat and enclosures for shade or warmth when needed. Through the experience of fostering them, he has learned to use wire fence partitions to separate different broods. “This is important, because rabbits can become aggressive,” Lohrey said.
L & L Pastured Farm, LLC is a local, family-owned business operated day-to-day by Lohrey and managed together with his sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Robert LeBotte. Feeding and housing the animals is just the beginning.
During any given week you might see Lohrey on the road to Wausau or Wittenberg for processing, or driving to different businesses making deliveries. Week nights after his job in construction, Robert tends to the chickens out the back door of their home, while Linda spends many Sundays setting up and selling the farm’s products at the market.
Originated just two years ago as a business plan on paper after completing college, Lohrey’s mission is to provide restaurants and families with high quality meat, eggs and produce. The farm produces products from two property locations, one in Algoma and one in Forestville, with both sites pasturing animals on land free from pesticides, herbicides or antibiotics.
“We farm differently, by pasturing the animals in a natural way that not only preserves and adds nitrogen to the soil, but leaves the place better than how we found it,” Lohrey added. “It’s a business model based on bringing the animals to the food instead of bringing the food to the animals, when possible.”
L & L Pastured Farm’s primary product is organic meat. This year alone, more than 1,500 chickens and 500 ducks were raised and sold. Besides marketing on weekends to individuals and families attending the Manitowoc and Kewaunee County Farmers Markets, a college roommate connection to Vitruvian Farms in Madison has resulted in more than ten different restaurant fresh-food supply relationships for the business in and around the Dane County area. Similarly, L & L Pastured Farm fulfills orders for restaurants and stores in the Brown County area.
“Ducks went over really well this year, with this being our first year and not knowing how they would go. We sold approximately 35 per week in the Madison area and to Terry Naturally Health Food Store in Green Bay,” Lohrey said. In addition, this was the first year L & L Pastured Farm produced and provided rabbits to restaurants. A nightly menu item at Plae Bistro, located at 1671 Hoffman Road in Green Bay, is Braised Rabbit Pasta featuring local L & L Farms natural rabbit.
The most active season for the farm is primarily March through November. Customer orders are still being taken for half-sides and full pork, as well as pastured turkeys that are fed with certified organic grains and available for pick up the day before Thanksgiving. Although outdoor farmers’ markets closed the end of October, chickens are still available. Rabbits can be purchased year round, along with eggs from cage-free hens by contacting the farm.
Lohrey’s longer-term vision for L & L Pastured Farm, LLC is to keep adding and testing new products and services. Items on the horizon for next year include sheep, pheasants and the introduction of a vegetable community supported agriculture (CSA) program. The market for healthier food choices remains strong, and the Lohrey and LeBotte families are committed to the hard work and building the relationships it takes to differentiate and be successful.
Reflecting on his business experience so far, Lohrey added, “I enjoy my lifestyle being outdoors and caring for the animals, but best of all are the interactions I have with people (customers, vendors, other business owners and chefs) who not only respect me for what I am doing, but thank me for providing them another option for a food choice.”