Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Year is drawing to a close.

As we close out the year, our record books, and send off all the data we are required to by various agencies and breed registries, I find myself looking forward with excitement. We have a new poultry producer coming on board with pastured birds so our quality can remain high and we can broaden our offerings. We renewed our grazing leases for another 5 years so we can keep our cattle herds separated and production at optimum levels. The seed is going in for the irrigated pastures, the mowing is all done down here in the valley, the water truck is fixed so we have no trouble filling cisterns up on the hill, and our sheep flocks are producing like gangbusters!
My young dogs are really starting to get the hang of things although there are definitely cow dogs and sheep dogs in the group! Monk could care less about sheep but works the yearling steers along side his dad like a pro! (okay he cheap shots once in a while but he's just a year old!) Cricket is more settled on cows and Bella has perfect balance. As far as the sheep work goes, Tweed is 11 now and slowing down but Grace and her two pups are picking up the slack. I have to admit, working T is like driving a cadillac and the young dogs are more like Ferrari's. I'd gotten really spoiled!  Fly is super quick and listens like her uncle T, where Sweep is a bit more single minded and needs to be reminded who's boss once in a while. Sooty still would rather be a couch potato but Smudge is coming on. He'll make a heck of a farm dog and does really well close in. I have to say, 1 good dog is worth 10 ranch hands most days! (except for the days I take a green colt out to work stock with young dogs, then I need to be an octopus!)
We've decided to double what we hold for grass fed and finished production so no one gets told no next year. Our steers are averaging about 700lb at weaning which is great!(that puts them around 1500+ at slaughter) People are really liking the Piedmontese crosses and we're going to breed more this next year. I love it when an experiment works! These cattle are larger than our Aberdeen Angus and Simangus and the unique muscling characteristics are really going to be a bonus. Like the Charolais they carry the gene for double muscling, but the Piedmontese only carries 1 gene and doesn't become tough like the Charolais when kept on grass that extra year. They still calve easily unlike the Belgian Blue and their conversion on grass is amazing! I like medium framed cattle as opposed to the little guys, they have to be able to travel across the pastures and climb hills. We tried some small breeds a few years ago and have kept the belties because they are a rare breed, but for us a 300lb yield isn't worth the effort that goes in to getting that steer ready to market.(it takes the same amount of time to finish a miniature as it does a full sized cow) I have a friend that raises miniature Herefords and she does a great business with those little guys but 900lb live weight vs 900lb hanging just doesn't add up for us. (she'll tell you the opposite form her point of view, "Meg, people like to get a whole cow for under a grand!" and I'm sure in her case she's right)
We're rolling right along with sheep production as well, the commercial flocks will continue to be Suffolk and Dorper cross, again because our customer base seems to really like 5" loin chops! Our Khatadin's are about half the size and I like them a lot due to their extremely mild flavor. The chop pops are amazing but I want more than 1 bite! Some folks like smaller portions and that's fine too. We've had a lot of fun this year with pigs too! Phil still is doing the Berkshires and Duroc pigs on pasture and we picked up some crosses for fun here at the farm. What great tractors! my garden plot never looked so good! In March the Mule Foot Hogs arrive and by next Christmas we'll be able to see what they taste like!
We're getting ready for the partial move up to the Hill Ranch where we have 10 times the space that we do here on the Home Farm so we will be able to showcase more of what we do. I can't wait! This place is fast becoming more of a learning center, Canning and production classes are filling fast and my travel schedule has expanded quite a bit for next year, I'm also firming up a book deal and our PBS special airs in the next couple of months. Multi Generational Farming and Ranching is the backbone on which this country was built and I am grateful to be able to carry on the tradition, while at same time bringing innovation and education into the lives of those interested in how we get your food "From Conception to Consumption"(tm)
Next time: An illustration of what builds great beef!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A time to Share and be Grateful

First let me thank all of our Farm Family and Friends for their support, guidance, and help this year. We truly would not be here without you! I have learned so much from new friends about Social Media and the importance of sharing our knowledge with others. I feel blessed when someone that we have helped along the way takes time to say thank you or calls us with questions.It means that we are doing things right. People really are interested in the day to day running of a cattle and sheep operation, you do want to know how and why we do what we do. The best answer that I can give is also the simplest, it boils down to one word....PASSION.
I am Passionate about my chosen lifestyle and want others to get a sense of what I feel every day. Getting up before the sun to drive out and check the cattle is every bit as important to me as telling you the facts about cattle production. Talking about sheep breeding and stock dogs is as vital as you knowing the difference between just grass fed and Grass fed and Finished. I want you to understand why there is no such thing as grass fed pork or poultry, and why corn and soy are not good feeds for rumenants. I get a thrill when ultrasounding cattle and sheep to preg check, and I want you to get at least a basic understanding of what it takes for us to get these animals to your plate. We copywrited and trademarked the term "From Conception to Consumption"(tm) for a reason. Because we raise them that way!
 I get a little crazy when I see blatantly impossible claims made about production and or breeding practices and need to learn to cool my jets rather than scream about how wrong they are. I would rather teach you, the consumer what is right than point out someone elses failings, it doesn't do me any good and those that think it's okay to invent titles aren't going to change because I call them out. I have to thank Jesse for smacking me up side the head on that one!
I want you to enjoy my posts even if you don't always agree and come away having learned something new or with a smile on your face. I love having visitors trail me for a day and get their hands dirty. I believe that the only stupid question is one that is never asked and that God put me here to make a difference. I love my life and wouldn't trade a day working livestock for all the riches of the world.
I want you to buy from us because you know what we do, and are comfortable with our practices. You don't have to come watch a slaughter, but I want you to know that you can and we schedule those days far enough in advance so that you are able to plan to attend if you wish. I want you to understand why it takes so long to get that beef ready for you to take home as steaks, roasts, etc. And I especially want you to understand the practices that make it happen. From the grass they eat, and the timing and method of slaughter, to the aging and cutting process, each step is vital to the quality of the finished product. I am so Grateful to be able to share this with all of you, Thank you!
Until next time....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Transparency or Hype? There is a difference!

When we livestock breeders and producers talk about transparency we want you, the consumer, to know what it is we do, how we do it, and why. There are certain things that the law requires us to do, like annual bangs testing, certain vaccinations for breeding animals, keeping logs of any and all medications used etc. All of this information is kept on file for review at any time.
Livestock inspections take place whenever animals are sold or move into slaughter channels. The Brand Inspector comes out and logs which animals are going where and checks to make sure all the paperwork is in order. They don't come out for "Wellness Checks" unless there has been a problem in the herd or flock that requires monitoring for health reasons such as a Brucellosis positive test or Coccidiosis infection.. (and that is done by the State Vet.)
Most Livestock producers follow accepted protocols set down by the USDA, and BQA as well as PQA Certifications are becoming more and more prominent.(These programs do require on site voluntary inspection)

What we as Producers do by choice is provide our customers with an outline of how we manage our herds and flocks, our feeds and feed sources, and our pasture/ range management techniques. We take our customers out to see the animals that will eventually grace their plate, and explain why we follow a given feeding/ raising model. Not everyone does everything the same way. For example:
We raise Purebred Angus and Simangus crosses. In order to market that beef as Angus we have to follow specific guidelines set down by Angus Source verification protocols. The same holds true for Grass fed and Finished. There are guidelines that must be followed to legally make these claims. Grass fed doesn't always mean Grass Finished, But Grass Finished always means Grass Fed.
When it is time for our animals to go to slaughter there are two distinctly different ways this is done.
If that animal is to be Custom Killed for Farm Members, The Butcher comes to the ranch, dispatches the animal on site, and takes the carcass back to their abbatoir for Processing. The resulting cuts from any animal may not be sold at retail, This is called CUSTOM processing. The only exception to this rule is poultry.
If an animal is to be sold at retail, farmers markets, or on line, it must be USDA Inspected AND Processed. If it does not have a USDA inspection stamp on both the carcass and the final packaged product it is not legal for sale. There are also requirements for approved storage facilities prior to sale. These facilities must be licensed and regularly inspected by The Department of Environmental Health or the product is not legal for retail sale. Another myth that needs busting is the fact that USDA inspected means legal for sale. Not So! If your butcher has USDA inspected product he can sell it to you legally at retail, You cannot legally re-sell that product. Why not? Because it was not packaged for final sale under USDA inspection. Meats that are USDA inspected and processed here in California always arrive at their final point of sale vacuum sealed with a clearly legible label affixed to the shipping container or on each individual piece. If it is offered any other way other than at a butcher shop or store it was not Packaged under USDA inspection.
Now, lets move on to Quality and Niche claims.
Yup there are rules that govern that too. If you raise what are known as Heritage or Rare breeds of livestock you have to be able to back up those claims with verifiable paperwork. Just because a pig has Berkshire, Tamworth, or Old Spot markings, doesn't make it a Heritage Breed. You have to be able to prove that that pig is what you claim it to be. The same holds true for Beef cattle like Galloways, Parks, and Pinsgauer, and sheep like Tunis, Khatadin and St Croix. These animals must be verified as Heritage Breeds or they can't be sold as such, and cross breds can never carry the Heritage claim.The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has the requirements clearly defined on their web page.
If you claim breed specific products the same holds true. For example: We offer Berkshire Pork, The label on that product shows the Berkshire Verification stamp in addition to the USDA stamp. Our other pastured pork is not always breed specific so does not have the Berkshire Label on it. Our Angus cattle sell under the Angus Source Verified label and it appears on the package. Cross bred beef does not have the Angus Source Verified seal.
Same thing for quality. Beef and lamb under USDA inspection can be graded for quality, this is voluntary and costs extra, but in order for us to say that our Grass Fed and Finished beef and lamb grades Choice or higher we have to be able to prove it. And the only way to legally make that claim is to pay for that added inspection.(and get that blue stamp on that carcass!) Grass fed and Finished Beef  and lamb will grade Choice or better under proper management and we are proud of the fact that we can make this claim.
I get upset when I see things like Gold label, Premium, or other baseless claims on products. I think it is false advertizing and gives a distorted image.  Look for local farmers and ranchers that can back up their claims with verifiable proof not hype and whitewash. If a marketing claim seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Until next time!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Hams! Feral Hog Bacon and Sausage.

