Ann Marie Bouthillette began working with animals when she was three years old. Her childhood included showing livestock, active participation in the Future Farmers of America, and learning as much as she could about working on a farm. It is only natural that she now runs Blackbird Farm in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Ann Marie, with her family, raises Black Angus Cattle, Rhode Island Reds (the state bird of Rhode Island), and American Heritage Berkshire Pigs. The work, and love, she gives to the farm comes through very clearly in the quality and taste of the beef, pork, and eggs that we get from her. This is one of the reasons we love working with her so much!
Ann Marie knows a lot about animal nutrition, biology, and life stages, but the secret to her success with these farm animals is to “let them live a nice, happy life.” Part of the “nice, happy life” is recognizing different stages in the production cycle. Her chickens, for instance, lay a lot fewer eggs while they are molting. She plans accordingly, making sure to inform her customers that the supply of eggs will be limited for a few weeks.
Blackbird Farm is not a big farm; they focus on quality over quantity. The farm is 200 acres, with 50 head of cattle, and a small number of pigs and chickens. The result of this, however, is personal attention to each animal, and the capability to track each cut of meat from the time it leaves the farm until it is served in a restaurant.
The Ellie’s and Gracie’s team will be taking a field trip to Blackbird Farm soon, and we promise to tell you all about it. In the meantime, you can enjoy Rhode Island Red eggs and American Heritage Berkshire bacon on the Ellie’s breakfast sandwiches, or buy your own at the Blackbird Farm Farmstand at 660 Douglas Pike in Smithfield, Rhode Island.