Posts Tagged With: Nose-To-Tail

White Oak Pastures: Nose-to-tail, farm-to-door

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We believe our farm is one-of-a-kind. We’re fiercely proud of our vertically integrated system, which allows us to raise animals on pasture, slaughter and butcher them in our USDA-inspected on-farm abattoir, and ship them directly to the well-informed consumers who want to support this type of agriculture.

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Jenni Harris, with a lot of help from our Comptroller, Jean Turn, began to focus on the potential of our online store in 2014 to share White Oak Pastures products with people who aren’t close enough to shop in person. We are able to reach a broad base of customers who have made the decision to put a high priority on the source of the food they eat, so we can sell every part of our 10 species of animals from the nose to the tail. Today, we ship hundreds of packages weekly through the mail. Here’s how it works:

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Sabrina Carnley runs the front of the shop, receiving online orders and working with our internet fulfillment crew to get them filled. She’s also your go-to for questions about everything from shipping to how to cook chicken feet.

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All orders are packed on our farm, not in some order fulfillment center in the middle of the country. Most of our products are frozen prior to being shipped, which ensures a safe temperature of the meat when it arrives at your home. Your box will contain a cooler packed with dry ice to keep your products cold.

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Between managing the South Georgia heat and the sub-zero freezer temperatures, these guys are responsible for keeping perishable product in good condition. Justin Chaddick (right) oversees frozen inventory, packing, and shipping. LJ Richardson (left) and Deion Wallace (middle) put the orders together and pack them up. We ship throughout the 48 contiguous states, to any address where UPS will deliver.

Shop online and keep these good folks busy! For more details on our online store and shipping process, see the list of frequently asked questions on our website.

Categories: Staff Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We’ve got balls at White Oak Pastures

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Castration of male animals is a common practice in the livestock industry. Said to reduce aggression, the practice likely came about with the confinement of cattle in crowded conditions where the animals aren’t free to roam and express natural instinctive behaviors. As Will Harris says, you just can’t keep a bunch of bulls in confinement; it’s like the worst prison movie you’ve ever seen.

For over 100 years, White Oak Pastures castrated everything on this farm that wasn’t named Harris. It’s one of the practices we did away with in our transition to a kinder, gentler agriculture, in an effort to reduce the infliction of pain on the animals. Global Animal Partnership, Animal Welfare Approved, and Certified Humane all have thick manuals that detail what good animal welfare looks like. To meet the highest standards in these programs, we don’t perform any physical alterations on our animals, including castration, dehorning, or branding.

While the term ”bully” comes from the behavior of bulls, we don’t have a problem with aggressive bulls out on open pasture. If a big bad bull wants to bully a little bull, the little guy can just keep on walking. He has more incentive to get away than the big bull does to pick on him, and he has enough space to do so.

Fried Grassfed Beef Testicles Recipe

Our cattle are humanely processed in our on-farm abattoir. When our mature bulls are slaughtered, we offer grassfed beef testicles to our customers as part of our commitment to ensuring no part of the animal goes to waste. Sometimes called “Rocky Mountain oysters” or “cowboy caviar,” these are a unique and novel nose-to-tail treat. They are typically served fried as an appetizer, and would be a great surprise for your dinner guests or as a culinary adventure for yourself or your family.

This Harris family testicle recipe has been passed down through many generations. We hope you’ll give it a try and let us know what you think!

Ingredients
1 pack White Oak Pastures grassfed beef testicles
2 eggs
1 cup flour
Your choice of oil, for frying
Dash of salt and pepper
2 tbsp milk (optional)
Small handful of parsley for garnish (optional)
Ketchup or cocktail sauce for dipping

Preparation
Whisk eggs in a large bowl with milk, and in a separate large bowl season the flour with salt and pepper. Parboil the testicles in boiling water with a splash of salt for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool. Peel the outer membrane from the testicles, and slice the testicles into medallions. Dip medallions in flour, then the egg mixture, then the flour again. Repeat this step for a thicker breading. Fry medallions in hot oil for several minutes, until crispy and brown. Remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels.

