There is no such thing as a dumb question
How do I pay for my product?
You can sign up for the meat CSA online through the Farm Store Page as well as purchase extra items like honey and t-shirts. You can also set up a monthly payment option by contacting Sarah@newroots.farm. You can use PayPal, apple pay, credit cards, cash or mail/drop off a check to the farm as well. If you would like a special order or specific cuts contact Sarah and she can process your order.
Are you certified organic?
Short Answer: No.
Long Answer: Still no, but with some additional information. USDA Organic certification is a long and intensive process requiring excellent record keeping, access to organic approved farm inputs (such as seed, fertilizer, grain etc.) and an organic processor. Unfortunately, organic certification is very difficult for livestock farmers in our region to achieve for anything beyond poultry because we have no local USDA organic slaughter facilities and meat processors. Our local grain mill purchases from local farmers and mixes GMO free grains with high quality minerals that the farm animals eat. In order to source certified organic feeds the farm would have to pay to have grain delivered from far away and some of the proteins would likely come from as far as the Midwest or even Canada. When there is opportunity to use organic materials and practices on the farm we do. Many of the farm inputs are approved for certified organic operations, such as our livestock mineral mixes and pasture seed blends.
Do you feed your animals grain?
Unlike cows, which are designed to subsist on grass, most farm animals need additional sources of energy and feed. Feeding grain provides valuable proteins and fats that the animals need to thrive. The sheep, chickens and pigs all eat locally grown and milled grains. The chicken and pig feed is GMO free. The cows, sheep and pigs also eat hay produced on the farm and alfalfa in the winter. The pigs eat local vegetables from nearby farms and all the animals enjoy lots of kale and sunflowers from the farm. The cows are never fed grain and are rotationally grazed.
Do you give your animals antibiotics?
Only when they are sick! The animals at the farm are never given growth hormones or sub therapeutic antibiotics. Sick animals are treated with antibiotics if necessary, but animal health is managed proactively. Many common problems can be prevented through good management, rotational grazing and regular health check ups.
Where are your animals butchered?
New Roots Farm works with two local abattoirs (slaughterhouses), both of which have processing (butchering) facilities attached. These processors are both USDA inspected. When you purchase a custom whole or half animal from the farm it is processed under state inspection for you and the meat is not for re-sale. All CSA meats and meats sold by the cut come with a USDA sticker and are approved for USDA meat sales. Chickens are processed and packaged on farm under the USDA poultry exemption law that permits farmers to raise, butcher and sell chickens, turkeys and rabbits on farm. Due to this chicken regulation chicken and turkey can only be purchased on farm.
Why does your meat look different from what I see at the grocery store?
Not only does the meat look different, but also tastes different. There are several reasons for this. The first has to do with the way the animals are raised; for example, pastured pork tends to be darker and more red in color than the white pork you see at the store because the pigs develop different muscle fibers through living active outdoor pig lives. Another reason is the breeds and genetics of the animals at the farm; New Roots Farm breeds for flavor, marbling and focuses on grass based genetics. Lastly, the main reason is FAT! In all meat the flavor is in the fat--the fat in your meat is what makes it so delicious. Many stores carry lean meats sourced from animals that have been bred to have very little fat which changes the flavor.
What breeds do you raise?
There is quiet a variety of animals at the farm, but most animals are heritage breeds, which means old world genetics (and old world flavors!)
The pigs are what Sarah calls "Large Berkworths" because they are a three way cross between Large Black Hogs, Tamworths and Berkshires. The large black is a rare breed and a lard pig--in addition to being very fatty they are amazing foragers, gentle giants and great mothers. Tamworth pigs are prized for their bacon and flavor, but are very slow growing and take longer to mature than most heritage pigs. Berkshire hogs are also known for their flavor and marbling, but tend to grow faster than some other heritage breeds. Crossing these breeds brings out the best of each breed: flavor, marbling, balanced bacon, good foraging and great mothers who raise beautiful piglets on pasture.
The cattle herd is a mix of black angus and heritage crosses. Most of the cows are Shorthorns, a dual purpose heritage breed for beef and dairy, Herefords, a traditional dual purpose breed that thrives on pasture, British White Parks, another heritage breed that thrives on pasture or a cross between two breeds. In addition to the heritage crosses we raise high quality Black Angus and incorporate some angus genetics into the breeding program.
All of the pastured broilers are Freedom Ranger Chickens; this is a slow growing breed with its genetic origins in the French Label Rouge program. Many pastured poultry operations raise Cornish cross chickens which can be finished in 8 weeks or less. At New Roots farm the Freedom Rangers take 10 to 11 weeks on pasture to finish. The meat is very tender, full of flavor and retains moisture when cooked. Once you go pastured chicken you never go back!
Do you name your animals?
Yes! All of the breeding stock have names as well as the beef cows and lambs. All of the animals have their own personalities and it is fun to get to know them. The current cast of characters includes: Gladys (the wonder pig), Bernie (the boar), Wilma (the best mama pig), Shush (the most diva cow you ever met), Felicity (Sarah's first cow), Alley (Village Idiot cow), and an assortment of sheep named: Paneer, Persimmon, Tahini, Mater, Tater, Widgeon, Willet, Cooper Jr. and Putney. Just to name a few!
Do you feel bad about killing animals?
I tend to answer this question pretty unapologetically. I don't feel bad about killing animals, in fact I feel really good about what I do, which is provide high quality meats that are raised sustainably. People often tell me they couldn't do what I do or eat an animal they had known or raised, but personally I couldn't eat an animal if I didn't know how it was raised or processed. Animal welfare and the farm management practices I utilize are very important to me. I don't raise anything I wouldn't buy, cook or eat myself. These animals all live very good lives; my farm practices and standards are in line with third party animal welfare certifiers' standards and I take pride in what I do. I also manage and own every step of this process from birth to butcher. Animals are born on the farm, raised on the farm, treated humanely and I haul them to the butcher and unload them myself. These animals have one bad day and I work to keep even that day as low stress and easy as possible for them. I raise pasture based meats because I believe it is better for the planet, the people who work in the industry and the animals themselves.
What is the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished?
Most cows in America start out on grass. Lots of smaller family owned and operated farms, known as cow calf operations, raise calves for the beef market. These calves go to auction and are purchased and finished by other farmers and companies. Grass-fed can mean a lot of things including: this cow spent some of its life on grass or this cow grazed its whole life, but also ate supplemental grain. Many cows are finished on grain to increase the amount of fat while decreasing the time it takes to get them market ready. Grass finished means the cows are finished on grass without a grain supplement. Grass finished beef takes longer and has a different flavor than non grass finished beef.
Can you take vacations?
Raising livestock, especially if you breed your own, is a 365 day a year job. It is hard to get away and I'm grateful when I can take a break. I rely on a village of friends, family and watchful neighbors.
Can I visit the farm?
Yes! New Roots Farm strives to be as transparent as possible, while balancing the realities of managing a farm and keeping everyone safe. There are farm tours/pasture walks for CSA members, customers and community members so you can see how the farm operates. You can visit the farm by appointment and CSA pickups take place at the farm as well. CSA pick up time is a great opportunity to hear and see what is happening.
This is a functioning farm; please do not show up without making an appointment or having a farm tour reservation. There are electric fences, live animals, equipment and lots of other safety hazards. New Roots Farm also operates as a closed farm--this means that we don't bring animals onto the farm that could expose the farm animals to sickness and disease. If you have recently been to a different farm remember to change or sanitize your shoes and don't enter the pasture without letting staff know that you recently visited another farm.