Hidden Creek Farm in Delaplane, Virginia, is gaining a reputation as the place with the Shade Haven. Farm owner Andrea Young welcomes that connection. “For us, the Shade Haven is more than an investment, it aligns with our vision of innovation, quality products and quality of life for our animals. It’s cool, its innovative and it provides real value.”
Passersby might catch the Youngs’ Red Poll cattle enjoying the Shade Haven mobile shade structure. You might even see their Katahdin sheep, chickens or a combination of animals hanging out there.
The mix of animals at Hidden Creek Farm is part of the vision the Youngs had for their farm when they purchased it in 2015. Since the farm was in a conservation area, Young says, “We wanted to create a place that respected the attitude of conservation and reverence for what the land could do with us, and what we could learn from the land.”
“With our commitment to conservation, we wanted to focus on at least one or two heritage breeds. So we talked to the livestock conservancy, did research and decided to get Red Poll cattle, which are a threatened breed.”
This fall the Youngs are breeding some of their heifers for the first time and will breed the rest in the spring. They plan to sell breeding stock to others interested in the preservation of Red Poll cattle and will eventually sell the meat, which is known to be flavorful and tender. Additionally, the farm markets its pigs, sheep, chickens, herbs, mushrooms, fruit and honey.
Andrea and her husband Dendy have dedicated their professional lives to helping startups and encouraging entrepreneurship. Young says that working with an innovative young company such as Shade Haven LLC fits perfectly with their philosophy of both farming and life in general.
Practicing rotational grazing, Young has observed an improvement in pasture health with the Shade Haven. “We move the Shade Haven every five days, and we have noticed amazing fertility, health and vigor. There are round patches in the pasture where ever we put the Shade Haven. The grass that comes up there is so lush and vibrant. It’s phenomenal.”
Animal health and comfort is important to Young, and she is pleased to find her cows under the Shade Haven instead of out in the hot sun. “I can tell you that the cows prefer the Shade Haven, that is just a fact. Even on a cool day, they will go under and just hang there. It’s like a gathering place.”
“When I know my cattle and my sheep are protected and more comfortable, that comes back to us both in peace and in terms of dollars,” adds Young. “For us, the Shade Haven was very much on top of the priority list. It is essential.”
Young is excited about the future as they move ahead with their plans for Hidden Creek Farm. Those plans include the livestock as well as agritourism and education. The goal is to offer others a chance to spend time on the farm and enable beginning farmers to learn through a young farmer internship program.
“Starting Hidden Creek Farm has been an amazing experience,” says Young. “Nobody is ever bored, and we are all learning a lot. It is where we want to be and how we want to live for the rest of our lives.”
Check out Hidden Creek Farm’s website to find out more about this happy customer.