We raise Berkshire and Tamworth breeds of pigs because they are the right fit for our values. These heritage breed pigs are excellent foragers and are able to supplement their diet of non-gmo barley, flax meal, corn, and oats with lush grasses and other plants we grow for them in our pastures. We also feed vegetable scraps from the vegetable side of our farm and are working on sourcing other feed sources like whey from a local creamery to complete their balanced diet and encourage excellent meat quality. The bedding from our pigs when they are in our barn is composted and used to fertilize our vegetables so that we don't have to rely on purchased organic fertilizer, oftentimes coming from industrial poultry operations.
Our pigs don't just have "access to pasture". They are rotationally grazed through small field paddocks weekly to make sure that they have access to lush vegetation to eat. Although this takes quite a bit more time and management, the ethical and sustainable effects of these practices make it a no-brainer.
The combination of a diverse and balanced diet, active lifestyle, and our carefully chosen Berkshire x Tamworth cross breed give our pork incredible marbling, flavor, and texture.
All the chicken available is raised by us in Green Lake, Wisconsin. We've chosen a breed that was initially bred by French organic farmers to grow vigorously on pasture and to have the best flavor. We raise our birds in large mobile "range coops", which are bottomless hoop houses on skids that we drag across the pasture. We get our chicks delivered from the hatchery and keep them contained in the range coop for 3 weeks with heat lamps until they are big enough to venture out on their own. After the first 3 weeks the chickens are not contained at all. They associate the hoop house as their home and won't venture too far from it, allowing us to give them total free range over the pasture. We move the range coops every day to fresh pasture so that the chickens can make their way around the farm gleaning fresh shoots, bugs, and plants. We have 3 Great Pyrenees dogs that roam the farm and have been trained to protect our chickens from predators like hawks, eagles, fox, raccoons, and the many other wild animals that would otherwise take advantage of our laissez-faire practices.
Aside from what the chickens glean from the pasture, we feed them a ration of non-gmo barley, flax meal, corn, and oats. Similar to our pigs, the carefully chosen breed and diet of our chickens combined with their active lifestyle results in incredibly flavorful chicken that equally tender.
We focus on growing heirloom and uncommon varieties of vegetables. We grow a little bit of several different kinds of vegetables and a lot of tomatoes and leafy greens. Although a perfect looking tomato might feel safe and familiar, just wait until you try an ugly heirloom tomato! So much of the diversity on vegetable farms has been boiled down to just a handful of varieties that have been manipulated for the longest shelf life, ease of processing, and highest yield. Flavor and nutrition simply don't play a role in the equation from the standpoint of grocery stores and many restaurants, but for us it's all we're after.
Even though we only use USDA Organic approved inputs like pesticide and fertilizer, we work every year to reduce the materials we import onto our farm and use our own resources to sustain healthy and nutritious plants. By using crop rotation, cover cropping, composting, and balancing soil nutrients we can drastically reduce the need for pesticides. Our plants' nutrient needs are in large part met by composting bedding from our livestock and produce waste from our storefront. The idea of running a diversified farm is to utilize each enterprise so that they work together to reduce inputs and create more of a circular economy on our farm and adjacent community.