Featured #SwampFarmer: Whispering Pines Farm

Farmer Debbie and Baby Goat! Photo: Jon Hedden

Farmer Debbie Webster is a recent, wonderful, and compassionate addition to our ever-growing #swampfarmer family. Located in Mauldin, SC, Whispering Pines Farm is a multi-purpose facility that puts community, friendship, and health above all else.  Farmer Debbie took over the stables at Whispering Pines in 1990 and has grown the farm to include over 200 goats and sheep, as well as cattle, chickens, and ducks! Does she ever sleep?!

 

Is this real life? Photo: Julie McGuire

Life’s all about “helping people or nothing,” Debbie told us on our visit and her selflessness and passion astounded us. Debbie has a pretty miraculous story of how and why the farm has grown and evolved over the years. With an extensive background in caring for horses and volunteering in and managing stables, Whispering Pines from 1990 to 2001 was mainly used for these purposes. She has created a safe, calm, and therapeutic space where troubled children and children with disabilities can connect with nature and bond with animals. This intangible way of giving back to the community warmed our hearts so much.

 

I Love Ewe!

Sometimes, unforeseen curve balls get thrown our way and a bad car accident in 2001 left Debbie with a broken neck that would forever change the course of her life. Although the car accident left Debbie with injuries that would prevent her from being able to ride horses, she didn’t lose her want to provide a safe haven for children or for giving back. The fateful introduction of sheep to her farm in 1998, allowed her to pursue a new path for Whispering Pines. A lot of the animals on the farm are ones that Debbie has rescued and nursed back to health. Whispering Pines adopted it’s first sheep when it was left after a live Nativity that occurs at the farm every year. It was a Christmas Miracle! Shortly after this, Debbie discovered that her daughter had sensitivity issues with cow dairy and it seemed so fateful to now have an alternative wooly source!

 

Sleepy Sheep…Photo: Chelsea Peeples

The staff at SRCG got an insider’s look as to why Whispering Pines goat and sheep milk products taste so good. The super cuddly creatures couldn’t wait to have their turn at being scratched behind the ears! With over 25 acres to roam on, Debbi instills pasture rotation procedures so that each flock or herd always has fresh grass to munch on.  To make sure their bellies are full, Deb always make sure to have a ton of fresh alfalfa hay on hand as well. The sheep and goats expend a LOT of energy to produce milk and feed their young so their diets are supplemented with a local feed that is milled in Georgia, when needed.

 

Photo: Chelsea Peeples

Never had sheep’s milk products before? It’s probably because Whispering Pines is the only licensed sheep milk dairy farm in all of SC! There are many health benefits to enjoying dairy products made from sheep milk and they all just happen to be super yummy too. Farmer Debbie informed us that sheep milk has been found to be more easily digested for those with a lactose intolerance. Sheep milk also contains an insane amount of protein in it at over 15g per cup! Have we convinced you to try it yet?! If it’s sweeter taste doesn’t hook you, the higher vitamin and nutrient content most definitely will.

 

One of our owners, Mary, bonding with a babe! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

Whispering Pines makes a bunch of different SC Certified sheep and goat milk products. One of the lesser known ones, to some, is kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains a ton of probiotics to help improve gut health and is high in vitamins and nutrients such as  B12 and calcium. It tastes similar to yogurt and is an awesome addition to smoothies! Debbie also make phenomenal goat and sheep milk cheeses such as manchego, parmesan, feta, and the fresh Ricotta that we currently use on our “Okrah” Winfrey pizza!

 

We left Ashley at the farm

It is so rewarding to be able to support a farm that is doing amazing things for not only the local food movement, but for the community as well! You, too, can meet Farmer Debbie and check out Whispering Pines Farm by attending one of her homesteading classes that she hosts at the farm. We’re warning you though, you might not ever want to leave after you get to cuddle with a lamb!