For years, sisters Allie and Elise Thorp defended animal rights by practicing strict vegetarianism and supporting activist organizations like PETA. But after deciding to reintroduce meat into their diets, the two discovered an unexpected way to promote animal welfare: raising livestock.
In 2013, the Thorp sisters founded Trillium Wood Farm on their family’s 88-acre property in Williamston. Today, their operation produces grass-fed beef and pastured chicken, among other humanely-raised animal products.
Allie and Elise joined Stateside to talk about the path that led them to become full-time farmers.
“We started thinking ‘Wow, there’s something more to this. It doesn’t just have to be factory farming. It doesn’t have to be animals raised in confinement that never see the light of day,’” Allie explained.
Trillium began as a passion project at a time when Williamston didn't have any livestock farms that met Allie and Elise’s ethical farming standards. With just six cows and six pigs, the sisters hoped to produce enough meat to share with their friends and family.
Six seasons later, Trillium Wood Farm has expanded to 100 sheep, 60 pigs, and more than 1,000 birds. The Thorp sisters now sell their products directly off the farm and at a variety of farmers markets across the state.
Listen above to hear how Allie and Elise have learned to navigate the challenges of farming as young women new to the industry.