Dr. Mark Marchbanks, Owner
Dr. Marchbanks and his wife, Susan, acquired the property for Bent Tree Farms several years ago and Dr. Marchbanks has been working diligently toward the goal of providing healthy, natural food produced in harmony with nature.
Hereford cattle were chosen as the flagship breed for Bent Tree Farms. Specific lines of Hereford, developed during the days when this breed built the beef industry in the United States, were selected. This was done to assure a gentle, easy fleshing animal that thrived on natural pasture rather than in a feedlot.
Our sheep are a cross of St. Croix, Dorper, and Katahdin. We continually select for animals that are naturally parasite resistant and thrive on natural pasture. We strive to develop animals that require as few outside inputs as possible.
A lifelong fascination with the ability of nature to sustain us has culminated in the vision Dr. Marchbanks has for Bent Tree Farms. Along with his wife, a certified Master Naturalist, the Marchbanks are interested in promoting local foods as well as foods that are produced without harmful chemicals being involved. You are not only what you eat, but also what has been eaten by your source of food. Our food must be protected from the use of poisons so as to protect those that it sustains. Dr. Marchbanks says, “When I open a package of meat from Bent Tree Farms, I know what is in it and, just as importantly, what is not in it.” The trailer from the movie Food Inc. provides some insight into how far awry our system of agriculture has gone.
It is his belief that ruminant animals, grazed in a way that mimics nature, will heal and improve the soil. These beliefs were formed through exposure to recent leaders in this area like Greg Judy, Joel Salatin, and Allan Savory. In fact, it was a chance stumbling onto a Joel Salatin video similar to this … that started this journey.
Improving the soil and providing excellent grass-fed beef and lamb are priorities at Bent Tree Farms.
Jonathan Kilpatrick, Manager
Hello! My name is Jonathan, and I manage the daily operations of Bent Tree Farms with assistance from my lovely wife, Miriam.
My passion for agriculture began when my family moved out of suburbia and into the country at age 8. I got my first chickens at the age of 10. From there, being the animal lover that I am, I raised goats, pigs, cows, and turkeys in my teenage years. While growing up on my family’s organic vegetable farm in upstate New York, I had the opportunity to work and learn agriculture, business, and marketing from a young age. In the summer of 2013, I further pursued my farming ambitions as I interned and apprenticed at Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA. While there, I continued to develop my animal husbandry skills and met my future bride, Miriam.
Together, my wife and I see farming as so much more than an occupation – it is a lifestyle led by dedication, ethics, and heart. We are passionate about stewarding the land in a way that honors the biological cycles set forth by our Creator, and we highly value integrity, intentionality, and transparency in the way we farm. Working hard to always care for animals in a holistic, low-stress environment, we strive to produce a product for our community that is healthy, clean, and nourishing.
I married my favorite farmhand, Miriam, in July of 2017, and now we work together as much as possible. When we’re not out in the field, we simply enjoy being together. So, whether that’s reading, cooking, hunting, traveling, or going for a walk, we’re always happiest with the other by our side. We are thrilled to be here at Bent Tree Farms, and we greatly look forward to serving you!