IS OUR FARM ORGANIC?
Per the USDA, organic is defined as:
Produce grown without the use of prohibited substances, which include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Meat products are raised in an environment accomodating their natural behavior, fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are expressly forbidden
This is a very short list of the requirements set forth by the USDA. For more information about what constitutes organic, visit http://apps.ams.usda.gov/organic/101/.
WHAT IS ORGANIC?
Our family has strived to eat organic for many years. When we started our farm, we didn't question the methods we'd use for growing produce and raising animals... we were going to be as organic and sustainable as possible.
When looking at organic farms, there are generally two distinct groups. The first group are farms that follow the USDA guidelines and participate in the certification program. The second group follow the same organic guidelines but do not participate in the program. We've chosen the latter group for a few reasons.
One of the most important aspects to animal husbandry is providing the animal the best and most natural conditions possible. We are fortunate to have ten beautiful acres of pasture that hasn't been manipulated in years. We rotate our animals over our pasture, giving them plenty of room to run and forage. These animals are truly free range and grass fed.
Given the choice, we select breeds that thrive outdoors and still have their natural foraging insticts intact. Some breeds have been chosen for their ability to withstand confined conditions and no longer do well when given the ability to roam; we avoid these whenever possible.
When we purchase food for our animals, we buy regionally milled, certified organic feed (unless otherwise noted). Organic feed costs twice as much as conventional feed but it ensures we are not feeding GMO or otherwise tainted products to our animals. We are blessed in that fact that we also have a source of quality produce that we feed to many of our animals. Our hogs and egg laying flock are fed almost entirely from pasture forage and produce. The produce we feed our animals is not always certified organic but we choose produce that is nutrient dense and non-GMO.
The organic certification program plays an important role for consumers purchasing goods at a market where the farm remains faceless. However, we are a direct to consumer farm and invite our customers to come see what we're up to. You can see for yourself that our animals are on pasture from the day they are born, you can read the ingredient labels of our organic feeds. We're very open with the methods we use to raise our animals and are excited to share it with others.
If you'd like to stop by the farm, email us at Info@SherwoodMeat.com or call (503) 862-8212.