Jul 21, 2012 The Freckle Face Farm: A source of sustainable farming
by Peggy Gardner Kemp
What do you get when you add two parents, their seven kids (all with freckles like their mom), cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys with a desire for more family time and healthier eating?
The answer is the Freckle Face Farm, which got its name from all those freckles, located on a scenic hilltop just outside Searcy.
Mitchell and Jami Latture and kids, Dawson, Cooper, Stuart, Karleigh, Benjamin, Sterling and Aidan, with help from Mitchell’s dad, operate their diversified family farm based on sustainable practices that fulfill their desire to “know their food from pasture to plate.”
Mitchell and Jami have been friends since their school days in Cabot. After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in agriculture, Mitchell joined his father in the retail tire business, but sold the business to return to the family farm.
“We’re working on land that my grandfather farmed,” Mitchell said. “We are raising happy and healthy animals in a low-stress environment, which meets their needs and allows them to grow.”
Of particular pride are the hogs — Gloucestershire Old Spot breed and an Old Spot cross-breed.
“Our heritage-breed hogs have traits the same as their ancestors had a hundred years ago,” Mitchell said. “They are sweet-natured and friendly.”
Besides raising food for their family, the Lattures also produce nutritionally dense foods for commercial sale. They market their products at Certified Farmers Markets in Searcy and Hillcrest (Little Rock), online and by word of mouth to friends and neighbors. Offerings include whole chickens, which they process on the farm, along with by-the-piece pork and a limited amount of beef. The farm also includes a small dairy herd, which provides milk and dairy products for the family.
According to Mitchell, while they are not yet certified organic, they are “in transition” and working toward that goal. Their beef is grass-fed, the hogs forage, the chickens are yard/pasture raised and they feed only non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) feed.
Jami is passionate about feeding her family well and also about educating others. Once a week she conducts a class where she teaches other women basic “how-to” tips ranging from the proper way to cut up a whole chicken to making homemade chicken broth and other ways to utilize every part of their food products.
With a degree in speech pathology from the University of Arkansas, Jami, with help from Mitchell, homeschools six of their children. The oldest, Dawson, following in his dad’s footsteps, recently joined the Air National Guard, and after completion of basic training, will return to work alongside his dad on the farm.
All the children, oldest to youngest, have chores and are very much a part of the day-to-day farm operation. Thirteen-year-old Stuart, along with a friend, recently started raising turkeys. The children accompany their parents to farmer’s markets and help market their products.
“The entire family works to build good relationships with our customers,” Mitchell said. “We try to help rebuild community that seems lost as agriculture has become big business.”
For more information about Freckle Face Farm or to purchase their foods, visit frecklefacefarm.com.