Andrew Rodgers tells us all about his healthy pigs.
Our visit today to Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, Massachusetts, was a wonderful opportunity to see how pigs, sheep and chickens can thrive in a pastured environment.
Andrew Rodgers and his wife, Diana, explained how the sunlight helps the animals to produce more vitamin D and how their natural diets enable them to retain better nutrients. It was fun to see the pigs lounge in the sunshine and root around in the woods. The sheep were very content to graze peacefully on the lush, green pasture.
It was a bit humorous to watch this very intelligent pig lift the various doors of the feeder to find the best morsels of food. Their noses are like another appendage and they come in handy for all kinds of things requiring dexterity.
We were fortunate to be at Green Meadows Farm during harvest. They had such a delicious array of organic produce. Of course we couldn’t leave without buying some of this wonderful food. It’s quite the place to shop, and everything is very well maintained. Just look at those awesome pumpkins!
Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire raises beautiful Scottish Highlander cattle!
We spent the day at Miles Smith Farm and saw some of the most meticulously cared-for cattle in the world! Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson (husband and wife) raise these Scottish Highlander Cattle in gorgeous rolling pastures adjacent to their home.
They also have a store front where they sell their naturally raised beef. We were lucky to have been served a generous lunch of Swedish meatballs made from their cattle. They were delicious. It’s a good feeling to know that the animals from which your food comes from are treated with such respect and kindness.
At the end of the day we had an opportunity to see that they don’t just raise their cattle for beef. They also make use of the hides. I’m impressed with how they responsibly can utilize so much of the animals they raise.
Khalid Elkalai shows us his grass fed lambs and sustainable farm.
Khalid Elkalai raises 100% grass fed lambs on this pasture in Belchertown, Massachusetts. The lambs are never fed grain, animal byproducts, or artificial growth hormones. We had such a wonderful day roaming around these scenic pastures, full of very healthy and humanely raised animals.
Khalid also raises some cattle in addition to chickens. It’s a pleasant sight to look out into a field and to see cattle and sheep grazing together like this.
Khalid has two Maremma (sheep guardian dogs), who effortlessly run around to protect the herd. They made sure that we didn’t get too close. They were also very observant if we happened to walk in the direction of a lamb.
We observed Jen Hashley & Pete Lowy operate their mobile chicken processing unit.
We spent time with Jen Hashley & Pete Lowy observing their mobile chicken processing project. With the help of local volunteers, they humanely slaughtered and packaged about 400 chickens. Jen and Pete raised all of the birds in a free-range environment.
Pete Lowy gently and humanely slaughtered each of the birds himself. He electrically stunned each chicken prior to cutting their necks to bleed them out, rending them insensible and unable to feel the pain of the cut. He assured that they were completely dead before he put them in the scalding tank.
Pete took time to explain the differences between the Red Chickens and the Cornish White Chickens. The Red Chickens are leaner and weigh less, and their meat is has a more distinctive flavor that some people prefer.
Theses white chickens are bred to have large breasts to produce the white meat that most people prefer. They grow very quickly and will usually be slaughtered by the time they are 8-9 weeks old.
The volunteers (all personally taught by Jen Hashley in the techniques that morning), delighted in the opportunity to learn how to prepare chickens from slaughter, to de-feathering, through evisceration, to the package.
Jen is incredibly knowledgeable about local small-scale farming issues. She is happy to share what she knows in order to help create a more vibrant infrastructure that supports the processing of local meats.