LET’S TALK TO CRAIG ROGERS ABOUT...
Tell us about Border
It’s a sheep farm nestled in the foothills of
the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. We
raise a hybrid lamb designed especially for
its mild fat flavor and rich lamb meat. Our
primary business is selling to the country’s
finest chefs. Selling to chefs satisfies our
devotion to our animals in knowing that
they are being honored by the skill and
talent of the very best.
alfalfa hay possible. We also save several
pastures for winter grazing. We will
provide access to supplemental natural
feed, if needed. Like most shepherds
in the United States, we never feed
antibiotics to our animals and never use
growth hormones. If I use antibiotics for
acute health issues, the lamb never enters
the commercial food chain. Our lamb is
certified by Animal Welfare Approved,
which audits our farm annually.
What made you get into
I was a professor at Virginia Tech in the
‘80s and ‘90s. My wife and I attended a
sheepdog trial that was held on campus
one weekend, and we were amazed. We
had never seen anything so beautiful and
lyrical with animals. We set out to find a
small farm for our two horses where we
could have a few sheep and learn how to
train a border collie to herd them.
How does selling directly to
Building a relationship with the chef is
important. Each sale begins with providing
free samples so that chefs can taste for
themselves the difference in flavor and
texture of our lamb. Then, the product
must be consistent from week to week—
size of the animal, taste, texture and price.
Reliable delivery is also paramount.
What are some of the
Handling the logistics of orders,
scheduling and delivery is by far the most
challenging aspect of direct sales of fresh
meat. By the very nature of a small farm
operation coupled with a custom slaughter
house, we can only process our lamb once
a week. I must be exceptionally reliable
with the delivery of my product each week
if we wish our lamb to appear on menus.
What do you feed the sheep?
We refer to our approach to farming as
“doing what’s right for the animals.” All
our sheep and lambs are raised on pastures
of high-sugar grasses. During the winter
months, we provide the finest grass and
What’s the hardest part of your
job, and the most satisfying?
The hardest part is the logistics. There
are many more difficult tasks with
working with the sheep, particularly
in the extreme cold of winter or the
heat of summer, but those are tasks I
cherish. The most satisfying part is spilt
between both ends of the job. The first
is a love for lambing season—watching
the lambs enter the world, and within
minutes, begin life by nursing and
prancing across the field. The second is
sitting down and enjoying a lamb dish in
one of my chef’s restaurants, and seeing
how they honor our work and animals. C
CRAIG ROGERS IS A SHEEP PRODUCER A T BORDER SPRINGS FARM,
PATRICK SPRINGS, VA. (W W W.BORDERSPRINGSFARM.COM).