Entries in Grass Fed Beef (51)

Monday
Sep082014

Time to Say THANK YOU

 

When we started farming, just a few short years ago, we had many aspirations.  In addition to growing wonderfully delicious meat, we also wanted to connect people with their food.  We have been blown away by the support we have received for our farm.  This support comes in so many ways - people buying our meat, people following our story on social media and blogs, people coming out to visit the farm, people telling their friends and family about our farm.  All of this support has been what has made our farm wildly successful and what has allowed us to continue to raise our animals they way we all want them to be raised.

WE WANT TO SAY THANK YOU!

So...we decided to have a party of sorts.  On Septemebr 20th at 6pm, we are inviting EVERYBODY out to the farm for fun evening.  We'll do a tour of the farm and see all of the animals.  Then we'll gather around a bonfire, eat s'mores and talk with other people who also think supporting a local farm is a pretty cool thing to do.  

In addition to all this fun, you'll also have the exclusive opportunity to pick-up the first beef we have ever offered on a per cut basis.  This beef is from our Heritage Galloway beef that have lived their entire lives on our farm eating our wonderfully delicious grass --- and nothing else.  In the past, we have only offered our beef to people buying in bulk.  However, we have always wanted to allow those not buying in bulk to also participate in eating some of this deliciousness.  We now have that opportunity.

Those that RSVP for the party either by email or on facebook will be sent a special link to an order page a couple days before the party.  You'll then be able to send in your order before the party and take home your beef that night.

We hope to see many of you on the farm.  This should be a great way to continue to build a strong community around great food.   

Friday
Sep052014

a newborn Galloway

Bishop joined the herd on a 100 degree day.  Jeff noticed one of our cows was standing separated from the herd.  This is unusual and generally a sign of something awry.  Jeff thought she might be getting ready to calf.  However, on the way to investigate he saw a limp pile of black fur in the middle of the cattle pasture.  We had two cows due to calve and this one appeared to be her calf, but he wasn't doing well. Usually, a calf will try to stand within minutes and begin nursing, but this little guy wasn't able to and we think he got dehydrated due to the extreme heat and his inability to stand up and nurse.  His mama, Ulani, was concerned but unable to help.  A healthy and active calf is a joy to watch and a testament to the amazing power of nature.  A weak or struggling calf is an emergency on the farm which suddenly stops all other farm work and demands complete attention from everyone involved.  Unfortuantely, this was not going to be one of the joyful ones.

We got to work.  It is always our preference for a calf to get its sole nutrition from Mama.  However, the window of time that a calf needs to get important beginning nutrition is small, and in this case we weren't sure how long Bishop had been without fluids.  He was already too weak to stand and nurse on his own. We mixed up some powdered colostrum we keep on hand and bottle-fed the calf right away.  It took some work just to get him to suck the bottle, but progress was made and he gained a bit of strength.  This became our routine every few hours -- night and day.

The heat continued the next day and unfortunately, the cattle left their designated pasture in search of coolness.  Ulani chose to stay with the herd rather than her calf. (Jeff did not have nice things to say about Ulani as we were taking care of her baby and she was soaking her udder in the creek.)  She was away from Bishop nearly the whole day.  We checked on him every few hours and continued giving him a bottle, at the same time encouraging Ulani to be with him and establish a bond with her calf.  While it's not unusual for a newborn calf to rest away from the herd, they need to nurse every few hours so the mama at least needs to be nearby!  

On the third day, after getting him to take half a milk bottle (really thankful for our raw milk farmer!), I was able to get Bishop to nurse and from then on, he nursed exclusively - with encouragement.  This didn't reduce our workload much however since every few hours, day and night, we would trek out to the cattle pasture and rouse him toward his mama.  If we could get him in the proper position, he would nurse.  We worked with him to stay nearer to the herd and were hopeful that as his bond with Ulani and the herd grows, we would need to do less searching for Bishop!  It's amazing how difficult a little calf can be to locate.  Ulani was usually our first clue, we would watch to see which direction she mooed and start searching there (this is how the video starts).  At one point, we couldn't find him at all, so we let her out so she could help find him!

 

By the fifth day, he was staying nearer the herd, responding better to Ulani, and starting to frolick around a bit!  We were so encouraged by his progress!

 

At almost a week old, I took this video of Bishop.  I wanted to capture the cow/calf bond.  Bishop takes his time, even taking a bathroom break, but I chose to not edit it as I think the video is also...

--- a peek at the peaceful environment in which our cattle are raised

--- a snapshot of calm, sometimes mundane daily afternoon chores

--- a glimpse of the farm conversations we have

--- real life!

We hope you enjoy this virtual visit to the farm and that you get to meet Bishop soon!


 

Tuesday
May132014

on the farm ~ quick spring update

 

Spring is a time of renewal and busy-ness in life, especially on the farm.  New chores and jobs seem to grow as fast as the green grass.  Here's a quick look at what's going on at Synergistic Acres...

Our Galloway CATTLE are ravenous for fresh, spring grass and we are building their daily pasture more than twice as large as normal.  Our small group of spring calving is complete and we have lots of nourishing grass for the whole herd.

The PUPPIES continue to be roly-poly bundles of energy.  They certainly have their own personalities and we are excited to meet the new owners so we can best match needs to pups.  Mara Mama is weaning the pups naturally and gradually.  Both Charlie and Mara are giving lessons on respecting elders while they eat.

Our Large Black PIGS can barely be seen in their lush pastures.  We have a group that we will take for processing soon and several litters of varying ages foraging and growing that will allow us to offer pork more frequently throughout the year.

We have a set of very sprcial Heritage Barred Rock CHICKENS, that have been bred specifically for their old-world meat characteristics for over six decades. These will soon be ready for processing.  The hens of the group have just started laying EGGS which is a nice balance to some of our current layer flock that has begun their annual molt during which they don't lay as much.  