Boy Howdy do we have some treats for you this year! After a VERY successful Texas Feral Hog hunt we have Wild Hams and bacon available in limited Supply, as well as a variety of Wild Sausages. I kept back a few tenderloins for special friends but everything else got ground, cured, or smoked. In some cases all of the above! Ian will have the sausage list ready in a few days and yes Fabian there will be Lanjaiger! Boerwaars are drying and lots of other porky goodness! We also have plenty of Duroc and Berkshire hogs available for your pleasure. And let's not forget the dry cured hams! In fact with everyone wanting bacon, Chops, ribs, roasts, steaks and cushion are in abundance. Beef shares are available for early January and we have plenty under inspection for those of you looking for just a roast or a few steaks, The ground beef sale is still on through the New Year and we have Gift certificates available for farm members and inspected products both. Our partial move is under way and we should be working the Hill Ranch by late January, Give us a call and plan a visit! Lambs and Goat Kids have arrived at the Home Place, Calves are on on Pasture and our PBS spot will air in February or March, Giving you a first hand look at what we do, how we do it, and why. 
Anyone wanting Hides for the next year needs to reserve one now, and the Muley(polled Cattle) skulls are spoken for through May.  I took Jane's advice and got Ol' Marcel's head mounted, he was such a beautiful example of the Aberdeen Angus that I felt he needed to "Hang Around" for folks to see. He will go in the office at Hill Ranch right next to Cal Poly Special. Remind me to tell you his story some day. We will only have 4 bison to go this spring so reserve early or you may miss out! Beefalo will be ready to process then as well.
December lambs are nearly sold out and the next crop won't be ready until late spring.
Ken is going to take over the poultry operation and we will have a larger variety of birds next year.(Lord knows that I wasn't going to do it! You all know how I feel about birds!)
I've been asked to do a post on production and transparency so stay tuned, My opinions tend to rub some folks the wrong way but hey, I gotta be me! Until then, take care and may the Lord keep you well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy What?

I think that the Occupy movement has lost its message and devolved into nothing more than an excuse to do nothing and demand everything. You want to impress me? Do something besides sit on your backsides whining. Plant some veggies in a garden or window box to help lower your food bills, Get involved in a community garden project to offset hunger in your neighborhood. Get together with friends, form a buying pool and get your meats from a local rancher or if you live in the city find one that delivers. You can raise a couple of hens in an apartment, yes I said an Apartment. If they allow birds you can have hens!  If you really want to impress the masses BE the Change that you want to see. Stop whining and get busy! No one owes you a living.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Goodies!

Whew! It's getting busy around here! Steers to the processor, Turkeys to be picked up, Hogs to be harvested, add to that fall lambing and a partial move and I think I need to be 3 people! We've made a few changes in our schedule so orders get out more quickly and thanks to Dr. Bacon a more streamlined ordering process is being designed.
Turkey and Beef share pick up is next Saturday unless prior arrangements are made. I would also like to ask that when you stop by the pastures please do not feed the animals, Most of the mother cows are friendly but there are a couple of old bossies out there that will HURT YOU if you try to get too close to their calves.
Sean is here visiting and has taken on the oversight of the sheep flocks while he is here. (Good Job for a Scottish Hill Shepherd on vacation!) I am having a great time relearning my all too rusty Gaelic! He takes the young dogs with him in groups of 3 so that by the time he heads back over the pond I will definitely know for sure if my instincts are correct on who to keep for working. He agrees with my choices on replacement Rams so far (He refers to them as Tups as they are all young Rams) and likes the breeding program that we have in place. YAY ME! ( I even got a compliment out of him on the quality of the lambs, and a compliment from a Scot is Hard to come by!) Remember to get your orders in for December Lambs, Commercial Crosses and Dorpers this round.
All of the bred cows have been ultrasounded and we have a 90 percent conception rate! Whoo HOO! 2 sets of twins were detected so we know to keep a closer eye on those ladies as calving time approaches. (yes I am praying for no Freemartens this next year) The remaining girls will go in with the bull next week to see if we can get them covered, any that don't take for the second year will rotate out of the breeding herds. All in all it has been a fairly good year with only a few OMG Call the Vet nights. The Truck problems fouled us up for a bit but we are back on track and grateful for your understanding and support. I thank God every day for the life that I am able to lead, the amazing people that I meet along the way, and the good friends that have come into my life. Thank you for being part of our farming and ranching family and have a wonderful Holiday Season. (Oh, Please tell Santa that I would LOVE a Camera for Christmas so I can add pictures to my blog posts! (The one on my cell phone is less than great)I promise that I will act surprised!) Until next time...
Dia, cairde maithe, beostoic sla'intiu'il, agus madra maith, coinni'onn du'inn cad iad. (God, good friends, healthy livestock, and a good dog, are what keep us)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Expansion under way!

I apologize for being lax in my blogging lately but we are expanding our operation and have been busy getting ready for the changes!
Our home place will still be here for members and friends to visit but we are moving back on to the Hill ranch as well. More room for the critters, bigger home pastures, and a complete renovation have given us a unique opportunity to focus on hands on experiences for members and friends. Those of you that remember Christmas Parties in the barn and long nights in the birthing stalls will be glad to know that we are planning to pick up the pace there and bring in the Small herd of Belties, the breeding flocks of Registered Dorper, karakul, and Khatadin Sheep, as well as a few surprises! The horses will go up to The Hill as well. Our Commercial crosses will stay on the leases but the move will give folks a better perspective of life on a working ranch, as well as a place for our members to stay when they come visit.
The Home place will still be home to the Grandma sheep, hogs, and veggie gardens.
Winter lambs will be ready to go in mid December so order early! 4 beeves went in on Monday and shares are going fast. Turkey's are almost sold out and there are only 2 pork shares available for next month. Thank you all so much for your loyalty and continued support! We wouldn't be here without you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipes! and where to find the best ones!

Ya'll have been asking for recipes, and to be honest I haven't had time to do much noteworthy cooking lately! Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, Big Tim's Primal journey, and Date Night Doin's have some great recipes using our meats and I am posting beautiful pictures on the MM Livestock Co Facebook page. They aren't all my products, some of them aren't even primal, but not all of you eat the way that I do! I think that everyone enjoys a great recipe no matter the source and I share what I like.(I do post the exchanges for paleo/primal on traditional dishes when possible)
I am a Southern Girl that really likes that style of food, and Creole, Low Country, and Cajun dishes give me the shivers! If it can go in a cast iron pot or over the open flame, I'm there! Smoking and good BBQ are in my blood, do you see where I'm going here?. I love to compete in cast iron competitions, believe that Chili has no beans, That a good steak stands alone, and that potatoes are over rated! I have to spend most of my time working stock and tending to farm matters so I'm going to leave the cooking posts to the experts (unless I come up with a stunner!) Okay, rant over and please pass the Howling Dog Hot sauce!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Oh this is going to be fun! We were able to reserve a breeding set (boar and 2 sows) of Mule Foot hogs that will arrive in late March or early April. Mule foot hogs are unique because they have a solid hoof like a horse or mule. They are a rare or "Heritage" breed of pig and because they are a smaller breed we thought that they would be fun to have on the home place. We still have pastured Duroc and Berkshire Hogs on our sister farms and that isn't going to change.
Our Small herd of Belted Galloway Cattle are through calving and we will have 6 steers available for purchase next year.(they're yearlings now and doing great!) These are fun cattle that excel on grass. Easily grading Choice plus and occasionally Prime. They are a smaller, very docile breed and fun to have around. I enjoy Having a few examples of "Heritage" livestock so people can see where modern strains came from and feel it is beneficial to keep the old breeds around from a historical standpoint. THE AMERICAN LIVESTOCK BREEDS CONSERVANCY is a great source for learning about these breeds of livestock and the requirements for using the term "Heritage" in ones marketing. I also believe that the only way to honestly preserve these breeds for future generations is to raise them for meat production, and not blow the price through the roof just because it is a rare breed. Save those high dollar sales for the showmen and breeders. You slaughter what isn't good enough to go into your breeding program and that sure shouldn't cost people more money. What costs more is the production model, you're paying for the time we spend to get that animal ready to eat, and the know how to make sure it is a superior product.
The majority of our cattle are Registered Aberdeen Angus and Simangus. We sell the majority of our steers into the Certified Angus Beef and Gateway programs. Our herds are selected for efficiency on grass and a good rate of gain is crucial to any grass based operation. The steers we elect to hold back as part of the Grass Fed and Finished side of the operation need to be able to keep gaining on pasture, they stay there for almost a year longer than those that go into standard production.
I also have to giggle about the fascination with wild boar. Okay! I got tags and am going to Texas the end of the month to get as many as they'll let me! They're a real problem there and I will happily supply my members with meat and have a blast getting it! (pun intended) Keep it real! until next time, Meg

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RAIN! Okay Sprinkles but I can hope!

We're getting a few sprinkles today. Thank you Lord! We need the moisture so much! We are on a well and can do some irrigating but rain is a Good Thing! The critters here at the home farm are as excited as I am. I Just seeded the front turn out to winter rye, Fescue, and Ladino and it was as if Heaven smiled down and said,"Here ya go, Just a little something to make you feel better" The back 5 is dry as a bone and I was going to wait a while to seed it but decided this morning to put it in early, this winter is supposed to be wet and mild according to the Almanac and it's usually right! Most of the farm flock will be home in another month and I hope to have live grass for them. Nice!
Manny lost his tail last week and Is growing like a little weed! I will post more pictures on fb this week. The piggies are getting big and after the fair two heifers will grace the front turn out. We're keeping these girls around so our farm members don't have to brave barbed wire and a hike to see cattle unless they want to. We'll be breeding them in the spring so the whole cycle will take place right here.
The steers are starting to put on that bloom at finishing time, Knee deep in irrigated pasture. Nothing is prettier that a Grass Finished steer. I still giggle when people say that you can't get good finish on grass, Have you seen those butter balls?
Grace got one heck of a test of her skills this week! One of the flocks is back down from the Northern range and we had to separate the bred ewes from the yearlings in preparation for fall lambing. Grace got Lots of shedding practice! Tweed is still THE MAN but getting up in years and not as quick as he sometimes needs to be anymore. Working them as a brace gives the young dog confidence and the old man doesn't have to work quite so hard. The pups are coming on too! I think I have 3 sheep dogs for sure! The other two are definitely Cow dogs! They just think Cattle are a lot more interesting. (Okay, Cricket and Monk are land sharks!) Lambing season will be under way before we know it so the Jugs are being set up and all the necessary equipment cleaned and ready to go. We'll be in Idyllwild this weekend giving a demo so come on up and say hello! Until next time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I want to see.

