Dear local eaters,
We are now taking signups for next CSA season which will go from Feb-June 2016. Here is a little more about us, so you can understand why and what we do.
Our mission has always been to raise the highest quality food possible.
For the health and well-being of eaters (you and your children), the health of our greater community, and for the health of our soils and watershed.
The truth is, that we started farming to grow these foods for ourselves. We couldn’t find bacon that fit our standards (no nitrates, no refined sugar, no artificial smoke or other flavors, made with pastured non-GMO pork), so we made it.
Why eating our meat is healthy
For about ten years now, we’ve adhered to Weston Price nutritional concepts. He was a dentist and researcher in the early 1900s who travelled the world studying the healthiest, “isolated non-industrialized peoples”, and from this determined parameters of human health and “optimum characteristics of human diets." Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.” His research focused on both prevention of degenerative disease, as well as reproductive health.
How we provide a health-giving end product
A healthy diet for us is one that includes animal foods/fats of healthy pasture-raised livestock eating their natural diet of forage and grains from mineral rich soils. The only glitch is that we don’t currently have those mineral rich soils, not here in PA, or in many areas of the world due to farming practices that have stripped the soil of biodiversity and mineral balance. Thus, a second, inseparable goal of our farming is to improve the quality of our soils - both for the health of the animal that eats the forage, and our own health, as the animal who eats that animal. Our vision is to leave this land in better shape than we received it, with soil that has the ability to truly support life in the future.
In the meantime, we do the best we can by putting a lot of effort and attention into nutrition of our animals. In 2015, we spent roughly $4500 on minerals and micronutrients fed directly to our grazing livestock: salt, kelp, clay, and other supplements from Agri Dynamics. We also mix species-specific Fertrell minerals into the non-GMO locally grown grain ration for pigs and poultry.
We planted forage crops in some areas of pasture, to offer our grazing animals a variety of health-giving phytonutrients in plants that weren’t present in the pre-existing fields of sparse fescue, (a grass species with mediocre nutritional profile).
Soil health is the foundation of animal, plant, and human health
Rotational grazing improves soil and animal health. Without getting into too much detail, there is direct application of manure, carbon fixation, soil aeration and increased soil biodiversity. Carefully timed seeding, as mentioned above, of cover crop/forage mixes in areas that have been intentionally heavily grazed is the farm-scale equivalent of you turning over inedible sod to create a garden and planting spinach.
This seeding has many effects in the pasture including growing palatable and nutrient rich forage, pulling up deep minerals and making them bioavailable, improving soil structure, building carbon material, and providing soil cover to areas where the pigs root up bare soil in search of roots and grubs and whatever it is they like about dirt. It is definitely a slow (and costly) process, and we measure progress in 3-5 year increments. Needless to say, there has already been noticeable improvement in many areas.
Before: waist high multi-flora rose (thorny invasive shrub), basically impenetrable. The cows would bawl when we put them out here, and we had to feed hay at the same time to satisfy them. This picture was taken today, and still needs some intensive grazing and management. It all used to look like this.
After: There are small islands of brush in a growing sea of bright green forage mix of cool season (fast growing in the fall) grasses, legumes, and turnips. This was planted this fall, and has recently been mowed short by deer. They jump the fences to get IN for this.
Again, we hope you understand how and why we farm, and that you are able to join the Meat CSA for the upcoming season.
Thanks in advance for your membership, and Happy Holidays!
~Brooks & Anna
Other Resources of interest:
EatWild.com - Health Benefits of Grassfed products
7 Evidence based reasons to eat meat for health
Dr. Mercola, Red meat part of a healthful diet
Breaking muscle article - Meat for health
Colorado State Extension on Rotational Grazing and Soils
Wellness Mama: health benefits of grassfed meat
Sign up for the Meat CSA