When Clarke and Ginger Laszlo bought their farm twenty years ago, they made a commitment to raise rare livestock and heritage seeds to feed their family. Today, sons Sam and Joseph share that commitment of using rare breeds to control bloodlines and create an environment which suits the needs of the animals, instead of forcing them to adapt to undesirable conditions, the way large-scale commercial farms operate. Conventional grocery store meat is incomparable to the quality of meat raised in its natural environment. Talk with any of the humble, soft spoken family members at The Laszlo Family Farm Store at Mill No. 5 in Lowell, MA. or at The Farm Market on Sundays year round farmer’s market, and one would never imagine how much goes on behind the scenes at their farm in Ashby, MA.
Spring is fast approaching and the family has been welcoming babies of all kinds, improving fencing, renovating the farm store, and updating their 200 year old house. The farm produces lamb and pork for consumption. The lambing barn is filled with Navajo-Churro lambs, a breed originally from Spain which is still considered rare, even though numbers are increasing. “These sheep with their long staple of protective top coat and soft undercoat are well suited to extremes of climate. Some rams have four fully developed horns, a trait shared by few other breeds of the world. The Navajo-Churro is highly resistant to disease, and although it responds to individual attention, it needs no pampering to survive and prosper… The fact that these sheep still exist today is a testimony to their endurance and endearment.” Navajo-churrosheep.com
Gloucestershire Old Spot (GOS) pigs are the source of the family’s pork. Originally bred in Gloucestershire England in the 19th century and currently on the “threatened list, ” they have a distinctive white coat with black spots. GOS are known to be excellent foragers, feeding on pasture lands, thus eliminating the need for processed feed, like grain.
The family also breeds Spanish Mustangs, direct descendants of the horses brought from Spain by Columbus on subsequent trips to America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. A few chickens also run around, along with dogs running freely as dog boarding is available to friendly dogs who need a place to stay. What dog wouldn’t love big fields, a pond and other dogs to play with while its owners are away?
Supplemental income for the farm comes from pet food and supplies sold both online and in the Lazlo Family Farm Store. “One side is for humans and one side is for pets,” says Clarke. Over the past few months the store has slowly expanded into a bigger storefront and has increased its offering for the “people” side of the shop. Quality, locally made food is available during open shop hours, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Local herbs, cheese, pasta sauce, and hot sauce are just some examples of what you can find on a regular basis. Clarke says he is always redefining the priorities of the family’s work between the farm and the urban store, but he knows the value of providing good food for pets and people makes it worth the tremendous amount of work they put in all year long.