Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grass & Barley Fed Beef

In previous generations, the fall season was considered the best time of year to harvest cattle for meat.  There are several reasons for this, first the weather was beginning to cool which meant meat wouldn’t spoil as easy.  Also there are significantly fewer flies and other insects that could potentially contaminate the meat.  However, the main reason is because fall is the time of year that cattle are in their best physical condition.  They cattle have eaten fresh grasses all summer.  Towards the end of summer, the grasses begin to set seed.  The seeds are high in energy and protein which the cattle eat to prepare for the cold winter.  Cattle harvested for meat right before winter have beautifully marbled meat that is high in omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
We offer grass fed beef year round.  In order to do this, we store grass hay and alfalfa that we feed to the cattle through the winter and early spring.  However, this feed lacks the grass seeds that the cattle normally get in the late summer/early fall.  This means if we harvest a beef in March, we risk the beef being a little too lean which means the meat may be a little dry when cooked.  Every once in a while, we hear from a customer who tried a “grass fed steak” from the store but was disappointed in how lean and dry it was.  To compensate for this, we now offer some of our cattle, a little barley and oat hay to mimic grass fed beef that is harvested in the fall. Both barley and oats are grasses and unlike most corn and soybeans are not genetically modified (GMO).  Also unlike corn, this will produce beef that maintains the health benefits that grass fed beef is famous for and still be low in cholesterol. 
As always, the cattle roam on large open pastures.  100% of their feed is GMO free.  The cattle are not force fed anything, they always have plenty of hay and alfalfa in front of them to eat what they like.  The barley is fed to them in rations similar to what cattle would find in a late summer pasture.  This allows us to offer our customers beef that is marbled as nicely as a fall harvested beef, year round.  And like a fall harvested beef, the carcasses yield more which means our customers get a little more for their money. 
We will continue to offer purely grass fed beef as well.  However, we believe that the Grass & Barley Fed Beef will be the choice of most of our customers.  As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

For those who have been customers of our farm for a while, you have hopefully noticed that we are very dedicated to keeping things local.  We work with local farmers to grow our hay and grain.  We use our neighbors and good friends the Holden family to mill our feed on a weekly basis.  This keeps our feed as fresh as possible and nutritional value as high as possible as the feed doesn’t have much time to oxidize before it is consumed.  Our feed also doesn’t travel long distances which saves on fuel.
We butcher and process the meat using three different, but local, owner operated USDA inspected butchering plants.  The meat then goes to local customers, local restaurants, and local retailers.  Nearly every dollar we spend for our farm stays local.  I believe that I speak for each consumer and business involved in this process when I state that we are all feel we are better off as a result.
As our business grows and develops we are pleased to announce two new partnerships!  The first partnership is with Faust Creek Farms owned and operated by Shannon and Mandi Fowles and their four beautiful children.  Faust Creek Farms is located just outside of Vernon about 5 miles north of our farm.  The Fowles share many of the same values we hold when it comes to farming.  They are dedicated to local, natural, antibiotic free, humane, pasture raised animals.  Their focus is primarily in poultry although they keep a few other critters around as well.  They have taken over all of our poultry equipment and have started pasture raising chickens and turkeys in a cooperative effort with our farm.  They hope to expand into other poultry in the near future as well as build their own poultry butchering facility right on the farm!
In addition to the poultry, the Fowles also frequently host farm events with hay rides, hot chocolate, and pony rides.  Starting now and leading up to Christmas, the Fowles will be selling fresh cut Christmas trees.  The Fowles also own a food wagon where they serve smoked pork (from our farm) chicken, turkey, and bratwursts.  You will be able to find their food wagon at farmer’s markets next summer.  Come check out their farm, pick up a Christmas tree and/or try a smoked pork sandwich Southern style with coleslaw.  Admission is free.
Teaming up with the Fowles will offer our customers a steadier supply of poultry.  Prices will stay the same and we will still deliver and handle the transactions.  We will be able to focus more time and attention on our pork, beef, and goat.  Additionally, our customers will now have access to specialty products like smoked chickens and turkeys. 
Our second partnership is with Squatters Pubs and Beers a local microbrewery located in downtown Salt Lake.  We get the spent brewers grain (barley) from Squatters which we feed as part of a ration to our pigs.  Why brewers grain?  Growing pigs need more protein than what pasture, wheat, oats, and barley can offer.  To supplement our pig feed, we have alternated between soybean meal and distiller’s grain (a byproduct of ethanol production).  The two issues we have had with both of these supplements is first they are most likely derived from genetically modified plants (GMOs).  Second, they are the only portion of our feed ration that we haven’t been able to source locally.

