Are your products organic?
Our animals are raised using only the best practices, eating the food their bodies are made to eat. Our cows are raised in a pasture, not a feedlot or factory farm setting. They are not fed grains, corn, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers or hormones. Our cattle eat only mother’s milk, grass, and grass-based hay. They are kept in a very low-stress environment that is clean and natural. All live outside all year around and can get out of the weather if they want. We try to interfere with them as little as possible so that they grow up “in the wild.”
Our pork runs around outside, or come inside. They are fed corn and other grains especially in winter because grain is part of a natural pig diet, unlike a cow’s. These pigs receive no hormones or antibiotics at all.
Our chicken is raised on grass and grains and are moved to fresh grass daily. They are raised in ‘Chicken Tractors’. A chicken tractor is a small move-able pen that has protection overhead from birds of prey and inclement weather. There is also protection on the sides to keep the raccoons, weasels, skunks, coyotes and other predators out. Humans are not the only thing that likes chicken.
Do your products contain any of the top 8 allergens, including nuts and gluten?
Our products are free of dairy, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, and soybeans. However, those with extreme soybean allergies should know our pigs and chicken do ingest feed containing some soybean.
How are your products different from those in stores?
Our meats are the real thing. Everything you imagine when you think "free-range," "natural," "humanely raised," "antibiotic free," etc. Our animals are able to move about freely in their natural environment and engage in natural behaviors resulting in healthier, leaner meat. Below is a more detailed highlight of what you think you're buying in stores, and what you're actually paying for.
One big difference with our products versus those in store is our "free range" really means free range. Our animals are not confined, have ample space to move around and engage in natural behaviors, and are outside for large portions (if not all) of their lives. The meat in stores meets only the USDA's definition of free range "Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside." This means a producer can have "free range animals" in which hundreds or thousands of animals might have access to a very small confined outdoor area in which only a few individuals can actually fit.
Similarly, the term "natural" to us, means natural. Air, sunshine, green grass, snow, fields, trees, hay for cows, grains for pigs, etc. The USDA's definition is "A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed")." In other words, nearly any meat available can be called "natural" but can be raised using a wide range of questionable practices.
In short, it is best to be able to ask questions of your farmer or go and visit your farmer and see for yourself. If you can't ask the farmer that supplies your food what his practices are and drill down to what the practices actually are, you can expect someone to use language or alter definitions of words to fit their agenda.
Do your meats and bacons contain preservatives?
The ground beef contains no preservatives, additives, antibiotics or hormones. It was raised on grass. For the first year we have found that having access to some grain along with their grass diet helps the animal develop in the colder climate. This is made possible with a creep feeder that is arranged so that only small calves have access to the feed while any larger animal having some ideas for snacking are prevented from reaching it. As the calves grow they cannot fit inside the creep anymore and become disinterested in the grain.
The chickens do not contain antibiotics or growth hormones. They are not injected with salt water. Per USDA requirements they do rest in a bath containing a mild chlorine solution to prevent salmonella.
The bacon is what is known nowadays as 'uncured'. That means it doesn't have any preservatives or additives like nitrates or nitrites. It IS cured the old fashioned way (think settlers crossing the plains old fashioned) with salt and smoke. Back in about the 1950's, nitrates and nitrites started to be put in a lot of processed meats to keep the color red and keep them from going bad. Salt and smoke tends to keep things from going bad for a good long time. Maybe not as long as a nitrate or nitrite, but still bacon went quite a long way in covered wagons crossing the plains back in the day!
What does grass fed mean?
Grass fed to us means fed on grass and hay and no grains. Once our calves are 6 months old they no longer get the calf mix supplement that includes grains and molasses in addition to their grass diet.. Our cows eat grass and other pasture greens (aka, weeds because our fields aren't chemically treated) during the summer, and grass based hay during the winter. Learn more about the importance of grass fed cattle below.
Why is grass fed so important?
Cows are ruminants.
Cattle were designed to process grass through their four stomachs. Cattle eating grass develop far fewer diseases than cattle eating grains. Cattle on grass also produce much less methane than cattle in feedlots eating grain. Grains are a very high energy feeds so cattle in feedlots develop acidosis and can actually die on a high grain diet. The reason modern feedlots feed antibiotics to cattle is to cut down the flora and fauna in the cow’s gut that produce a high acid environment in the gut. Cattle on grass also produce a more flavorful meat than those being fed high grain diets.
It has been shown that high stress in animals adversely affects the texture and flavor of the meat produced. Our cattle have very little stress in life. They eat what they like and do not have to fight their neighbors to get food. We treat all our cattle with respect both in life and in slaughter. The meat produced is much higher quality because of humane treatment.
