Shelly Cuevas offers all-natural, non-GMO meats and eggs through direct marketing
“My father was a wannabe farmer, and I just loved being on the farm, out in the woods, forever,” Shelly Cuevas recalled. Shelly raises a variety of meats and organic eggs on her 50-acre farm outside Rolla, Mo.
Originally from St. Louis, Shelly has worked a variety of jobs, including in the fashion industry and corrections. After joining the army during the Carter Administration, and securing funding to pay for college, Shelly studied to be a dietician, eventually landing in New York.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, she moved upstate, where she lived for 20 years. Rising prices and overcrowding caused Shelly to seek a quieter way of life, which lead her to the Ozarks.
Shelly’s mother, Lucille Troutt, and significant other, Emmitt Johnson, also live on the farm, but the day-to-day work of caring for the animals falls to Shelly.
“My mother’s 97, so she really can’t do much,” she said. “Emmitt will help when he can.”
Shelly started out raising sheep for their wool and later began selling the meat, as well.
The present herd consists of 20 adult sheep, a mixture of Tunis, Rambouillet, Katahden, Dorset and Dorper. Some sheep are raised primarily for wool, others for their meat.
“I sell lamb at the farmer’s market, so I normally butcher one or two lambs for market, along with one adult sheep, and a goat,” Shelley said. There are also six Boar-cross adult goats mixed in with the herd.
The farm keeps a large flock of chickens, including New Hampshires, Americana, Brown and White leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, Cinnamon Queens and Barred Rock, for eggs and meat. Currently, the flock consists of about 150 chickens.
Ducks are primarily Muscovy and Pekin. There are about 75 Pekin ducks, but it is hard to estimate how many Muscovy, there are as they are prolific layers, and the numbers vary.
ANutty Farm specializes in chicken, duck, turkey and goose eggs, as well as chicken, duck, turkey, goose, lamb, goat, rabbit, pork (from Red Waddle pigs) and mutton.
All animals are pasture bred and raised, and Shelly believes her naturally-raised meats to have more protein and to be of better quality then what is found in the store. The farm uses no pesticides or herbicides, in addition to using organic feed.
Shelley purchases her organic feed at 72 Center near Rolla, and her non-GMO feed at Networth Feeds, south of Rolla. Shelley will sell eggs for incubation, but rarely receives requests for them.
Shelly slaughters the small animals herself. The larger animals are taken to Swiss Meat and Sausage in Hermann, Mo.
“The amount of sheep butchered depends on the number of live lamb births per year and if someone wants a lamb for their freezer. I had to learn to toughen-up,” Shelly said.
She is under exemption from the USDA to butcher her small animals, but lamb and goat is USDA certified so it can be sold to the public.
In addition to raising animals for food, Shelly sells wool from her sheep.
“I sheer the wool, and sell it to a co-op, and they put it all together, and then they sell it off, and they send me a check back,” she explained.
Shelly’s life has had its ups and downs health-wise, and she has made lifestyle changes to accommodate health problems.
“I came here to retire, have a few sheep, have a few cows, raise my own food, mainly,” she said. “But then I had cancer, and then I had fiber myalgia. So for me to try and work a steady job is impossible.”
Products from ANutty Farm are sold at the Rolla, Mo., farmers market on Saturday mornings.
Shelly has been coming to the farmer’s market for about 10 years
“I’ve had an adventurous life,” she replied when asked to sum things up. “But this is me; this is what I love to do.”