Three Recipes for Our Pasture-Raised Pork Chops

Our rich, flavorful pork chops are the final product of our hog program which restores our land and supports our rural community. Our chef Reid Harrison has prepared three quick, healthy and delicious recipes using our pasture-raised, non-GMO fed, Global Animal Partnership 5+, Certified Humane pork chops. 

Pan Seared Pork Chop with White Wine Rosemary Garlic Pan Sauce

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IngredientsWhite Oak Pastures Pork Chops, Salt & Pepper to Taste, 1 Lemon, 2 Cloves Garlic, 2 Sprigs fresh Rosemary, 2 Tablespoons White Wine, 1 Tablespoon Butter, 2 teaspoons Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

Directions – Season Chops with salt and pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in pan till almost smoking. Add butter till sizzling and just starting to brown. Sear Pork Chops over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip to other side and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and rosemary to pan. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the pork chops, garlic and rosemary. Occasionally spoon some pan sauce over the chops so that it cooks into the meat. Once the chops have reached an internal temp of 150F, remove them to a plate while you make the pan sauce. For the pan sauce, simply deglaze the pan with white wine, being sure to scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (make sure you don’t burn anything during the cooking process as this will make the pan sauce bitter). Reduce the wine by half, then pour in the cream stirring to marry the flavors, then melt in the butter – being sure to stir continuously so that the sauce does not break. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Pour over the pork chops and enjoy!

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Pan Seared Boneless Pork Chop with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce 

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Ingredients – White Oak Pastures Pork Chops, Grill Salt, 1/2 Onion Julienne, 1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms, 2 Sprigs Rosemary, 2 Cloves Garlic Minced, 2 Tablespoons Red Wine, 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, 1 Tablespoon Butter, Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions – Season Chops with grill-salt. Heat olive oil in pan till almost smoking. Add butter till sizzling and just starting to brown. Sear Pork Chops over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip to other side and reduce heat to medium. Add onions, mushrooms and rosemary to pan. Sautee with pork chops for 2-3 minutes. Remove Pork chops from pan and place on a plate once they reach an internal temp of 150F. Add the garlic to the onion & mushroom mixture. Cook until onions and mushrooms are caramelized and garlic is fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the red wine making sure to scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (make sure you don’t burn anything during the cooking process as this will make the pan sauce bitter). Reduce the wine by half, then pour in the cream stirring to marry the flavors, then melt in the butter – being sure to stir continuously so that the sauce does not break. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Pour over the pork chops and enjoy!

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Pork Chops with Bacon and Kale

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This is a delicious and healthy quick dinner, plus, the cast-iron makes for minimal mess as this is a one pot kind of dish. Not only does it taste good, but there are a lot of health benefits to adding hearty dark greens like Kale as they are a nutritional powerhouse packed with calcium, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants (you can also substitute Swiss chard, mustard greens or even baby collards).

Ingredients – 2 White Oak Pastures Pastured Pork Rib Chops, 2 TBL Chopped Fresh Oregano, 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice, Salt & Pepper to taste, 1 TBL Olive Oil, 2 Bacon Slices- thick cut, sliced, 2 Garlic Cloves – minced, 1 Bunch of White Oak Pastures Organic Kale – stemmed and rough chopped, 5 tsp Sherry Wine vinegar, 1/2 Cup White Oak Pastures Poultry Bone Broth, 2 TBL Dijon Mustard 

Directions – Season Pork Chops with Oregano, Allspice, Salt & Pepper with a little olive oil. Allow to sit and marinate for 20-30 minutes. Sear over medium-high heat in a cast-iron pan, until golden brown. Once browned on both sides, remove chops to a plate and allow to rest.

Add Bacon to pan and sautee until crisp. Add Greens and begin to wilt. Sautee in garlic until fragrant. Deglaze with Sherry vinegar, and add Bone Broth. Simmer on low and mix in Dijon. Return Pork Chops to the pan and finish cooking to desired doneness or internal temperature reaches 145F. Serve and enjoy!