Fried Bull Testis

Photo by Laura Mortelliti

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

The many dogs of White Oak Pastures

The internet loves dogs, and so do we. Dogs play several vital roles in the organism that is White Oak Pastures, as companions, livestock guardians, and herding dogs. We couldn’t operate our farm without them. Here’s to the many dogs of White Oak Pastures and all the ways they contribute, in loving memory of our most loyal friend, Ox.

Companion dogs
If you’ve ever visited our farm, surely you were greeted by this cast of characters when you arrived. They’re our very own welcoming committee, and they love tagging along during farm tours and gathering with visitors in our on-farm dining pavilion. Their family tree looks like a southern family reunion. Meet Cud, Regal, OJ, and Roxi.

Livestock guardian dogs
Livestock guardian dogs have been bred for thousands of years to sense danger and protect livestock from predators, and we have enormous gratitude for their role. But all dogs don’t get treated the same on a farm. If you’re not very careful with guardian dog puppies, they will bond to the person who’s feeding and playing with them instead of bonding with the species you want them to guard. To avoid this, we focus on keeping puppies in close proximity to the species they are supposed to protect. We keep them fed and watered, but show very little social attention, which isn’t easy when they’re this cute!

Herding dogs
Used for moving animals in a controlled manner, you want herding dogs to bond to the herdsman or woman, so the dogs can specifically follow their directions and do their bidding. These dogs are both companions and tireless workers that are capable of performing the work of several people. Like livestock guardian dogs, their instinctual relationship with livestock is one that has evolved over thousands of years.

Our dogs don’t mind working hard all day, knowing a never-ending feast of meat and organs fresh from our processing abattoirs awaits them. Our dogs eat ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, and anything else they find on the ground. They also enjoy the pet chews we make out of everything from chicken feet to cattle noses, and even hides, as part of our commitment to following a zero-waste model. Whether a companion, guardian, or herding dog, living on a farm is a pretty good gig, and we are grateful for all of them.

 

Categories: Animal Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to roast a whole pastured chicken or guinea like a pro

Whole roasted chickenWhite Oak Pastures’ chickens and guineas live unconfined on pasture, hunting, pecking, scratching, and dust bathing. This leads to stronger, healthier, and in our opinion, tastier birds. It also means these birds use their muscles, and we need to take this into consideration when cooking a pasture raised animal. Apply some of the same principles we use when preparing grassfed beef, such as marinating or seasoning one to two days in advance to help tenderize those more active muscle fibers.

One of the easiest ways to cook a chicken or guinea is by slow roasting it. Cooking poultry with the bone in adds more flavor and nutrition to the meat and the broth you have left. We recommend the following recipe when roasting our pastured chickens and guineas.

Ingredients

1 White Oak Pastures small, medium or large chicken, or guinea
1 large onion – large chop
3 carrots – large chop
4 celery stalks – large chop
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp allspice
2 tbsp dried oregano


Preparation

Place the onion, carrot celery, bay leaf and chicken or guinea in a roasting pan deep enough to cover with foil or a lid if using a Dutch oven or cast iron. Mix all spices and herbs together (kosher salt through oregano) in a bowl. You may have more than you need, but this is a good all-purpose seasoning to keep on hand. Pour the olive oil over the chicken and then rub the seasoning over the bird, making sure to get it under the skin and in the cavity so the flavors can penetrate the meat.

At this point, if you can let it marinate for about a day, it will help tenderize the bird as the salt begins to break down tougher muscle fibers. If you don’t have a day, just let it sit out covered at room temperature for about an hour before you put it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 325F. Add the 1 cup of water to the roasting pan. Cover with a lid or foil and place in middle rack of your oven. Roast a small chicken for 90-120 minutes; a medium chicken or a guinea for 140 minutes; and a large chicken for 140-170 minutes. Remove lid or foil. Caution: there will be hot steam, so be careful when removing the lid. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Once the bird has cooled enough to handle, remove the meat and use in your favorite chicken salad recipe or anything else you’d like. Make sure you save the stock from the pan, as it’s a great base for soup and is highly nutritious.