I want to see consumers seeking out educational avenues to find out where their food comes from, how it is produced, and why there are different protocols for each specific growing practice (management type). I want them not to blindly accept that Organic is Best, or Grass fed is the same thing as Grass Fed and Finished. I want them to understand that the vast majority of farmers in America are multi-generational farmers on family run farms and ranches and that the average cattle herd is 40 head. I want people to Care enough to take the time to Know who produces their food. To actually follow a seed from planting to harvest, to Watch A lamb or steer "From Conception To Consumption"(tm), To Understand why some things cost more than others, and why some that do should not. I want them to go to the County Fair and visit the exhibits, I want to see support for Youth in Agriculture, The average age of the American Farmer and Rancher Today is 57, If our youth are not involved, encouraged and Appreciated they are no going to go back to the farm. When you see that 5 year old with his first Turkey in the show pen, I want you to smile, I also want you to bid on that kid's bird and help him get to college! Or when that FFA kid shows that lamb, pig, or steer they raised, ask them what they fed, how they finished, what did they do to get ready for the fair? Take time my friends, learn about your food and those that have made it their life's work to put it on your table.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why does it take so long to get my Beef?

Here is a time line for the beef we offer. Please be aware that other producers do things differently and this is an example of our own practices.
From Day of slaughter to finished product takes 5 weeks.
Custom Slaughter timeline:
Day 1: Butcher arrives at field and dispatches the steer, The skin,head, feet, and innards are removed and the carcass is take by the butcher to the packer, be it the butcher himself or another location.
 2: Once at the packer the carcass hangs for 21 days in the cold box to dry age, we will go into the details  of temperature control and humidity in another post. Dry aging improves the flavor and texture of the beef.
3:  After dry aging the carcass is trimmed and cut into portions called primals, these primals are then further trimmed and cut into portions for our members. This process can take several days, and the meat is held near freezing the entire time.
4: After the meat is cut into steaks, roasts, etc. it goes into the deep freeze where it is taken down to -10 degrees. At that point it is ready for me to pick up and deliver to our members!
USDA Inspected for retail Sale.
Day 1: The steers are hauled to the slaughter facility where they are inspected for good health and then dispatched. They then go into a "hot room" where the carcass rests and cools for 24 hours.
Day 2: Another USDA inspector takes samples of the beef and determines the grade that the animal will receive (choice, select etc,)
Day 3: the carcass is moved to a dry aging facility where it ages 21 days.
Day 25: The carcass is moved again to the USDA inspected Processor where it is cut  wrapped and frozen for transport.
Day 27-40 The meat is delivered from the processor to the licensed cold storage facility where we can then pick it up for distribution.
Only USDA Inspected Products may be legally shipped. Custom Meats are pre purchase only because you have to own the cow BEFORE it is dispatched. That is why we have a farm membership program firmly in place. You own a piece of every animal that is grown by us for our members. And now you know why it takes so long to get that beef from the field to your freezer!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Appealing to the masses.

Let me begin by saying that I'm not going to make everybody happy every time they read this blog. That is just a fact. I talk about a variety of things that I am passionate about and not everyone shares those passions. That is ok! Even if you don't like everything you read if you come away learning something you did not know, I achieved my goal of educating the consumer.
I raise Grass fed and Finished beef and lamb, others don't, they prefer a different model that works for them. I partner with people that raise pastured pork and poultry and keep a few here at the home farm, I don't have the time or space to raise a large number of omnivores. Those folks do. Other folks raise them under different management protocols and that is their choice. My focus (and Pet Peeve) is that whatever system you prefer for raising livestock, be honest about it! Explain the how and the why. People are Smart! They will be able and want to make informed choices. If one person gets the fact that all pork and poultry contain no added hormones because it has been illegal to do so since the late 1950's rather than because someone is waving the no hormone banner to play on consumer fear of additives in our food I have done a good thing! If someone learns the difference between a cow calf operation, a feedlot, and stocker producers, all the better!Or The fact that all cattle start out as grass fed beef and the difference is in the finishing therefore the term Grass Fed that you see in the store can mean absolutely nothing. There needs to be a dialog between the farmer/rancher and the public. Yes Virginia, among other things I Am an AGvocate!
I follow a Primal eating lifestyle, again others don't and that is fine. You will see recipes that showcase the many ways to prepare the products that come from the animals we produce, Not all will be my personal eating method but everyone can benefit from learning how to prepare meats correctly, and some of  my friends and followers eat things I cannot. Where possible we will give the adjustments. My Facebook page for the farm is geared more toward those that follow the same lifestyle that I do, But, at the request of a fan, I have started a new page. MM Livestock Co Livestock 101 where questions can be asked and answered with unbiased information. People need to be able to get detailed information with scientific backing. That is what I am going to do there. There will also be a linked blog for longer posts and data. Thank you all so much for liking us and supporting what we do! I home that I can clear up some of the confusion for you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Learning is Fun!

I am learning a LOT! As many of you know I am definitely a computer novice, I'm just getting the hang of uploading pictures to facebook for goodness sakes! But with friends like Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations and Date Night Doin's I'm having to definitely take a crash course! Several of my Ag. Buddies are great bloggers and they are teaching this ol' cowgirl the ropes! I never dreamed that the life I live would become a subject of interest.
People are becoming much more interested in where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate, and as an educator this seem like a logical progression to me. I have spent years teaching those in the industry about genetics, breed selection, range management, feeds and feeding. I think it is wonderful that the general population is getting interested as well. I realize that you may not want to know how many pounds of seed it takes to cover an acre of ground, but you do want to know what kind of seed is planted and why. As a grass farmer I feel it is important for you to know the difference between grass fed and grass finished. You need to be aware of the differences between Cow/ calf operations and stockers, feeders and grazers. Appropriate Species specific diets are crucial to great end products. For example: Cattle finished in a feedlot on grain are different from cattle fed hay in pens and those are different still from cattle finished on living forage. Muscle mass, fat content, and flavor differ significantly with each production model. The same goes for sheep and goats. 90% of us have to feed baled grasses at sometime during the year BUT we don't market at that time because the quality of the meat is lower and lacks the finish our customer base has come to expect. People will tell you that grass finished animals will not grade, NOTHING is further fro the truth. Grass finished beef and lamb will consistantly grade choice or higher on grass when managed corrrectly.
Pork and poultry being monogastric(single stomached) omnivores require a completely different feeding program. They cannot and will not survive on grass alone. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and yes even insects and other animals are part of their dietary needs. We personally do not feed any GM plant matter to any of our livestock and have never used soy based feeds. We are even having to make changes to our permanent finishing pastures due to the deregulaton of GM alfalfa and the fact that it is grown in our drift plain.(upwind).
Now that I have that out of the way, I also intend to keep you up to date about things happening here at the home farm, Like the lamb that was born last week and the custom hogs that are growing in the summer garden. I'm still weak in the picture posting department so for now the facebook page will have to do!
Please feel free to ask questions and I will answer them here for everyone.
Until next time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kosher Lesson and other interesting things.

I think the most interesting happening here on the farm this last week was having a Rabbi actually come here and perform a Kosher Slaughter. Every facet of the Kill and processing is overseen by a Rabbi. Every organ Must be inspected and every vein removed. If every part of the animal is not perfect the whole animal is considered Traif under Kosher law. (It is still fine for non Kosher folks!)And the cleanliness requirements make USDA requirements look weak! It was Fascinating!
We custom slaughtered 2 steers and they are dry aging as we speak so Farm members orders are on track. I'm finally starting to post pictures on the MM Livestock Co Facebook page and we'll keep adding more! Manny the new lamb is doing fine! he get's his tail done today and we'll post the pics on fb. In this part of the country wool sheep really need their tails docked to avoid fly strike. We band tails at 3-5 days old and have never had any ill effect. The Hair sheep have short tails that do not require docking, Many of our hair sheep crosses are short tailed and don't require docking either. Our farm pigs are growing out great! Thanks again Dave for letting us have these 4 beauties! They have been moved into the summer Garden area and are turning it over beautifully!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coincidence? I think Not!

The Gremlins are at it again! This time it was funny! I told Ya'll I would be moving cattle today, and while I was on the road our local Animal Control Came by! According to the farm members that were here volunteering at the time, Someone Not local to the Area had called in a complaint that some of the livestock had no shade. The officer was completely satisfied with our shade system and I was told that they had a pretty good chuckle about the whole thing. They have to address every complaint even if they know for sure it is a waste of their valuable time and limited resources. After it was explained to the officer the trouble we've been having they informed us that confidential information always can be subpoenaed and that complaints can be viewed with a written request. COOL HUH! My file just keeps getting thicker.  If small farmers would cooperate with each other rather than waste other peoples time   we could be the change we want.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Working on the websites. Market Day, and friends!

As some of you have already seen, the fellas have been working on the websites! has a whole new look on its home page and the rest of the site will be up soon.
We had a great day at the market. Lots of regulars and some new friends came to see us. It was Angela's birthday so we had a celebration and a lot of fun. George came and went Hunting, he's going to come take some on the hoof photos for you all real soon! ( I can't take the pictures and be in them so he's going to have to help!) The piggies scored big time! Squash and Watermelons, some strawberries and Purslane. Nice treats! Come see us at the Murrieta Certified Farmers Market on Sundays from 9-1. In addition to our grass based meats, you'll find organic veggies, Garlic, Breads, salsa, flowers, and a host of other great things, I'm on a pluot kick right now and can't get enough of them, Yum! Remember Sat 9-10 is share pick up here at the farm and we have some special things going on at the Market next Sun. in honor of 9-11. Until Next time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Farm Member Notification.

