Your farmer of choice

Our Approach - Deep Dive

We believe that true sustainability focuses on symbiotic biological systems (i.e. nutrient recycling via livestock, crop rotation, pasture-based production, and soil) a.k.a. regenerative agriculture.
Detailed further:

 

Soil Stewardship

We raise a variety of non-gmo heritage grains (barley, oats, wheat) as well as non-gmo corn on our farms for a couple important reasons: 1) nutrient recycling and 2) business risk.

  • Nutrient recycling: We rotate crops across our acreage to recycle nitrogen and carbon. Certain crops (legumes) deposit nitrogen into the soil naturally: clover, alfalfa, soybeans. They're also a great source of protein.
  • Grass + legume complementarity: Grasses consume nitrogen. Grasses are not a great source of protein but rather carbon. Carbon is important for the microorganisms that live inside a cow's rumen. Low grass = low counts of microorganisms; low microorganisms = sick cattle. Happy and healthy microorganisms mean happy and healthy cows. This is the central point to why grass is important to ruminants (cattle & sheep). We run a 2:1 ratio of legume:grass ratio.
  • Rotational grazing: This is where we allow cattle to graze a fenced-in area and then move them onto the next "paddock" once they've mowed it down. This creates a robust pasture but also spreads fertilizer evenly back over the pasture.
  • Business risk: Because we live in a climate that gives us a wide-range of weather and a short growing season, we need to protect ourselves against extremes. Through rotational grazing and crop rotation, we are constantly adding vigor and organic matter to our soil. Higher organic matter = greater buffering capacity against extremes and greater soil vitality.
  • Soil + water + ecosystem health: We don’t plant gmo crops nor similar varieties such as neonicotinoids. We want clean water and vibrant symbiotic ecosystems such as bee and worm colonies.

 

Farming As Nature Intended

Sometimes the pasture is a frozen tundra but we believe that ruminant animals are best suited to move freely across pasture, drink clean water, and be treated humanely. Our hogs are free-raised outdoors in the warm months and provided shelter and deep-bedded pens in the winter.

Animal welfare is centrally important to us. If it's important to you, please know that we're on the same page. There is NO animal rights organization that cares more about livestock welfare than us. Animals provide us a living - we don't receive our sustenance via donations through infomercials - so rest assured, we treat our animals with dignity.

  • Hogs: pigs that enter our pork program are free-raised & roam within an expansive outdoor pen filled with trees and nut brushes. We are working on an expansion to a forest-based hog-raising operation later in 2020. Our hogs can root, explore, and relax in comfort. We feed a diet that is mostly comprised of small grains. We feed canola meal (no soy), cracked corn, wheat and barley. We also recycle composted leftover food from a local restaurant (The Watershed Cafe) and feed that weekly to our hogs. Most of our hogs are Berkshire x Yorkshire crossed. Designed to blend the carcass quality of the Berkshire breed with the prolificity and production of Yorkshire.
  • Lamb: although we don’t raise the sheep ourselves, we expect our partners to align with our standards to minimize stress, provide ample animal comfort and deliver genetically superior carcasses. Thus, our lamb represents a diet very similar to our cattle and the expectation of quality care stands, too. We work with 4-H families that we’ve known over the years. Most of our lamb is Suffolk-cross.

    We employ safe handling practices when handling all livestock. This includes chutes and systems designed to reduce nervousness and anxiety. We give ample room to maneuver for decision making. We do not use any hot shots or sharp objects.

 

Proprietary Butchery

Each of our carcasses undergoes a proprietary dry-aging process (via relative humidity, temp, air flow) before breakdown. By controlling the entire process we can ensure quality from harvest to packaging.

We welcome visits to the farm. Early summer is perfect for demonstration because of the beginning of the growing season. Please note: we’re restricting farm tours during Covid-19 to prevent virus spread.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are you 100% grass-fed for beef?

    Free-raised & Grazed is our regenerative agriculture term to best describe our animal husbandry and stewardship practices. We keep our livestock in their natural environments whenever possible. Given the dormant nature of winter, we are not able to graze year-round but we ensure ample, clean space.

  • What does “free-raised & grazed” mean?

    Free-raised & Grazed is our regenerative agriculture term to best describe our animal husbandry and stewardship practices. We keep our livestock in their natural environments whenever possible. Given the dormant nature of winter, we are not able to graze year-round but we ensure ample, clean space.

  • Are you organic?

    Free-raised & Grazed is our regenerative agriculture term to best describe our animal husbandry and stewardship practices. We keep our livestock in their natural environments whenever possible. Given the dormant nature of winter, we are not able to graze year-round but we ensure ample, clean space.