Why This Woman Walked Away from a 30-Year Corporate Career and Bought a Farm
The farming fantasy remained just that until 2011, when Allen and her husband, Todd, visited the San Juan Islands in Washington. There she saw a sign—literally: a homemade one that read yarn, stuck at the end of a driveway. Intrigued, Allen followed the path to a barn, where she met a herd of sheep and their caregiver, Annette, a 75-year-old farmer who shared plenty of professional wisdom. After mulling over Annette's advice and getting the thumbs-up from her husband, Allen decided to go after her dream. She says, "I knew if we didn't jump off the cliff right then, we never would."
So jump they did, founding Savage Hart Farm on 32 stunning acres in Hartford, Vermont. Here the pace is dictated by the seasons: In winter, Allen and Todd breed their flock of 39 Corriedale and Cormo sheep; spring is shearing time; summer means vet checkups; and fall finds the 59-year-old Allen lining up buyers for meat.
Photo: Savage Hart Farm
The New England novices had a steep learning curve, Allen admits. "We started out with temporary fencing, which two of our older sheep walked through on day one," she says. But today Savage Hart is a thriving estate. Even with a regular chore like barn mucking, Allen loves the woolly routine. "I'm on an adventure with an all-in partner and views that blow even the locals away," she says. How bleat it is.