The attacks against us are escalating once again and we have had to make some changes to the farm to ensure the safety of our livestock and the people that live here. A new gate has been added across the drive and no animals have access to the exterior fences. Please call for the gate code. The last time that vicious rumors were circulated one of my horses was killed by someone feeding him apples laden with needles and although the authorities are aware of the perpetrator's illicit and illegal activities  they cannot stand guard at our gate. This time around the internet is again the vehicle of choice for the attacks.please report any emails, postings, and or facebook contact relating to me personally, the farm, or any of our associates to the local authorities and I will provide the number and email address for the Federal Agent handling our case to anyone that needs it. This type of activity is considered an act of terrorism and is being treated as such. These people have even resorted to filing false reports with some of the agencies we have to deal with and those reports have been proven fraudulent and of no merit. I will never understand this kind of activity and it is a very scary thing to wake up with people at your gate ready to haul away your LIFE'S WORK because someone posted on Craigslist that animals and farm equipment were free for the taking. One of our pastures was set on fire, and I can't even pick up goodies for Smoke without these people claiming we are doing something heinous. Lucky for us the perpetrator's facebook postings were captured before they were deleted as were their other postings around the internet. I am shocked by the number of farmers and ranchers that are experiencing the same thing and we have formed a group to share information and suggestions about how to deal with these acts of terrorism. In the course of this investigation we even found evidence of other people pitting farmers against each other to break mutually beneficial ties. All of our livestock and pets are fine and so are we. Thank you for your love and continued support. Farm pick up is the morning of the 10th as scheduled.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

History does not lie! This is from "a history of Shelby County Iowa 1915" about my Great Grandfather.

"Poets often tell the truth and the old song which contains the refrain, "The farmer feeds them all," states a very fundamental economic truth. Without the farmer the rest of the country would starve within a week despite the large amount of food in cold storage. Every occupation might be done away with but farming and people could live, but a total cessation of farming for a very short time would actually depopulate the whole world. A man can live without banks all his life, but deprive him of his bread and his career is soon ended. Farming is becoming an honored profession; our district schools are teaching it as a science and our colleges are granting degrees for agricultural courses. The farmers of any community sustain the people dependent on every other profession. Without the farmer the banker would close his doors, the manufacturer would shut down his factory and the railroads would suspend operations. Among the honored men of Shelby county, Iowa, who help to keep the banker, the manufacturer and the railroads is Perry McDowell, of Douglas township."
I hope some day my epitaph reads as well. People forget just how important the farmer/ rancher is to the entire economic structure of the country. These words were true almost 100 years ago and are as valid today as they were then.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I do. Do you?

Now I know that I will likely ruffle some feathers here but..... I'm fed up with all the buzz wordy, make em look good crap floating around the internet about Grass based production.
 If you grow it, Talk about it. If you Live it. Talk about it. If you get it from somewhere else, Give that grower credit where it's due!  (ex; our Berkshire pork comes from the Phillips Family near Santa Rosa, Our Farm pigs came from Big Dave down the road.) If you don’t have video or photo’s of you yourself with the animals you claim to raise, don’t post them. Or if you do, say who they came from and where.(it's really easy to find the originals)
Those of us that really work at farming and ranching, whether it be small or large scale, work darned hard every day.
If you've never raised any cattle or sheep on grassland and worked those herds and flocks, don't you DARE try to tell us how it's done! If the only Quarter Horse you've thrown a leg over is the one in front of the grocery store, and you don't know a Go-bye from a Walk up you have no business judging what you don't practice. If you’ve never had to pull a calf or a lamb, If you claim to never have had to doctor one, and brag about not doing things like castrating,  you’re doing an injustice to the industry and treating your customers like fools.
Farmers and Ranchers don’t get a day off, unless there is someone there capable of taking on any emergency that may arise. Our days usually start about 4am. You put on the coffee, suit up and get to work. A typical day usually involves checking fences, forage conditions, water tanks, livestock health and conditions, and then there are the babies to check, feed the bucket calves and lambs, turn out the oldsters that can’t run the fields and make sure everyone is fat and happy. What if you come across a youngster that got separated from it mother? Or stuck in the brush? How about those lambs that the ewe walked away from 10 miles from home? Or you find the old gal didn’t bag up and her calf is hungry? What are you going to do?
As a grass feeder I work differently than those that run stockyards. That doesn’t make my protocols better, just different. Some folks like grain fed beef. That’s fine. It isn’t my job to judge. It is my job to ensure that my stock live the best life possible prior to slaughter, That they are gaining on living feed and if I have to feed baled hay it is the best available. What they eat is as important as how much. Ruminants convert grasses, forbs, brasiccas etc. into fats and proteins for growth and gain. If they aren’t gaining I’m losing money. Cattle should never finish on hay in my opinion. Live feed converts better and I can see the bloom on those steers. I don’t have dull coats or under developed calves. Why? Because My pastures are healthy and my livestock MOVES. Come spend a day working the pastures with us. How is that forage growing? Does it have enough food value to carry the stock that are on it? When do you have to go to baleage? Is there going to be enough hay to put up to carry through the dry season or winter snows depending on where you live? Do you know what to plant in finishing fields or are you just pulling old bossie off scrub and calling her grass fed beef? There is a lot of science that goes along with raising stock and Stock Sense is a must. Not this Nonsense we see so much today. Grass feeders are closing ranks and sharing knowledge to ensure that the best product possible reaches your table. Grain feeders are paying attention and doing what is necessary to improve conditions. . One of my pet peeves is those folks that raise animals in pens and because they feed hay they think it’s a grass fed and finished animal. NOT! Another is those folks that keep a few ‘pets’ around for folks to see but they never go in to production channels. If you see the same non breeding animals for years and continue to buy meat from that farm you are deluding yourself. Learn about the nutritional requirements of the animals you eat, and if you come across someone selling you grass fed pork or poultry turn around and leave! What prompted me to rant yet again is the fact that I saw an advertisement that used no less than 30 buzz words in 1 paragraph and it just tripped my trigger!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Having a bit of a giggle.

As some of you know My facebook account was compromised a few days ago and I reported it and warned everyone who and what to watch for etc. The funny thing is the perpetrator is now claiming to have been hacked. Too funny for words! I can't stop giggling!
Anyway enough of that! With the opressive heat we've been suffering we are going to adjust our pick up hours for the next few weeks. 8-11am and then from 6-9pm. It was well over 100 today and no one needs to be running around in that! Even the critters park under the misters in the shade and move as little as possible! We're getting ready for the Green Feast and Evan will be here Sunday evening to shoot some video. I still can't figure out how to put pictures on this thing but I sure can give you links until I do! Like us on facebook and you'll get customer pictures, more great recipes and testimonials, educational links and shameless self promotion. Enjoy and stay cool!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We had a BUSY week!

First let me apologize for being tardy about posting to the blog. I've been extremely busy getting ready for a road trip and getting all the livestock where it needs to go so you have meat while I'm away! Add to that Farmers Markets, Caterings, gatherings and Custom pick up, there just aren't enough hours in the day!
We're moving farm pick up back 1 week for September since I figure most of you will head out for the labor day weekend. Share pick up will be on the 10th instead of the 3rd. We will still be here and available but I figured a little flexibility would be good.
We got 4 pigs in from a local grower just for our farm members. Come meet Porchetta, Panchetta, Chops and BACON when you get the chance! We'll be doing some work to both websites tomorrow and the referral list that I have been promising will be on We decided that the site will be tailored more toward members with access to Members only pages, photos and video that will have information I feel is important to members but not necessarily relevant for the general public. Our facebook page MM Livestock Co. has fun anecdotes, quotes, comments and links to other pages of interest, By liking our page you will get notification about most things that we are up to here on the farm, My Primal Journey from Fat to Fit, Recipe Links etc. Thank you for all of the love and continued support and we are Proud to be Your Farmers of choice.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Think Paleo is a Fad? Check this out!

For those of you that know me and wonder why I am so in favor of the paleo lifestyle, here is an interview done by our local abc affiliate in 2009. The difference in me is amazing! And you can get a peek at what we do here and why!
 Remember Ground beef is on special all month long at only $5.00 lb. get your orders in!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to properly store our products.

For the most part this goes without saying, but there are a few things that need clarifying. Meats can be defrosted IN THE REFRIGERATOR and refrozen safely as long as the temperature stays below 40 degrees. If you thaw it any other way DO NOT RE FREEZE!
Eggs should be refrigerated in my opinion. Washing is optional until just prior to use. Our eggs may be fertile as the rooster is in with his hens all of the time. Eggs should be collected daily and put in the fridge. Some people will not agree but that is ok. I don't want my members getting a bad egg or cracking in to a partially formed embryo. You can actually tell how fresh your eggs are without even cracking them! Take a cup of water and put your egg into it. If it lies on the bottom of the cup it is fresh, if it stands up a bit but does not float it's a week or two old. If it floats, its too old to use, throw it out! always crack your eggs individually into a small bowl just to be safe. State law mandates that all eggs sold must be refrigerated. If this is done your eggs will be good for up to 6 weeks.
Cured meats should be kept COLD! especially Nitrate and Nitrite free meats. They do not have the preservatives in them that conventionally cured meats do and will go "off" much more quickly. Even air cured hams and Tessa should be kept refrigerated until use. I recommend dividing cured meats into portion sizes and freezing what you are not going to use in a relatively short period of time. With all of the different dietary lifestyle choices out there I feel it is best to err on the side of caution. I follow a Primal/ Paleo lifestyle and as meats and eggs are a large percentage of my diet, I want them as safe as I can get them without additives. And that good old invention the Refrigerator Freezer is one modern convenience that keeps my food Safe! I have people ask all the time if they can get their meats "fresh" or unfrozen. EVERY  single piece of meat aside from poultry, that is processed further than killing it and cooking it immediately has been frozen at some point. Lambs and hogs are frozen immediately after slaughter to preserve quality, partially thawed for cutting and re-frozen. Beef is held Just above actual freezing temperatures during the aging process, then cut and Frozen. Anyone that tells you that the meats you buy have never been frozen are WRONG. The freezing METHOD is what dictates quality. Flash freezing prevents the formation of ice crystals in the tissues and preserves the quality, freezing in your home freezer allows ice to form in the tissues and degrades the quality of the meat. If you are going to freeze it after you get home, pick it up frozen if you can. You will have a better product that will last in the home freezer not an ice encrusted freezer burned mess! hope this helps!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beef delivery delayed

Beef delivery will be this Friday 8-12. We apologize for the delay! On a positive note, Our Merchant account is now activated and we can accept credit cards! Some of our cattle are being moved down this week to the home pastures and Next week 10 are going to the USDA plant for anyone that would like to tag along. You all need to get your Ground beef orders in ASAP as it is going fast. Bull Burgers or Cow Chubs are the choices. Sausages are being made and I will post a list of what is available later this week. Thank you for all the love and support and remember to check out Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations and Date Night Doins for some stellar recipes! Until Next time. Meg

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pork Chops for a crowd

Ok Summer is coming to a close and those last few get togethers need to be as simple as possible. Here's an EASY one for a crowd.
5lb apples cored and sliced (You can substitute Organic Canned Fuji Apples in their own Juice. 1 #10 can equals 5lbs uncut apples.
15 pork chops
1 cup honey
1/4 Cup Spice rub of choice. We like Bandiola #13
2Cups apple Juice or 1C juice and 1Cbourbon
In a 12" dutch oven Layer apples,pork chops sprinkle spice over each pork chop layer
Pour Honey over top layer (doesn't matter if you end up with chops or apples on top)
Pour liquids of choice over top until within 3/4" of rim of dutch oven. Cover and Bake 3hrs at 325 Checking every 15 min after 2 hrs. until internal temp reaches 145. Remove from heat and let rest 20 min.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Month without stores starts Monday!

