January 7, 2012
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
December 3, 2011
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)
- Practicing Organic
- Pasture Raised (Beef and Lamb)
- Grass Finished
- No Antibiotics or Hormones
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.
Click above for Full Size
September 21, 2011
Niman Ranch currently sells and assists in the distribution for a collection of 676 Farms throughout the country. They started as a beef producer in the 70’s but have since grown into a center for small family farms to sell their products under the Niman Ranch brand.
I commend Niman Ranch for a wonderful website where they truly try to get you to understand their vision of food, as well as offering a collection of videos depicting interviews and actual conditions of poultry, review from restaurants who use their products, … Check out their youtube page as well, they have a collection of ~30 videos posted. The poultry video – located on their website here – is especially good to watch as he takes you through the egg process. It is common knowledge that hens are social, but I never realized just how social they actually are. The video depicts two floors connected to each other that the hens can freely move between. One is the scratching floor which had maybe one hen per 10sqr feet of space, and the floor above which was packed full of hens at about 1 hen per ~2 sqr feet. Not horribly packed as it was a voluntary social gathering rather than a caged 6 sqr inches of space per chicken. But it is immediately impressive that hens prefer that kind of social ‘network’ versus the open spaces below. Either way, we still prefer pastured eggs when we can get them. Quality cageless hens however are a step in the right direction and they are easier able to maximize utilizable space as opposed to pastured hens and thus easier to get on large grocery stores shelves which require high volume.
Niman Ranch isn’t just a producer of high quality meat and eggs however, as a brand that farms throughout the country can sell under, they have their own, high quality standards which include natural behaviors for meat, often pasture raised lamb/beef/pork, all vegetarian feed, no antibiotics, and all the things we at NW Farm Review really appreciate in our food. A separate post is required for their standards and will be posted soon.
Also, back to the earlier mention of their videos. I think this is a novel approach to farming that more farms and farm review sites like NWFarm Review need to take heed of. The Food Revolution won’t be televised but it will be filmed and youtubed. Take a look at this pork video for instance, for some, seeing such cute pigs running around in a natural environment makes them not want to eat pork. Speaking for myself, it makes me want to eat more high quality pork. Only through yours and my purchases of quality products do we shift the market towards sustainability and healthy living for the animals we care about.
There have been some criticisms about Niman Ranch since their merger in 2009 with Natural Food Holdings. Details of that merger and some criticisms can be read here.
- Cage Free, Brown Eggs
- Beef Specific
- May be Organic, Practicing Organic (Farm Dependent)
- Pasture Raised, Grain Finished Beef
- Vegetarian Feed (Random testing done once a month, much is grown on farm)
- Poultry Specific
- No Antibiotics or Hormones
- Stress-Free / Painless Death
- Niman Ranch Standards (Future Standard Link)
July 16, 2011
Acres in Zion is a wonderful, somewhat small farm that offers grass fed beef that isn’t finished with grain. That right there is not always the easiest to find. Looking at their website you can tell immediately that they are huge fans of the Grass-Fed beef culture; as their “About Us” is just an article by Jo Johnson about titled “Why Grassfed is Best!”.
I have personal experience with the beef from Acres in Zion though I have no personal contact with the farm itself as of yet. Some family went in 1-2 years ago to purchase a 1/2 cow with each house getting 1/8 of a cow. My wife has stated that it is the best beef she has ever had. My taste buds are not as discerning and I can’t quite make such a statement; but I blame the somewhat typical male eating patterns known as “shoving too fast to taste”. Either way, we are in the process of acquiring additional ground beef from Acres in Zion from a friend who is purchasing a portion of a cow. Typical costs run around $6/lb as packaged. They advertise $3.85/lb hanging weight, which is before the butcher gets his knife into the animal and debones, trims, and cuts.
What remains to be verified is the “stress-free” environment that they mention on their website. From the family member that purchased the cow for us last time they even kill the cow in a stress-free way as stress just before death will change the taste of the meat as the body releases a number of hormones to deal with the fright. I was told that the cows are essentially killed alone (so other cows don’t hear and stress out) and killed quickly while licking a sugar cube. But again, I’ll want to see that for myself before I say that is what they do.
- Grass Fed, Grass Finished Beef
- Grass Fed Lamb
- Eggs (According to Eat Wild, though not mentioned on their website)
March 26, 2011
Dog Mountain Farm is less than a decade old but produces a huge variety of vegetables, eggs, meat, herbs and fruits. One of their primary focuses is on the health of their produce (whether animal based or vegetation) and thus the health of the consuming individual.
- Full list of available products on the website here
- Vegetables (you name it they got it)
- Eggs (Chicken, Duck & Goose)
- Practicing Organic
- Pasture Raised
- No Antibiotics or Hormones
- No Herbicides, Pesticides or Commercial Fertilizer
February 8, 2011
Standard Terms: Pasture Raised
The term “Pasture Raised” is what the term implies. The animals were raised on pasture, not in cages, not on hay or wooden slats; but on their natural, generally green, pasture. NorthWest Farm Review considers “Pasture Raised” to be as follows:
‘Pasture Raised’ means that all the animals have open access to fresh pasture during daylight hours, suitably protected from predators.
NW Farm Review’s considers Pasture Raised to be one of the best standards a farm can have for it’s animals. Often, due to overgrazing and environment destruction being Pasture Raised also means that pasture access is rotated to allow for re-growth of pasture.
The Term “Grass Fed” can also imply Pasture Raised for cattle, but needs to be specified if the cow was “finished” with grain at the end of its life. Doing so negates many of the health benefits to the end user (meat eater).
- Pastured Poultry FAQ: Pastured Chicken
- Wikipedia: Pasture Raised regarding Cattle