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Meet Our Hog Production Manager Aaron Lorenz

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Aaron has always been interested in the topic of health and considered going to medical school before he found farming as his true passion. Aaron believes that we should look at medicine and food production holistically.  His time in the restaurant business and interest in medicine helped him come to his perspective that helping people stay healthy goes hand in hand with producing healthy food, healthy animals and healthy environmental management. As Aaron sees it, “everything is connected”. Aaron found reading Wendell Berry to be particularly inspiring.

As our Hog Production Manager, Aaron manages our 200 Iberian hogs and our 500 American heritage breed hogs. Our hogs are all Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership Step 5+ Certified, holistically managed, non-GMO fed and pastured raised. Our hogs are mobile land-renovation units- they help us clear and rehabilitate land in many versatile ways.

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For Aaron, one of the most challenging aspects of his job is “staying ahead of where we’re at as far as management. Balancing current needs of the pigs with future needs of the land. Figuring out systems that are going to produce really healthy pigs and land- our dynamic systems are always changing. There is a lot of planning”. While this is challenging, Aaron also sees it as “fun for me to be constantly designing new systems, systems from which other people can learn to have a truly regenerative enterprise”.

Aaron sees great potential in our rapidly expanding hog program. “It’s exciting for me to work with our labor force and to see how much they care”. Aaron considers himself “blessed to work with Will and the people he has here to produce food in a sustainable way.  It’s exciting to see the potential for growth at White Oak Pastures as the model for how to do that in the future”.

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Aaron’s favorite daily chore is checking for new piglets. “I love when there’s a litter of piglets, watching them grow up, seeing proud mammas taking care of little babies. We do a lot of work to make sure they have everything they need”. 

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Aaron says his favorite pork recipe is pork chops and collard greens. Aaron says knowing the story behind his food makes it even better: “When you see the old cut over timber which used to be almost desert and the pigs cleared up the weeds and scrub plants and you get out there and see the native grasses and trees and you can start to see what the land will look like in 10 years, then that’s the best pork chops I ever had”. Aaron has “talked to a lot of customers and hearing that their favorite thing is the pork is really rewarding”.  

“There really is nothing happier than a pig in the mud. When it gets really hot here in the summer and you see a pig in the mud, you can’t help but think the world is a good place”.

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Our Year In Review

“We pray for plenty of good hard work to do, and the strength to do it.” 

This is the saying written in our dining pavilion over the serving window. It is our farm’s unofficial motto, a prayer Will remembers from his youth.

We had many milestones in 2016. We are proud of our accomplishments and grateful for our blessings. Below, our managers share a list of notable milestones.

1.) Welcome Baby Jack!

Jack Carter Harris was born December 7, 2016 to Jenni and Amber Harris, starting the 6th Harris generation born on the farm. This healthy baby boy has already brought so much joy to the farm family. We look forward to his generation inheriting White Oak Pastures as a farm who’s soil and community has been enriched and regenerated due to our farming practices.

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2.) Grand Opening of the White Oak Pastures General Store 

It truly took our whole community to refurbish and reopen Bluffton’s 19th century general store. We believe that regenerative agriculture has the power to restore rural communities. We see our store as a step towards revitalizing downtown Bluffton.

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3.) 150th Birthday

This year marked our farm’s 150th Birthday, or, our Sesquicentennial. This little known word is hard to pronounce so we made a quick video of our brave employees giving it a try. We had an incredible turn out for our 150th Birthday Celebration with the Bo Henry Band on October 15, 2016.

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4.) Internship/ Apprenticeship Program Initiated 

Our official Internship/ Apprenticeship Program completed its first successful year. White Oak Pastures offers our interns a unique farm experience in scale and vertical integration while simultaneously providing an idea-incubating space for young people interested in regenerative agriculture.