I'm ready! Are you? I'm looking forward to it as a matter of fact!
I've loaded up on necessities and the rest will have to wait! The garden is going great guns and the farmers market is calling to me!
  Many of you have been around for a while now and have watched me shrink! I'm very proud of that and really owe a lot of my success to my friends Erika and George for all the support. I adopted the paleo lifestyle a little over a year ago and never looked back. It fits with my philosophy about raising livestock.
  Back in the day (some not too long ago) we supplemented with grains to get that bloom on our show stock. Now, with management and selection, we have winners in the show pen that have never tasted grain. Imagine that! Fit healthy stock that appeals to both the eye and the palate without Corn, Soy, wheat or Oats. No fillers, no Funky Foods. Amazing right? Wrong! It's the way we always should do it! Naturally and carefully, paying attention to rate of gain, Pasture nutrition, exercise, and body condition scores. If they eat what they are designed to eat, shouldn't we do the same? Yes! What do you think? What did the meat You are eating eat? Do you Know? Have you asked? What about the animals that supplies the milk you drink? I think it is VITALLY important to know these answers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wood fire BBQ Goat recipe

This recipe is for larger groups of 10 or more people. You can adjust it down and just stuff a leg for the family!
1 Whole goat kid dressed (25lb or so)
5lb whole apples cored
10lb Yams or Sweet Potatoes quartered
3lb onion Diced
20 whole garlic cloves
Spice rub of choice (We Like Bandiola #13 or Pete's Firehouse Bold)
Stuff the apples, Sweet potatoes, onions and garlic into the cavity of the goat,
Rub the entire outside with your favorite Spices, Wrap Rib area of the goat in Foil Place on Center of BBq grill and let cook 3-5 hours Turning goat every hour.
Remove from grill and let rest 20 min remove foil and slice meat from shoulders and legs. Let your gurasts fight it out for the ribs and backstrap! DEEEEELICIOUS!

Friday, July 22, 2011

To be PC or Not PC.

Well that IS a question! In the interest of transparency and keeping folks connected to the agricultultural process we have decided to drop our political correctness. In order for you to enjoy that Grass Fed and Finished Steak or Lamb Chop, Killer Bacon or bird an animal must give up its life. Dr. T said it very clearly, "We Harvest and Process Crops, We Slaughter animals". Another friend said that the words Harvest and Process sounded more Factory than the actual Kill and cut. Ok Ya'll win! If the USDA uses the term slaughter, and the custom guy calls it a Kill then we're goin' to quit candy coating things. I always thought that the term Harvest clouded the facts but went along with it because thats what everyone wanted to hear and the image of the bucolic setting is more appealing than the fact that we go out in the field and put a bullet in that steers brain to bring dinner to your table. My friend Meg Brown caught some heat for showing photos of a Field Kill on her blog and It wasn't from consumers! Cargill opened their Slaughter Facility to Oprah and the industry actually benefitted from the experience. I rant and rave all the time about transparency, yet sit right here and candy coat the facts. No more my friends! It is what it is and you NEED to know where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate.
On that note, Our next Field Kill will be in about 3 weeks weather permitting and anyone that wants to attend is welcome. Email me or message via facebook for date, time and directions. Cameras are encouraged. We will not be killing if the temperature is above 80 degrees so it will be EARLY in the day. Animals slaughtered in high teperatures are under undue stress and this has a negative impact on the carcass and the quality of the meat that comes from that animal. If you've ever experienced meat from a 'dark cutter" or PSE pork you know all too well what stress can do to an animal. Many of us don't kill during the extreme heat of summer for just this reason. Cattle, Sheep and especially hogs are very sensitive to heat and literally stop gaining. They spend that energy staying cool. Cattle and sheep will "brush up" during the day, finding shade and conserving energy, Pigs like a shady mud hole. Hauling any livestock in high temperatures is a hazard and we personally move everything at night or before 8am to keep the stress levels low. If animals have to be transported long distances the potential for trouble multiplies exponentially. This is another reason that we don't raise hogs commercially here. Mr Phillips does a better job than we could ever hope to do and is only 30 miles from the USDA kill plant. for us it's a 300 mile haul. Remember to ask your farmer or rancher who does their work for them. If the slaughter facility is more than an hour away ask how EXACTLY the transport is done. 90 percent of custom butchers come directly to the farm or ranch to dispatch that animal. If it is "processed" more than 100 miles from the place it was supposed to be raised ask why and make sure that the answer is truthful. We are lucky to be able to lease grazing lands close to us, some others aren't so lucky and their stock ranges far from their home location. This is not a bad thing at all, but that farmer or rancher needs to tell you where and how your meat was raised. Another thing to consider is the FACT that all grass based meats are NOT created equal, but that's a rant best left for another day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bacon Jam as Promised!

Here's the recipe for Bacon Jam adapted from"dinner with Julie"
1lb bacon
1 med onion
5cloves garlic
1C crushed pineapple (fresh or canned in is own juice)
1/2 C brewed coffee
1/4 C maple syrup
1T balsamic vinegar (optional)
1T whole grain mustard (optional)
Roughly chop bacon and cook in heavy pot until browned
remove bacon from pt and set aside
remove all but 1C bacon drippings and save for later!
chop onions and garlic saute in bacon fat until translucent, return bacon to the pot and add all other ingredients, simmer oer med. low heat until thickend about 30 min.
remove from heat allow to cool slightly and enjoy! This jam is great hot or cold.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's get this Party Started!

Ok how do you guys feel about the 3rd Saturday in August for our Farm Night? Everyone seems to have chosen July for Vacation Month! Chicken Keeping, Curing, Barrel Gardens, and best of all BBQ! Bring a friend and introduce them to the Farm Family! I will post the costs for each class if you are going to be taking your "projects" home with you. Otherwise it's a free night of fun! Bring a side dish to share and the recipe!

Prep list for August Month Without Stores

Here is a short list of the things you may need next month that you can't get at a Local Farmer's Market, Farm, produce stand or CSA. I'm sure I've missed some so feel free to add on anything you think shold be here.
Paper Products
Spices (Bandiola spice ships and is one of my favorites, so does Real Salt)
Soft Drinks (IF YOU MUST)
Coffee(I know I need it!)
Dry goods (For those non Paleo peeps Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder)
For the Paleo Peeps Coconut oil, Coconut milk, nut flours, olive oil,
Stable Dairy and Cooking Fats butter, lard, Cheeses,  both hard and soft if you use them.
cleaning products, cooking aids like foil and plastic wrap, freezer bags etc.
If you use milk and don't have a dairy or farmers market that offers milk near by Milk can be frozen and you just need to shake it up well when you defrost it.
Veggies and fruits are always available at the farmers markets and man also have honey, meats, and other wonderful things. Get Creative! and remember to put those dollars that you save away and see just how much you have at the ensd of the month. You are going to be AMAZED!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wow! Thats a Lot of Beef!

Here are the weights for this "harvest". (Dr. T. says that I should quit being so P.C. and call it what it is but I know that some of you are sensitive.)
Beef Steers for cuts. Hot hanging weight. 917, 955, and 927lbs respectively.
all 3 graded at choice plus! Whoo Hoo! Yield Grade 2, again WHoo Hoo! that is GREAT for Summer grass fed and finished beef! Each of these 3 should yield roughly 600lb finished cuts per carcass. Remember you MUST let me know if you want trim and or bones as these are not included in your share price and are first come first serve.
Cull cows for ground beef and sausage 1500, 1200, 1171, and 1210 respectively. Conservatively thats 2500lbs of ground beef. We have decided that we are going to offer sausages as well out of these culls just for fun, you MUST pre order or it won't get made. Bulk(uncased) is a dollar more a lb and cased add another 50 cents a pound. Dried and smoked sausages add another buck a pound.
All Raw sausage can be put up in bulk form or links:
Italian, Sweet, hot, or mild
Breakfast blend
Jalapeno Cheddar
Garlic, Onion
Mushroom, Onion
Cured and or Dried: LINK ONLY
Ring Bologna
All Sausages are Nitrate and Nitrite free with no Gluten or extenders.
Please get your orders in ASAP,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grass Fed Ground Beef Special For August.

We are culling this week and will be harvesting 4 head for ground beef. After 30 months of age cattle are not able to be federally inspected for anything other than ground beef and we stick to that with the custom harevested animals as well. Each animal will be processed individually so that there is no mixing. We will have 2 different grinds(standard and course) and patties done. We will still dry age 21 days prior to processing to ensure consistant flavor. Those of you that were lucky enough to get in on Henry burgers will be just as pleased with with this years culls. We are going to offer this in bulk orders of 10lb or more. Individually wrapped in one pound units. The burgers will be 3 or 4 to a package. $5.00 per lb. your choice. Ian is working on some beef sausage recipes too! This is a great way to introduce your family and friends to grass fed beef at an affordable price point. Get your orders in early as this is an extremely limited offering.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can you say HOT!

