We are Roy Brubaker and Julie Hurst, and our twin daughters, Frances and Riley. Married to each other since 1995 and committed to this 94 acre swatch of land in the Ridge and Valley region of South Central Pennsylvania since 1998.
Like the natural world we live and work in, Blue Rooster Farm is a dynamic and evolving business and its farmers are changing and growing right along with it. If forty or more hours a week defines full time work, then I guess I (Julie) have become a full time farmer. After teaching history and social studies for several years, then taking time off to care for preemie twins, it is still a little surprising that farming is now my full time vocation. As the girls' need for care decreased, farming and marketing our meat products filled in my time. The combination of outdoor, physical labor with animals always nearby, office work, interacting with customers, processors, and other farmers makes for an energizing career, especially at a time when how food is raised has far-reaching implications for planet and human health.
Roy has two demanding jobs. His full time job is being the district forester for the Michaux State Forest and he works here at Blue Rooster Farm as our herd manager and systems analyst. That translates into many walks around the farm pondering how to improve our operation. Along with all that, he has several construction projects under way, tends to the fencing and watering system, and buys and sells live animals with keen eye for herd improvement. His interest in genetics has helped us arrive at a herd of uniform Angus cows that grow calves quickly on grass, some well-tempered, plump Berkshire sows, and low-maintenance North Country Cheviot ewes.
Riley and Frances are usually enthusiastic helpers with any farm task, at least for a while. They especially like caring for the bottle lambs, calves, and runty piglets that need extra tlc. Now that they are nearly teenagers, they are thinking about ways they might be able to make some money and we are encouraging that kind of thinking! This spring they are researching ducks as a possibility. They are, without a doubt, the most dynamic, life-giving force on the farm.