By utilizing the brewer’s grain from Squatters we accomplish several things:
-          We give our pigs a balanced diet that gives them all the elements they need to grow and stay healthy.
-          We now source 100% of their feed locally (within 1.5 hours drive of our farm)
-          Our pig feed is now 100% GMO free!
-          We avoid the $0.25 - $0.50/lb price increase in our pork we were planning for 2013 due to the drastic increases in feed costs we have seen in the last year.
-          Better pork – the more barley, wheat, and oats (small grains) the pigs eat, the better the pork will be.  This is opposed to the typical pig feed of corn and soybean. 
There are so many benefits to staying local.  Our favorite part has been the sense of community we now feel in many aspects of our operation.  It is amazing to watch as more family farms start popping up, food quality is increasing, and local businesses are stronger and able to compete with large international corporations.  Staying and buying local just makes sense!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Grilling

The PERFECT Father's Day gift! Summer time means outdoor grilling. We are pleased to announce our new Grilling Package. This package includes ten 1 lb. packages of our popular preservative free bratwursts and ten 1 lb. packages of our dry aged hamburger patties.


Our bratwursts are made from our gourmet heritage breed pork. We use our own custom recipes that have no nitrates, BHT, BHA, or MSG. The pork is double ground before being stuffed into natural cased 1/4 lb links. No fillers, no "variety meats", not even pork trimmings are used. We use whole pork cuts like shoulder, loin, leg, etc... to make our bratwursts. To protect the freshness, we vacuum package the bratwursts, 4 links per package.

You choose 10 packages in any combination from the following flavors:
German Bratwurst
Jalapeno w/Monterrey Jack Cheese (about as spicy as medium salsa)
Sun-Dried Tomato w/Basil

Hamburger Patties:

Our hamburger patties are also a real treat. We start with dedicating an entire grass fed steer to ground beef. This means the whole beef gets ground and not just the trimmings. Before grinding the meat, the beef is dry aged for 2-3 weeks for optimal flavor. We then form the ground beef into four 1/4 lb. patties and vacuum package for freshness.

To specify your bratwursts flavors, simply enter the quantity of each flavor during the check out process in the box titled, "Instructions to Seller".
Grilling Package is available for our next delivery on 02 June 2012.  Order Here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Farm Day this Saturday

We would like to invite everybody to our annual Farm Day.  Come see our pigs roaming in the field, cattle grazing in the distance, chickens out scratching, goats climbing around, and turkeys showing off.  We will be grilling up our new line of preservative free bratwursts for lunch. 
When: Saturday April 14th from noon to 4pm.

              175 E. Sharp Rd
              Vernon, UT 84080

What:  Come get a tour of the farm, ask us questions, watch the animals, get a bite to eat, and enjoy the fresh air.
Who: Anybody who would like to come is welcome.  Feel free to share this invite with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Lunch: We will be grilling up our new line of preservative free Bratwursts for $2 each.  Add a bag of chips and a bottled water or can of soda for $1.  Our new bratwurst flavors include: Jalapeno w/Monterrey Jack Cheese, Sundried Tomato w/Basil, and German Bratwurst.

You are also welcome to bring a lunch.   

This will be a great time to bring the family to see where food comes from.  We are planning some activities for those wanting to learn more about our farm or simply experience the country life.  This will be an open house, meaning no set schedule.  Folks can come and stay the whole time or just poke their heads in to say hi and see what's going on.  We plan to have baby chicks for kids (and adults) to see and hold.  Of course there will be the pigs to watch playing out in the field.  We will also cook up some samples of pork and beef that people can try.  We will also have a seed planting station for kids who are interested in learning a little bit about gardening. 

For those who would like to make a full day of their trip to Vernon, we can recommend some beautiful canyons to hike.  There are lots of trails to bike on and good places to take four wheelers and dirt bikes.  We also have the Vernon Reservoir just ten minutes from our farm that usually has good fishing.  There are also several historical sites like the Pony Express Trail markers that are fun to see. Hollie and I will also be available to talk and answer questions.

