Home-Based Business Spotlight: Acres of Vitality
Acres of Vitality
I’m so happy to introduce you to Amanda and her beautiful family. For sure, they’re busy with homeschooling and family like the rest of us. And amidst it all, she and her husband own a farm. Have no doubt about it, they’re busy offering some of the best and freshest quality cow and goat milk to their customers. Not to mention, their farming business is part of their children’s education. As you read this article, you’ll learn that this farm is ran by a strong, close-knit family with a mission to bless others with healthy products. Learn more about our featured home-based business spotlight: Acres of Vitality.
THE FAMILY BEHIND ACRES OF VITALITY
Hey There! We’re the Vital Family and we own Acres of Vitality in Scio, Oregon. We’re a homeschooling family with 7 children and baby number 8 due in November. I’m Amanda and my husband is David, with children ranging in ages from 14 down to 2 years old.
WHY WE DECIDED TO START A FAMILY BUSINESS
Ten years ago, we were living in Salem and had an acre of pasture we could use off Cordon road, so we bought our first jersey just for milk for our family. We quickly learned that one Jersey will make more milk than our family could use and began to share with friends and family. It sparked an interest in having a hobby farm just for our family needs.
Then about 7 years ago, we were finally about to purchase 25 acres and move to Scio with nothing more than a dream of hobby farming. To simply have fresh natural healthy veggies, milk, eggs and meat would have been enough for us. However the Lord had a different plan. After just the first year of farming with 3 dairy goats, 1 Jersey cow, 150 laying chickens and 6 beef cows, we were flooded with people asking if we would sell them our product. Because they didn’t have the ability, time, finances or land to do the same. So, we started Acres of Vitality to meet the needs and be a blessing to many families in our community around us.
WHAT OUR HOMESCHOOL JOURNEY LOOKS LIKE
We have homeschooled from the time my oldest was 2 years old and was reading his first sight words with foam letters in the bath tub till now and we plan on homeschooling till our children have all graduated.
We use Rod and Staff for its simple consistent format in elementary years and IEW, Math U See or Teaching Textbooks for High School.
Most people search for the “perfect curriculum” for each specific child, I say the opposite “teach your child in a way that reaches them” for books are just books and any book can be useful. But teaching is a far more powerful tool. And I have found unit studies to be a wonderful addition to fill in any gaps for a large family in history, science, art etc.
We have been studying American Indians, the Olde Frontier, Pioneer days, and Cowboys of the Wild West. Therefore, we plan on eventually taking the family to a rodeo. In this way, it’ll be a real life way to cement and see firsthand our history from that time period.
HOW WE HOMESCHOOL AND MAKE RUNNING THE FARM WORK
Our homeschooling style is very unique from all the other styles you have heard of: I call it “Real Life”. But some people call this the “un-schooling method”.
Sometimes we’re pretty slow on the farm. As a result, we get into a routine and get quite a bit of bookwork done the traditional way. When we hit “survival mode”, our schooling actually seems to be the most effective. Because it’s fun since the kids are refreshed.
However, when we’re in the peak of busy kidding season, bookwork almost gets tossed to the curb. We wake up, hit the barn for 2 hours doing the normal chores, have breakfast and then get back to the barn for bigger projects. For instance, bigger projects are things like mucking the barn or time consuming activities like watching a doe give birth.
Some days during this time, we’re outside or in the barn from dawn till 9 pm. Or we may even pull all nighters if we have first-time mamas birthing. While other days we don’t have much to do and we play catch-up. I sit down with each kid from youngest to oldest and see how much I can accomplish in one hour.
What My Homeschooling Experience Has Taught Me
In my experience, my children under 3rd grade can learn just as quickly with once-a-week lessons as with daily ones.
Moreover, with middle schoolersit’s quite easy. As a matter of fact, I can explain what they need to learn during the week. Then I have them take their review at the end of the chapter. As long as they get almost all of the questions correct, we move on to the next chapter.
Whereas my high schoolers treat school more like collage already. Even if we’re busy all day, they keep up with their schoolwork without needing much help. Once a week I sit down and correct and check on them. It seems to be working pretty good so far.
Plus, we have all the children tested at the end of the year for our own knowledge, to see where they are at and adjust accordingly.
Needless to say, we love homeschooling, and we love farming and the two go together like butter on bread.
ABOUT ACRES OF VITALITY
Prior to farming, our family’s health was starting to show signs of weakness. And as we started our health journey, we learned that we really are what we eat in a physical sense.
Ultimately, we couldn’t afford to feed a large family entirely on organic food from the grocery store. Plus, we weren’t pleased with the rules Organic producers were allowed to “bend”. We wanted to know exactly what was in our food. This was the plumb line on which all our farming methods are based. As I mention earlier, our farming intentions were to provide our own family with the healthiest foods we could produce.
With this in mind, we graze all our animals on about 65 acres, including the neighbor’s field we rent. So, our animals have an abundance of fresh grass and browse almost all year long.
Specifically, we only keep them in the barn during December and January on days when our Oregon. And this because the weather is too cold and rainy to make it very pleasant for them to be outside with a muddy ground.
In addition to grass, we feed Organic Alfalfa and natural hay that we raise ourselves. As such, minerals are available to our animals at all times. Not to mention, we feed our dairy animals sprouted barley during milking for additional necessary calories, to keep their milk supply up and weight on.
In fact, we study and apply as much of the Organic practices as we feel comfortable with. And then we go one step more natural by avoiding the use of several of the medications and chemicals they allow Organic farmers to use. We deworm with organic herbs only when necessary. Our beef cows are never fed any grain; they have pasture, hay, alfalfa and minerals.
WHY WE LOVE FARMING
We absolutely love farming not only for ourselves but the many many families that we get to bless. This lifestyle is so incredibly beautiful and satisfying, to wake up each day excited about the farm and all the plans we have for the day is exhilarating!
When our customers are constantly raving on how delicious the milk is, excited about some new food they made with their milk, remarking on how flavorful fresh grass-fed beef is or how they notice some aspect of their health improving; all the hard work we have invested is instantly worth it.
PRODUCTS WE HAVE TO OFFER
We also sell eggs by the dozen from our happy, healthy pastured chickens. Our eggs can also be delivered at any of our drop off locations.
Once a year, in the fall, we have fresh beef available from our grass-fed Angus cows.
We are thinking about expanding and doing pasture-raised meat chickens next year if there is enough interest.
WHY WE ARE UNIQUE
Most hobby farmers who sell raw milk in Oregon can only do so directly on their farm. Since Acres of Vitality sells herdshares instead, we can deliver the milk to our customers at our many drop points. For this reason, we became a herdshare owned farm.
How a herdshare works is very simple. Our customers purchase one share of ownership in our herd of either goats and/or cows. Then we, the farmers, take care of their animals. To be sure, this includes everything from mucking out the barn, feeding the animals, tending their every need to milking and delivering the fresh raw milk. Indeed, we do all the work.
Once a year we have a big BBQ and farm day where all of our herdshare owners are welcome to come out and eat some great food and see what’s going on around here. It’s usually held in spring when the weather starts to get nice and there are baby animals everywhere you turn.
Farming and Friends
We’ve been farming for 10 years and our customers can speak for our amazing products and services. Many of them have become close friends after spending many years serving them. Many times farming can be a trial but our customers never stop smiling and showing us gratitude for how their health has improved in many aspects. We thank you for all your support and encouragement!!
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