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5.) Second Annual 5K Ruff Run

Regenerative agriculture focuses on the health of the soil, the health of the animals, and the health of the people who perpetuate this system. Many of our customers, partners and employees support us because they prioritize health. What better way to honor our regenerative community than through a fun event focused on healthy bodies? Our Second Annual 5K Ruff Run was a great success this spring.

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6.) Land Purchases

This year we purchased increments of 250 acres, 120 acres and 60 acres. We are excited to incorporate this land into our organic, holistic system. We look forward to using animal impact and holistic management to revive this land which was previously farmed industrially.

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7.) Internet Fulfillment Center Development 

At the start of the year, the Internet Fulfillment Center (IFC) was operating out of the poultry plant. With our internet business quickly growing, the need for a larger facility became apparent. Therefore, we moved our IFC to its own building with nearly 2000 square feet of freezer space and its own shipping dock.

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When we moved the IFC, we hit the ground running. We were filling all of the online orders while transitioning our entire inventory and implementing a new organization system all at the same time. It was a wild first couple of months, but by Thanksgiving we had a clean running machine and filled several hundred turkey orders in about three days. We are now working to fully digitize our inventory management paperwork and looking forward to a great year in 2017.

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8.) Iberian Hogs

This year saw our first successful breeding of Iberian hogs on White Oak Pastures land and our first Iberians to reached slaughter weight. Our Iberian hogs are some of the first Iberians ever born and raised outside of the Iberian peninsula. We have about 200 Iberians now.

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9.) Conversion of Garden to Pig Paddocks

We converted the land on which our organic garden used to be located into pig paddocks. Here, we are experimenting with forage cover crops to reduce the amount of feed we have to buy in from off farm. The cover crops also allow us to further increase soil organic matter, reduce soil compaction and promote a thriving microbial and fungal community in our soil. Our pigs also love the lush forage.

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10.) Hide Barn Construction 

Our new hide barn is well under way in construction. In September 2016, we received a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market to build a new facility for our pet chews. 2016 saw us break ground and make great strides towards finishing this important building. Folks are more and more cautious about what they feed themselves and their pets and the demand for all natural, grass-fed pet chews has grown immensely.

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We began making hand-crafted rawhide pet chews on the farm in 2013 and at that time we were utilizing about 8 cattle hides each week. Due to customer demand, our department has grown immensely. Today we turn about 30 hides from fresh to sun-dried each week. Our goal is to quickly double that number once we move into the new facility.

DSC_0616.jpgThe hide barn building is conveniently located across from our General Store in Bluffton and will also include our tallow and leather departments, as well as a nice space to display our cowhide rugs.

Our building will include our leather workshop where we will make all our leather goods such as bags, bracelets, dog collars, etc. We hope our farm visitors will stop by to explore the new building and even bring along their pets!  This will be a cozy, crafty and comfortable space to hang out and even make your own bracelet. Visitors can watch the tallow soap, candle, or lip balm creation processes as well.

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As Mr. Will said, “2016 was the best year of my life and I have had a pretty long and damn good ride”.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community, Zero-Waste | 2 Comments

Meet Our Leather Crafter Alena Ivakhnenko

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If you visit our General Store in Bluffton you’ll notice our leather workshop tucked in the back corner. Our leather crafter Alena works here daily and has hand-made almost every leather product on our shelves.  Alena grew up in the Ukraine and spent most of her childhood in her grandmother’s garden. There she developed a deep connection with agriculture and the natural world.

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Once she realized it was possible to turn the outdoors into a career and a lifestyle, Alena began focusing on gaining experience and worked in Ching Animal Sanctuary, the Utah Conservation Corps and the Alaska Forest Service. She hopes to work her own farm in the future and also educate high school age teenagers about agricultural career options.

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Alena applied to White Oak Pastures as an intern in the Garden Program. While working in the garden, Alena listened to the Farmer to Farmer podcast. This podcast highlighted the opportunity for value-added product creation in the farming off-season. Alena hopes to work with value-added products such as leather with her own farm and saw the White Oak Pastures leather crafting position as an opportunity to learn a life-long skill.

