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Our Farming Practices

Pasture Raised

This is the backbone of our animal husbandry. Our animals are on pasture for the majority of their lives. This means we have portable shelters and shade structures that can be moved where the animals need to go. We look at our land and animals as an ecosystem. If we manage the animal impact well, everything benefits. The ground is aerated and fertilized, and the animals have fresh grass and plenty of sunshine.

Our pastures are diverse, so the animals also graze flowers and weeds (the sheep love ragweed). We overseed our pastures with a variety of grasses and legumes like clover. We have especially good luck when we overseed after the pigs have been in an area - they are excellent tillers.

The seasons impact the pasture and how we handle the animals as well. In spring, summer and fall, there is plenty of grass. Since winter coincides with our wet season, the ground becomes very muddy and the high traffic of the animals can actually damage the pasture. During that time we create a “sacrifice” area where we put lots of hay and wood shavings for bedding. The animals work over it through the winter, and we have great compost in the spring.

Pigs and Chickens Need Grain

Pigs and chickens are both omnivores. Pigs have intestines and chickens have crops, neither of which can turn grass into protein. Don’t get me wrong, they eat plenty of grass out on the pasture - a big salad every day. The pigs also root up grubs and roots to eat, and the chickens gobble up bugs. In addition to what the animals forage, we also feed non-GMO grains including sorghum, barley and peanut meal. The feed also includes a mineral mix to make sure the animals get the vitamins and minerals that they need.

We also offer species appropriate food scraps, taking those scraps out of the waste stream. The pigs occasionally get spent grains from a nearby brewery. We have served up grape pomace from a nearby winery after their grape smash. And after Halloween, send us your pumpkins for the pigs to have a treat!

Grain Finished

Our beef and lamb are both grain finished, but are very different than what comes off industrial feedlots. These animals still graze on pasture, and are also offered a small amount of grain each day as a supplement.

The benefit of this management is that the animals put on weight more reliably. Additionally, for our breeding ewes, they are more fertile with the increased nutrition, and can better support their lambs while nursing.

What does this mean for the eating experience? 

  • The flavor of our grain-finished beef and lamb is more mild compared to grass-finished that can have a gamier taste. 
  • Our grain-finished beef and lamb is more marbled whereas grass-finished tends to be very lean. 
  • Finally our grain-finished beef and lamb is consistently tender compared to grass-finished

Sensible Use of Medication

True animal husbandry includes caring for animals throughout their entire life, even through unexpected and unfortunate events such as injuries or illnesses.

We aim for prevention by doing things like rotating the animals to fresh pasture on a regular basis to minimize parasites and having livestock guardian dogs to ward off predator attacks. We never feed antibiotics or other medications at sub-therapeutic (daily fed low level dose) levels, a common practice in confinement operations. We also do not artificially speed growth through hormone implants.

In 7 years of farming (since 2017), we can count on 1 or 2 hands the number of times we have had to use medication on individual animals. So considering the number of animals we raise, it is a rare occurrence. In addition to prevention, we also try to select breeds that are adapted to our climate, which means hardier animals.

Humane Handling

We believe we are stewards of the land and animals, and like you, believe that animals should be treated with respect. Our goal is to enable the animals to live as stress-free as possible, because that’s better for everyone at the farm, animals and humans alike. We focus on calm handling techniques, and work with our farm hands to enable them to utilize the same thought and care when interacting with the animals.