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Posts by Jaime Martinez

Vendors Are Partners: Thousand Hills100% Grassfed Beef

Thousand Hills Founder, Todd Churchill, shares their story.

Beginning in 2001, I began a personal quest to learn more about my food; where it came from, what was in it, its nutritional value, its affect ecologically, etc. Having a young family, my interest in nutrition rose to a new level. In 2002, I came across Michael Pollan’s article, Power Steer, published in the The New York Times Magazine. His well-researched, all encompassing article opened my eyes to our conventional beef production model and, frankly, how it could be improved through keeping cattle on grass throughout their life.

This revelation led me to purchasing and sampling various types of grassfed beef. Some delivered delicious taste and texture and some, well, let’s just say, left room for improvement. I quickly learned that raising delicious 100% grassfed beef was both a science and an art. Cattle genetics, types of forage, forage diversity, seasons, moisture, minerals, soils and many other factors all play a role in raising delicious-tasting, healthful grassfed beef.In 2003, I launched Thousand Hills Cattle Co. I was raising 100% grassfed beef on my farm and sourcing from local farmers who were already committed to this model of raising beef. We learned from each other as we strived to produce the best beef possible. My goal in the first year was to sell two carcasses per week to restaurants and natural food co-ops in the Twin Cities area. I am eternally grateful for those precious few chefs and retailers who were ready and willing to purchase our grassfed beef.

Thousand Hills Cattle Co., now is represented on store shelves across our great nation as more and more people find themselves on the same quest I was on…to KNOW more about their food. Thank you for allowing us to play a role in your nourishment.

At Thousand Hills 100% Grass Fed Beef we focus on one MISSION: Nourishing soil, plants, cattle and people by holistically grazing cattle for their lifetime A myriad of factors are required to achieve this mission: sourcing cattle from small Midwestern independent family farms who strictly follow our protocol of NON-GMO, holistically managed, free-range grazing environments, suitable heritage breed cattle genetics, raised and finished on a 100% grass and forage diet, proven humane handling through the entire life of the animal and, finally, processed at the cleanest facilities possible, with stringent, proactive food safety testing. Thank you for trusting us to be a part of your family's "know your food" solution.

No Antibiotics, No Artificial Hormones and No Grain

Our cattle live freely on grass pastures and are never confined to a feedlot. In the winter, cattle consume stockpiled and/or stored forages, like hay. To qualify for our program, cattle must never be given antibiotics, never implanted with or given artificial growth hormones and never given grain in their lifetime. In the rare case an animal does require antibiotics due to illness or injury, it is treated and diverted to the conventional beef market, never to be used under our brand. In short, 100% Grass Fed to us means: No Antibiotics, No Artificial Hormones and No Grain—ever in the animal's life. Now you "Know No".

The difference between healthy and unhealthy red meat is as simple as their diet: grass versus grain. The majority of health research that is based on red meat, until more recently, contains negative results due to the cattle being grain-fed.

Featured health benefits of eating 100% grass-fed beef are, but not limited to, increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E, & K2, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), lower in cholesterol, saturated fats, and calories when compared to grain-fed beef. We do NOT give any antibiotics or hormones to our cattle and the grasses they eat are NOT sprayed with synthetic pesticides or herbicides.

Cattle are ruminants. All ruminants have more than one stomach and contain a different set of enzymes and bacteria in their digestive tracts than non-ruminants. Ruminants thrive on digesting a salad bar variety of grasses and not grains. Because of a 100% grass-fed diet, this kind of beef contains a seemingly endless array of health benefits.

100% grass-fed diets coupled with holistic cattle management and rotational grazing is beneficial to the environment. Through this method, by default, oil-dependent machinery to work the land is virtually eliminated. When cattle eat their diet made up entirely of grasses, their carbon emissions are not only drastically reduced, but carbon dioxide is worked into the soil where it helps create new plant growth; this is also known as carbon sequestration. Additionally, the soil quality and fertility increases from the manure.

For more information and recipes, please visit:

Recipes: http://www.thousandhillslifetimegrazed.com/recipes.asp

Know Your Farmer: http://www.thousandhillslifetimegrazed.com/farmers.asp

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Dewberry Hills Farm

Really Good Chicken — We Promise:

Good Stewardship  All our animals are raised compassionately and with a deep appreciation of the gift they give us. We never fed them anything we would be afraid to eat ourselves. By managing the pastures properly and rotating our chickens, we naturally fertilize and restore the earth.

