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.

Products:

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

Standards:

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

Misc Info:

Related Posts:

  • None (yet)

Niman Ranch

September 21, 2011

Niman RanchSummary:

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.

Products:

  • Cage Free, Brown Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb

Standards:

  • 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)

Misc Info:


Dog Mountain Farm

March 26, 2011

Summary:

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.

Products:

  • Full list of available products on the website here
  • Vegetables (you name it they got it)
  • Eggs (Chicken, Duck & Goose)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Goose
  • Rabbit
  • Pork

Standards:

  • Practicing Organic
  • Pasture Raised
  • No Antibiotics or Hormones
  • No Herbicides, Pesticides or Commercial Fertilizer

Misc Info:

Related Posts:


NorthStar Bison

March 13, 2011

Summary:

NorthStar Bison is a premier producer of grassfed Bison, Beef and Lamb who surprisingly is a fully run family operation.  The owners still run and operate the farm and all the kid’s work for various facets of the business whether it’s shipping and receiving, herd management or just helping out where they can (for the younger one).  NorthStar Bison seems to take great care in the treatment of it’s animals, making sure they are grassfed; and they even purchased a processing plant which allows them to kill their animals in the field, and thus stress free making for a better quality meat (and a stress-free ending for the animal).

Oh, and did we mention they sell Ostrich and Elk?  Now that is a pleasant, not so easy to find surprise!

Disclaimer:  We here at NW Farm Review just recently (yesterday) cooked up some ground bison for Bison Burgers.  We will admit that it was quite tasty and it won’t be the last time we purchase from NorthStar Bison.

Products:

  • Grassfed Beef
  • Grassfed Lamb
  • Grassfed Bison
  • Pork
  • Elk
  • Venison
  • Turkey
  • Pastured Chicken
  • Ostrich

Standards:

Misc Info:

  • Location:  Northwest Wisconsin and East Central Minnesota
  • NW Farm Review Rating:  4.5 Stars (Unknown extent of Pasture Raised on meat besides Bison)
  • NW Farm Review Visit:  None
  • Standards Confirmation:  None
  • Website: http://www.northstarbison.com/

Related Posts:

  • N/A

Willows Edge Farm

February 8, 2011

Summary:

Willows Edge Farm is a local farm that seems to specialize in poultry and horses.  NWFarm Review focuses on the poultry and eggs as horse care is a wee bit outside our niche.  The farm treats their animals with the utmost respect in an attempt to give them a decent life, devoid of stress.  And as we all know, that kind of life makes for premium meat, and premium eggs.  Due to their practices and quantity available, their eggs and meat is in such high demand that they can be often out of stock for non-regular customers.

Products:

  • Pork (Half/Whole Hog)
  • Chicken
  • Eggs

Standards:

  • Pastured Free Range
  • No Antibiotics, Hormones, MSG
  • No Teeth, Ear, Beak cutting (animal mutilation)

Misc Info:

Related Posts:


Heluka Method

January 8, 2011

Standard Terms:  Heluka Method

NW Farm Review considers the “Heluka Method” to be as defined by the standard originator, in summary it is :

‘Heluka Pigs are defined primarily by their ability to act as pigs in an unfettered, safe, comfortable and free environment.  Access to outdoors, access to other pigs and room to play.  No hormones or antibiotics allowed during the lifespan of the Pig, and all Heluka pig products are produced without adding artificial ingredients or preservatives.  It’s goal is to is to benefit the welfare of the pigs as well as the palate and health of the consumer.

The Heluka Method is a standard set up by Beeler’s and defined by them.  As such any use of the term will be reserved to those farms that recieve a Heluka certification directly from Beeler’s.    More information can be found on this external link: the Beeler Difference.