Our Blog has Moved

In the spirit of celebrating the new year, we’ve moved our blog! You’ll still be able to read all of our articles here, but all new posts will be available on http://blog.whiteoakpastures.com/blog/

Be sure to follow us there for all our new news, events and other interesting things happening around our farm.

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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 


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


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!


Categories: Kitchen, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Meet Our Hog Production Manager Aaron Lorenz


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.


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”.



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”. 


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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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.


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”.


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”.


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.


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

Reviving An Old Tradition: Holiday Goose


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.


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.



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 


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


3 TBL clear honey

1 TBL thyme leaf


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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Teenagers With Nose Rings


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.


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.


Categories: Animal Welfare, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

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