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Name:              Widdershins

Address:           Chris and Wendy Russell

                          843 Bear Hill Road

                          Dover-Foxcroft, Maine 04426

Phone:               207-564-7926


Email:               widdershins@myfairpoint.net

Website:            www.widdershins-fm.com

Facebook:         Widdershins Facebook

Products and Services:

-Devon cattle

-State-licensed dairy

-Grass-fed beef

-Kathahdin sheep

-Nigerian Dwarf goats

-Large Black hogs

-Raw cow milk

-Farm store

-free-range eggs

-pasture-raised pork & chickens

-Vizsla breeder

-maple syrup

-breeding stock

What Makes Widdershins Unique?

The word “widdershins” means to go in the opposite direction or to not follow the regular course.  Chris and Wendy Russell chose this name for their farm because they believe that they operate their farm a little differently.  After having had an opportunity to visit Widdershins and observe all that they are accomplishing at their farm, it seems as though the concept of going “the road less traveled” is certainly working for the Russells at their farm in Dover-Foxcroft.

Chris and Wendy have practiced a self-sufficient lifestyle for many years.  They tended a large garden and raised meat rabbits, dairy goats, and beef.  Their milk cows provided them with their own milk, cheese, and butter. 

Widdershins has evolved into a very diversified farm.  Chris and Wendy raised American Warmblood horses for several years.  They are an AKC Breeder of Merit for their raising of AKC vizsla and weimaraners dogs.  As of 2014, seven generations of vizslas and four generations of weimaraners have lived at Widdershins.  The Russells are no longer raising weimaraners.

They moved from their former farm down the road just a few years ago.  Their current farm on Bear Hill Road in Dover-Foxcroft is home to Devon cattle, Nigerian Dwarf goats, Kathadin sheep, Large Black pigs, Guineafowl, AKC Vizslas, and Freedom Ranger broiler chickens.  A miniature donkey named “Gepeto” is raised with the sheep.  He is available for breeding services to donkeys or pony mares. The Russells’ farm is comprised of thirty acres, but they have made arrangements to pasture their animals on a total of two hundred acres.  Chris hays the fields and already had harvested 600 round bales when Unique Maine Farms visited this summer.

The Devon beef animals at Widdershins are pastured-raised. Wendy explained how they are an exceptional breed because of their reputation for milk and meat.  They are a heritage breed originating in England that was brought to America by the Pilgrims.  Some of their prized qualities include their exceptional hardiness, their longevity, and their lean meat. They are also valued for their ability to thrive in less than ideal pastures, their efficiency, and the fact that their medium size results in less damage to the fields in comparison to other larger breeds.  The Russells sell their grass-fed beef by the side or by the whole animal by pre-order.

Wendy and Chris decided to sell their Nigerian Dwarf goat milking herd this past fall, but they will continue to raise their Kathadin sheep.  The Kathadin sheep is a breed which was developed by Michael Piel of Abbot, Maine.  It is a meat sheep that has hair instead of wool,  so it sheds and does not need to be sheared.  They are valued for their lean meat, hardiness, resistance to parasites, and their easy multiple births and exceptional maternal instincts.  The Russells sell their lambs in late spring. They participate in the USDA Scrapie Eradication program.

Pasture-raised Large Black pigs also can be found at Widdershins.  Their housing (the cut-off top section of a school bus) is quite an interesting sight.  It seems to coincide quite well with that idea of the farm being operated “in just a little bit of a different direction!”  And, then of course, there are the Freedom Ranger chickens that are housed in the former recreational camper!

Certainly some of the experience that Chris gained from working on a dairy farm and Wendy’s training and employment as a veterinary assistant have helped the Russells in tackling the many challenges that can arise when raising such a diversity of animals.  Being involved with 4-H and networking through their memberships in several farming organizations has also proven to be beneficial.  The Russells are members of the Maine Highland Farmers, the American Devon Cattle Association, the Maine Livestock Exhibitors, and the Vizsla Club of Central New England.

In addition to raising their animals in the most natural way possible by allowing them to move around freely, the Russells also have consciously chosen to carry out organic practices.  No GMO grain, hormones, or antibiotics are used at the farm.  In 2010, Widdershins was recognized by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District as Cooperators of the Year.

It is not surprising that the Russells would be recipients of an award for their outstanding farm because it truly is quite an exceptional operation.  Chris is employed as a truck driver off the farm and Wendy works as a veterinary assistant.  It is difficult to comprehend how they find the time to get to all the chores and tackle all the responsibilities that coincide with raising so many animals.  Their vegetable gardens were well-tended and quite impressive.

The work ethic of the Russells is admirable.

They have attended the Common Ground Fair

for the past five years.  This has involved transporting their animals, setting up their display booth, caring for their animals, answering many questions, and running goat milk demonstrations twice daily.  Their educational display illustrated a great deal of

effort.  In their booth they shared information about the various breeds that they raise and the benefits of pasture-raised animals and eating local farm-fresh food.

Chris and Wendy’s interest in that Widdershins

concept of “going in the opposite direction” has  contributed towards a very successful farm operation.  Underlying their method of farming is the belief that people should care about what they eat and that supporting small local farms should be a priority.  Their concern for raising animals in the most natural way possible and their interest in sustainable agricultural practices suggests that maybe others should consider incorporating a little bit of that “widdershins” ideology when they contemplate a future in farming.