Know Your Farmer
"Now that I know how supermarket meat is made, I regard eating it as a somewhat risky proposition. I know how those animals live and what's on their hides when they go to slaughter, so I don't buy industrial meat." - Michael Pollan
All of our animals are naturally-raised with permanent access to pasture. They are only fed their natural diet and are allowed to express their natural behaviors. Our animals never receive hormones or antibiotics, and our farms are free of harmful chemicals. We move animals to fresh pasture and feed and water them manually, which requires more labor and management than what is practiced by conventional confinement operations that produce most of the meat found at your typical supermarket. But we do this because we believe livestock deserve a healthy, humane life, and that pasture-based food tastes better.
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." - Aldo Leopold
Rotational grazing controls the access animals have to a pasture by dividing it into smaller sections. Limiting the areas animals can access allows pasture plants to regrow. Rotational grazing requires modern portable fencing, water distribution systems, and informed decision making on the part of the farmer. Choosing this management style has impacted our farmers' operations in several ways.
Our animals have healthy immune systems because pasture rotations minimize disease. Intestinal parasites are a fact of life for animals such as cows, sheep, and goats. But parasites can only reproduce if their eggs have access to new hosts. We can break the life cycle of parasites and other diseases by resting paddocks for months at a time.
Resting pastures also leads to higher quality forage. Green grasses contain nutrients taken from the soil by their root systems. Overgrazing, or allowing animals to eat the same plant time and again, leads to a stunted root system. Stunted plants focus their energy on rebuilding their roots instead of moving nutrients from their roots to their leaves. As our pastures rest, more nutrients are transported from the soil to the leaf, available for our animals to consume.
Perhaps the most important ecological benefit of well-managed rotational grazing systems is an improvement in soil quality. Rotational grazing allows for permanent soil cover with perennial grasses, which prevents the erosion that may occur in some row-cropping systems. Our animals fertilize our soils with bacteria-rich manures, creating a living soil that works with our pasture plants to access nutrients from the soil.
While our cows and sheep eat grass, our pigs and chickens are fed local grain, and organic whenever possible. We buy local to ensure that more of the dollar spent to produce the product stays in the local economy and sustains our community.
We do most of our own processing or have it custom done using only clean, humane and safe methods. None of our products contain preservatives, artificial flavors or nitrates.