Categories: Kitchen | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How to buy grassfed and pastured meat in bulk

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It used to be very common to buy a whole, half, or quarter of an animal from a farmer you know and trust, and then enjoy having a convenient, steady supply of protein in the freezer. This tradition of buying meat in bulk is making a comeback, and we’d like to make the process a little less intimidating and mysterious, and encourage you to give it a try.

One of the advantages of buying in bulk is the cost savings. Ethically-raised protein costs more to produce than factory farmed protein, but we are able to charge less for whole animals because we save money on packaging, marketing, and distribution. Here is how the cost breaks down: a whole cow is about 360 pounds of meat. At $2,799 for the cow, the cost comes out to $7.78 per pound, which is less than the cost of a pound of ground beef purchased by itself. When you buy the whole cow, you also get filets, ribeyes, strip steaks and more, all for $7.78 per pound.

Buying in bulk will also allow you to develop a deeper connection with your food and where it comes from. When you arrange to pick up your order on the farm, it is a great opportunity to schedule a tour to see where your animal was raised and processed. You’ll honor that animal every time you eat it, and take pride in learning how to prepare cuts of meat you may not have tried before.

You can purchase a quarter of a cow, an eighth of a cow, and a side (half) of lamb through our online store, where we also list which cuts come with each option. We will ship it to you in a cooler with dry ice, or you can pick up your order on the farm.

Whole and half cows and hogs can be purchased by filling out our order form and emailing or faxing it back to us. You have the option to choose the specifications of how the animal is butchered, and you can also choose to include the bones, fat, or offal. Shipping a whole or half cow or hog would be quite expensive, so we ask you to pick it up on the farm. Once you get it home, a whole cow will require a chest freezer totaling 14 cu. ft.; a side of beef or a whole hog should easily fit into a 7 cu. ft. model; and a side of pork will need about 3.5 cu. ft. of freezer space.

If you have any questions we haven’t answered here, please contact us at 229-641-2081 or info@whiteoakpastures.com.

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Dr. Mercola talks pastured meats and healthy fats at our holistic, integrated farm

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At White Oak Pastures, we have expertise in three areas: animal welfare, regenerative land management, and rural communities. As farmers, we aren’t experts in nutrition. When osteopathic physician and natural health advocate Dr. Joseph Mercola came to visit, we shared our knowledge of farming with him, and he shared his knowledge of nutrition with us. Here are a few of Dr. Mercola’s thoughts on the health benefits of grassfed and pasture-based food and farming.

What are some of the benefits of grassfed and pastured products that people might not have heard about?

One of the most important nutrient groups that you can eat is healthy fat. Fat from pastured animals is very healthy, and in my view, should be consumed in far larger quantities than it is now. Healthy fat is a clean fuel for your body with far less damaging free radical generation which contributes to premature disease and death. This appears to contradict conventional wisdom on fat, but the emerging evidence strongly supports this position.

Which products are you most excited about right now?

My current passion is using food as fuel to minimize the production of free radicals. This means eating a diet that is between 75-85% healthy fat. The challenge to do this is finding a wide variety of healthy fats to fill that role. I am really excited about tallow and lard as an addition to the fats I have already identified as a useful strategy to achieve this dietary goal.

What stands out to you about our production practices at White Oak Pastures?

It’s a holistic, integrated system that works synergistically to provide a near ideal primal environment to produce healthy animals that will in turn provide healthy food for us to eat. It’s a very impressive operation and I’ve never seen anything like it. It provides great hope that this system can be modeled by other motivated farmers to offer this type of high-quality food to people in other regions.

P.S. Check out our pastured pork lard, grassfed beef fat, and the rest of our products in our online store!

