All About Wild Farm's Meats!
Last week Tad and I took a trip out to visit our CSA partner, Wild Farm, and say hello to their hogs. Cara and Shawn are the best, and we are so proud to call them dear friends! We love being able to stop by their farm and see all of the life happening over there, from happy fat pigs to cows to chickens. It's a fun time, and we always drink too much coffee. The last time I saw these pigs was back in January, and they were much smaller then! I am so glad that we are able to work together to create our CSA program to bring our customers both produce and meat. If you missed it, I shared a post a few weeks ago about our community supported agriculture program. We'll be growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers for 8 families along with offering fresh pork and pastured chicken from Wild Farm. All of our shares are currently filled, but we are still asking anyone who is interested to fill out an application so that we may put you on the waiting list and let you know about any extra goodies available at our farm store! You can sign up HERE.
One thing that Cara and I knew when we were first talking about starting a CSA was that we wanted to be transparent about how all of our food is grown and raised. These hogs are so sweet and well taken care of! They are a Berkshire cross breed that are raised outdoors with access to shelter and fresh hay for bedding to sleep and play in. The frozen ground has been thawing out here in Iowa, so the mud is abundant! These hogs are GAP certified, which means they are part of the Global Animal Partnership that places an animal's welfare as the primary focus.
Shawn, Cara's husband, took Tad and their sweet kiddos for tractor rides! Everything on our farms is still in that sleepy, muddy stage. It's a time for keeping warm, for preparing the ground before the real work sets in that is planting and putting the animals out on pasture. One of the things that Cara said while I was out snapping photos of these hogs was that, "Real farm life isn't always so beautiful" and I found that so true. It's hard to say what the right way to raise an animal is, and it's even harder to say what the right way is along with the best way to make some money. Now that I've witnessed several different types of ways to raise hogs within one small town (on pasture, with hoop shelter access like above, and in confinement) all I can say is that the reality of where your meat comes from can be hard to swallow, especially if you have your own opinions and live a thousand miles from the farm. These hogs are provided with fresh bedding, have plenty of space to roam without harming each other or themselves, and are raised outdoors with access to shelter. Even with all of the mud that comes with a spring thaw, Wild Farm does an amazing job of making sure everyone stays clean and healthy.
Shawn and Cara also raise meat chickens and turkeys! They'll be providing our CSA program with both, which I am really excited for, especially to receive a fresh, pasture raised Thanksgiving turkey this year. Yum! Their birds are raised free from growth hormones, antibiotics, and steroids. The chickens are a Cornish cross breed that are allowed to graze freely on grains, grasses, and bugs that they find along with being fed a non-GMO feed. I had actually never seen a meat chicken before visiting Wild Farm last year, which was kind of strange for me! They are quite a bit different from a laying hen, with their pretty feathers and slim physique. While they are out on pasture, they have access to shelter, which is pictured above. Shawn and Cara use the Joel Salatin method of raising their poultry, which I absolutely adore. Joel Salatin is amazing! Basically, their shelter is moved everyday so that they have access to fresh grains and grasses along with not living in their own manure after a space has been filled. The manure from previous days then naturally fertilizes the fields and allows more growth to happen. The shelter, which can be enclosed, provides protection from predators, especially overnight. Definitely check out this video with Joel describing how it works!
It's such a privilege to be able to share our food with your family and to work together with another small farm! You are helping to feed us as well. We are so excited to begin getting into the spring season and watching everything pop up. I had a fun time hearing what all of the pork cuts we will be receiving starting this June will be... pork chops, fresh hams, cured hams, shoulder roasts, bacon, spare ribs, brats, sausages, pork burgers, and smoked hocks. YUM! We all sat down to lunch and ate some of the fresh shoulder roast. It was absolutely divine; probably the best pork I have ever eaten!
Again, all of our CSA spots are currently filled, but please feel free to drop in an application so that we may contact you for next year or if a spot opens up during this season. We'd love to have you!