Spotlight on Lucas Family Farms
Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Lucas Family Farms! Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of Lucas Family Farm’s local, grass-fed meats and pasture-raised eggs from July 8th – 14th. Read on to learn more about this regenerative ranch, their deep commitment to environmental stewardship, and the family that brings it to life:
Lucas Family Farms is a family-run ranch in Orwell, VT, that produces 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef and lamb, as well as non-GMO, pasture-raised eggs. The farm is owned and operated by Josh and Janelle Lucas and their three children, who are all active participants in the day-to-day workings of the farm.
Raising livestock on their farm is part of a much broader goal that extends beyond producing high-quality food; their livestock offer a means of regenerating their soils, increasing the soil’s ability to retain water, provide nutrients, support biodiversity, and sequester carbon, ultimately offering critical ecosystem services that benefit us all. The Lucas Family practices a type of grazing known as Management Intensive Grazing (MiG) which is a flexible approach to rotational grazing where paddock size, stocking density, and length of grazing period are adjusted to balance forage supply with animal nutrient demand through the grazing season. Practicing MiG has the potential to produce productive, high-quality forage while maintaining or improving soil health factors such as soil organic matter levels, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration.
Livestock have been implicated in many injurious processes including land degradation, excess water use, nutrient excretion, fossil fuel use, and emission of greenhouse gases. However, when livestock are raised on their natural diets of grasses and other diverse forage, they have great potential to positively impact human health and the health of our environment. According to the Savory Institute, raising cattle on pasture for their entire lives can offer benefits ranging from increased animal welfare, preservation of ecosystem services, promotion of deep-rooted perennials on croplands, and recycling of plant nutrients. Properly managed grass-fed cattle are capable of regenerating land by restoring soil microbial diversity and increasing soil organic matter, making land more resilient to flooding and drought. This practice can also boost nutrient content, resulting in more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, more antioxidants, and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that’s been shown to reduce heart disease and cancer risk. And because grasses trap atmospheric carbon dioxide, the grass-fed system is a critical tool for sinking carbon and combating climate change.
The pasture-raised eggs produced by Lucas Family Farms offer similar nutritional benefits. According to a 2010 study from Pennsylvania State University, researchers found that one pasture-raised egg contains twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A concentration is also 38% higher in the eggs of pastured hens compared to commercial hens’ eggs.
From an animal welfare point of view, pastured hens also have significant advantages, due to the fact that they are allowed to roam freely on fresh pasture where they’re free to forage, run, perch, bathe, and socialize as much or as little as they choose. It’s important to note that chickens are omnivores and their optimal diet includes plants, insects, seeds, and even small animals like mice and frogs. Luckily, pastured hens have easy access to all of these foodstuffs, and they’re fresher and more nutritious than anything that can be purchased at the feed store.