Grain-fed Cattle, on the other hand…
Grain-fed feedlot cattle live in cramped, dirty conditions. They stand around in a pen, living in their own feces, jockeying to reach the feeder, catching their neighbors’ illnesses.
They are fed solely grain. Feeding a cow a high energy corn or grain diet is much the same as feeding yourself a diet of straight soda-pop, candy and cookies. You can live on it, but you will not be healthy. You will probably get really fat and are likely to die an early death from massive health issues.
Since the cattle’s native gut flora and fauna are not evolved to process the grain, they produce unhealthy amounts of acid to break the grain down. This condition is known as rumen acidosis, basically a bad heartburn. These animals are then given antibiotics to counteract the acidosis. This cycle becomes worse when the animal builds immunity to the first antibiotic and must then be given a higher grade to combat the issues the grain is causing. These antibiotics end up in the meat. The antibiotics given to the animals to counteract the diseases developed from living in cramped and dirty quarters also wind up in the meat.
Humans need fat.
Humans need fat. Certainly we know that we need to watch how much fat enters our bodies; but there are different types of fat and some of the best fats for us are found in grass fed meats, and in the best proportions.
Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are two major types of fats that are used in the human body. Both are a type of polyunsaturated fat. They are considered “essential” because the body can not manufacture them. Both types are used in metabolism. They both compete for existing enzymes in order to be digested and produce hormones. This means that the two types of fats must be eaten in correct proportions. Healthy ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 (6:3) are thought to range between 1:1 and 4:1. When the ratio exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. Grass fed meat has a ratio of 3:1 while grain-fed meat has ratios around 20:1.
Healthy amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for normal growth and may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of:
Grassfed beef is also loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins and it's a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.
Are your animals cage free or free range?
Our beef animals are raised in large pastures, not a feedlot or factory farm setting. Our pork is allowed to run around outside, or come inside. They are fed corn and other grains especially in winter because grain is part of a natural pig diet, unlike a cow’s. These pigs receive no hormones or antibiotics at all.
Our chicken is raised on grass and grains and are moved to fresh grass daily. They are raised in ‘Chicken Tractors’. A chicken tractor is a small, bottomless, move-able pen that has protection overhead from birds of prey and inclement weather. There is also protection on the sides to keep the raccoons, weasels, skunks, coyotes and other predators out. Humans are not the only thing that likes chicken.
How does this work?
Refer to our "How It Works" page for more details on obtaining our products.
Is there a minimum for ordering/delivery?
No, there is no minimum order. We understand not everyone has copious amounts of freezer space which is why we deliver to your area every 8 weeks to keep you stocked on healthy, high quality meat.
Is there a delivery fee?
There is a $5.5 delivery/processing fee for orders under $75.
How are the animals slaughtered?
Our main focus is on giving the animal a good life, and making their end of life as quick and painless as possible.
Cattle and Hogs are raised on the farm and have a very idyllic life. The day before slaughter, they get loaded on a truck and are taken to the slaughterhouse where they are put in pens overnight. There is no smell of blood in the holding pens and they are kept comfortable with fresh water, etc. The overnight stay allows the animals relax, which actually results in a better cut of meat.
Early the next morning, they are moved into a chute (a small pen big enough for only one animal) as calmly as possible, one at a time. Then they are stunned with a bolt gun. A bolt gun is basically a tube with a movable bolt in one end. The bolt is forced out of the tube by compressed air at a great speed into the animal’s head (think the bad guy in ‘No Country for Old Men’). One second the animal is wondering why it is in that small pen with the guy holding that funny looking thing up to their head and they next they are totally out of it. They collapse immediately and are bled out, before processing begins.
Ideally, North Pasture Farms would prefer on-farm processing so the animals don't need to be moved at all, and are simply and humanely shot with a well aimed rifle out in pasture, but the closest place to offer such services is Oregon.
Chickens are also brought to the slaughterhouse the day before slaughter. They are in cages in a quiet area over night and don't exhibit very many signs of alarm. In the morning they are brought in and put into a cone, head down with their heads sticking out. The cone applies slight pressure to their body, perhaps reminiscent of a mother hen folding her wings around her brood, which calms the chicken. Once the cone is around their body, they are beheaded and bled out. The process is very quick- perhaps a half second for each bird.
Can I visit the farm?
Yes! Please do! We love having visitors come see where their food is growing and teaching others about the importance of healthy, responsible farming practices. Email or call to arrange a visit, firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-415-4675.
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