Keegan-Filion Farm History

image of keegan-filion farm sign on side of the barn

Keegan-Filion Farm is located on a small part of the land first farmed by Annie's great grandfather and grandfather in the early 1930's. A portion of this land was cleared by hand using axes and mules. Wood harvested was used to build the barn which burned down in 2010; a picture of the old barn hangs on the wall in the farms market. Over the years the farm grew corn, soybeans, cotton, and peanuts. Hogs were raised and butchered to feed the family and a herd of cattle was kept to provide income for the family through stockyard sales. The family also kept a large flock of laying hens and sold eggs from the back of a pickup truck to families in Walterboro and to a local restaurant. People today still remember the egg lady riding into their neighborhood on Saturdays with fresh eggs and the farms produce in the bed of the pickup for sale.

Every winter the family would gather to butcher several hogs that were used to feed the family throughout the year. Uncle Clifton would be out at the butchering shed around 5am to start the wood fire under the old cast iron syrup kettle, the others would come out around 6:30 to start butchering. The animals were broken down into roasts and chops. The trimmings were ground, seasoned, and put into casing for sausage. Extra meat was cooked in the lard kettle, seasoned, and mixed with rice to make pudding. The skin was cooked into cracklings and the fat was rendered down to lard. Hams and bellies were hung in the smokehouse to cure and later smoked. After curing and smoking, the bellies were cut into bacon and the hams were hung in the kitchen and served with breakfast as "country" ham. Every part of the hog was used, nothing was wasted. There was nothing like walking into Uncle Clifton's kitchen early on a cool, fall, morning and smelling the sausage cooking or "stealing" a piece of country ham and cup of coffee. The eggs were always the freshest having just been laid by his flock of hens. If you left his kitchen hungry, it was your fault.

It's important to us that we remember what we've been taught in the past. Today we still farm using the same methods our family always has. Our chickens are raised on pasture as are the turkeys and the hogs. Our cows are raised on summer grasses, winter grazing, and hay.

We grind our hog feeds right here on the farm using an old 1970 International hammermill. We grind locally raised corn that we get from 2 farms within 10 miles of our farm. To the ground corn we add soybean meal that we purchase from a local feed mill and a pre-mix that includes the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics that are required for our hogs. All of our chicken feeds contain probiotics and are purchased from a local feed mill. None of the feed we feed our animals contain animal proteins or antibiotics.

The breeds of chickens and hogs we raise are the older, slower growing, breeds. Our chickens take 10 to 12 weeks instead of the 5 or 6 weeks that it takes to grow conventional chickens. Our birds breasts are smaller, the legs are longer, and the flavor is what we remember from our youth.

We raise Bronze Broad Breasted turkeys for the Holidays but also raise a few throughout the year. We stock ground turkey as well as make several flavors of turkey sausage. Holiday turkeys are sold on-line and are available to reserve beginning in January. Don't wait to reserve yours, we are normally on a waiting list basis by mid July.

Our hogs are a mix of Duroc, Hampshire, Berkshire, Tamworth, Hereford, and a few Yorkshire. These hogs take us 7 to 8 months to raise to market weights rather than the 5 months it takes for a conventional hog. The meat from these hogs is darker and more marbled than hogs raised on concrete. When cooked to medium, the chops will be juicy, tender, and full of flavor. We have customers that swear they like our thick cut pork chops better than a steak.

Though we are no longer able to make our sausage here at the farm, we still use the old recipes . All of our sausages are made using nothing but our meat and seasonings; we never use any type of fillers or preservatives. When you cook it, you will taste sausage that tastes like what our grandparents used to eat. It's more expensive making sausage this way but it sure is worth it.

Our cows are 100% grass fed. We don't use soybean hulls or any other product that is allowed in grass fed beef production. Our cows get green grass in the summer, graze on winter rye and oats in the cooler months, and hay if there is no grazing available.

We realize that everything changes, but that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the flavors of an earlier, less hectic, time. Give our products a try and taste a little bit of the past. We're sure that you will enjoy every bite.

Here are the general farming protocols we employ:

  1. We use no antibiotics except in the treatment of a sick animal.
  2. We feed all vegetarian feeds, no animal by-products.
  3. All of our animals receive probiotics through the water or mixed in their feed.
  4. We use no type of growth promotants like Paylean and ratractomine in hog production for example.
  5. We practice sustainable farming methods including managed pasture rotation for cattle and use of our composted chicken and hog manure for supplemental pasture fertilization.
  6. We over seed our pastures and plant winter grazing to provide as much green pasture as possible for our cows to graze year round. We supplement with quality hay when needed.
  7. Though not Certified Humane, we use Certified Humane practices throughout our farm operation. Everyone who is responsible for tending the animals follows written procedures and is trained on the proper care and handling of the animals.
  8. All of our animals have 24 hour access to feed, water, and the outdoors; chickens and turkeys from 4 weeks of age, and hogs from 8 weeks of age.
  9. It is only right that the animals end their lives as humanely as they have lived it. All of the farm's animals are processed at a USDA inspected, Certified Humane processing facility located 89 miles from the farm.

Thank you for considering Keegan-Filion Farm.

Annie, Marc, Amy, & Jesse