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Family farm raises endangered Pineywoods cattle and Karakul sheep

Endangered Pineywoods Cattle Bull painting - Rocky
Eva with a Karakul lamb at Schwartz Family Farm

Schwartz Family Farm in Bear Creek, NC is one of the latest farms to choose to raise Pineywoods Cattle. Joe and Angela Schwartz moved to Bear Creek from Hillsborough, NC in 2018 with their 4 kids. After having moved around from state to state and living in subdivisions for the previous 16 years, Joe and Angela knew it was time to buy some land and move to the country. “We never quite fit into life in the suburbs. Angela and I both love to work outside, and we had always talked about owning a farm…It was finally time,” Joe says. The Schwartz family bought a plot of land big enough to raise their own chickens, sheep and cattle as well as a garden.

Angela states, “We did a lot of research when we were considering which breeds of sheep and cattle to raise and found that heritage breeds appealed to us for many reasons: Easy birthing, good mothering, and excellent foraging skills. As an added bonus, Pineywoods and Karakuls are distinctly beautiful animals.” Joe adds, “It’s fascinating to learn about the history, and participate in the conservation, of these two breeds.”

Endangered Highland Pony Painting
Pineywoods Cattle and Karakul Ram at Schwartz Family Farm

The Schwartz family spent 2018 cleaning up debris from the pasture and procuring a fence, and in the spring of 2019 they introduced Karakul sheep and Pineywoods Cattle to their pasture, along with plenty of chickens. “It’s interesting to observe the interactions of the sheep and cattle. They get along so well, although our ram will sometimes try to boss the cows around, which surprised us!” Angela says. “It really makes a beautiful picture to see them all grazing together with the chickens interspersed throughout.”

In early 2020 the Schwartz family has a full freezer! Most of the family pitched in when they butchered 50 chickens in 2019, and they will process their first sheep in 2020. Joe plans on slaughtering the lambs himself, as he has had plenty of experience with processing deer he has killed. “We like the security of being able to raise our own meat, knowing exactly what the animals have and haven’t (pesticides, herbices etc) eaten.” Joe says.

Angela adds, “We’ve been eating grass-fed beef for years, but this Pineywoods meat is exceptional. It really does taste amazing!” This opinion was shared by a middle school friend who was over for dinner. Three bites in he put down his burger and stated, “This is the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten!”

Endangered Poitou Donkeys Painting
Pineywoods bull Roscoe and Cedric


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