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While Alena’s background in photography lent her a visual eye, she has never worked with her hands in a craft like this before. However, she applied her hard work ethic and artistic eye and grew the leather department immensely. Alena finds it very rewarding to “experience what goes in to developing and expanding a business”.

mortelliti_lowres-2179The most gratifying aspect of her job is the “appreciation from people who get the products I make with my own two hands”. Alena finds it “satisfying to see something that I made from start to finish that people are using”.

A difficult part of her job is performing repetitive tasks while still maintaining attention to detail. Working with hair-on leather is also very hard and she will occasionally get “hair splinters”.  Our leather is very thick and working with it can be quite time consuming. There is also a fair amount of problem solving regarding stitching and cutting since each hide is unique.

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The goats and turkeys are Alena’s favorite White Oak Pastures farm animals. The goats are “silly and cute” and the turkeys are “super sweet and really intelligent birds”.

Customers often come in to our General Store and see Alena working in the leather shop. However, they do not automatically assume that the leather she’s crafting comes from our own cattle. Alena sees this as a symptom of our consumer society’s isolation from the product supply chain. She feels our leather department plays an important role in helping consumers reevaluate how they see the product supply chain. Alena feels strongly that a zero-waste approach to farming is important for the future of sustainable farms and how they think of revenue.

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Employee Spotlight: Small Ruminant Manager Matthew Cantrell

It’s lambing season here at White Oak Pastures. Our pastures and woods are speckled with 200-300 tiny newborn lambs tailing their mammas as they learn about being  pasture-raised sheep. Behind the scenes is our Small Ruminant Manager Matthew Cantrell.

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Matthew grew up in California ranch country and was always involved in the farming lifestyle. Prior to his career at White Oak Pastures, Matthew managed a diversified farm in South Carolina and prior to that, he was an English teacher. However, farming and nature pulled him out of the poetry classroom and back into the fields.

 There is also a poetry in farming. If one spends the day watching Matthew work our sheep and goats with his herding dogs, this is readily apparent. “Farming connects me to what’s reality- what’s really important,” Matthew says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else even though it’s incredibly hard sometimes”. Matthew manages 1500 animals: about 1000 sheep and 500 goats. He has an intellectual, respectful relationship with his herd. He makes sure the “innate value” of the animals is respected and that they are “treated with dignity”.  Matthew works long hours to make sure his animals are happy and healthy and feels that “their value is not relative to human need for them- their value has to be honored as much as I’m able”.

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Farming has always been conducive to family involvement. Matthew’s family occasionally joins him in shepherding. He is a dedicated father and husband. His four children (ages 12, 10, 6 and 4) are all home schooled. Matthew views shepherding as a unique opportunity to raise his children with an “intimate experience and understanding of real life, real things- dirt, plants, animals, life and death”. Matthew and his wife Leah take pride in their farm lifestyle which allows them to live morally and with intention. His oldest daughter, Hannah (12), helps nurse orphaned or sick lambs back to health. Matthew jokingly calls Hannah the “small ruminant neonatal specialist”.

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Matthew works by himself most of the time and relies heavily on his three herding dogs: Pancho, a Border Collie, and Oakley and Annie, Working Kelpies. Both breeds trace their lineage to farm collies in Northern England and thus have similar working styles which compliment each other. “I rely on them every day. They’re incredible. They’re my best friends. I couldn’t do what I do without them”. Matthew views herding dogs as a more natural way to move livestock. There is an instinctual relationship between herding dogs and ruminants which usually precipitates a calmer response. Herding dogs also “rate stock”, i.e., anticipate what the ruminants will do which helps the shepherd move sheep in a low-stress, efficient manner.  