Man, Has it been a hot one! We've put up more misters and adjusted our work schedule so we don't end up with heat stroke! We're looking at the last Sat. in July for Farm Night. I'm thinking we should start around 6 and go for it! We decided to set up stations and that way you can move from demo to demo as you choose.  Big Mo the new Ram Lamb is adjusting well to his new Harem. Dorper Crosses this Fall! Randy needs some time off! My Sis is sending over some VERY NICE Dorper cross ewe lambs so the farm flock is slowly shifting to hair sheep. We'll still bring home girls from the commercial flock but I really like the Dorper cross and am going to stick with it here at home.
 More of the Cattle will be moving back down to the Winchester Pastures this next week and most have calves along side. It's going to take a couple of long nights to get them moved without stressing them. I wish the weather was better! but we have to rotate them and KEEP those pastures healthy. We've found a great alternative to alfalfa to plant in the finishing pastures this fall (I'm Just paranoid about the GM Alfalfa) and the pasture that burned last year is coming back really nicely.
MONTH WITHOUT STORES PARTICIPANTS> post your findings here and on FB! I got a Grip load of Zucchini coming on so we'll be dehydrating and canning this month. Tomatos are ripening and the peppers are ready to go. Onions and Garlic are ready to harvest and Sergio has lots of fruit for us! EVOO from Petrou Foods is available by the half gallon and he has infused oils and some great Olives as well. Bandiola Spice is sending us some samples and we will have our own CLEAN rubs and seasoning mixes soon! YAY US! If you're out an about today stop by RIB FEST at EUHS and sample some great food! after all it is International Day of Bacon and Ribs! We aren't competing but stop in and show our friends some love! Have a Great Weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paleo Fried Green Tomatoes!

Fried Green Tomatoes are one of my favorite summer treats! My garden is FULL of different heirloom tomatoes so I'm picking some early for this kickin' side dish. Try it next to a Grass fed Sirloin Steak or along side some of our Jalapeno Brats. YUM!
4 large green tomatoes
1c almond flour
2 eggs
Real Salt(tm) and pepperr to taste
Coconut oil for frying (or bacon drippings if you have them!)
heat oil to 350 in a heavy bottom frying pan (cast iron is best but use what you have)
While the oil is heating:
slice tomatoes about 1/4" thick
dip in beaten egg
coat with almond flour
fry for about 1min per side until coating is crispy
drain add salt and pepper to taste.
top with home made mayo or guacamole and chow down!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Matambre Recipe Rolled and stuffed Flank or Round Steak

Ever wondered what to do with Grass Fed and Finished Flank Steak Or Round Steak? Here is one of my favorites from South America.
Prep time 20 min.
total time 2hrs or all day in a slow cooker.
1 1/2lb Flank or Round Steak
Juice of 1 lime
2tablespoons Purslane or fresh herb of choice.
1 teaspoon Real Salt(tm)
fresh ground black pepper to taste.
2 cloves garlic  (minced)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes(optional, I use 1 fresh Serrano Pepper)
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan or Aged Goat Cheese(Optional, sheep and goat cheese are allowed on Paleo Plans)
2 carrots
1/2 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup large pitted green olives (optional)
3 Hard Boiled eggs
2 cups red wine or beef broth
Place steak on a cutting board and butterfly. WITH THE GRAIN OF THE MEAT
squeeze lime juice over steak and sprinkle salt , pepper, red pepper flakes, herbs and minced garlic on steak. Pound until flattened and an even thickness.
lay spinach leaves over the meat leaving a 1-2"border uncovered on the long side of the meat.
Sprinkle cheese over spinach(if desired)
Peel carrots and slice into quarters lengthwise lay them on top of the spinach lengthwise in the same direction as the fibres of the meat. cut the peppers into strips and lay on top of the spinach.
Cut eggs into quarters and distribute over the spinach, add olives(optional)
carefully roll up the steak with the vegetables inside long side to long side. Secure with picks or tie with kitchen twine.
Season outside with salt and pepper.
Brown roll on all sides in a stockpot, add 2 cups red wine and or beef broth to cover the meat. Simmer gently until fork tender. Drain and cool then slice crosswise into slices and serve.
serves 4-6

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer, how safe is YOUR WATER?

Man! Summer is here with a vengeance! It's supposed to be over 100 for the next few days so we're getting the misters up in a hurry! The poultry runs need them and some extensions need to go up for the sheep, goats and horses here at the home place. Shades went up last week and everyone seems to be handling the heat ok. If the temperature varies slowly the can adjust, but when it's 70 one day and 100+ two days later you're asking for problems. I can tell already that this season is going to be a HOT one. The BC's are already diving for the water tank by 10a.m. There really is something endearing about black and white heads sticking out of a tank while you are sweating like crazy. The cattle have plenty of shade and a nice creek to cool off in so no worries there. We're watering at night to save energy and water but the sheep pasture is already showing signs of an early dry out. More sweat hoses are the answer, I hope!
We are lucky to have deep well water here and it tested 85 out of 100 this year which is FANTASTIC when you compare it to our city water which scores 50 out of 100. Some areas have an even worse water supply  than that with things like Cryptospiridium and elevated fluoride levels. Some city water supplies even have warnings that the elderly, children and people with supressed immune systems shouldn't drink the water. YIKES! 30 years ago we never would have thought to ask about water quality. Now it is as important as what we are feeding, if not more so. If there is excessive arsenic or Fluoride in the water supply for example, the plants carry some level of it, the animals that eat the plants and drink the water are carrying some of it, and the consumer that eats the plants and the animals are getting some pretty high levels of it. Check your water supply and see how good or bad it really is. Ask your farmer where their water comes from. If it is municipal water, look up the data. If it is a well ask when it was tested and if there was an EPA rating given. Agricultural Wells have to be tested every 3 years so your farmer should know their water quality and be taking the appropriate measures to ensure that it is safe.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Challenge Prep Update

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been crazy busy. We've got the new CSA options lined out and they should be up on the site by the first of the week. Saturdays are pickup days and the fella's will be bringing selections of Certified Organic Fruits and Veggies that we don't have in the U-pick garden. I'm also getting ready for August!
The Challenge is going to be fun and a little tough. Breaking the habit of going out for coffee every morning is going to be my biggest challenge! This week I got dish soap, laundry soap, and dog food in bulk to carry me through. All you locals email me and I will ge you connected with the dog food company I use and we can save even more by buying in larger quantities. Lamb or chicken and rice formula no corn wheat or soy. I use the lamb and rice formula because BC's can have allergies.
 Remember that I'm going to be out of Country From the 25th to the 1st. J will be handling things during that time. BE GENTLE!
Lamb and Beef share pickup July 2.
I will be sending out the newsletter soon with links to some of our members sites. Recipes, Natural Healing, Gardening etc. What a great group we have and its still growing! Watch for the Summer Educational Series classes. We have some great speakers lined up and 3 can't miss workshops!
Green Feast tickets are available on The Ecology Center's website. Check out what Evan and his group are doing! Great stuff!
Until next time.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wish I had Thought of That!

Thank you to whomever thought to put up signs on 79S! What a great idea! I've had several calls today and sold one of the steers that is not going to make it to the size we want for USDA Inspected Beef! What a time saver! Not to mention a great outlet for the steers that are on the smaller side. Thank you so much! It couldn't have come at a better time. We're going to follow your lead and put a banner up on the Semi Trailer so it can be seen from the 15 Freeway. Let me know whose idea it was, I have a thank you box for you! I love this kind of member support, it shows how much you value us and want to help us succeed. Pork pickup is Saturday and Serge will be here with some of his Organic Veggies. Billy is manning the smoker this weekend and I'm working on a bread person. See you then!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Preparing for the Challenge

Ok heres what I have done so far. Seventh Generation has a huge sale on TP and Paper towels so I got 2 cases of each. I also got a couple of gallons of vinegar as this makes a great cleaner! We drink a LOT of juice so while citrus is in season I got several bushels and juiced it, put it in freezer containers and froze it for use in August.(my orange juice is costing me about $4.00 a gallon vs store bought pasturized junk at $5.00 a quart). I zested all the peels as well and stored some in Olive oil and dried the rest. Each week I'm picking up some of the produce that is left at the end of the Farmers Market and dehydrating it for later use. Carrots, Beets, Onions, Garlic, Squash, even leafy greens dehydrate beautifully and can be added to recipes to boost the nutrition. Our Garden is growing well and we will be able to get all of our fresh vegetables from it and the 2 organic farms that are producing members. I'm making up some window/container gardens for members to help them get through the store free month. We're making Jerky this week just for fun and smoking hams and bacon. I'm dehydrating all of the trim for dog food too! You have to think of your pets during this time too, remember No Running to *** mart! Check out feed stores this month. Pet foods are usually less expensive and higher quality than what you can get in a store. You can even get Certified Organic grains in 50lb bags and grind your own flours! The saving on flour alone is HUGE! Oatmeal lovers-- 50lb of Certified Organic Rolled oats will run you about $15.00. Compare that to a pound of oatmeal and you'll quickly get the point.
until next time

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Reducing Our Footprint and new Producing members!