Categories: Regenerative Land Management | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Craft revival: Jamie Bush turns animal byproducts into artisan goods

DSC_0876Jamie Bush joined the White Oak Pastures family in 2014. She has a lifelong passion for farming, having grown up raising horses and goats on her family farm in Waycross, GA. She came to White Oak Pastures to learn everything she could about large-scale regenerative farming that offers much more than just good, fair food.

Jamie has a vital role in our effort to tap into ancient traditions that respect animals, the environment, and human health. A few of her responsibilities on the farm include making candles, soap, lip balm, and gardener’s salve from our beef tallow, and making pet treats from parts of livestock that would otherwise go to waste, including poultry feet, heads, and necks; cattle trachea, esophagus, and penises; and the ears and noses of cattle and pigs. These items are part of our line of specialty products, and our commitment across the farm to follow a zero-waste model.

According to the United Nations, 22% of meat in the U.S. food supply chain is wasted. With nine billion animals slaughtered annually, that’s roughly two billion farm animals thrown away every year. A hero of ours, Dr. George Washington Carver, told us, “In Nature there is no waste.” We endeavor to run our farm by this standard, and our commitment to the animal is to utilize all of the parts.

Growing up as a girl, Jamie never thought, “I can’t wait to dehydrate duck heads and chicken feet, and weave bull penises together to make pet treats.” But when our Specialty Products Manager, Amber Reece, made the suggestion, Jamie was excited to give it a try. Jamie appreciates seeing our customers enjoy our tallow products, knowing that what goes on the body is just as important as what goes inside. She also loves watching dogs happily devour our pet treats. For her, it’s a powerful feeling to be part of a system that’s creating a net positive impact on the planet.

Our artisan goods are available for purchase on our website. Please contact amber.reece@whiteoakpastures.com for more information.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Staff Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life on the Farm: Zero-Waste and Proud of it!

White Oak Pastures is unique in so many ways, but something that stands out to me is our zero-waste protocol. This is something I believe really sets us aside from other farms. I mean, lets be honest, this is one of the MANY things that sets us aside. You may be thinking, what does she mean by “zero-waste?” Well, this is so exciting…let me tell you!

First of all, you are probably aware of the fact that we slaughter, under USDA inspection, 5 days per week. We slaughter 35 head of cattle per day, as well as 1,000 chickens. The other species are on an as ordered/needed basis. This leaves us with a lot of blood, bones, guts and water to clean it all up.

Here’s a list of the different ways we make our farm operate with zero waste:
Blood – With all of those animals, you can imagine there’s a good bit of blood. We capture the blood from each slaughter and use it in our aerobic/anaerobic digester, which breaks it down into fertilizer that we can apply to our pastures.
Bones and Viscera (guts) – Any that aren’t sold as meat or pet treats are composted in a method that was designed by Cornell University. For 2 years, we use this layered system, which stacks a carbon source, animal parts, carbon source, animal parts, and so on. After the 2 years of turning these stacks, we are left with rich material that’s great for our land. This method has helped us, along with good land stewardship, to increase the soils organic matter on our farm from .5% to over 5%!
Hides – When the cowhides are removed, they are taken to the “hide barn” where we prepare them to be sent for tanning, or we start the process of making rawhide pet chews. We use our tanned hides for rugs and leather making such as, wallets, bracelets, coasters, etc. We tan the rabbit, goat and lamb hides by hand. This process is very time consuming, labor-intensive and we love every second of it!
Beef Fat – The fat is collected from the cutting room and used in one of three ways: sausage making in the kitchen, soap and candle making or biodiesel. Our sausage is delicious, our soap and candles smell amazing and we can’t wait to ramp up biodiesel production in the warmer months of this year!
Skulls – the cow skulls that aren’t purchased by our customers, are painted and used for decorations around the farm.
Teeth – we are working on a few different ideas for joining our leather jewelry pieces with some of the sun-bleached teeth. It’s a thin line of making the jewelry look unique, or making it look a bit gross or morbid. It’s a work in progress, people.
Water – The water used to wash down the processing rooms, is pumped through a septic system into a waste water lagoon. The water is later applied to the pasture through an irrigation system. We are able to collect the rich nutrients that would otherwise be lost. It’s genius! (I can say that because I had no part in this amazing plan.)
Vegetable Waste – This is fed to the rabbits and let me tell you, they love organic veggies!
Meat and Vegetable Waste – This is fed to our black soldier flies, whose larvae is fed to our chickens. We love this new program and can’t wait to watch it grow!
Eggs – Our cracked or “reject” eggs are fed to the hogs. The hogs can apparently smell the eggs coming because they all run to the gate to greet me each time I have a bucket to feed!
We also have a 50,000 Watt Solar Voltaic Array that collects sunlight and turns it into electricity. We use Solar Thermal Technology to heat the water used during processing and clean up.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what zero-waste means to us, and why we are so very proud of it!

