Regeneratively-raised Meats

Spotlight on North Hollow Farm

We’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on a family-owned farm nestled in the rolling hills of Rochester, VT known as North Hollow Farm! All of North Hollow Farm’s grass-fed beef and pork products are 20% off from June 23rd – 29th, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about this second-generation thousand-acre farm and its commitment to climate-friendly grazing practices:

Located in the heart of Vermont, on the skirts of the Green Mountain National Forest, North Hollow Farm delivers the finest in grass-fed beef, natural pork, chicken, and goat, and 100% pure Vermont maple syrup products. Owned and operated by second-generation farmers Julie Brown and Mike Bowen, the farm was first purchased by Mike’s father, Carroll Bowen in 1948. At that time, Carroll was able to purchase 200 acres for $2,000, which Mike quips wouldn’t even cover the taxes by today’s standards! Over the ensuing years, Mike and Julie were able to purchase adjacent farmland and also lease nearby land, bringing the total up to 1,000 acres of hayland and pasture.

In 2003, Mike and Julie made the decision to stop growing corn for silage, shifting to an all-grass model for the sake of soil health, bovine health, and human health. Their original herd in the 1970s consisted of Hereford purebred cattle, which they eventually crossed with Angus bulls, and added a Charolais bull a few years later. In 2005, after making the transition to a grass-fed and grass-finished model, they added several Red Devon bulls to their herd. This English heritage breed is well known for its exceptional grass-finishing qualities, thanks to genetics that predate the beef industry’s shift toward grain finishing.

 

Management Intensive Grazing (MIG), also known as “grass farming,” “rotational pasture management,” and “prescribed grazing” is an environmentally and economically viable system of forage-based animal production that builds soil organic carbon, promotes increased biodiversity, improves water retention, and facilitates carbon sequestration. In this flexible approach to rotational grazing, paddock size, stocking density, and length of grazing period are adjusted to balance forage supply with animal nutrient demand through the grazing season. Vermont’s landscape and topography are well suited to this type of pasture production. North Hollow Farm’s livestock is rotated from pasture to pasture and they self-harvest most of their own feed. The team at North Hollow Farm closely monitors the health of both the animals and the pasture plants to ensure that optimal feed conditions are met.

Here at the Co-op, we carry a wide range of North Hollow Farm’s grass-fed beef and pork products. Their cattle are raised without growth hormones, digestive stimulants, or antibiotics. Everything they eat is produced at the farm. Their sausage, ham, bacon, frankfurters, and kielbasa are made without the use of nitrates or fillers. If you find yourself cruising along route 100 through Rochester, be sure to stop at the North Hollow farmstand to browse their full range of products. And if you’re looking to order from the comfort of your own home, North Hollow Farm ships!

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.

The Lucas Family

 

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.

 
The happy cows at Lucas Family Farms enjoying lush pasture with the Lucas family homestead in the background
 

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 girls pitch in with setting and moving paddock fencing as part of the family’s Management Intensive Grazing (MiG) program

 

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. 

 

Happy pastured hens at Lucas Family Farms

 

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.

 
Hens and cows enjoying adjacent pasture at Lucas Family Farms