Call it Organic.
Call it Naturally Raised.
Call it good wholesome food.
Grown without petroleum based fertilizers.
Raised without herbicides, pesticides or clones.
No antibiotic feeding, no hormones added, no alchemy.
Animals raised humanely, free-ranging on pasture.
By small family farmers for local markets.
Sustainably in an agrarian manner.
Supporting local economies.
Enjoy on a seasonal basis.
A promise of good life.
Good wholesome food,
You know it's good food
It's not from a factory.
Don't call it Twinkies or Spam.
It won't last forever.
It doesn't support the industrial military complex or oil companies.
No big monied lobbyists.
It won't prop up the economy or GDP with exports or high stock market profits.
It won't fluoresce or glow in the dark.
No patent royalties on the blueprints of life.
Eat good food and enjoy life,
neither will keep.
So why call it NoWeirdStuff.org?
Because I am tired of the government and corporate agriculture taking over the language of traditional farming to subvert it for their marketing ploys. First they tell us we can't use the word Organic even though we do organic farming and have been organic literally decades before Certified Organic existed. Now the government is telling us we can't use the term Naturally Raised or Naturally Grown despite the fact that our farm has been Certified Naturally Grown for years. Let's just keep it simple. Food from our farm contains No Weird Stuff. Period. That's it. If I grow it that means I eat it and I feed it to my children. It is the highest quality.
How can I help?
Buy from your local farmers, craftsmen, artesians, store keepers, etc. Put your money into your local economy. It will return to you over and over.
But I want to help you!
If you want to help us directly, then buy our pork locally through stores and restaurants along our delivery route, directly as half or whole pigs or as CSA Pre-Buys to help fund our on-farm slaughterhouse and butcher shop.
Can I join your organization?
Uhm... what organization? We're just a small family farm doing our thing. May I suggest that if you are a farmer you join NaturallyGrown.org. As a farmer or a consumer consider joining your localvore and rural interest groups in your state like RuralVermont.org here in Vermont. Take an active interest in issues related to food like NAIS and your personal freedoms like REAL ID. Go to your local farmers markets, buy at local farm stands, shop at your area coops, general stores and locally owned markets, find local farmers in your area from whom yo ucan buy directly, join a CSA. Support your local agricultural community and neighbors' businesses.
I meant, can I be a NoWeirdStuff Farmer?
Sure. Be a small family farmer. Sell locally. Care for the land. Be nice to your animals. Think Globally, Buy Locally, Do Good, Live Well & Prosper. We'll figure out the rest of the details later...
Can I buy from your farm?
Yes, if you're local or passing through our area. We sell direct from our farm as well as through local stores, coops, CSAs and restaurants. Look for our label where fine meats are sold.
Can you ship?
Maybe. We're looking into this. To date we have mostly sold locally. A few blog readers have convinced me to ship to them on occasion however if you can find a local pastured farmer I encourage you to do so. Keep down those food miles, support your local economy, etc. Look around in your area for a small farmer who does No Weird Stuff.
What do you sell?
Primarily pastured pork. We have a herd of about forty heritage bred sows and boars plus their piglets, growers and finisher pigs free-ranging naturally outdoors on mountain pastures. We sell piglets, roasters, whole pigs delivered to the butcher, half pig shares, CSA shares, wholesale to local stores & restaurants and retail cuts to regular folk like you. In addition to fresh and frozen pork we also offer at times cured hams, bacon, hot dogs, linked sausages and kielbasa - availability varies. If it's pig, we probably have it. We also raise a small number of sheep, chickens, ducks, geese and homeschooled kids on pasture. Someday we may get goats and Highland cattle. Maybe some dairy cows too. We certainly drink enough milk!
What do you feed your animals?
We feed a healthy varied diet consisting of pasture in the warm months, hay in the winter plus organic cow and goats milk, whey, butter, cream, yogurt, cheese trim and a variety of vegetables such as pumpkins, sunflowers, beets, turnips and such that we grow. Our pigs eat apples and nuts from wild trees in their pastures. We also feed a small amount of boiled barley (smells delicious) from a local artesian beer micro-brewery, apple pomace from a local cider mill and occasionally bread from a local bakery. We do not feed commercial hog feed and the like. Good food in, great pork out. See the Pig Page on our web site for details of what we feed and how we graze our livestock in the mountains of Vermont.
Do you use Nitrates and Nitrites?
I would rather not use either in our meats just for simplicity. Since I'm not generally curing meat to hang at higher temperatures - e.g., I have refrigeration - the nitrates/nitrites aren't needed for most things. Much of that is a marketing decision when it comes to our farm's products. I grew up in the era when nitrates and nitrites were labeled as cancer causing - research that was later firmly refuted but has stuck in the public mind.[2, 3] Modern research shows that many vegetables like spinach, celery and such have far higher levels of nitrates than were ever used in meats.[4, 5] Recent studies show that some levels are actually good for us and prevent stomach cancer and possibly other cancers. I expect that we'll learn more in the coming years about the relationships between these things. for thousands of years we have used nitrates/nitrites to prevent botulism and other food poisoning. Instead of using synthetic nitrates/nitrites we use celery and cherry which work together to achieve similar results of flavor and color enhancing.[Rhulman] In my mind the jury is still out but leaning towards aquittal - that is to say minimal nitrates/nitrites as used in bacon and hams are not a problem. I prefer not having so many ingredients in my food or to at least minimize them. Interestingly, our own saliva is a source of nitrates/nitrites as are many leafy green vegetables like spinach and celergy. See this article about How to Brine a Ham for how we brine at home without nitrates or nitrites - this does lack the pink color most people want in their bacon and ham. See this page for more interesting discussion on this topic. With our hot dogs, kielbasa and other sausages we have no nitrates or nitrites. The smokehouse who does our bacon and hams does use a minimal amount of sodium nitrate in them. Once we have our own slaughterhouse, butcher shop and smokehouse running I do not know which way we'll go on the hams and bacon - we might offer both ways. Hopefully we'll know more by then. As always, read the labels, know what you eat and moderation in everything!
Do you use Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in your products?
We do not use MSG in our fresh or smoked products or our sausage. I would rather not use it for the simple reason of minimizing ingredients since some people wisht to avoid MSG. Read more about MSG on wikipedia[1, 2] and make your own choices. MSG is made from natural plant materials and is associated with the sixth taste, Umami which is frequent in Asian dishes.
Did you really build your own on-farm USDA/State inspected slaughterhouse and butcher shop?
Yes we did! We completed construction in the summer of 2015 and opened our butcher shop under Vermont state inspection in October 2015. During 2016 we've been butchering every week for individuals, stores and restaurants buying our pork. I anticipate upgrading to USDA inspection in 2017. Currently we do butchering, the meat cutting, and sausage making. Next we'll add smoking and then later slaughter. Check out this page about the Butcher Shop. If you're interested in family construction projects then also check out our Tiny Cottage. The cottage was practice for learning how to build the shell of the butcher shop.
Vermont Fresh Network,
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT)
The Vermont Grass Farmers' Association,
and a NoWeirdStuff.org farm.
Vermont Dept of Ag Wholesale & Retail Licenses
USDA Inspected slaughter & processing