This feature on Farmers Trent and Cielo Ashman are part of Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning Farmer Trading Card series, spotlighting farmers as heroes to our community. For more information on the Farmer Trading Card 2024 starting lineup, please visit Loudoun Farms.

Historic Hill Top Farm is nestled on the outskirts of Hillsboro, Virginia in western Loudoun County. With Short Hill Mountain as the backdrop, the scenic views stretch for miles. The setting is a picturesque place where people gather, shop, and enjoy farm fresh products with friends, family, and loved ones.

Venture over on any given day and you’ll find heritage livestock grazing in the meadows. The sights and sounds of nature’s landscape are simply breathtaking, painting a picture of peaceful serenity that belongs on the walls of an art gallery.

With roots that trace back to 1787, Hill Top Farm has it all: history, charm, and a quiet, quintessential beauty that’s become a trademark of the tiny town of Hillsboro. Total population: 114.

What once was an old dairy farm turned apple orchard is now a thriving pig and cattle farm covering thousands of acres. “Our Farm. Your Table.” is the farm’s motto, offering customers a year-round variety of all-natural pasture-raised beef, pork, and specialty sausage products.

Since taking over Hill Top Farm three years ago, Farmers Trent and Cielo Ashman have made it their mission to enrich the legacy of Historic Hill Top Farm through an unwavering commitment to uphold the high standards of ranching traditions that have been passed down by the generations that came before them.

 “The farm has only changed hands a few times in its existence and is home to one of the few original grain mills of Loudoun County,” explained Farmers Trent and Cielo.

“Farming is deeply embedded on both sides of our family, and still thriving today. From multiple generations of ranching in Trent’s family, to the multiple generations of ranching in Cielo’s family in Mexico.”

What Inspired Farmers Trent and Cielo In Their Quest For Quality?

Backed by multiple generations of knowledge and first-hand experiences in ranching, it is their journey as consumers that’s shaped Farmer Trent and Farmer Cielo’s approach to farming practices.

“Our priority [at Hill Top Farm] is being able to provide families with healthy, delicious and sustainably raised beef and pork products,” they explained.

Farmer Trent continued, “We pride ourselves in upholding high standards with our practices, focusing on regenerative farming practices, sourcing our grain from local agricultural businesses here in Loudoun County, and never using any antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals in our livestock or soils.”

Farmers Trent and Cielo’s own food-buying experiences strengthened their belief that beef and pork products in the agricultural economy can be the driving force for change of what modern commercial farming has evolved to today.

“Seeing the broken food chain as a consumer in the commercial industry, and our own personal health, really put into perspective the need to shift our focus from buying mass produced goods,” recalled Farmer Trent.

“It became clear that our focus needed to be on those local farmers who directly support the local economy and who grow some of the most nutrient dense foods available.

“Our entire operation is all about transparency, where the consumer can physically trace every blade of grass these herds forage on 365 days a year, the fields of local farmers [in Loudoun County] who we source to grow the grain and crops that are milled and fed back to our livestock.”

Quality and preservation are the two most critical factors for the success of Hill Top Farm.

That’s the primary reason why the Ashman’s aim to preserve and enhance the health of the entire farming ecosystem, ensuring long-term sustainability at every step along the way in their daily operations on the farm.

How Does Hill Top Farm’s Approach Help Achieve Mission-Success?

Regenerative farming is an approach to agriculture that focuses on restoring and enhancing the health of the soil, ecosystem, and biodiversity. It aims to create a sustainable and resilient farming system by working with natural processes.

Unlike modern commercial breeds developed for specific production traits, Hill Top Farm uses regenerative practices, where the primary focus is on the production of heritage breed beef, pork, and specialty sausages.

Heritage breed cattle and pigs are traditional livestock breeds that have historical significance and genetic distinctiveness, often raised by farmers for generations.

These breeds have unique qualities that contribute to the overall resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems, adapting to local climates, grazing conditions, and playing a pivotal role in the overall conservation of cultural and ethical farming practices.

Most of all, heritage breeds are valued for their superior flavor providing consumers with unique and high-quality meat and dairy products. All of which serve as the heartbeat of Hill Top Farm.

“All our beef and pork herds are rotationally grazed 365 days a year, this includes shared joint grazing during certain times of the year to ensure pasture health where both our cattle and pigs cohabitate,” Farmer Trent explained.

“Not only is it amazing to see these animals enjoy each other’s presence, it ensures we sustain the healthy balance of native forage growth and prevent the resurgence of the array of invasive plant species present in our region.”

Preserving heritage breed cattle and pigs remains essential for maintaining genetic diversity within livestock populations not only in Hillsboro but on ranches across America. Sustainable and ethical farming practices often involve the conservation and promotion of these traditional breeds.

“We produce products for a simple reason which is to be part of a movement of local farmers that focus on the conservation of our natural environment and balance the human input to create a thriving ecosystem,” said Farmer Trent.

While a majority of their three years spent on the farm has been positive, Farmer Trent and Farmer Cielo have certainly learned to embrace valuable lessons along the way.

“Nature has a balance all to itself. When we can shift our management and operations to focus not only on herd health, but the health for the smallest of microbes in the soil, you see the symbiotic relationship that not only exists, but flourishes,” said Farmer Trent.

“Our dream is to continue raising the best products possible with the resources we have and to turn our beloved farm into a family tradition that we can pass down to [our] future generations.”

Perhaps, as the years pass by, the regenerative practices that Farmers Trent and Cielo have brought to the tiny town of Hillsboro, Virginia will continue serving as a sustainable conservation model for future generations of Loudoun County ranchers.

Only time will tell. Their focus right now is on completing a journey that has morphed into something much greater, a common quest to re-imagine the modern methods of commercial farming that have led many of today’s consumers and commercial farmers astray.

To that, Farmer Cielo offered some simple advice, “We have learned quite a bit from farming, but the most crucial aspect we have learned is that if you take care of the natural environment and the soils you walk on, they too will take care of you!”

What’s So Fun About Farming?

When asked, Farmers Trent and Cielo casually lean back, share a quick glance, smile and respond:

“To be honest, we love every aspect of farming. It is truly a labor of love; you get exactly what you put into it. Who doesn’t love being able to work outside each day with animals and be one with the natural landscape.”

Visit or Shop Historic Hill Top Farm Products Today!

If you’d like to meet and support Farmers Trent and Cielo, please visit their Hill Top Farm website and follow the farm on Facebook or Instagram for farm updates, product specials, and photos of lovable animals who call the pastures of Hillsboro home!

You can shop farm fresh products available on Hill Top Farm’s new online store! On-farm pick up and delivery options are available, or you can source Hill Top Farm products sold locally at select locations across Loudoun County and the DMV.

Thinking of starting or expanding your business in Loudoun County?

We are a full-service economic development organization, dedicated to your #LoudounPossible business success. Working with us is like adding a team of no-cost specialists to your team, with expertise in the following areas:

  • Site selection and real estate searches;
  • Workforce development and pipeline support;
  • Process and permit navigation;
  • Fast-track and financial incentives;
  • Marketing and communications outreach;
  • Networking, resource and industry introductions.

Contact John Magistro today to launch your #LoudounPossible journey.