This past week at the Bellaire Winter Farmer & Artisan Market, we interviewed Doug Bedell of Raven’s Roost Farm (Bellaire). Doug raises Scottish Highland beef, registered Shetland sheep, and chickens. Products include grass-fed beef (raised with no grain, no antibiotics, no artificial growth hormones and no GMOs), raw fleeces, hand-made hats and mittens, and machine-knit wool socks.
Doug was born and raised in Bellaire but not on a farm. “If you would have told me when I was in high school that I was going to live on a farm, I would have told you that you were crazy”. His family bought the formerly known Hem Street Orchard Family Farm in 1963. Later in life, he moved back onto that farm and more recently carved out a smaller, 22-acre piece where he raises cattle and sheep on pasture.
The name of the farm comes with a story - in 2003, when Doug wanted to register his lambs, he needed a farm name. One day, while looking out the window, he noticed ravens over the pasture doing their regular aerobatics, and he enjoyed watching them play. The Ravens roost in the old apple trees and enjoy nesting in the pine plantation (which were from red pine seedlings he purchased from ACD many years ago). Thus, the name “Raven’s Roost Farm” was born.
Doug brings frozen grass-fed beef, maple syrup produced on Wagbo Farm, and hand-made wool hats and mittens to the farmer’s market each Friday. The raw fleece from their farm is taken to Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan for processing and spinning from which Linda makes hats and mittens. Some of the wool is also taken to Zielinger Wool Company in Frankenmuth, MI where they have a knitting machine to make wool socks.
When asked what his favorite thing is that he raises, Doug stated that everything has its advantages and disadvantages, so he doesn’t really have a favorite. “That’s like trying to choose a favorite beverage…. whatever is in my hand, that is my favorite at the moment.”