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By Brittni Henderson
Ann Marie Bouthillette, owner of Blackbird Farm. Photos by Albert Tavakalov/The Smithfield Times.
High-quality, skillful, and talented farming has been taking place on the grounds at Blackbird Farm for many years, but it was a nameless venture until the buzz started to circulate about the family-owned and operated business. Kevin Bouthillette and his wife Ann Marie take pride in their strong commitment to the concepts of knowing where your food is coming from—and Blackbird Farm gives its customers the opportunity to do just that.
For many years, the Bouthillette family ran their farm as simply that—just their family farm in Smithfield, RI. Both Kevin and Ann Marie grew up with farming as a mainstay in their lives, so it seemed almost inevitable that they would end up together running their very own as a family. As the popularity of their top-quality Angus beef began to soar, someone suggested that they come up with a name for the farm. They couldn’t continue working without a name to allow them to stand out from the rest.
When asked how they decided upon Blackbird Farm, Kevin shares that at one time, there would be hundreds, sometimes thousands of black-colored birds that would show up outside of their home. These birds weren’t technically Blackbirds by breed, but they slowly became a mainstay and signifier of the farm’s location.
“It’s the place where all of the black birds are,” is what Kevin says became the description many people started using for their farm.
So, Blackbird Farm it became.
The Bouthillette’s animals are bred, born, and raised right on the property. After about seven months of age, the calves are weaned and raised on their expansive pasture. The animals’ grass diet is sometimes supplemented with non-GMO grain, and no hormones are ever injected or fed to them.
On top of providing healthy and fresh meat to restaurants and individual customers across southern New England, Blackbird Farm takes pride in the educational workshops and seminars it offers on the premises throughout the year. Although they prefer more intimate groups of interested parties, the visitors always leave feeling full of not only knowledge about the farm-to-fork lifestyle, but delicious food as well.
In conjunction with other local vendors, Blackbird has taken its product to its very own farmer’s market, which is located at their farmstand at 660 Douglas Pike in Smithfield. At publication time, the other vendors at the market included: Angell Farm, Aquidneck Honey, Harris Farm, Open Season, Providence Kettle Corn, Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap from Travis Family Farm, The Farm in Rhode Island, and We Be Jammin’ & Blooming Buddies.
The market is every Friday 4-7pm until October 27th, weather permitting.
Visit blackbirdfarmri.com for more information about the family’s farm, new vendors at the farmer’s market, and special events.