Spring Lamb Harvest, Beef & Pork Updates
Fresh Lamb for Grilling Season
Spring is here and the sheep & cattle have been enjoying beautiful, lush growth all season! That means it’s harvest time and we will have all cuts of lamb available frozen at the farm next week. We also have a limited quantity of lamb chops and bone-in legs from Winter harvest that are being discounted to make room in the freezer. These cuts are vacuum sealed and frozen, and keep fresh for over 1 year, so the quality is the same you always expect with our products. Chops are the perfect grill meat, and leg of lamb creates a beautiful presentation for meals with family and friends.
20% discount available until they are gone!
– Lamb Chops $13.50/lb (regular $17/lb), 4 chops per 1 lb. package (also available as 8-chop rack)
– Bone-in Leg of Lamb $7/lb (regular $9/lb), 5-6 lb. each
First of all, I want to thank all of our customers for supporting our efforts to provide you with healthy meats in a way that is responsible to the environment and respectful to the animals. We have been overwhelmed by the number of people in our community who share our values. That being said, we are not harvesting any beef this Spring and unfortunately will not have any available until Fall. I know this comes as a disappointment to many, and I want to take a moment to explain the way a cow grows & “finishes”, and some differences between “grass-finished” & “grain-finished” beef.
Many people ask “aren’t all cows grass fed?”. The answer is yes, for part of their life, but the vast majority of beef is grain-finished. The term finishing refers to putting the right amount of intramuscular and surface fat on the animal before harvest. In our country’s traditional production model, calves are born and raised on smaller farms where they primarily eat grass, then they are sold to feed operations where they are fed grain until they are harvested. This system allows for consistent supply year-round because it is not dependent on high quality forage to finish the animal, but it has negative effects on the health & welfare of the animal as well as the nutritional value of the meat. Grass-finished beef is seasonal because of the variability of growth and nutrient content in the pasture. Also variable is the age at which a steer or heifer finishes. In a feedlot, animals reach maturity at approximately 24 months old. On pasture, the age is typically 24-28 months because of the unpredictable nature of forage growth and weather over the 2+ years the animal is growing. In order for an animal to finish properly, it has to reach mature frame size (bone structure) and then have ample time to build muscle & deposit fat. Harvesting an animal before it reaches this point will provide poor quality beef. Therefore in our production system, beef is “finished when it’s finished,” which does not necessarily correspond to a particular date, despite our best efforts. Genetics play a strong role in this process too, and efficiency on grass is a key trait in selecting our herd sires. I could ramble on this topic indefinitely, but will stop there. If you are interested in how we finish our animals, send me an email and we can chat. Much, MUCH more goes into it than just turning some cows out to pasture!!
Pork is Coming!
We have decided to add pastured pork to our farm this year! Our first pigs come to the farm in June and will be harvested next Winter. We have fenced some wooded areas adjacent to pastures where we will be able to rotationally graze the pigs in a system similar to how we manage our sheep & cattle. And yes, pigs actually graze grass & clover, and they love to root through the woods and eat nuts when they drop in the Fall. Heritage breeds of pigs are efficient graziers! Because they aren’t ruminants (like sheep & cattle), they can’t entirely meet their nutritional needs on pasture, so we offer non-GMO feed to supplement them. Updates will follow!
Thank you again for your continued support! Call or email any time if you have any questions about what we’re doing, or to schedule a farm visit.