As a shepherd, Matthew works to foster responsible natural resources management while caring for the welfare and nutritional needs of our flock. He is also constantly working long-term to develop a resilient flock which will naturally thrive in the environment of our farm.

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Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Staff Spotlight, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Reviving An Old Tradition: Holiday Goose

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Our geese are free range and have 250 acres of pasture and tree coverage to forage in and explore. We raise Embden geese, a weather-hearty, robust, pure white breed. Geese are herbivores and their beak design makes them the best grazing poultry species.

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We supplement our birds’ diet with non-GMO feed which in turns adds organic material such as available nitrogen back into the soil in the form of manure. Our geese live full, free range lives while contributing to our farm’s regenerative agriculture model.

You won’t find goose in your everyday supermarket, but we are proud to say that we can send a pasture-raised, non-GMO goose right to your doorstep. Goose is a traditional dish across the globe and Christmas goose was the much-anticipated holiday dish in Europe for centuries.

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Tis the season for this hearty, traditional dish. Our chef Reid Harrison has prepared a simple and delicious recipe on how to prepare this rich, delicious bird. Watch our video here to see how easy it is to prepare a pasture-raised holiday goose for your next cold weather get-together.  Our recipe is as follows:

Citrus Five Spice Christmas Goose 

Ingredients

1 10lb White Oak Pastures Goose

2 Oranges

1 Lemon

2 TBL Chinese five-spice powder

2 TBL Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Small handful each of parsley, thyme and sage sprigs

Optional

3 TBL clear honey

1 TBL thyme leaf

Method

Calculate the cooking time (approximately 10-12 minutes per pund). If the goose is ready-trussed, then loosen the string and pull out the legs and wings a little – this helps the bird cook better. Check the inside of the bird and remove any giblets or pads of fat. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the breast and leg skin in a crisscross. This helps the fat to render down quicker while roasting.

Zest the lemons and limes. Mix with Kosher salt, the five-spice powder and pepper to taste. Season the cavity of the goose generously with salt, then rub the citrus mix into the skin and sprinkle some inside the cavity. Place the zested fruit and the herb sprigs inside the bird and set aside for at least 15 mins. Do this a day ahead to allow the flavors to really penetrate into the goose for the best flavor, and lighten your load on cooking day.

Preheat oven to 450̊ F. Place goose on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Roast the goose for 15 minutes at 450̊ F then turn the heat down to 350̊ F and allow to cook for about 45-50minutes. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Finish roasting for another 30-45minutes until deep golden brown and crispy (cover the goose with foil if it is starting to brown too much).

Every 30 mins or so, baste the bird with the pan juices, then pour off the fat through a sieve into a large heatproof bowl. You will end up with about a quart of luscious fat – save this for the potatoes and any other veg you might want to cook. At the end of the cooking time, leave to rest for at least 20 mins, covered loosely with foil. The bird will not go cold, but will be moist and much easier to carve.

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We’re Into Leather

We’re into leather! The White Oak Pastures Leather Department was created to utilize our cowhides in a way that is continuous with our zero-waste protocol.

The journey of our cowhides to leather is a labor intensive one. Hides are removed by hand in our red meat abattoir, then there are three avenues for our hides once they are removed from the carcass. Hides are either A.) used by our leather department, B.) hand crafted on our farm into pet chews or C.) sold to a pretannery in Kentucky.

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We learned the hard way, but now, we only save cowhides during the winter months because this time of year is cool enough to preserve them. At the end of each day, the hides are transported to an on-farm barn where they are salted and stored. We create a hide-salt lasagna layering hide, salt, hide, salt. We use about 200 pounds of salt per hide. The hides are stored here for 4-6 weeks. After this, we shake the excess salt off the hides, fold them onto pallets and load them onto our trailer which we personally drive to a multi-generational family-owned tannery in Sebring, FL: Sebring Custom Tanning. About 6 months later, after the hides are tanned and ready for pick up, we make the drive back down to FL and bring them back to White Oak Pastures. We have a great relationship with the tannery and they do a wonderful job with our hair-on and hair-off cattle hides. The product returned to us is a Full Grain Leather, which means the suede and the top grain layers remain together to create a quality product and feel.