We have been able to reduce our miles travelled each week by 100 miles! Sergio who runs a certified organic farm near Corona is going to be supplying us with wonderful fruits and veggies that we aren't growing and best of all they are Certified Organic. What a Plus! Grapefruit (rare Shabar Ruby), avocados(5 varieties), carob,figs, green garlic,loquat,mulberry, peach, pear(asian, bartlett) plums, heirloom tomatoes, pomelos, all will be coming on beginning this week! Our U-pick is going great guns and should be ready to start harvesting mid June, peppers, chiles, beans, greens, oranges, herbs and more! The best news is as soon as Sergio gets the ok we're putting in Poultry at his farm! The tractors will move through the orchards and gardens so real deal Certified Organic Poultry is coming this fall! whoo hoo! skip,shout, and dance of Joy! 
Grass Finished Beef harvest this week if anyone wants to come out and pigs are getting BIG! The Red Wattles are at Sam's until they get a little bigger and then they'll move over here to their new digs. True Heritage Pork from Verified Parentage. This is exciting stuff for us. Purebred Source Verified Berkshires from Phil will remain a staple as well as the Duroc pork. Pastured is Best!
The next round of lambs will be ready for harvest early July but we have enough to carry through until then. The commercial Flocks will be moving down from the canyon mid June. Don't forget the Goat Management class next week, only 3 spots left! Chicken Keeping workshop is tentatively sheduled for the Second Saturday in July, Dr. Mark will be here to give detailed instruction in management, handling, housing and harvesting. This is a FREE workshop, however if you want to take home a small coop for your own back yard we ask that you cover the cost of materials. I will send the list to those interested in participating.
Sustainer(tm) Update!
With your generous support we have been able to purchase a poultry plucker,scalder,cones and processing equipment. As soon as the harvest trailer is completed (and inspected)we will be able to process poultry right here at the home farm and take it to Sergio's when the birds are ready there.
Before I forget, I want to thank Linda and Kathy for giving me so much insight into the Truth about the Weston A Price Foundation. I was a card carrying sceptic until these great gals gave me all the facts. This is an organization I can support without reservation. Thank you ladies for taking the time to educate an old stick in the mud! When you said that I was already in line with your tenents I didn't realize just how in line I was! Great to find a large number of like minded people committed to Clean food and Health. And I'm Glad you liked the steaks too! Thanks again and Welcome Aboard!
Time to move the Farm Flock, Until Next time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Very exciting development!

There is now a DNA test available for freezer beef. As producers we have had to DNA test our breeding animals for several years, as well as test for pathogens and disease. Now for a very reasonable fee our beef can actually be traced via DNA for added security and source verification. This is going to be a benefit to grass fed producers like us because it removes any shred of doubt as to the origin of the meat people are buying. I'm in!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Farm Members That Grew Up Farming.

I love it when that happens! One of our farm members is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and when she came to pick up her beef share I learned that she used to raise goats. She gave me lots of great tips on our breeding program and I'm definitely goung to take her suggestions, so if anyone needs a La Mancha goat or two I have a couple available! She also gave me some insight into what I can do to make some improvements in the Poultry dept. as well. I really enjoy it when people come here and "get it" and it's nice to be able to exchange ideas with those in the know.  she's even going to come up and help move cows.Thanks Shannyn!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Now Here's A Challenge For You!

I know that many of you have heard about the Month Without Monsanto Challenge, well we've decided to offer up a challenge of our own. A Month of Sustainability! Now we are going to be fair and give you until August 1st to prepare. We are asking our members, friends and anyone else that wants to participate to dedicate the month of August to going Store Free! At the end of the month tally up what you did not spend at fast food joints, coffee houses, convenience stores and grocery stores and donate a portion of the savings to a Sustainable Charity or NPO.
For that month shop exclusively at farmers markets, directly from small local farms, and maybe even sign up for a trial membership in a CSA. Tell us what you did and the best example wins a 25lb sampler and a 1 year farm membership.
A friend of mine did this and was floored by the fact that she saved almost $500.00 in household expenses. The way that she prepared for her Store Free Month was to stock up on essentials like hygiene products and staples. (Just think of what else you grab running to the store for Toilet Paper!)She joined a CSA and purchased all of her meat farm direct. We are lucky to have a dairy near by and she went there for her milk and cream, churned her own butter, and put every dime that she would have spent running to the store or fast food in a jar, at the end of the month her total savings was $492.75.
I know that I spend $5.00 or more a day just on Coffee drinks! (just adding up the cups I throw away is going to be staggering.)
She says that the first week was tough but by the end of the month she was into the routine and can now go right past the convenience store and get just what she needs at the Supermarket without the impulse buys and still have money in the household budget at  the end of the month> she is donating a portion of her savings each month to Heifer International and The Weston A Price Foundation<  Email me and I will send you information about trusted farms and CSA's in your area or contact your local Weston A Price Foundation Chapter and they can direct you to sources for Clean Food close to you. The Eatwell Guide and Slow Food International are also good sources for information.
I will post my preparation for A Month of Sustainability as I purchase so you can get some ideas. Post yours too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

YUK! It's still raining!

It's raining again and I'm slip sliding around the place! Tommy brought a load of gravel for the driveway so hopefully the pothole will stay gone this time. Pork and beef shares are ready for Saturday pick up, Chickens arrive Friday and yes all you dog lovers the feet and heads will be in bags in the offal chest first come first serve.Chris usually gets them early so watch for the bumble bee! The garden is finally looking like a garden! the corn is Knee high and the beans and squash are up. Some of the tomatoes are blooming YAY! and the salad bowls are getting full. Watermelon and Cantaloupe went in today as well as more garlic and onion sets. We had a wild swarm of bees take up residence in the Oak tree by the road and thank goodness they are gentle bees! Mr Bayless brought us a skep and they moved right in. The hops I planted should keep them happy until more veggies start to flower. The lady next door has a beautiful flower garden so they will find plenty to do.
Cricket helped move sheep yesterday and 4 pups get on a plane Friday Morning. That Just leaves Monkey and Soot to find homes. Iris went to live with Jaimie and the goats (translate to in the house with Joe) Grace is in fine form and as fearless as ever, I hope Cricket comes on like her mama! Flit is Definitely destined to be a sheep dog as she has no desire to even look at a cow, Uncle Tweed has corrupted her! Wallace is on the disabled list for a week o so due to his much needed surgery.(he got neutered)
Shadow is doing really well and this seasons Farm Flock lamb crop is about weaned off. They will be ready to go at Christmas time so reserve them early. Emma, Claire, and Lisa will be home from their lawn mowing duties tomorrow so mom's don't forget Emma's pop tarts!
 Miss Mary's piggies arrive Monday so there will be a family of Red Wattle hogs in the land yacht. No pork from  them for about a year as they are just young shoats and will be breeders. Thank goodness for Phil or we wouldn't have pork to offer. The front pasture is starting to green up so that the bucket calf can come home and you all can wach him become beef! Ah the dogs are barking better go see what's up. Until Next time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Get Ready for the Green Feast!

When? Sept. 10,2011
Where? The Ecology Center San Juan Capistrano
This is a great event that benefits The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. They hold workshops on sustainability and do all kinds of great things! They do a field to fork dinner once a year and it is a BLAST! Great food, great fun, great drink, and you get to meet the farmers and the chefs. As Evan fleshes out the details I will let you know what is going to be served and the cost for tickets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Cuts

One of our members called and asked for more information on pork shares so I called Phil to get the actual yield based on 250lb live weight. The cut list is very basic and yield will change depending on specific cuts, for example, if you want a crown roast then you get no ribs, a Porchetta will do away with the bacon etc. So here goes...
Live wt of 250lb yields about 73.6% or roughly a 184lb carcass. (Much bigger than this and it is likely to be an older animal and will be tough. Most hogs are harvested between 7-9 months of age) total yield 140lb pork 44lb skin, fat, and bone.
Hams(Hind Leg) 45lb 24% of carcass;
27.8lb cured or fresh ham, 5.8lb trim, 11.4lb skin,fat, and bone (trim is what is made into sausage and or ground pork)
Side(belly) 34.9lb 19% of carcass
19lb bacon or fresh belly, 5.8lb spare ribs, 9.1lb trim 1lb fat
Loin 33.8lb 18%of carcass
3.2lb back ribs, 10.7lb boneless loin, 7.6lb country style ribs, 5.7lb loin roast, 1.6lb tenderloin, 1.6lb trim, 3.4lb fat and bone.
Picnic 16.6lb 19% of carcass
12.2lb boneless picnic, 4lb skin fat and bone.
Boston Butt (Shoulder) 14.7lb 8%of carcass
4.4lb blade steaks, 7.8lb blade roast, 1.7lb trim, .8lb fat
Misc. 39.2lb 22%of carcass
15.4lb jowl,trotters, neck bones etc. 22lb skin,fat, bone, 1.8lb shrinkage and misc loss.

To clarify a little bit, we usually leave the skin on the hams, and NEVER factor bones or trotters into your take home weight. If you want the neck bones, tail, head, leaf fat etc. just ask and if it isn't already spoken for its yours! I feel that it is improper to ask someone to pay for what is usually considered loss. I had one member comment that she received soup bones as part of a CSA purchase elsewhere and was horrified that someone would expect her to pay the same price for them as she would expect to pay for a pound of ground meat. We add those things in as extras. Offal is the same way with the exception of liver at the Farmers Market.  Duroc Pork Shares are $5.00lb and Berkshire Pork Shares are $8.00lb and the price is for Member Farm Pick Up Only. Shipping is not included in the Farm Member price and must be calculated seperately.
Call or e-mail for per piece prices please.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lamb, Trails, and tribulations...........