One broody HEN that adopted an area by our barn has been sitting on eggs.  She has just a few days left and we are so hopeful that she will be successful in her hatch.  We'd be delighted to see little chicks tottering along after their mama in the yard.

The Heritage breed TURKEY poults are in the brooder, just starting to get some feathers.  They will soon graduate to the pasture pens and follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of turkeys that have enjoyed the pasture based methods we use at Synergistic Acres.

FARMER Jeff has just three weeks left of his 'day job' and then he'll get to be on summer break.  The whole FARM Family is looking forward to that!

 

What's keeping you busy?

 

Thursday
Feb272014

5 tips for cooking grassfed beef

The cows we grow on our farm are special.  They are raised and cared for daily with the goal of providing Kansas City with nutritious and delicious grassfed beef.  There are three steps to having great tasting beef on your table.  One is the raising of the animal, two is the processing of the animal and three is the cooking of the meat.  We work very hard to ensure the first two things maximize the flavor and nutrition of the meat, the final step is up to you.  Luckily, cooking grassfed beef is not difficult.  

It only takes a little care to ensure you cook your grassfed beef properly.  Cooking grassfed beef is different than cooking grainfed beef.  Not only are the flavors and texture different, they have different fat and marbling characterisitcs that necessitate different methods.  If you cook grassfed beef as you would grainfed beef, it will likely be tough and overcooked.  To avoid that, follow a few simple guidelines and you'll make a meal to remember!

We offer these tips:

  1. let meat come to room temperature for about an hour before cooking it and preheat your oven/grill/stove so it is ready.
  2. use a meat thermomenter, this is the easiest way to ensure the meat does not get overcooked.
  3. aim for undercooking as you can always increase cooking time if the meat is not done enough, but you cannot un-cook it - many recipes I have followed take less than half the time shown.
  4. the meat will continue to cook once it is removed from the heat - allowing it to rest for 10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute and the cooking to complete.  My favorite sirloin tip roast recipe calls for cooking to 115°F, then turning off the oven leaving the roast in until 130°F and then removing the roast from the oven and letting it rest for ten minutes - that's quite a bit of additonal cooking without applying heat.
  5. use tongs to turn the meat (instead of a fork) to avoid piercing the meat and leaking juices.

Here's some additional handy tips from American Grassfed Association

If you're looking for a bevy of grassfed or pastured based recipes, New York farmer Shannon Hayes blogs about her experience farming and cooking.

What tips have you found to be helpful as you prepare your grassfed beef?

100% grassfed, heritage Galloway beef makes a meal to remember

 

Sunday
Feb092014

Snow Day on the Farm

 

Snow day on the farm has a whole different meaning than the snow days I remember as a child.  

As a child....Watching the TV to see if school will be cancelled. The endless prognosticating that went in to trying to predict if the powers that be would decide the elements were too treacherous to allow children out in it.  The loud, jubilous excitement that inevitably came when the final word was made the night before.  It was too dangerous to go to school, which obviously meant we would be outside most of the day sliding headfirst downhill on metal tracked sleds on hills that almost always were bordered by either a heavily trafficked thoroughfare or a fairly deep pond. No matter, we could always bail at the last second to ensure our safety. Once the amount of snow that had become stuffed down our pants exceeded our youthful metabolism to keep us warm, we would rush inside to warm from the inside out using some artificially bolstered Carnation Instant Hot Chocolate.  After some relaxing video games, we would often repeat, this time maybe focusing on engineering some elaborate snow fortress.  

On the farm...Things are a little different.  Most of the work for a snow day comes prior to the snow arriving.  We have to make sure the animals and people have everything they need to survive the upcoming storm.  Luckily, this does not include an emergency trip to the grocery store, since we typically have enough food on hand to support us through most seasons, little less most storms. Instead we focus on ensuring that the animals are well bedded, that their shelters are placed in a place where they will be able to get out of the wind and moisture and that needed feed is ready.  For the people residents of the farm, we ensure that we have the firewood close enough to the house that is accessible and that we have alternative heat available in case we lose power.  (Our wood furnace requires electricity to heat the house).  Then, we just sit back and wait to see what falls.

Once the snow falls, most of the farm chores are the same as normal, just a little tougher.  The cows are in their winter pastures and are fed hay daily.  This year, that is at my father's nearby property since he has the good hay storage.  In the snow, the cattle eat a little bit more hay to give their bodies the calories needed to maintain body temperature.  Interestingly, once the snow gets above about 8", they drink very little water, since most comes from the snow they eat incidentally while grazing and eating.  Another cow chore is to check on any cows expecting calves.  Ideally, all our calves would have been born before January.  However, this  year we have a few heifers that were late to be bred and therefore still have not delivered their calves.  Galloway are a hardy breed and their calves do really well, even in the cold.  However, there are circumstances that could require farmer assistance, and these circumstances are compounded in wet, cold weather of snow storms.  Therefore, in inclement weather, they get checked on multiple times throughout the coldest nights.  

 

The pigs require lots of fresh bedding when it snows and a little more feed as well.  In addition, their electric fences need to be cleared of snow to ensure they are not shorting out.  Clearing the fences involves walking along the fence lines and knocking down snow touching the wires.   Their water buckets will need to be emptied of ice twice a day and filled with fresh water.  

 

The chickens, turkeys and guineas get the same food and water treatment as well.  In deep snow, we use an ATV and buckets filled with water.  This is more efficient than the truck with the tank on the back. 

Overall, I am always amazed at how well-suited our heritage animals are to what seems to be extreme weather.  It humbles me to think how many generations have gone into the creation of an animal that thrives and flourishes and becomes more healthy by living in-sync with nature.  

 

 

 

 

Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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