Interview With Walter Jeffries: Pastured Pig Farmer

Picture of Walter Jeffries
Walter Jeffries

Walter Jeffries is an accomplished farmer, raising “Pastured Pigs, Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Sheep, Dogs and Kids in the Mountains of Vermont”. He uses WordPress to blog about the things he loves and is interested in, as well as supporting his business, Sugar Mountain Farm.

WordPress is quite easy to use. I recommend it to people because they can use it at many levels from the fully hosted WordPress.com for hosting their own, to hacking their own.

– Walter Jeffries

Why did you choose WordPress as the content management platform for your business?

I had been using Blogger, but they shut down the custom URL platform which made me look for a replacement. In the process of researching what to use I found WordPress and have been very happy with it. That happened in early 2010. Google had notified Blogger users well ahead so it wasn’t a surprise and I had time to make a fairly graceful transition. It wasn’t too painful other than some errors in translating characters and HTML with the export-import features.

Do you enjoy sharing your life to others on your site?

Yes, I write mostly in the evenings as a relaxation.

Is your blog primarily used to tell the story of you and your family’s life, or is it more used for sales and business needs?

Primarily for my own relaxation, to tell stories. That happens to also coincide with promoting our farm product, pastured pork, however we mostly (88%?) sell wholesale to stores and restaurants. I know that the blog is somewhat helpful with that but mostly sales-wise it helps with the other 12% which is sales to individuals of whole pigs and roaster pigs.

If you do run your business from the site, do you get what you want out of WordPress regarding running your business?

Yes. For the business part it is primarily the pages such as:

– Which provide our product information.

The blog posts are more of a stream of conscious supporting material that gives people a sense of who we are and how our pigs are raised.

How much business does your site generate compared to your local business, those who may drive to your farm?

Very few people drive to our farm, we’re rather out in the sticks, up a dirt road and high on a mountain. Almost all of our customers buy our product in stores, restaurants or meet my wife along her weekly delivery route. The blog is more about background and basic info.

Are you tech savvy, do you know some programming languages and concepts?

Yes. I invented Al Gore. 🙂

Is it easy to figure out how to do what you need to do on WordPress?

Yes, WordPress is quite easy to use. I recommend it to people because they can use it at many levels from the fully hosted WordPress.com for hosting their own, to hacking their own.

How much time do you think you spend on WordPress each day, both running your business and replying to comments/ posting pictures?

Probably an hour.

The farming industry has slowly been diminishing in the last 50 years or so. Do you think you would have the same amount of business and engagement to your cause without the use of WordPress?

Yes, if it wasn’t WordPress there would be something else like it.

Could you survive without WordPress?

Definitely. But I like WordPress so hopefully it will be around for a long time.

I am also fascinated by your small concrete cottage. Do you find that the use of WordPress as blogging platform helps your business grow by attracting attention to your life in the hills of Vermont, unrelated to pig farming?

Picture of Walter Jeffries cottage
Cottage at Sugar Mountain Farm where Walter and his family live.

Probably some. More to the point, the blog, on what ever platform, is a way to relax and share things we do with others. Over the decades I’ve made connections on Compuserve, Usenet, GoogleGroups, various online web based discussion forums and my blog plus other blogs for things like ferro-cement, meat process, farming, photography, gardening and many other things.

Your farm looks rather remote. Are you able to connect to the internet on your farm?

Yes, I laid about a mile and a half of wire back in 1990(?) to get phone service and thought ahead such that it is good enough even for today’s 5Mbps aDSL.

Where do you do most of your blogging?

From home in our cottage.

Your wife and children seem to be hard workers and dedicated to the farm. Do the other members of your family spend much time on the internet? Do they have smart phones and such, or is it mostly work and school?

We all have iPod Touches, which are like iPhones but without the phone. No cell service out here in the mountains. We also have several computers and we all use the web and email both for pleasure, school and work.

Lastly, do you have any qualms or concerns about WordPress? Is there anything that could be better?

No qualms. It’s getting better with each generation. That latest with the auto updates is really great. Stability has gotten really good.

To see more about Walter Jeffries, his family, and his farm in Vermont, I highly suggest visiting his website and blog, at Sugar Mountain Farm.

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