We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome, Circle Star Ranch!
Today I'm so pleased to share a farm that we have actually visited. Not only that, but we've eaten their food and boy, is it delicious! Especially the pastured pork and the pepperoni sticks. And the grass-fed beef, and …. you get the idea! 😉
Please welcome Mike and Elizabeth Lofrano (and their daughter Carly) from Circle Star Ranch. Here's where you can find them online: website and Facebook page. Do pay them a visit online, or better yet take one of their ranch tours in person or visit them at the Umpqua Valley Farmer's Market on Saturdays. 🙂
What is your name and the names of your family members?
I'm Mike Lofrano. My wife is Elizabeth and our daughter is Carly.
Where do you live?
1020 Circle Star Lane, Roseburg, Oregon. Directions
What is your farm/homestead name?
Circle Star Ranch
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
I (Mike) bought the property about twenty years ago and was happy with two horses. When Elizabeth and I got together (fifteen years ago) she started changing the property into a real ranch. We started out with beef cattle and grew our herd to about eighty head. When Elizabeth became pregnant with Carly (six+ years ago), we decided that cattle were too dangerous and would be for the next few years, so we transitioned to more dairy. We started with Nubian goats which Elizabeth milked, and we made cheese. Next, we got our first dairy cow. Now we have four purebred Jersey cows for our dairy operation, and with the extra milk we raise pigs and chickens.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
We have 211 acres of beautiful, secluded land. Two-thirds of the property is rolling hills that have been reforested in fir and pine trees. The rest is large pastures including two creeks and a few ponds.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
We offer raw milk in a herdshare program, milk-fed pastured pork, milk-fed chicken, free-range eggs, and grass-fed beef. We raise no GMO crops on the property and do not use hormones. [Wardee: We love that they mix their own feed from non-GMO crops, and they do not use corn or soy.]
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
Says Mike: My wife wanted to use the property to its maximum and to create a fully sustainable ranch.
Any future plans?
We are completing our upgrade to our Aquaponics facility to produce fresh produce year-round. We plan to focus more effort on our pork production and will be seeking retail outlets for the product.
Any funny stories to share?
Says Mike: People ask me what it’s like to be retired and my reply is “I’m living my wife’s dream!” [Says Wardee: too funny!]
Any sad times on your farm?
We had a litter of eleven piglets born a few months ago. The mother was not very friendly to them and started to throw them around in the farrowing stall. We had totally rebuilt all of our facilities and felt completely prepared for this event. We pulled the babies from the mother and put them in our “nursery” for a few days, feeding them from bottles. They were transitioned to automatic feeders that we had procured to dispense colostrum and milk. The piglets thrived. When they turned three weeks old, the healthiest piglet suddenly got sick and died within a few hours. Then, the next healthiest and next until the six largest piglets had died. This all transpired within about 18 hours. By the time we were able to contact the vet, do a necropsy and check what had happened, it turned out that they were stricken with a virus that one of our friends brought in from their ranch when they came to see our piglets. Needless to say, we have learned our lesson and now have strict protocols with our newborn piglets. [Wardee: That is sad. A definite lesson learned.]
Anything else you'd like to share?
We are happy to give ranch tours to anyone interested. Use the contact form on our website. [Wardee: We definitely recommend it!]
Let's Tour Circle Star Ranch!
In some of the captions below, you're hearing from Mike, as he tells you what is in each picture. I'm also throwing in a few pictures from when my family toured their ranch.
Mike: This is a view of our ranch from our dairy field. In the foreground is our dairy barn. We milk the cows twice a day and produce about 70 gallons a week for our herdshare raw milk partners. The pigs get the rest of the milk.
Mike: Two of our baby Nubian goats.
Wardee: Their ranch is so secluded — and neighboring ranches so laid back — that the goat herd is truly free-range. They know where their home is but they wander around hundreds of acres by day. We thought this was so cool. In the next two pictures, you're seeing my children plus Carly Lofrano. The goats were on the road as we drove in, so of course, we had to stop and visit!
Mike: A view of one of our hay fields. The first line of trees are on the banks of Roberts Creek.
Mike: One of the two creeks on our property. This one heads into a 20+ foot waterfall.
Mike: Carly helps to feed the piglets. She plays with them every day. [Wardee: She is such a cutie!]
Wardee: This is one of their pregnant sows, and the babies above might very well be hers because I took this picture back in April.
Wardee: Their chickens totally free range but know where to lay their eggs — in the nest boxes. After seeing their setup, my husband and son built nest boxes for our chickens and since then we've been able to keep most of our eggs. Prior to that, the chickens were laying all over.
Wardee: Mike, Elizabeth, and Carly, thanks for sharing your ranch with us! We have enjoyed every bite of your pastured pork — and those pepperoni sticks we got from you a few weeks ago are THE BEST EVER! We hope you enjoy your free thank you video, our gift to you. Plus, feel free to display the following graphic on your site. (Right-click and save to your computer, then upload to your site and link to this farm tour post.)
Would you like to be featured?
Are you a homesteader or farmer at any level? You don't have to live in the country, you don't have to be doing everything.
Being on the journey is the only qualification. We want to see what you're doing, no matter how big or small.
Click here for submission guidelines for the Down Home Farm Tours series. We're excited to hear from you!
If you're selected, we will share your farm/homestead pictures and stories in a dedicated blog post, plus you can add the featured graphic to your blog or website. And, we'll give you a free thank you video of your choice!
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