Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Why Eat Local?

Eating food that was sustainably raised is like eating a tomato out of your garden verses buying a tomato at your local mega grocery. It looks like a tomato, well sort of, but the taste is more like cardboard. There is plenty of crunch, plenty of texture, but almost no taste. No taste usually means very little nutritional value.

How can you take something like a tomato and ruin it? The same way you can take a pig and raise it in a way that isn't sustainable or natural and end up with something that looks like pork but tastes like, you guessed it, cardboard! Most factory farm "premium pork" tastes like the brine and chemicals used to enhance the flavor.

According to ATTRA, sustainable agriculture follows the principles of nature to develop systems for raising crops and livestock that are, like nature, self-sustaining. I agree.

If you come to my farm I'm not going to give you my long passionate talk about the evils of big business agriculture and how we need to return to a more sustainable model. I'm going to give you a pork chop, unless you'd rather try our pasture raised chicken.

I've learned that once you taste and see that sustainably-raised food is superior to factory-farmed products, you will ask me where to get food that tastes so good. And I'll gladly tell you.

Find a sustainable farm practice in your area and see what they offer. You will be convinced that food produced according to nature tastes better because it is better . It's healthier, environmentally friendly, and it stimulates the local economy. As the old saying goes, "The proof of the pork is in the eating."

 If you're around our neck of the woods, we hope you'll try us at Spring Hill Farms

 

Until next time...

 
 

Some Obscure History of the Tamworth Pasture Pig

I came across some old writings recently that stated the Tamworth at one point had some "crosses of pigs having a strong infusion of Neapolitan blood...It is also said that a few breeders used a white pig that had been improved by Bakewell."

 I was surprised as everything I ever read about the Tamworth indicates no particular story of having any known infusion of other breeds.  Some have speculated that probably it did, have but no indication of what type.

 Although the writer didn't say anything with certainty, I found the account interesting.

They did start out saying "The Tamworth is probably the purest of the modern breeds of swine, it having been improved more largely by selection and care than by the introduction of the blood of other breeds."

They go on to say, "Fortunately the class of men who had undertaken the improvement of some of the other breeds, by sacrificing almost everything to an aptitude to fatten, did not undertake the Tamworth; hence the preservation of the length and prolificacy of the breed. For a number of years previous to 1870 the breed received comparatively little attention outside it's own home. About that time the bacon curers opened a campaign against the then fashionable short, fat and heavy shouldered pigs, which they found quite unsuitable for the production of streaked side meat for which the demand was constantly increasing. The Tamworth then came into prominence as an improver of some of the other breeds, in which capacity it was a decided success owing to its long established habit of converting it's food into lean meat."   

 We're thankful to those very early Tamworth breeders here at Spring Hill Farms, and once our customers try some of our old fashion hickory smoked bacon they are too!

 

Until Next time...


 

 


 
 

If you have been to our website please read!

If you sent us any type of communication from our website from March 1st to March 16th, chances are we did not get it.

 

Our website had an "issue" where it wasn't sending us the email. It would tell you on your end that it did when in fact it didn't...

 

SO... If you signed up for our free pork or wanted on our mailing list you will need to go back to our site and re-submit your information.

 If you sent us a request for more information and you didn't hear from us, we didn't get it please re-send.

 

Oh the joys of the Internet...

 

Until next time...

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Freedom Ranger Chicks Arrived - Video

Our Freedom Ranger chicks arrived at the farm today today. This video shows us putting them in the brooder.

These birds are from the Label Rouge program. We believe them to be better than the standard Cornish Cross chickens for the model we use to raise them. 

In my previous post  I outlined why I think they are superior to Cornish Cross for the pastured poultry farmer.


I will be showing you how these birds grow out this season so stay tuned for more videos.

 

Watch the video here.

 

Until next time...

 
 

I'm ashamed it took me this long...

A couple of days ago a close friend of mine called me to ask if I had watched Food Inc.

 Watch the trailer here.

I immediately knew what he was talking about as I had seen the reviews in Acres USA and a several other small farm, sustainable farming publications.

