We started Howland Homestead Farm in the late 1980's, raising dairy replacements for a local farmer, on the farm that has been in Phil's family for 200 years. Phil's grandfather had a dairy here when he was growing up, and Phil also worked for a neighboring dairyman as a teenager. We only have 9 acres of the original farm, with the house and dairy barn, but pasture cattle and cut hay on nearby land. All together we farm a little over 100 acres.
Soon after starting we purchased some Highland cattle
and began an organic grass fed meat business, which we still run. Randall cattle
came on the scene about 4 years later, and we raised them along with the Highlands for many years, with the last Highlands leaving the farm in 2004. We maintained a cow/calf herd of about 60 total head for much of that time. We now have almost exclusively Randall cattle on the farm, around 35 head.
Dianne grew up on her family's dairy farm
in South Kent, where they milked Registered Holsteins and shipped milk in cans to a regional creamery. They also raised beef cattle, pigs, and chickens, and had an extensive garden. Although we both started out on paths that took us away from our farming heritage, Phil as a carpenter and Dianne as a teacher, the pull of our family's farming histories proved irresistible.
We raise and breed Tamworth pigs
, maintaining a herd of about 20 total head, and have an assortment of rare breed chickens, including Marans and Delawares. Although our main product is meat, a great deal of our motivation and focus is the conservation of our rare livestock breeds. We are officers in The Randall Cattle Registry, Inc.
, and own the second oldest herd of Randalls.
We farm organically, selling grass fed beef, grass and milk fed "pink" veal, and milk fed pork. We sell our meat directly to the consumer through our newsletter, and to a restaurant in New York City. We hand milk our Randall cattle for home use, to bottle feed calves, and to feed pigs and chickens. Dianne grows a large garden every year to supply vegetables for our own use.