High Priest of the Pasture

The little dirt road is called Pure Meadows Lane, and to follow it across the slatted wooden cattle guard over the Middle River and into the 550 acres of Polyface farm in Swoope, Va., is to enter a peaceable kingdom, out of time and up-to-date. The oldest wing of the snug white clapboard farmhouse up ahead was built in 1750, and Polyface is just a newfangled name for an idea so old-fashioned as to be revolutionary. In fact, the man who owns and runs this farm may well be Virginia's most multifaceted agrarian since Thomas Jefferson. The big sign above his thrumming computer and cluttered desk reads, ''Joel Salatin: Lunatic Farmer,'' but he is crazy like a fox.


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