Verde Farms

January 7, 2012

Verde FarmsSummary:

Verde Farms is a reseller of organic beef under it’s own name for a few farms based in the US, Australia and Uruguay.  They sell primarily Organic Beef but are continually looking for more sources of organic, grass fed beef.  One of the main sources for grass fed, USDA Organic is Uruguay; and nearby Argentina is where the Verde Farms was born in a sense.  The founder of Verde Farms, Dana Ehrlich, visited a Ranch while living in Argentina and became interested in what kind of beef is bought by consumers in the US; at which point Verde Farms was born to bring high quality, Organic beef to US Consumers.

According to their website Verde Farms currently only supplies to the East Coast in the US; however Top Foods in Washington sells a variety of Verde Farms beef (multiple cuts, sizes, and ground beef).


  • Organic Beef (all cuts and sizes)
  • Organic Ground Beef
  • Organic, Grass Fed Beef
  • Organic, Grass Fed Ground Beef


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Video Share

December 12, 2011

Nothing productive really, but Chipotle produced a good, short video about a pig farmer who industrialized and then went back to his original ways. Thought I’d share.

On the Lamb Farm

December 3, 2011

On The Lamb FarmSummary:

On The Lamb Farm is a relatively young farm (founded in 1998) that produces pasture raised Beef and Lamb.  I like this farm, they are a small operation that go after their passions.  One of the founds even raises, trains and competes cattle dogs.  Price-wise I would say they are average for local, grass fed.  Please note, that their products are not grain finished as many grass-fed cattle are.


  • Beef (Select cuts, ground or all the way up to Whole Cow)
  • Lamb (Whole)
  • Eggs


  • Practicing Organic
  • Pasture Raised (Beef and Lamb)
  • Grass Finished
  • No Antibiotics or Hormones

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5 Step Program – Global Animal Partnership

November 17, 2011
Whole Foods, 5 Step Program

Global Animal Partnership

The 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program

I rarely go to Whole Foods Market.  I haven’t lived near one, nor worked near one and thus never bother to go.  However, things are changing over the next few months and I will soon have access to a Whole Foods Market so I thought it worth looking into.  I was quite pleased to find that Whole Foods has partnered with Global Animal Partnership (GAP) to certify Whole Food’s producer’s practices according to their 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program.

First off, props to Whole Foods.  After looking through the 5-Step Program it seems to be an simple and effective means of getting across to the consumer how the animals that they are consuming are treated and cared for.  I look forward to purchasing some foodstuffs from them once I have better access.

So on the actual 5 Step plan itself, it seems that once in Whole Foods different foodstuffs will have different labels specifying whether the product is a Step 1, Step 2, … Step 5+ with Step 5+ being the max level of care you can have.  In looking at GAP’s website here is a table below that shows how many operations they have for each step; which will probably match the likely hood of finding that particular step in Whole Foods.  Meaning, it may be hard to find Step 5 or 5+ but easy to find Steps 3 and 4 for most animals.

From: Global Animal Partnership; click for source.

Also, check out this short video produced by the Global Animal Partnership.  They go through all the steps:


  • Step 1:  No Cages, Crating or Crowding
    • Chickens: Be able to spread their wings and preen without touching other birds
    • Pigs: No more than 25% of floor is slatted; bedding required; no Tethers or gestation stalls
    • Beef Cattle: 50% Vegetative cover on range/pasture; 2/3min life on pasture
  • Step 2:  Enriched Environment
    • Chickens: Cover or Blinds in Housing to isolate themselves
    • Pigs: Changed limits on allowed lameness, weaning age, and max transport time
    • Beef Cattle:  Objects must be provided for grooming/scratching (natural behavior)
  • Step 3:  Enhanced Outdoor Access
    • Chickens: Shade required; continuous outdoor access; indoor foraging area during harsh seasons
    • Pigs: Continuous outdoor access; enrichments required that encourage foraging.
    • Beef Cattle: No step 3 for Beef Cattle
  • Step 4:  Pasture Centered
    • Chickens:  Access to 50% vegetative cover pasture
    • Pigs: Access to 25% vegetative pasture during allowable seasons; access to wallows
    • Beef Cattle: 3/4min life on pasture;
  • Step 5:  Animal Centered, no Physical Alterations
    • Chickens: 75% vegetative pasture; birds must be able to perch
    • Pigs: 50% vegetative pasture; pigs remain with litter mates for entire life
    • Beef Cattle: 75% vegetative pasture; no branding/ear notching
  • Step 5+: Lives Entire Life on Same Farm
    • Chickens: Birds must be bred, hatched and raised on the same farm.
    • Pigs: On-farm or local slaughter
    • Beef Cattle: On-farm or local slaughter


  1. Whole Foods Market – 5 Step Animal Welfare Rating Program Brochure (PDF)
  2. Global Animal PartnershipThe 5-Step Program
  3. Food Link5 Step Plan: Veganism, marketing or education?

