Kelly Creek Farm
March 30, 2017
Katie Austin and Ray Williamson of Kelly Creek Farm in Pinehurst, Idaho specialize in artisanal cheeses, grass feed beef, grass fed lamb, and pork. They started their farm ten years ago, and have grown it into a successful business which contributes toward a positive food culture and serves community needs for healthy food and home products.
In addition to raising animals, what do you produce on your farm?
We have about 3,000 garlic plants and grow about 250 lavender plants along a hillside. It is a beautiful sight to see in the summer! I make hand crafted soaps and use the milk from the goats and cows along with the tallow and lard that is rendered from the cows and pigs to make all natural soaps. I also use the tallow to make candles.
How many acres do you use for your farming operations?
We have 12 acres on our farm and we have also partnered with Castle Rock Ranch to provide a place for our cattle to graze. They have about 40 acres of irrigated pastured. The hogs, sheep, goats and milk cows stay with me at our farm and the cattle have plenty of space to roam and graze at Castle Rock.
Why did you decide to become a farmer?
About ten years ago a movie came out called Food, Inc. That movie sent me into a YouTube craze to learn more about the truth of commercial animal husbandry and commercial farming. I had never before given much thought to where my food came from, but that movie was a catalyst for me and provided a big “ah ha” moment from which I decided that I wanted to grow my own food. In partnership with our neighbors, we started a 40’ x 75’ garden and bought a milk goat, two pigs and three sheep. It evolved from there. I already had a background in horses, so knew a little about animal husbandry which was helpful, but there was definitely a learning curve.
Do you use any type of fertilizers?
We use organic fertilizers and do a lot of composting, which we make ourselves. We use organic kelp and fish emulsion. There are no chemical fertilizers at all. No chemical anything. We practice rotational grazing which keeps the land healthy, and we find that having different animal species on the property keeps everything at a perfect balance.
How do you see your role in the community?
I like to educate people about healthy and clean food and animal husbandry. For example, I will consult with people who want to purchase farm animals and I am always interested in talking to people about heritage breeds. I have three heritage breeds on my farm, and I feel it is important to preserve these rare breeds. People don’t think about breeds of pigs going extinct, but it happens a lot. Breeds of farm animals become extinct if there are not people around who care enough to preserve them.
Where do you sell your products?
You will find us at the Kootenai Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the Kellogg Farmer’s Market on Saturdays during the summer. I also have some products at a store in Kellogg called Local Harvest, and we sell products on-line and through our website.
What are your best selling products?
My labneh is very popular. It is like a Middle Eastern Greek style lemon cheese and is really unique and amazing. Also, my aged cheeses sell very well. I make Gouda, Colby, cheddar and jack. Our grass feed beef steak burgers are also very popular.
What are your plans for the future?
We plan to concentrate on our cheeses and the grass fed beef and producing the most quality of those two items. Also, I would like to put more focus on education and consulting. We put three building pads on the property last year and are going to put in some wall tents to provide lodging where people from all over can come to stay with us and learn how to care for farm animals, cook with fresh farm produce and make cheese and soap.
What three adjectives do you think best describe your farm?
Sustainable, natural and harmonious