The Farm at Viamede is a special place. Our charming menagerie consists of the finest members of a distinctive class of animal selected both for their wonderful heritage and their unique attributes. Our fowl are free to roam around the property (and they do), pecking and foraging the ground for insect and plant delicacies and other things that look good to eat. Many of our guests are surprised to see our rafter of turkeys just hanging out by the chapel or greeting people out for a walk on our trails, but don’t worry, they’re tucked safely in their enclosures each evening and prefer their own company and accommodations to yours!
Chickens are weird and wonderful animals. Each year, we take on half a dozen chicks in time for Easter, and watch them grow into strange forms that heritage breeds tend to take. In the past, we have had Silkies, Belgian d’Uccle, and Easter Eggers, but we’re always looking for fun new varieties. We can’t use their eggs, so we just keep them around until we give them to a local farmer in the fall.
Our brace (that’s what you call a group of ducks when they’re not in flight) of Indian Runner ducks usually consists of around 6 females. They are an unusual breed in that they run, rather than waddle, which provides our guests with an endless source of amusement and photos. These very pretty white ducks lay 260 eggs per year, which our chef uses to make our signature desserts, sauces, and other interesting items. If they run away quickly when you try to make friends, it’s not you. They’re a bit nervous around people and prefer to engage from a safe distance.
The hit of the Farm, our pigs live in a large enclosure surrounded by a heritage-style farm fence that affords them their own pond, plenty of muddy areas, and their own wooded area. We usually source Tamworth, Hampshire, or English Black pigs, although mixes are common. We feed them a mix of formulated pellets and kitchen scraps (vegetarian only!) . When the pigs are small, they are particularly gifted at escaping their enclosure to visit both animal and human neighbors, and are known for their deep curiosity as they come running whenever they hear or see people. You’ll see them lining up along the fence, hoping for forehead scratches and snacks.
These tiny, dainty little birds, have a small, custom-built enclosure under the trees. In the winter, they hang out in the office making funny noises. The quail start laying eggs at six to eight weeks old and we use them in many specialty dishes, mostly at Mount Julian.
Our rafter of Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys grow up to 35 lbs by fall, and are used in many ways at the resort. Self-appointed masters of the resort, they like to hang out in a big group right in the middle of the path through the farm. They are noticeably stubborn creatures with a mind of their own and go where they like. When there’s 25 of them at 35 lbs apiece, who’s gonna argue with them?
Visit the Farm at Viamede every day at 3:30 for a tour!
As you wander the property, you will find countless gardens and patches of food, planted and maintained by our gardener, Bob, and the kitchen team. It’s hard to keep up with their work – alongside the staples like tomatoes and carrots, you will find random patches of oregano in the lawn (we really don’t know how it got there), flower beds of nasturtiums, and herb gardens around the cottages for guests to use. Throughout the winter months, production moves indoors for microgreens, lettuces, and to get a head start on spring planting.