Our leather craftsman, Alena, is self-taught in the art of measuring, cutting, dying and sewing leather into beautiful finished products. We create patterns that we like and want to wear or carry, and in return, our customers appreciate these same patterns as well. Although we use the same design every time, each hide is different, and as such there are no two identical items in our store. The spine of each hide is thickest, this is where the sturdiest leather comes from. We use this section for our bigger bags (totes), coasters, mouse pads, belts, dog collars and keychains. The edges of the hide (the belly) are thinnest and most flexible and we use this section for our smaller bags, new cross-body bags, bracelets, earrings, and wallets.

Come see us in our newly opened White Oak Pastures General Store. In the far corner, tucked away, you’ll find our leather workshop.

With the holidays quickly approaching, keep in mind our leather products make great gifts and are available in our online store. Look forward to new patterns, color palates and craftsmanship in 2017!

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Teenagers With Nose Rings

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We are trying a new type of weaning this year: wean rings. This is a plastic ring that clips inside the calf’s nose like a clip-on earring. We think wean rings are the least stressful and most natural way to wean.  When the calf tries to nurse its mother, the ring’s spiky points make it uncomfortable for the mamma to nurse her calf. She’ll then initiate the weaning process. These rings may look drastic, but they are safe and cannot hurt the mamma cow. Our calves are still able to have all the physical contact that they want with their mammas. They can still nuzzle, follow around, and get licked on by their mammas.

Deer, bison, and other non-domesticated ruminants will kick their babies away from the teat when the time comes for them to be weaned. Humans have domesticated cattle to the point where this instinctual behavior was lost and now it is necessary for the stockman to intervene. Weaning is a very stressful time for the calf and the cow. Both are clearly bonded to each other. However, weaning must occur.

We wean calves around 7-9 months of age. The mammas are pregnant with their second calf at this point.  At this time in their lives, calves are steady eating grass and drinking water, so mamma’s milk is just a treat. It is crucial that our calves fully transfer to grass before their sibling is born. The mamma cow needs to spend all of her nutrition growing the fetus calf, as opposed to making milk in her last trimester for the older calf.

Once the younger calf is born, the older calf would out-compete it if both calves were to suckle. Additionally, this would impede the younger calf from getting adequate amounts of colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced by a mamma cow during the first few days after birth before her body switches to making normal milk. Colostrum is a unique kind of milk rich in antibodies, fats, and proteins. Calves do not passively receive immune support from their mothers across the placenta as humans do. They must get their antibodies from colostrum. It is imperative to calves’ health that they drink colostrum in the first few hours of life. The wean rings ensure our young calves have a healthy start to life while allowing the older calves a low-stress introduction to their adult diet of grass.

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We are excited about our new system. We look out at our pasture and see a bunch of teenagers with nose rings and we couldn’t be happier. We’re respecting the mother-calf bond and the herd-mentality of our animals while still ensuring the health of future generations of cattle.

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How to cook a perfect pasture-raised turkey

We are grateful for the opportunity to provide you and your loved ones with a delicious pastured turkey for this special time of the year. Cooking a whole pasture-raised bird can be intimidating, and we want you to feel well-prepared to cook our turkeys this holiday season.

Our turkeys are athletes. They spend their entire lives roaming our lush pastures, hunting, pecking, scratching, and dustbathing as nature intended. Because of their diet and exercise, our birds are lean animals. When cooking them, keep in mind they have less fat than commodity turkeys. We have found that cooking with a wet, slow heat yields a more tender turkey dish.

Check out our recipe and tips to cook the perfect pastured turkey for your holiday meal, as well as our five-part video tutorial where Chef Reid walks you through the process step-by-step.

