AAAAAHHHHHH!!! The woodstove is burning and bone broth is simmering on the stove. We are cultivating “hygge” here. People wonder how we can stand the winters in Terra Alta. It is all a matter of perception. We brave the cold and wind gusts to go and care for the hens and cattle twice a day. But, the winters here are beautiful, the shorter days bring our family inside to read, play music and enjoy each other. We even have time to visit our other farming friends. I look forward to our cozy winters.
Here is the next question to ask a meat farmer--
How do you mitigate environmental damage and watershed pollution on your farm?
There are so many answers to this question I think I’ll cover them each individually.
Rotational Grazing- We move our beef cattle almost every single day during the growing season. Once the ground has frozen we keep them localized in one pasture to minimize damage to pasture plants . We rotate cattle to a different pasture every winter. The meat chicken shelters are moved every day onto fresh pasture and the laying hens are given a new quarter-acre each week. Rotating animals is a lot of work and adds significantly to the cost of our products, but, it is also the single most important thing we do for the health of our animals and the farm. Have you ever driven by a field where cattle were grazing on 4in or less of grass (except for the very tall weeds that are not palatable)? There is nothing there for the animals to eat, that is why they need grain. The animals are also causing damage to the biodiversity of the pasture flora/fauna and as a result the biodiversity of the soils . In extreme cases, where they have worn down most of the plant life, soil loss is occurring.
Provide water --We work hard to keep cattle out of the many streams and springs on our farm. Many farmers rely on streams for their animals to drink. The result is degradation of stream banks, soil loss and watershed pollution.We have installed over 2000 feet of water lines below the frost level to ensure year round access to fresh water.
Non-Toxic Inputs-We don’t use any harmful pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. We use OMRI listed products in the rare instances they are deeded.
Buying Organically Grown Grains for our Poultry- We are supporting even more organic husbandry and farming by buying organically (Just like you!)
Building the soils and biodiversity-
Rotational Grazing-disperses animal manure, a natural fertilizer. In conventional farm systems all of the animal manure is concentrated in one area, often resulting in watershed pollution . Rotational grazing also minimizes plant damage and actually improves plant performance resulting in deeper roots , better microbiological growth and thus the biodiversity of our soils. We are remineralizing the depleted soils through excellent mineral programs for our animals. The animals themselves are a wonderful gauge of soil health. For example our soils are sulfur deficient. Once we observed that symptom and begun to supplement the cattle with sulfur we were taking the first steps to putting sulfur back into the soils , through the animals.
CNG Certification- CNG certification also involves making deep commitments to sustainability , reducing fossil fuel use, promoting pollinators and much more.
Fresh Certified Naturally Grown turkeys are scheduled for pick-up on November 24th. To reserve your Thanksgiving Turkey fill out this form and return with your $30 deposit. We expect the turkeys to be between 18-24 pounds but will do our best to meet your needs if you list your prefered weight on the form.
Eggs and Stew Hens
Our Winter Egg CSA delivery to Oakland, MD is set to run through March 2016. We are getting lots of eggs from our hens. We were getting bored of all brown eggs so we sprung for some alabaster colored egg layers this time. We should have plenty to sell to everybody else real soon.
Selling old laying hens as stew hens is an important part of keeping our egg enterprise financially viable. We will be processing stew hens next week. They are 2-3lbs and $8 each, or $100 for 14 stew hens. If you like our eggs we encourage you to try the rich bone broth a mature hen can produce.
Beef for Sale
We have an amazing selection of CNG grass-fed and grass finished beef for sale--steaks, roasts, ground beef, organ meats, bones, hoagie meat etc.
Make an appointment to come shop :) Or call/e-mail and place an order for delivery to Oakland or Morgantown.
Freezer Beef Reservations
Yeah for all of you that got freezer beef this year :) If you’d like to be put on the list for next year, send us a note.
Dehydrated Chicken Feet
I visited Tractor Supply after a canine recently acquired us. I was looking for chew toys, etc. That is when I found dehydrated chicken feet. Meyer, our dog, loves them. So I said, we can make those. We now offer CNG dehydrated chicken feet for your canine friends. They are $1 each and can be ordered just like all our other meats.
Just For Fun!
We have had some wonderful volunteers on our farm through the WWOOF organization this year. Our most recent was a mother and daughter set, Lise and Greta. They were wonderful addition to our farm family for a week. They helped care for chickens, collect eggs, move fencing, cook dinner, can lots of applesauce. Lise is also an accomplished photographer. You can see photos of their visit on her website. We look forward to seeing a blog about their experience in the near future.