He had been exposed to it on the academy awards show, rented it on a whim, and was now calling me to see if I had seen it.

His reaction to the movie was pretty intense. I know him well enough to know he isn't easily impressed, so I thought I'd better get the thing and watch it.

My wife and sat down to watch it last night and by the time it was over I had experienced a host of emotions.

It made me mad enough to yell at the TV, I was enlightened, I cried at one point...this movie is an absolute MUST SEE if you want to see the truth about the food industry in America.

It was tastefully put together and doesn't have a visual shock value element where you can't watch certain scenes like some other things of this nature I have watched. 

Watch the trailer and get a copy you won't be sorry.

Until next time...

 
 

What's Wrong With Cornish Cross Chickens?

Cornish Cross are the industry standard for meat birds in the United States. I recently mentioned I had switched to Freedom Ranger chickens and had several people ask why.

Cornish Cross birds are a lazy bird by nature with an insatiable appetite.

They basically sit, eat, and get bigger. These are admiral traits if the only goal is to produce a bird that grows very rapidly and produces a lot of breast meat.

However, if you sit back and observe this bird for very long you realize these cleverly select traits come with a price.

Research shows that these birds can gain weight at a rate faster than their skeletal system can bear.

This shows up as lameness and even broken legs. Another trait of these birds is they suffer heart failure.

You go to tend the birds, and find one stone dead for no apparent reason. More than likely it suffered heart failure.

Because they are so selectively bred for certain traits it can lead to a compromised immune system.

They are a fragile bird that was designed for huge agri-business to stuff in a confinement barn and feed sub therapeutic antibiotics to keep them healthy.

The hatchery told me to limit feed them so as to slow the growth rate down and help curb these health issues.

I did limit their intake of feed, and to a large degree it worked. But I came to the conclusion you were basically starving them to slow them down!

They are genetically designed to have an insatiable appetite. I raise Tamworth pigs on pasture and these birds make them look polite when it comes to feeding if they have ran out of feed for any length of time…even on grass.

Which brings up another observation: Freedom Ranger chickens are a far more aggressive forager of green material then Cornish Cross.

One of the health benefits touted by pastured poultry farmers is the opportunity for the birds to graze on green grass and bugs.

It made sense to me to use a bird that gets the most out the environment in which you raise it. Cornish birds were designed as an inside bird with no thought of foraging, that burns calories!

Contrast that with birds from the Label Rouge program in France (such as Freedom Rangers) and you see some distinct differences.

 

  • They are a healthy robust bird
  • Freedom Rangers grow slower without the problems associated with Cornish Cross.
  • They are much more active foragers.
  • Customers in taste test when compared to the Cornish Cross prefer Freedom Ranger.

I chose Freedom Rangers because after examining the facts I felt they were better suited to my model of farming and welfare standards.

Why take a bird that was bred for big business and put it in an environment that it was never designed for?

I realize pastured poultry farmers while minimizing the problems outlined here can raise Cornish Cross birds.

 

But for us at Spring Hill Farms, we think there is a better way.

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Building a Temporary Brooder

Randy and I will building a temporary brooder today. The barn we had a brooder set up in burned down last Spring.

We have a batch of Freedom Ranger chicks coming in eight days so I though we better find somewhere to put them!

I didn't want to get birds this early but since we are having trouble keeping up with the demand I decided to get going as soon as possible.

The Freedom Ranger birds are part of the Label Rouge program from France.

We were looking for a bird that has a more aggressive nature to forage than the standard Cornish Cross birds that many folks use for pastured poultry.

The Freedom Ranger birds fit the bill! The meat is also excellent. They take a couple more weeks to grow out than Cornish Cross but as with any animal that matures slower, they are flavorful!

These birds remind you of old breed birds because they are! They are several different colors and are noticeably more active than Cornish Cross.

We are running them in poultry netting instead of movable pens or chicken tractors as some people call them.

You can see our philosophy on pastured poultry here.

I'll be sure to post more on these birds through the growing season. 

 Well I'm off to get started!

 

 Until next time...

 


 
 
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