Meet the Modern Farmer: Eric Shevchenko - Modern Farmer

Meet the Modern Farmer: Eric Shevchenko

"I'm trying to push that wild hare gene," says Eric Shevchenko of his rabbit breeding operation.

eric shevchenko
David Robert Elliott

“I’m trying to push that wild hare gene,” says Eric Shevchenko, while cradling a bunny in one heavily tattooed arm. Instead of dried pellets from the feed store, his 100-plus rabbits – heritage breeds such as Blanc de Hotot, CrÁ¨me d’Argent, and Giant Chinchilla – forage for grasses, apples, pears, fruit branches, and fermented hay. “You can taste the difference in the meat,” insists the 42-year-old, who supplies chefs Thomas Keller, José Andrés, and Larry Forgione.

These rabbits, with names like Dennis and Denise Hopper, roam three Sonoma County acres that belong to the family of rhythm and blues legend Johnny Otis. A roadie for the Grateful Dead now manages the property. But while Shevchenko may seem like California rock ‘n’ roll royalty, he actually grew up on a dairy farm in Saginaw, Michigan. “My great-grandparents came from Belarus and Siberia. I like that old-world tradition, those values. And I wanted to get back to the roots of it.”

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