Organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, sustainable and other food-osophical terms. Where does Black Market Farm stand?
First of all, food is complicated. Some of my wife’s family literally fly a Monsanto flag; and we totally get people who have given up meat altogether on ethical, health or moral grounds. There is hardly anything as personal as food. And we are NOT here to tell you what to eat. Or how to live.
We want you to know why we choose what we choose and how it can impact the food you get from us. We don’t draw hard lines, because life is often “somewhere in the middle.” Terms are confusing and, often, misleading.
Really, it comes to management and taking care of the animals, the earth, your health and our promise to offer you great (and simple) meat. Rotational grazing means the cows reduce the buildup of methane gas and the bad stuff gets absorbed back into the soil and grass, which is processed as nature intended. No feed lots. No assembly-line processing. Personal, individual care. Always.
Let’s talk about grass (not THAT kind).
Grass-fed AND grass-finished means that the cows have eaten 100% grass or hay their entire lives. No grain. Meat that is just grass-finished (not ours!) can technically have them started on grain and then finished on grass for a specific period of time. Grain-fed cattle get fat quicker, so farmers make more money if they don’t have to feed them as long. That’s okay with us, just not the way we do it here. We feed them hay all winter long, usually for more than one winter, which is also why it is more expensive. And tastier!
Oh, and at 8000 feet above sea level? Our cold-weather grasses have to be heartier to grow. Which means we have more of those heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (a type of fat that's thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks) & antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E. And that gets passed down into the meat. You knew we lived here for a reason right? Besides our love of hurricane-force winds.
Au natural? Naked meat?
We just haven’t found clothes that our pigs like! (just kidding. They love Prada.) But seriously, we don’t add or do anything special to our food to make it grow faster (no hormones), we treat animals naturally and without antibiotics; on the rare case that we have to treat something for the animal’s best interest, health and quality of life (because, we really do love our animals) we are going to make sure we have taken ALL precautions to not pass that along to you. You trust us with your animals and with your meat. And THAT, we take seriously.
Room to Roam.
That is our goal. Pasture-raised refers to a specific ratio of animals to pasture, based on the type of livestock. In our case, it means our cattle are grazing on thousands of acres, 15 or so pigs will have a couple of acres (not enclosed or in pens), our flock of chickens will have free roam and get let out in the morning and put away in their house (literally, more square footage than the house I live in with my wife and 3 kids. And 2 cats.) each night. We aren’t large-scale, so they all have lots of room. Why not? We have enough to spare on the ranch!
Why isn’t it organic?
Organic is a term that is not indicative of quality of life and doesn’t say much about the diet of the animals. We have other principles that are much more important to us. The organic certification process is extensive and very cost prohibitive for our ranch. It’s not sustainable and it’s also not a deal breaker for us. And it’s okay if it is for you. We totally understand.
All in all, so much of life (and food!) is about balance. We hold that value close to our hearts. Extreme views aren’t sustainable for us. But this kind of a lifestyle is. Join us! We would love to have you on our team!