Like last year, we ask that those who have children come with the understanding that this is a working farm.  There is barbed wire, machinery, and live animals that can all cause harm to unattended children.  If it is rainy it may be muddy, if it is windy it may be dusty, if it is sunny there is sunburn, so please come prepared for the elements.  Our hope is that everybody has a safe and enjoyable time.  We felt last year was a huge success as everybody seemed to have a good time.  Feel free to invite coworkers, neighbors, and family along.  For those interested in purchasing meats from our farm, we will be taking orders.  However, please understand that there is absolutely no obligation.  We love what we do and find joy in sharing this with others.
Come enjoy a break in the country.

The Christiansen Family

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sausage Done Right

Since we started our farm, we have always tried to give our customers as many choices as possible.  For example, cured bacon or fresh side/belly?  Cured ham or fresh leg roast? And then the question we didn't like to ask... Ground pork or breakfast sausage?  The reason we didn't like to ask it was because the sausage seasoning the butcher was using had preservatives like MSG, BHA, and BHT in it.  Despite our numerous requests for an alternative recipe, our butcher did not feel there was enough demand to justify the change.  We felt that the preservatives were unnecessary and didn't reflect the values of our farm.  One of our goals has always been to provide delicious food that is clean, simple, and healthy.

As we announced previously, we switched butchers a couple of months ago.  Our new butcher, Springville Meat Co. offers better services like vacuum packaging and custom labeling.  Additionally, they are a little bit more flexible to work with.  After we switched, we started talking about their sausage recipes only to find that they too used MSG, BHA, and BHT.  While this was frustrating, they were open to explore other recipes.  Finally, I went to Colosimo's and together we came up with some delicious sausage seasonings free of MSG, BHA, and BHT.  We then took these seasonings back to Sprinville Meat Co who is now making our own custom line of sausages using our delicious pork and our customized Colosimo's seasoning.

We are now pleased to offer our gourmet line of Bratwurst style sausages.  These sausages are stuffed in natural casings in 1/4 lb links.  We have packaged 6 links per pack making each package 1.5 lbs.  We are currently offering the following flavors: Jalapeno w/Monterrey Jack Cheese, Sundried Tomato w/Basil, and German Bratwurst.  These sausages are delicious!!!  The casings are very easy to bite into, the sausage is not overly salty, and you can actually tasted the pork as well as the seasoning flavors.  We are very pleased with the results and are proud to put our name on it.  These are so good that my brother has offered to come work a couple days on our farm in return for all he can eat bratwursts.

We are also just finalizing on our new Breakfast Sausage that pending USDA approval we will be calling Maple Kissed Sage.  Again we are teaming up with Colisimo's for a customized breakfast sausage recipe that is free of MSG, BHA, and BHT.  We are then using Coombs Family Farms in Vermont who will be providing us with pure, organic, Vermont grown Maple Sugar.  This sausage will be add just enough sweetness to your morning meal.

Anxious to try our new sausage line? Stop by one of our delivery points on March 24th or call and arrange to stop by our farm.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pasture Raised Chickens for 2012

Our chickens on pasture after a snowstorm.

For those who have been buying from our farm the last few years you may recall that we used to offer chickens.  You may also recall that we were forced to cease our chickens sales by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF).  It is a long story that can be somewhat summarized here.  In a nutshell, we received permission to process poultry at our farm under a small farm exemption.  We did this for most of the year only to have the UDAF come back and inform us that they had "reinterpreted" the regulations and that we could no longer process chickens on our farm unless we built a full blown inspected processing facility.  While we had the USDA's blessing we did not have the the UDAF's blessing.  In fact we were threatened with a Class C misdemeanor if we continued.  Last year, we missed out on a significant source of farm revenue that we had banked on when we expanded and built our new farm the year before.  This year however, we have made arrangements to lease a small poultry processing facility that was recently built by another farm.

We are pleased to announce that we will once again be offering our mouth watering pasture raised chicken!  We anticipate having our first chicken harvest ready around the end of April.  You can read more about our chickens and place your chicken order here.  As always please feel free to contact us with any questions.