Meat

 

We also raise pastured meat animals – beef steers, pigs, goats, sheep (lamb), chickens and ducks – for sale by the piece, in shares, or as whole animals (goat roast, anyone!?). The American Grassfed Association is a valuable resource for people interested in the environmental, animal welfare and health benefits of pastured meat like ours.

Meat Shares:  Our pork and beef are typically sold in shares ranging from ½ to 1/4th of an animal, and we are currently taking deposits for shares for the upcoming butchering (June or November). We arrange for the butchering of the animal, do the delivery of it to the butcher, and bring the frozen meat back to our customers to pick up at the farm. One benefit of buying a share of an animal is that the price is better.  You are also challenged to take and learn to cook and eat all parts of the animal, a more ethical and environmental choice.  But we understand that not everyone has the freezer storage space!

Meat by the piece:  We are licensed by the state of Oregon to sell our own frozen meat by the piece, butchered by a USDA-approved butcher.  We have our own meat freezers and can sell directly at the farm, at the farmers’ markets (where we carry the meat kept cool with dry ice), or to restaurants.  View the posted price list on a separate page to see the cuts we sell and the current prices.

Beef: Our beef herd is also Jersey, which is a slow-growing meat animal, but a good choice for us because of our focus on pasture and the health benefits for both animals and humans of grass-feeding and finishing. Jersey meat has long been recognized for being flavorful but has been ignored by big producers because the steers do not gain weight quickly, especially on grass (here’s another favorable taste test for grass fed meat, although not specifically Jersey). Our steers are about two years old when they are sent for butchering, rather than the one year that is common for a commercially raised Angus steer. The steers are raised on milk for the first 3-4 months of their lives and transition gradually to grass during that time. Our beef steers move around all year on pasture like the dairy cows, so you can read more about their pastures and feed on the dairy page.

Pork: We raise Tamworth pigs, a threatened heritage breed that is particularly adapted to grazing on pasture and foraging in woodlands. Our Tamworths are also a “slow meat”, taking over 18 months to mature, rather than the 9 months that commercial feeding operations achieve. The pigs live in a several acre pasture most of the year (they are indoors in the worst of the cold weather), and their diet is a mix of legumes, spent barley, leftover milk and eggs, and their favorite: what they can forage on the pasture. They love the summer months, when there is plenty of fruit for them to find falling from the trees and bushes in the “hedgerows” on our field side of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, which bisects our farm (and from which you can watch the pigs and piglets roaming and foraging).

Goat: Our meat goats are also largely the by-product of the goat dairy, so the wethers we butcher are predominantly La Mancha and Nubian (some crossed), although there is some Boer and Saanen mixed in as well.  The goats get to forage for themselves outdoors most of the year, and are fed local hay when the pastures aren’t growing.  The kids are nursed for several months before they are weaned, and their mothers teach them how to forage.  Some of their favorite foods are blackberry leaves and young thistle heads.

Lamb: We have a small flock of sheep and butcher a few each year.  The breeds vary, with Islandic, Texel, Hampshire (and crosses) predominating.  The sheep get to graze and forage in the pastures just like the goats; because they have different eating habits, they are actually good complements to each other.  We feed them local hay when the grass is not available.

Chicken: We butcher and sell individually the surplus roosters from our farm-hatched broods of chickens, and are also often raise Cornish-cross meat chickens as well. Our meat and egg chickens flock on pasture 365 days a year, so please see the “Eggs” page for more information about the chicken and duck pasture and nutrition. Our chickens run and flap a great deal, so their meat is a bit leaner and darker than factory-farmed birds.   Because the chickens are outdoors and foraging daily, their meat is likely to be more nutritious than factory-farmed poultry.  We sell older birds as flavorful stew or soup birds.

Duck: We raise Muscovy drakes to sell for meat (Barbary Duck) and should have animals ready to butcher and sell at the end of the summer. We keep most of our Muscovy hens as egg layers. Muscovy ducks are a great choice for our farm because they are adaptable to varying temperatures, have room to fly (even up to the roof of the barn!), and are capable foragers who grow to be large-bodied and lean, with firm, flavorful meat. People who have experienced duck meat as “muddy” or “gamey” should know that Muscovies are tree ducks, not pond ducks. They like to bathe and have access to streams, but spend most of their time on our farm foraging in the pasture, rather than primarily eating plants or animals from a water source. Our flock of over 60 Muscovies have all hatched from settings of eggs by our hens – what great setters and mothers these Muscovies are!

Comments are closed