Environmental Responsibility  We work with the seasons and the land. We recycle every part of the chicken but the feathers. We minimize the fossil fuel imprint by only selling locally.

Absolute Honesty  We encourages farm visits by appointment. (Drop-in visitors will be handed a shovel and put to work!) Come see for yourself.

Community Building  We try to source all our supplies locally and we do 95% of our business with small businesses in the area. Our special grain mixture is grown and ground just 15 miles down the road which helps support another farmer in Lee County.

Dewberry Hills Farm, owned by Jane and Terry Levan, has been a partner here at Wheatsville since 2008.  Jane’s a former city slicker who’d always dreamed of moving to the country. Terry was raised on a farm in northern Illinois and majored in livestock nutrition while at university. Terry was disheartened by what was being taught—methods that turned animals into commercial commodities with complete disregard to both the health of the animal and the quality and safety of the meat produced.

In 1999, they purchased 20 acres near Lexington Texas, about 50 miles from Austin. After reading Joel Salatin’s books on beef and poultry, they agreed this was the model they would use—diverse, sustainable and run in accordance with nature. They realized that the best use of their limited acreage was to focus on raising really good chicken for their neighbors in the city. They still use sustainable natural methods—rotating their pastures, moving the tents daily and processing onsite.

The life of a farmer can be very difficult. The weather is a huge factor and is beyond the control of the farmer. Here in Texas we have heat and thunderstorms and hurricanes and the occasional cold snap. Another substantial factor is predators. All sorts of wildlife like to eat chickens—from coyotes to predatory birds. There are some collateral pests, like feral hogs, that do not necessarily want to eat the chickens, but want the chicken’s feed and water. The damage can destroy the chicken’s shelter and feeders.

For most chicken farms, the way to deal with both of these issues is to house the chickens in a barn. Controlled climates and four walls will solve both of those issues. Jane and Terry use a different method, based on the Salatin model. “Tents” are constructed in the pasture to work more closely with the needs of the land and the animals. This allows protection from the elements and relative security. A chicken’s digestive system requires small rocks or pebbles to aid in digestion. By letting them roam from an open shelter, they are able to keep busy engaging in what chickens do and they stay happy and healthy. By moving the tents frequently, the fields are fertilized by the chickens.

One of Jane and Terry’s biggest problems, and they agree that it is a good problem, is keeping up with the demand for their chicken. As Wheatsville was setting up it’s own expansion to a second location, Terry and Jane decided it was time to grow as well. Overcoming the limitations of cold storage and the number of chickens they can raise at a time, takes money and time. Luckily Jane and Terry have always supported their fellow local farmers and that kind of goodwill, has been rewarded. Having investment partners like David Perkins at Beatnik Foods and having a guaranteed placement of their product is bringing that expansion to a reality.

Over the years of our relationship with the Dewberry Hills Farm, we have brought in everything that we can, up to and including chicken feet. With the help of Wheatsville owners we have been able to help Dewberry Hills Farm utilize the whole bird and contribute to their sustainability as a business and as stewards of their land and animals.

One of the best things about having such great local products is being able to shake the hand of the person that is raising your food. We have known Terry and Jane now for about nine years and it is always a pleasure to work and grow with them.

Terry’s Simple Roast Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Dewberry Hills broiler
Fresh finely chopped rosemary 4-5 sprigs
Fresh finely chopped garlic 3-4 cloves
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Mix garlic and rosemary in olive oil.
3. Gently loosen skin on chicken breast by sliding your hand underneath skin without tearing.
4. Rub skin under breast with oil-herb mixture. Use any leftover mix in cavity.
5. Place chicken breast side up in rack on roasting pan.
6. Roast at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until skin begins to turn a light golden brown.
7. Carefully flip chicken over (Inserting a wooden spoon in the cavity helps with this) and roast an additional 15-20 minutes. Immediately turn oven down to 350°. Turn bird several times as it roasts. It will take about 1.5 hours total to roast a 4.5 pound bird. Your chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the breast reaches 165°.
8. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Warning: as you roast the chicken, a wonderful smell pervades your kitchen and may attract members of your family.

To read Jane’s own words about farming visit
wheatsville.coop/news-and-events/news/dewberry-hills-chicken#more

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