Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

Please visit our website
or contact us with questions or to place orders.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lambs Coming!

Sheep generally choose the coldest day of the year to have their babies. Yesterday it was -1 F in the height of the afternoon. Here you see the ladies and their birthing suite. Filled with hay, the tee pee makes a cozy place for new babies.

The farmer's year is often broken up by natural events, planting, harvesting, lambing to name a few. One of my favorite times of year is lambing. Somehow the freshness of the cold, and the warmth and newness of the lambs makes it feel like an exciting new beginning.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Curious Piggy on Rotational Pasture

At our farm the animals are constantly being rotated through different pastures, which prevents excessive wear on the ground, and encourages pasture regrowth, ensuring that our animals have food in the future. Another nice thing about rotational grazing is that the pigs have more to explore. Pigs are naturally curious and thrive when they have interesting things to explore or fun things to play with. So, rotational grazing is fun in the short term and yummy in the long term. (It also is gentle on the environment, keeps the farm from becoming super smelly, and a million other great things).

Friday, January 11, 2013

“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”


Find Climbing Tree Farm at The MEAT MARKET

will now be carrying Climbing Tree Farm Pork!

We are very excited to be working with the talented chefs, butchers and charcutiers at
The Meat Market!

Check out their work:
Located at:

389 Stockbridge Rd.

Great Barrington, MA


 The Meat Market at: (413) 528-2022


Monday 11:30am - 6pm
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday 11:30am - 6pm
Thursday 11:30am - 7pm
Friday 11:30am - 6pm
Saturday 10:30am - 6pm
Sunday 11:30am - 6pm
Visit The Meat Market's website at:

One Reason Why We Farm

Often our days are spent covered in animal poop, or trudging up our steep hill in the heat of summer or the cold of winter. You might think "What could possibly make that job/lifestyle worth it." Some times we think the same thing, but these pictures are one reason why we farm. If there's beautiful snow outside (and our animals are taken care of), we can spend the day with our kids! There are a million other reasons that we've chosen this life, but this is up there.

Photos by my wonderful sister-in-law Tracy Churchman. Check out her blog at:

Article: Programs in US Match Fledgling Farmers, Landowners

Little Tillie and I were interviewed a while back, for an article about Farmer/Landowner matching, that was put out by the Associated Press. You can read the full article below or find it at the Washington Examiner here: Programs in US Match Fledgling Farmers, Landowners