Due to a HUGE mix up I have 5 lambs available. Betsy requiring a heart lung transplant and communication breakdowns caused the cancellation of half of a lamb sale. If anyone is interested let me know or off to Dixon they go! I'll be shipping them next week for USDA processing and they should yield about 60 lbs each. These are the BIG range lambs. Cheryl has some Khatadins ready for those of you that prefer the flavor they'll be about 20lbs smaller a finish. The dorper crosses here at the farm will be ready for Christmas. Shadow in doing great and is finally in with the other lambs. He's still a daddys boy and comes begging whenever J goes outside. You watch I'm going to end up with another mascot around here. Dawg is bad enough! Beef shares pick up on Friday this week because I'm going to a Team Sorting on Saturday or you can arrange to pick up on Sunday at the Farmers Mkt.
Robert is finally on his way to Belize and what they are doing down there sounds VERY exciting. I wish I could go even if just for a little while.
All in all things are good here at the home place, the heirloom corn is up and the tomatoes and ground cherries are leafing out. Critters attacked the runner beans but the bush beans and long beans seem ok. The Medicine Wheel Garden is shaping up and many of the herbs are taking off. Lambs and goats are growing like weeds! Louie went home with Diane today and Iris is going tobe Jamies new goat tender. That just leaves 3 of the cur pups and they can stay until we see if they really want to work.
 Come by and see what we're doing. Jody has re-designed everything from the entryway to the lock-n-load room. I think she thinks we're all super human or something!
Thanks again to all of you that sponsored us on the ride for diabetes this last weekend. It was a lot of fun for the riders and the party afterwards was a hoot! Don't forget the breast Cancer ride in Oct. Sustaining Members get free concert tickets and VIP seats for the ranch rodeo. Wishbone will be back this year with new material and some old favorites.
Please Don't forget to plan for the end of June. J will be handling things by himself for the first time and I'm hoping to have everything lined out for him, but we know how that goes don't we? I need to be 3 people! Anyone want to barter some office time?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Please note

This blog is primarily to let Farm members know what is happening here at the farm and other information that I feel is fun, useful, or pertinent. I am glad that other people find the information useful, and comments are encouraged. However, Following will only be allowed for members or those people that email and ask permission to do so. All comments are moderated and no improper comments will be posted. You are free to disagree with my positions but you must do so in an appropriate manner. That being said, enjoy this blog and come visit the farm on a Saturday morning. You can interact with the farm animals and farm members can pick up their orders on that day. Pick-up can also be arranged for other days but please remember that this is a working farm and we cannot always accommodate your schedule. Beef share pick up is this Sat 9-1, lamb and Pork shares next week. Get your chicken orders in for June as the May harvest is sold out unless you want to harvest your own. See you soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

We are at the Farmers Market Today 9-1 Homespun Gifts has Bacon Chili Brittle today. Amazing Stuff! We have beef lamb and Chickens. Angela is here with her beautiful flowers. Tony has the first Zucchini of the season. Stop in for your last minute holiday needs!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Have a great Easter everyone! We are actually going to take half a day and go to Church and then to have brunch at THE LANDING ZONE. Jim puts out a great spread and his BBQ is TO DIE FOR! The Fried Pies are Crazy Good to.
Everyone has their orders for tomorrow and a little rest will be nice. All the pups went out wit the sheep this morning and I took some good pictures of them with the girls. I will post them on Facebook for anyone that wants to see them.
 Pork Pick up is next Saturday along with CSA and Pantry Pick up.
The Bottle lamb is going to visit a Nursing home this afternoon and we may let Ping tag along. It just isn't the same without Charm to go with us. I know it's silly but I still miss her almost a year later. She was my travelling buddy for 18 years! (Tweed said to say thanks for the treats AMY. The Duck Jerky was DEEElicious!) And Allen I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new crook! Thank you for making it for me, the balance is perfect and the the scrimshaw work you did is beautiful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For the Holiday

Dont' forget! Orders have to be in by this evening for pick up Thursday or Sunday. Regular share pickup is Sat 9-1.
Yesterday J helped harvest a lamb for some folks down south. Ask to see the pictures at Pick up! The road trip has been put off until tomorrow and there is room for 2 in the truck. We're going to stop at the OK Corral on our way back and pester Doug for a bit. Ostrich Eggs will b available for those who want them. $15 each. Remember these eggs are the same as cooking 2 dozen large chicken eggs. I will never forget my nephew Anthony's face the first time he saw one. Are they from a Dinosaur? Almost!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

For Tomorrow

Remember that tomorrow at the market is Easter Order Day! Place your order tomorrow and pick up Fresh Lamb and Turkey, Flash Frozen Roasts and Hams on Thursday. Paul is going to let us use his patio at the Java Cafe for pick up. Order forms will be at the Murrieta Farmers Market Tomorrow. All orders are pre-pay and Members, dont' forget to put "myEgg" on your order form for your Easter surprize! We are hauling lambs up to the high desert on Tuesday for Custom Harvest and there is room in the truck for 3 people to come along. I will also be dropping off a small flock to a friend for weed abatement and she makes the best peach tea ever! Dont forgrt the Grazing Class in May! $15.00 per person to cover lunch and refreshments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hoof Trimming

Nicole is here today to trim the Boer Billy's hooves. He grows a lot of hoof and has to be trimmed regularly just like a horse. Our Ground isn't hard enough to keep his Nebraska Born fee worn down. The 3 Does do just fine. Leave it to Bill E. Goat to need the extra attention. He's geting a bath and beard trim too! Billy's STINK unless you stay right on top of their hygeine. He is a former show Buck so likes the attention. We will have Chevon available in about 90 days and 2 of his kids will be going on the show circuit this fall.
Shadow the bottle lamb is off the bottle now and eating like a big boy. He will join the other farm lambs (or they will join him?) as their mothers wean them. He is next to the big sheep so they all know him and won't hurt him at integration time. He still follows J around like a puppy and loves the attention from visitors. his big bother Oliver spent last weekend ant th fair at Diamond Valley Lake working as a 'Farm Ambassador'. Jaimie had sheep, goats, steers, poultry and cavies in the livestock area showcasing what the "Youth in Agriculture" are doing in the community.
Herman is setting tour dates for the Dairy so anyone that wants to go let me know and we will set something up. Next week 6+ lambs are going up the hill for custom harvest if anyone wants to tag along. Another bunch wil be dropped of for abatement work so two phases of our operation can be seen in one trip.

Monday, April 11, 2011

No USDA Mobile Slaughter In Our Area

I've gotten several odd calls in the last few weeks so I thought that I would answer the questions here. The most repeated question was Do you have on site USDA Harvest? The answer is NO. There is no Mobile USDA Slaughter plant that comes any furter south than the Central Valley. We have to haul our steers to Pico Rivera for Harvest. Lambs go to Dixon and Pork is raised on our sister farm except for exempt hogs. Its just too far to haul a pig for harvest. Long trailer and Lairage times cause undue stress on the animal and they can even die in transit if they get too upset. Heritage Breed are especially delicate when it comes to transporting and shouldn't be subjected to long hauls if at all possible. Another question was,
 "What Heritage Breeds do you raise?" Belted Galloway cattle, Tunis and Khatadin Sheep, Kiku Goats, Jersey Giant, Buff Orpington, and Wyandotte Chickens, Mulefoot, Glochestershire Old Spot, and Red Wattle Hogs, and Standard Bronze Turkeys. I giggle when I see people list cross bred pigs as HERITAGE BREEDS. Ummm, They have to be a recognized breed, not a cross. Same for any animal. Cross breds don't count. Now Cross breeding is good for improving vigor and sometimes improves grass conversion in the case of ruminants but its no longer a breed. Do some research in to what breeds are recognized in this country, some heritage breeds never made it across the pond.
Another question was "How come your beef is marbled if it is grass fed and finished?" the operative word here is FINISH. It takes up to a year longer to get grass fed beef to finish. They need to be gaining as the approach harvest readiness and the feed that they consume needs to be higher in nutrition than your typical range grass. Come see us and we'll set a time to visit the finishing pastures so that you can see the differences and gain a new appreciation for truly Grass Finished beef. We are hosting a grazing workshop in May. Please plan to attend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stewing Hens and Roosters

Kimmy is culling her flock and we will have Stewing Hens and Roosters next week. Only $2.25 lb. These birds are great for soups, stews, curries, and of course Coq au Vin! Love those old birds slow cooked in red wine! Our egg layers are coming on strong. The little hens are laying about a dozen a day and we got our first brown eggs last week.
The Mulefoot hogs will ship in next week too. They are going to be fun for folks to see. Red Wattles are finally on there way from Texas next month. The front pasture has been planted so now all we have to do is wait. Come by Saturday and say hi an be sure to shoot me an email at to reserve your stewing birds. I will post some recipes later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Raining Again

I know we need the rain but I just wish that it would obey the Camelot theory, "The rain cannot begin until after sunset and by 10 am the sulight must appear". Hey a girl can wish right? It sure is good for the garden and the pastures though. Filleree is usually burned off by now but this year it is still thick. The one drawback that I am seeing is the rampant growth of foxtail. As long as it is eaten off while green it is a good feed source, but once it starts to dry out it becomes a hazard. The heads get stuck in fleece, gums, eyes etc. and can cause all kinds of havoc. It hasn't been a problem until this year with all the warm days in between rains. We are going to have to bring some of the commercial sheep over this next week to clear down the pastures so we won't have to plow them under. If you see a big group of woolies out in the open field stop and say hi to Sammy or Juan. 4 of the Cur pups will be going out to be "BIG FLOCK" dogs so we  get to see them mature first hand. I'm looking forward to comparing Cricket to the pups that are with sheep 24-7.

Remember Beef Share pick up is this Saturday. I'm going to be gone on for a speaking engagement the last week of June so Jason wil be handling pick up. If you could get your orders in early that would be a big help. The last Day to order special cuts for Easter is April 12, any later than that we cannot guarantee that you order will be ready or the holiday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

CLA Content In Grassfed Beef Varies With The Forage Grazed

CLEMSON, South Carolina:
Research a Clemson University into grassfed beef has found that the legume species alfalfa and cowpea (black-eyed pea) both increase the daily gain, dresing pecentage, tenderness and consumer acceptability of grassfed beef.
However finishing catle on warm-season bermudagrass and pearl millet produces a greater percentage of CLA, a potent anti-carcinogen.
Apparently various forages have the ability to alter the concentrations of important fatty acids in the muscle tissue. The Clemson researchers said that forage-finished beef has similar tenderness and palatability to grain-finished beef but contains greater concentrations of desirable fatty acids and antioxidants for human health. (copyrited material reprinted with permission of the author.) Pretty wonderful findings if you ask me! Many people think that grassfat beef is tough, devoid of finish, and and acquired taste. Not so! With proper management grassfat beef can grade mid-choice or higher. It just takes a bit more time and effort.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Now is the time to get your Turkey orders in! I know it seems like forever until Thanksgiving but it takes TIME to grow those birds. We are getting the Broad Breasted Birds again this year and will have 2 Heritage breeds as well, Buffs and Standard Bronzes. There will be no additional cost for the Heritage Breeds. The price for fresh/ fresh frozen is $4.00lb and $6.00 lb for smoked birds. Since you will be ordering in advance you can let us know at what size you would like your bird harvested and which breed or type you would like. The Heritage birds take longer to mature so the chicks need to be ordered soon. We always get straight run chicks so we can't guarantee the sex of your bird but we can make sure that you get the kind that you want. BE AWARE, Heritage birds have MUCH LESS BREAST MEAT than conventional Broad Breasted Turkeys. All turkeys will be free range with no corn or soy feeds. A deposit will be required at time of order. Thanks in advance!