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Ingredients

White Oak Pastures pastured turkey
White Oak Pastures pastured poultry bone broth or water
Olive oil
1 large onion
1 carrot
4 stalks celery
1 bay leaf

Butter Mixture Ingredients
10 oz butter (about 2.5 sticks) at room temp
4 tsp fresh rosemary
4 tsp fresh sage
1 tbsp fresh oregano
4 lemons (2 for juicing and zesting and 2 whole lemons)
3 fresh garlic cloves
¼ tsp allspice
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Preparation

Receiving and Defrosting
Your turkey will arrive frozen or very cold to the touch. Allow 3-4 days to thaw your turkey slowly in the refrigerator. After the turkey thaws, remove the bag of giblets from the body cavity and set them aside. These are great for making gravy. There may be paper between the turkey breasts to soak up any juice; remove this, too.

Herb Butter Marinade
Combine butter mixture ingredients in a mixing bowl. Loosen the turkey’s skin with your hands, and rub the butter mixture over the whole turkey, under and over the skin. Tip: Use a piping bag to get the mixture under the skin more easily. If you have time, cover and refrigerate the bird overnight to allow the flavors time to penetrate the meat. We’ve found you don’t need to brine pastured birds because they hold moisture and flavor better than conventional birds.

Making Mirepox
Roughly chop celery, carrot, and onion and place them in the bottom of a roasting pan along with bone broth or water and a bay leaf. Use just enough liquid to cover the vegetables. This mixture will add flavor to the bird and keep it moist. Set aside a few pieces of onion for roasting inside the cavity of the turkey.

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Ready to cook
Remove turkey from refrigerator 30-60 minutes before cooking, and preheat oven to 325F. Place turkey on a roasting rack, breast up, and set in the roasting pan over the mirepox. Loosely place 2-4 lemon halves and a few pieces of onion inside the cavity. Truss the bird loosely with butcher’s twine and drizzle turkey skin with olive oil. Place the pan into the oven and cook, basting the bird with pan juices every 10-15 minutes. Remove the bird once the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 160F (approximately 8-10 minutes per pound). Please note that our pastured turkeys cook more quickly than conventional birds. Lastly, it is important to allow the turkey to rest 15-20 minutes before carving so you don’t lose all the delicious juices.

Photos by Laura Mortelliti. 

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What’s in your Jeep, Will Harris?

We’ve all seen blogs or magazines featuring the contents of movie stars’ handbags, with sunglasses, lipsticks, and fancy electronics on display. Here at White Oak Pastures, we are similarly fascinated by what’s inside Will Harris’ Jeep. When you hop in to take a ride around the farm, you invariably have to clear away guns and knives, tools, and things Will collects from the woods in order to make room to sit down. In the spirit of a “What’s in your handbag?” article, Will was a good sport and let us go through his stuff and take photos of it to put on the internet.

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Will’s Jeep is his toolbox. He has a rope because things need tying, a chain because things need pulling, a crowbar because things need prying apart… you get the picture. The hammer is Will’s key to every door (like the John Denver song), and he has a pair of gloves because there are a few things out there that are tougher than he is.

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A golfer carries a bag full of different clubs for different shots. Will does the same with guns. He uses a shotgun to keep varmints away, and pistols to avoid arguments and end debates. Pictured is an Outback 12-gauge over and under shotgun, a Ruger 357 Magnum snake charmer, and a Ruger 357 Magnum debate winner.

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The inscribed whip was made by the father of a former employee, a real Florida cowboy. The primary functionality was never to strike the animal; the loud crack that the lash makes has the desired effect of turning animals away so that they can be herded. Notebooks are for recording field observations of the animals and the land. The old bottles were collected in the woods around the pastures. Will says that he has never taken a dose of speed, but he cannot imagine that it is a stronger stimulant than a chew of Red Man. The corkscrew and the Yeti are companion items that receive daily usage.

Items photographed by Laura Mortelliti. Photo of Will by Angie Mosier.

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