Featured #swampfarmer: Bethel Trails Farm

Steve and Michelle Ellis are behind all the healthy and happy livestock at Bethel Trails Farm! Wanting to stay near to family in Greenville and Clinton while also having the freedom to raise any livestock they wanted, Bethel Trails is located in a very serene part of Laurens County.

Steve and Michelle opened the farm in 1999 after realizing that their daughter was getting headaches from the MSG fillers found in a lot of meats sold in conventional grocery stores. They started with just a few egg laying hens and have grown to include over 200 forest foraged pigs of the Tamworth and Berkshire heritage. The farm’s chickens (both meat and egg laying), pigs, cows, turkeys, geese, and a super cool emu named Maybelline have lots of room to move around.

Walking around the farm, you might have ten chickens come clucking and running by. Or, you may have a line of pigs following you to the lake that is located on the 30 acres of forest that they are free to roam around in, duly named “Hog Heaven.” Be careful though, Maybelline the emu has been known to sneak up on you with no consideration for personal space! All of Bethel Trails’ sheep and cows are grass-fed and grass-finished, with the sheep also eating ground cottonseed in the winter.

Bethel Trails Farm’s meat chickens are all pasture-raised and supplemented, when necessary, with a low-GMO, no preservative, no animal bi-product feed that utilizes natural minerals found in kelp and seaweed. All of the egg-laying hens roam the farm wherever they please and have been caught cuddling with piglets most days. The forest-foraged piggies have tons of acorn treats that they can find themselves. The pigs also receive a supplemental feed in the winter months to make sure they are completely nourished and receive the correct amounts of protein to grow happy and healthy!

Bethel Trails Farm approaches all aspects of farming with sustainability in mind and at the core of everything, allowing their animals to be animals and live in a natural and happy setting. Steve and Michelle have been supplying us with pasture-raised chicken, pork, lamb, and eggs since we opened! Five fateful years ago, Steve gave owner Jac a sample of pork chops, and they were the best pork chops Jac had ever tasted in her life! SRCG is proud to have continued their relationship with Bethel Trails Farms for the past five years and we look forward to continuing to bring their great products to consumers for many more years! Stop by the farm on the first Saturday of every month on Bethel’s “Farm Day!”

 

FUN FACTS: Farmer Michelle has purple hair, which is pretty hip, but she might not be the hippest Ellis – her daughter Bailey is owner of Radish Kids, a handmade clothing brand for rad kids! Michelle has one of the kindest hearts we know and is a part time nurse as well, we don’t think she ever sleeps! Farmer Steve can build just about anything from restoring cars, to hardwood floors and the structures that exist on the farm! Also, Steve’s favorite joke at the moment: What do you call a flock of emus in the South? The answer, Emy’alls! Hehe.