Project Description

Erica Hellen runs Free Union Grass Farm near Charlottesville with her business partner Joel Slezak. Using rotational grazing practices, the farm produces pastured chicken and duck, free-range eggs, 100% grass-fed beef, and forest-fed pork. Joel and Erica started the farm in 2010 on 13 acres of family land and it has since expanded production to over 250 acres on several estates in Albemarle County. They sell their products at Charlottesville’s City Market, the South of the James Market in Richmond, and the IX Winter Market in Charlottesville. They also sell their duck at JM Stock in Charlottesville and their products are featured at many restaurants around the region. Free Union Grass Farm also offers online ordering and home delivery. Erica, who does all the farm’s marketing, studied sustainable agriculture and environmental studies at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina where she also worked on the school’s garden crew. A variety of internships, including one at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, provided the foundation for her to start and run her own farm.