In 2010, with no formal training or experience in farming, Nolan Thevenet founded Stryker Farm on an unused patch of land in Saylorsburg, PA. Since then Stryker (and Nolan) has emerged as a leader in sustainable agriculture, producing high-quality heritage-breed meats (mainly pork and goat), eggs, and other food products from humanely pasture-raised animals, and also helping to distribute meat and dairy products from various farms in the region. Intrigued? See below for a Q&A with Nolan, then head over to the Farmstand and pick up some of Stryker's amazing pulled pork, Italian sausages, Irish Style Bangers, Breakfast Sausage, ground goat meat, goat chops, and more!
Q: What got you into farming in the first place, back in 2010?
A: The pursuit of a certain kind of lifestyle--being outside and working with animals. I was studying Property Management at Drexel, and then out of the blue it hit me that I wanted to be a farmer. My family owned some land out in the Pocono Mountains, 47 acres of overgrown forest, and it wasn't being used at the time. So it was really the perfect situation. I did a lot of research on the Internet about how to raise animals in the most sustainable, humane way, and then I started with just a few animals and kept learning from there.
Q: What, in your experience, is the most challenging part of being a farmer? And what's the most rewarding part?
A: The most challenging things are field labor, making a living, and getting the products to consumers. As for rewards, having a job where I'm outside in nature, working with animals.
Q: About how many animals do you have on the farm at the moment?
A: 200 pigs, 40 to 50 sheep, and 40 to 50 goats
Q: By now we’re well acquainted with your eggs and meat products, but can you tell me about the other food products you are now distributing? And what made you decide to get into the distribution side of things?
A: Once we learned how to distribute our own products and established our own line of meats and sausages and other things, we started distributing for different farms in the area, too. It's more efficient for us and for the other farms. It helps us offer our customers a more well rounded line of meat and dairy products, it saves a trip for the other farms we distribute, and it makes things a lot easier for retailers. [Some of the products Stryker currently distributes include: goat milk, goat yogurt, and chevre from Kirchenberg Farm in Fleetwood, PA; beef from N.S. Troutman & Sons in Middleburg, PA; cheeses from Alpine Heritage in Lancaster, PA; and grass-fed butter from Kriemhild Dairy in Hamilton, NY.]
Q: How many other farms do you now distribute for?
A: Right now we're distributing for 8 to 10 farm in Lancaster, New York, the Poconos, and the Lehigh Valley.
Q: How do you see Stryker Farm growing in the next five years?
A: I'd like to be a well-known source of regional meat and dairy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York, where stores and restaurants can find high-quality products to put on their menus and be proud of.
For more information about Nolan and his team at Stryker Farm, visit StrykerFarm.com.