Bill and Laura Jensen, along with their daughters, started Jensen Reserve in January, 2017. Laura grew up on her grandfathers 60 acres in North Carolina where she helped him raise Angus beef cattle and grow a garden large enough to feed 3 families and their community in the Summer. It was important to Laura for her children to experience farm life for themselves for all the lessons and love it brings. So, in 2013, Bill and Laura left their suburban life and bought a farm.
From there, they started with laying hens. Having never had chickens before, Google became their go to guide for what to do when they had questions. As soon as the hens started laying, friends and family asked to buy eggs. When their flock increased to keep up with demand, the need for a livestock guardian dog to protect the flock became necessary. Little did they know, the Craig's List ad that led to the guardian dog, would create a contact for the pigs their farm business is based on today.
Along the way to begin Jensen Reserve, Laura and one of her daughters both experienced health problems. Both were diagnosed with auto immune diseases within months of each other. That diagnosis lead to the need to grow more of their own food as it helped them both feel better. Enter pigs. Needing less land than cows, with a more versatile use, they started with a few pigs for their family and could feel a difference in their health. Unable to turn those pigs on pasture with their chickens, they began looking for a suitable breed for them. And along came the Meishan!
Their next challenge was what to do with the pork bellies and hams. At that time, there were no processors curing them into something they could identify with like bacon and prosciutto. So, back to Google they went! Bill then tried his hand at curing pork and found success. Just as Laura found success in feeding and raising the unique Meishan pig.
And again, their friends and family asked to purchase it. So, Bill and Laura took on the task of building a commercial kitchen in their barn apartment to cure bacon and reseal packages from our processor. Little did they know at the time, this would also allow them to custom butcher and create local foods that are ready to eat.
If you ask Laura how they got to where they are today, she will likely say that it has been one heck of an unexpected journey that has built her faith in God again along the way.
What's next for Jensen Reserve? More pork, more cures and few other things they are not ready to discuss.....yet!
Whatever it is, the Jensen's will attack it with God, grace ......and Google!