Programs in US match fledgling farmers, landowners

November 17, 2012 | Modified: November 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Photo -   In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 photo, Schuyler Gail poses with her daughter Tillie at the family's Climbing Tree Farm in New Lebanon, N.Y. When Schuyler and husband Colby Gail were trying to get started in farming, they ran into an obstacle common to many fledgling farmers: Land was costly and hard to find. They turned to a local land conservancy, which matched them up with a landowner willing to sell for an affordable price. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 photo, Schuyler Gail poses with her daughter Tillie at the family's Climbing Tree Farm in New Lebanon, N.Y. When Schuyler and husband Colby Gail were trying to get started in farming, they ran into an obstacle common to many fledgling farmers: Land was costly and hard to find. They turned to a local land conservancy, which matched them up with a landowner willing to sell for an affordable price. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — When Schuyler and Colby Gail were trying to get started in farming, they ran into an obstacle common to many fledgling farmers: Land was expensive and hard to find.
They turned to a local land conservancy, which matched them up with a landowner willing to sell at an affordable price. Now, they raise pigs, lambs and poultry on their farm in New Lebanon, 25 miles southeast of Albany near the Massachusetts border.
"We were able to come to a better financial agreement because the landowners were excited about what we were doing," said Schuyler Gail, who launched Climbing Tree Farm a year ago with her husband, a carpenter. "It wouldn't be the same if we bought land off the regular real estate market."
To keep land in agricultural production and help a new generation start farming as older farmers near retirement, land conservancies and other farm preservation groups have launched a growing number of landowner-farmer matching programs like the one that helped the Gails.
About 25 states have FarmLink programs that match new farmers with landowners, and the programs vary in how involved they are in matches. For example, Connecticut has made only about a half dozen since it began in 2007 but staffers aren't allowed to get involved in leases, spokeswoman Jane Slupecki said. The opposite is true in California, said Central Valley coordinator Liya Schwartzman. In Maine, the program has facilitated 82 matches since it started in 2002, a spokeswoman said.
More than 60 percent of farmers are over 55, and the fastest growing group of farmers and ranchers is those over 65, Census figures showed. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has set a goal of creating 100,000 new farmers within the next few years.
In New York and New England, where nearly a quarter of farmland is owned by farmers 65 and older, a new generation is eager to produce the locally grown organic vegetables, fruit, meat and milk that are in high demand at urban greenmarkets and restaurants. But the proximity to population centers that creates demand for local farm goods also pushes land prices out of reach for fledgling farmers and makes selling to developers a tempting option for farmers looking for a retirement cushion.
New York state has lost almost half a million acres of farmland to subdivisions, strip malls and scattered development in the past 25 years, according to the American Farmland Trust.
The organization started a series of projects to address the problem, including a network of organizations linking farmers with landowners, and developing creative leasing arrangements to make land affordable, said the trust's New York state director, David Haight. Land prices in the Hudson Valley are around $10,000 to $30,000 an acre, he said.
"While we can't control the price of land, we can help farmers obtain land," said Marissa Codey of the Columbia Land Conservancy south of Albany that helped the Gails find their land. The conservancy's matching program has grown quickly through word of mouth since it began in 2009, now counting about 85 landowners and 65 farmers.
"There's a pretty steady flow of new people to the program," Codey said.
Some of the landowners are urbanites who bought former farms as second homes and would like to lease some acreage to someone who'll farm it. Others have had their land in production for generations and would prefer to pass it on to a new farmer rather than see it developed.
The Columbia Land Conservancy's primary focus is on facilitating leases rather than sales.
"Leasing land is not a new concept," Codey said. "The change we're seeing is that so many farms are now participating in the local food movement."
While a casual, short-term lease may be fine for a farmer looking for some extra grazing pasture, it's not good for the new generation of farmers interested in organic vegetable farms and orchards. Those farmers need the security of a formal, long-term lease if they're going to invest the time and resources needed to develop their operations.
Landowner Larry Steele said he and his wife, Betty, had wanted their 89-acre property to be an active farm since they bought it 15 years ago, but they knew nothing about farming. They joined the Columbia Land Conservancy's matching program three years ago and interviewed about a dozen farmers before signing a lease with 29-year-old Anthony Mecca, who grew up in the New York City suburbs and became interested in sustainable agriculture as a young adult.
"We were looking for someone who was committed, who had a great work ethic, who was passionate about what he did," Steele said. "Someone with integrity that we could build a long-term relationship with." They negotiated a lease where Mecca pays no monthly fee until the farm reaches a specific level of annual sales; when lease payments begin, the Steeles will reserve half of each payment for improvements on the farm.
For some landowners, the incentive is more spiritual than financial.
"We felt almost a moral obligation to use the land the way it was intended," Steele said. "It was originally a farm in the late 1800s; we wanted to resurrect it and have it be operational again."
Now in its third year, Mecca's Great Song Farm is a community-supported agriculture operation that feeds about 95 families.
"We couldn't be happier," Steele said.
Climbing Tree Farm:
International Farm Transition Network:
American Farmland Trust:

Tina the Gilt

We are excited to announce that we will begin farrowing (birthing) piglets on the farm this spring. Introducing Tina, Climbing Tree Farm's first gilt:

A gilt is a female pig who has not yet had a baby (like a heifer in the cow world). Tina is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a male suitor and will be bred within the month. Pig gestation is three months, three weeks, three days. When Tina has her babies (which will be very, very cute), she will be called a sow which is the name for a mother pig. We have selected Tina to be breeding stock because she has a very sweet temperament (she rolls over to have her belly scratched), she is a mix of two heritage breeds that produce flavorful, well marbled meat (the fat is throughout the meat, not just on the outside of the pig, as in conventional pork), and she has 14 teats (pig breasts), which is a couple more than the average pig has and will enable her to nurse more piglets. Tina will be getting a best friend (or a few) soon. The female pigs will keep each other company while they are separated from the herd raising their babies.

Until now we have been buying in piglets from other farms. While this has worked well for us, because we haven't been set-up for farrowing, it isn't ideal. One of our goals is to have our farm be Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), and in order to get this accreditation every farm that we source piglets from also needs to be AWA. While we don't buy in piglets from sketchy farms, most farms don't go to the trouble of becoming AWA, because it is a lengthy process. Farrowing our own piglets will help us become Animal Welfare Approved, which is important to us.
Photos of adorable piglets to come.
Learn more about Animal Welfare Approved at:
Photo of Tina by my wonderful sister-in-law, Tracy Churchman. Check out her blog at:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 from the Climbing Tree Climbers

Happy New Year from Climbing Tree Farm!

Hoping that 2013 brings you as much joy as our climbing tree brought our kids in 2012!