Doing the right thing isn’t always the easy way, but we want to make things better today than they were yesterday, everyday.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Your Grassfed Kitchen – Some Helpful Hints

From the survey results, we learned that some Meat CSA members are relatively new to cooking Grassfed meats.  The following information should provide a good introduction for you. Keep your feedback coming – we want to make sure every culinary experience you have with our produce, meat, and eggs is a positive one.  

Overcooking??

Your biggest culprit when preparing grassfed beef is overcooking due to its lower fat content than conventional meat. Most undesirable grass fed meat experiences are due to improper cooking methods. This beef is best for rare to medium cooking. If you like well-done meat, then cook your grass fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce or liquid to add moisture.

Thawing

For best results, thaw your meat in the refrigerator or if it is important to thaw more quickly, place the vacuum-sealed package in water. Thawing completely will eliminate the “weeping” of watery red liquid onto your plate. Aging steaks has also proven to make grass fed beef more tender. When you receive your steak, let them thaw, and place them in a zip lock bag in your refrigerator. Leave them there for about a week, and them cook them.

A little olive oil can go a long way

Coating the meat with olive oil will add to the flavor and moisture and also prevent sticking. Marinate your beef, especially the lean cuts like the NY Strip Steak and Sirloin Steak.

You can also coat your thawed steak with your favorite seasoned. Place the meat on a solid surface, cover with plastic and firmly pound your steak a few times to break down the connective tissue. As an added benefit your favorite rub will be pushed into your grass fed meat.

Sear … then roast

One of our favorite steak preparation methods, also used by many chefs, is to sear a steak quickly over a high heat on each side (two-four minutes per side) to seal in its natural juices and then place in a pre-heated 375-degree oven to finish the cooking process. Preheat the oven or pan or skillet you plan to cook in starting at a low temperature and slowly raising the temperature.

When roasting, sear the beef to lock in the juices and then place in a pre-heated oven. Use moisture from sauces to add to the tenderness when cooking your roast.

A Cutting Technique

When you cut the meat, cut across the grain, as this will improve texture because you are cutting the fibers in the meat into shorter segments.

Take small bites! Eating smaller bites will give every taste bud an equal opportunity to savor our delicious grass fed beef.

Categories: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Kitchen | Tags: | Leave a comment

Beef stock from neck bones

 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Put the neck bones in a large, shallow roasting pan.

  3. Bake bones about 30 minutes, or until well browned, turning at the 15-minute mark.

  4. Put soup bones in a large pot. Pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan and scrape up any crusty browned bits. Add water mixture to pot.

  5. Add carrots, onions, celery, parsley, black peppercorns, basil, bay leaves, garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to pot.

  6. Add 10 cups water to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 1/2 hours. Remove soup bones.

  7. Line a colander with 2 layers of paper towels. Set over a heatproof bowl and pour broth into colander to strain.

  8. Discard vegetables and seasoning.

  9. Chill broth, then lift off fat.

  10. Store broth in covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze for up to six months.
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