Modern Farmer: What exactly is your job on the farm?
Fiona Harrar: I manage the farm with Seth. I primarily manage the sheep operation and he manages the cattle. I have been farming for 15 years and he has been for about 20. We have been here since January of 2011.
MF: Could you tell us a little about Meadowood Farms?
FH: We are located in Cazenovia, New York, which is about a half hour south of Syracuse, in Central New York. We do a couple different things. We have the cattle operation, raising Belted Galloways, we have about 40 head right now. We raise them primary for breeding stock and genetics, but also sell some beef. We raise Belted Galloways because they are a heritage breed that do well on grass with minimal or no grain and thrive in the central New York climate. We also have a sheep dairy with about a hundred East Friesian dairy ewes. We milk them seasonally and make cheese right on the farm.
MF: Some of your Belted Galloway’s have won some awards?
FH: We have a pretty high class herd. Currently we have the National Champion female in our herd. We go to three different cattle shows in the fall: The Big E in Massachusetts, World Beef Expo in Wisconsin, and the National Show in Louisville Kentucky. In 2013, Meadowood Yona (one of the Belted Galloways) won champion Heifer in the Belted Galloway section in all three shows. We also produced Meadowood Xman, 2012 National Champion Belted Galloway Bull and Show Bull of the Year.
MF: You joined Instagram in March, what made you decide to join and document life on the farm?
FH: I really enjoy taking pictures. I’m the one who takes most of the photographs. Our activity on Facebook was waining, so I was looking for other social media outlets. I like that Instagram just involves images. Taking pictures gives me a creative outlet on the farm when the day to day can become a bit humdrum. It really allows me to see the beauty in what I do and remind me why I do it. I love that I’ve connected with so many other farms and farmers, it’s interesting to see what farmers are doing in other parts of the world. It makes me feel a little less isolated.
MF: Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to showing to the Modern Farmer followers this week?
FH: I want to show how we raise the animals. I like to show the animals being happy cows and happy sheep. How we do things here, every farmer does things differently. I am looking forward to showing all the work that goes into producing high quality and healthy meat, milk and breeding stock and why we have chosen this lifestyle.
(This interview has been edited and condensed)
(All photos courtesy of Meadowood Farms)