Fresh off the Farm - Smokeshire Hilltop FarmsMarch 16, 2016
Peter Hudkins has welcomed 16 new lambs to the flock so far this season – 7 sets of twins, and two single lambs! They are in the thick of one of their lambing seasons at Smokeshire Hilltop Farms in Chester, Vermont where they breed groups of ewes throughout the year to stay in supply of lamb year-round. The sheep are Dorset crosses – chosen for their strong mothering instincts and their consistency in birthing strong, healthy twins. Peter’s happy flock is grass fed and thrives on their sustainable Hill Farm.
What is unique about Smokeshire Hilltop Farms?
Along with lamb and berry production, Peter runs a firewood and logging business all powered by his two Suffolk draft horses -- Sara and Betsy! “Our farm is a traditional Vermont hill farm,” Peter explains “sustainably powered by a balance of new and old technology. We heat our home with wood, generate our own electricity and hot water with solar panels and a wind turbine. The farm and forestry are horse and biodiesel powered."
They practice silviculture at Smokeshire Hilltop Farms, which looks at every forest as a garden. As farmers, they are the stewards of that forest garden. To begin caring for the forest you first harvest the damaged trees while protecting the healthy trees and giving them room to grow and prosper. Horses are perfect for the job according to Peter, “horses are the ultimate, low-impact logging tool because they place one foot at a time when they walk, impacting only small areas of the forest floor. Machines, which continuously contract and spin on the ground, harm valuable leaf litter, humus and eventually the subsoil layer.” The use of draft horses has many benefits like a smaller carbon footprint, lighter hoof prints (less soil erosion), and they are much less likely to damage surrounding healthy trees.
You can see Smokeshire Hilltop Farms in action by renting out their farmhouse! Visit for a farm stay, ski-cation, or rent it for your event – this is the first year they are hosting weddings on the farm! You can also rent a whole lamb grill (free with the purchase of a lamb) for a lamb roast celebration. You can order Peter’s lamb through RAFFL’s online market, direct from the farm or at the Ludlow Farmers Market.