Town and Country Producer Profile: Twin Brook Creamery

October 31, 2011


My local Town and Country Market has the occasional Producer Profile available at the store.  I’ve started picking a few of them up to showcase here on the blog.  See below for the text of the profile and click on the picture to view the original profile that I’ve scanned.  Note that the information available on this post is not NW Farm Review’s opinion or original writing and while it may or may not represent our views it is soley taken from Town and Country Market.

Town and Country Markets Producer Profiles

Twin Brook Creamery, nestled in the shadow of the Cascade Mountain Range in Lynden, WA, is afifth-generation family farm.  The Stap family raises purebred registered Jersey cows because this breed produces milk with a higher protein and butterfat content, which significantly enhances the flavor of the milk.  The cows are pastured for as long as the season allows, and eat grass harvested from the farm during the non-growing season.  To preserve the milk’s rich flavor, it is minimally processed and bottled in glass bottles. Rather than being pasteurized at high temperatures, Twin Brook milk is vat pasteurized at a low temperature. And whereas most milk is homogenized, this cream-at-the-top milk is not so that you can enjoy it in its most natural form.  We offer half-gallons, chocolate milk, half &half and whipping cream from Twin Brook Creamery.  There is a $1.65 deposit on the glass bottles.

Twin Brook Creamery near Lynden, WA

Click above for Full Size

Town and Country Producer Profile: Martinez Ranch

October 29, 2011


My local Town and Country Market has the occasional Producer Profile available at the store.  I’ve started picking a few of them up to showcase here on the blog.  See below for the text of the profile and click on the picture to view the original profile that I’ve scanned.  Note that the information available on this post is not NW Farm Review’s opinion or original writing and while it may or may not represent our views it is soley taken from Town and Country Market.

Town and Country Markets Producer Profiles

Each September we are very pleased to offer our customers fresh Ellensburg Lamb raised by the Martinez family in the Yakima Valley.  With nearly 100 years experience across three generations, the Martinez family knows how to produce naturally raised lamb of excellent quality.  It all began when brothers Simon and Julian Martinez emigrated from Spain in 1917.  They went to work as sheep herders and were eventually able to purchase their own herd.  One summer, while grazing their sheep in Montana, Simon met and later married Kathleen, an Irish farm girl.  They started a family and over the years their four sons were active in the farm operations. Now, Simon and Kathleen’s grandsons run the ranch.  Beginning in mid-January each year, the Martinez family’s lambs are born at their ranch in Mabton, WA. The mother ewes and lambs are sheltered while they bond, assuring that the lambs get used to finding and staying with their mothers. When the lambs are old enough, they and the ewes are trucked to the spring range to graze on new grasses under the watchful care of a sheepherder and dogs.  In early summer, the sheep are taken to the National Forest to graze the lush mountain meadows. The grazing program is beneficial to the forest in that it reduces fuel for wildfires and helps with weed control.  At the end of summer, the lambs are transported to a feedlot where they are finished on a combination of hay and grain. The lambs are never given additives, hormones or growth stimulants.  If you have any questions about preparing lamb, ourMeat Market staff will be happy to help.

Ellensburg Lamb

Click here for the Full Size Profile

Lummi Island Reefnet Salmon

October 26, 2011
Lummi Island Reef Net Salmon

Lummi Island Wild


As a summary, if you are interested in Reefnetting in general I would suggest taking a look at their website.  It’s a great website with lots of useful information available, from pictures to movies to text.  I wish more farms had such websites but if that were so I guess I wouldn’t be writing at this site.  Hm, oh well; onwards and upwards!  Looking on Wikipedia it seems that the Reefnetting practice is primarily a north-west ancient innovation.  I find that curious as it is a relatively simple method, but most likely it is just similar to many of the other low-impact fishing methods used by fishers/farms who care about sustainability.

In terms of fish quality, it’s hard to beat these fish.  First off they are caught in the wild; always an important plus.  They are harvested and bled in seawater and put on ice immediately.  Minimal chances of decay or negative nutritional impacts due to handling.  Handling is important as it has been shown with beef.  Killing a cow in a very stressful slaughterhouse negatively impacts the meat due to hormones that are released in the blood to deal with stress levels.  Anyways, back to the fish.  A definite and very important issue with the Reefnet Salmon is the lack of disruption to the marine environment.  While I’m not concerned primarily about the fish’s habitat for purely altruistic or fishy concerns – I’m concerned with long term availability of wild-caught salmon for my family and personal enjoyment – this is still an important point.  Destruction to marine habitat will raise prices on future fish in the long run and decrease supply.  The better the habitat the better the fish quality and quantity; so it is in my interest to stay concerned with the issue.  Reefnet Salmon seems a great way to go in that regard.


  • Wild Salmon (Smoked, Pink, Caviar)
  • Alaska Scallops
  • Black Cod
  • Halibut


  • Reefnet Catching

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