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Patchwork Farm

NISSWA -- The crow of a rooster might be the first sound one hears when visiting Patchwork Farms near Nisswa, but it’s all about the pigs. The small family farm nestled in a stretch of land surrounded by lakes on County Road 127 is home to some of the rarest breeds of heritage porkers in existence -- and they have the run of the place. Litters of piglets ranging from just days to several weeks old trot in and out of pens, stopping for a wallow in a mud puddle whenever they please, while larger sows and boars pile together in the shade of an oak canopy. “Our pigs don’t ever see the inside of a barn,” said Gayle Stevens, who owns the farm along with husband Tim Stevens. “To be considered pastured, they have to be outside 50 percent of the time. Ours are outside 100 percent of the time.” The Stevens family is responsible for some of the only heritage breed local pork available in the Brainerd lakes, found at an increasing number of farmers markets, retail locations and restaurants.