No. While we respect organic growing practices, the pricetag for feeding organic animal feed and passing on this cost to the customer is too high to be feasible with the products we produce. Organic chicken feed is nearly double the cost of non-GMO feed.
We were also spending significant time and money driving a long distance to get it, as the availability of organic feed in our area was a problem. For these reasons, we decided to transition from organic to non-GMO feed. Raising food requires many decisions that affect product quality, the animal's quality of life, the overall carbon footprint, etc. and decisions rarely affect all factors positively. For example, while organic food is likely superior, the act of trucking organic animal feed long distances negatively impacts the carbon footprint, raises costs, and sends money away instead of keeping it in the local community.
When buying organic meat in the store, pay attention to where it is coming from--the distance where some of these products are imported from may surprise you. We personally have seen organic beef from as far away as New Zeeland for sale locally. Imagine the carbon footprint of transporting fresh beef over 8000 miles. It makes cow burps seem insignificant. We support local production of food and sometimes that means making sacrifices-- for us, organic animal feed is one of those sacrifices.
Further, the various organic certifications that currently exist, while convenient for consumers, do not reflect a holistic understanding of food quality. For example, meat chickens raised in giant warehouses under controlled circumstances may be fed certified organic feed, while free-range birds raised on pasture may not be certified organic due to the farm having insufficient recordkeeping or being located close to another property that uses chemical fertilizers. As is typical with government regulations, there are ways to manipulate the system and not all organic food is created equal.
We encourage customers to investigate food sources for themselves, whether from our farm or others, and judge what type of arrangement they are comfortable with. Knowing your farmer goes a long way.
Corn and soy are the foundation of animal feeds. These crops are often genetically modified to allow them to be planted in monocrops by the thousand- or million-acre patch and sprayed with Round Up to make them pest and disease resistant, as well as accompanying chemicals to eliminate competing grasses and weeds. This completely unnatural practice wreaks havoc on soil health, with ripple effects to groundwater, insect, plant, animal, and human health.
As farmers, we try to preserve or increase the health of the soil and everything that lives off it. This is why we choose non-GMO. While unfortunately some chemicals are allowed in the growing process, crops at least are not recreated in an abhorrent way to allow them to survive a heavy spraying of glyphosate, which has been linked in study after study to cancer and other grave health problems.
We feel that avoiding GMOs is a tangible step we can take to control our food quality. What we put into our body is important for our health. If we spend a little more to eat good food now, we'll save in medical bills due to bad health later.
Non-GMO food is more expensive due to the additional time and labor involved in the growing process. However, non-GMO animal feed is available locally and buying it allows us to raise a great product while still offering it at a reasonable and competitive price to you.
Based on USDA data, the adoption of GMO crops accelerated in the mid 1990s and has absorbed over 75 percent of the acreage for most major field crops. Between 2004 and 2015, herbicide-tolerant corn went from 24% to 89% of total production. These are very broad statistics but demonstrate how recent the switch to GMO products is. We encourage consumers to do their research and make a conscious decision regarding how much to use GMO products in their own household.
In the era of $1.00 eggs, you can find various pricing levels at the local supermarket as well as local farms. All of these prices reflect decisions that have cost implications which are reflected in the price you pay, and our products are no different. We respect that others have differing opinions and only suggest that everyone understand what they are buying and make the best decisions they can.
There's a cheap pricetag on corporate food, and it's due to differences in how the product is raised. Unfortunately, the hidden pricetag behind cheap, nutrient-depleted food is health bills down the road. Raising animals in tiny spaces, feeding them low quality corn and soy with government subsidies artificially lowering the price, and largely replacing daily human labor with machines results in suffering for the animal (broken bones, organ failure, open sores, disease, overcrowding) and an unhealthy product for you (salmonella, white striping, chemicals and irradiation in the slaughter process).
Many people are surprised at the true cost of raising food. We spend about $17 to raise one chicken and $1000 to raise one pig. We set our prices to cover our costs and make a modest profit so that a year's worth of daily work and time raising animals is worth it. We invest the profit we make back into our farm to build infrastructure to grow a greater variety of food for our community and to increase Ada's access to healthy, nutrient-dense food. We are grateful to each customer who supports our farm!
Hanging weight is when the hog is killed, hung up, skinned, gutted, and cut in half along the spine, with the head removed. The weight of the two halves of the carcass is the "hanging weight" for a whole hog. The weight of one half of the carcass is the "hanging weight" for a half hog.
If you buy a half hog, you are buying half of the entire carcass of the animal.
A whole hog, you buy both halves of the carcass--or in other words, the entire animal minus the head, skin, and innards.
Hanging weight is unique to each individual hog; like people, every hog has his own weight. Since we raise the same breed of hog and give them the same amount of feed, our hogs should finish out around the same size, give or take 20 pounds. After processing, roughly 70% of the hanging weight is meat, and 20% is bones and lard, which can also be used for cooking.
Jon and I easily eat through one whole hog in one year.
See the "Farm Store" tab on our website.
We hope to offer tea, herbs, flowers, honey and jam, mutton, rabbit, handmade crafts, classes, and chicks and ducklings in the future as well.
We accept cash, check, or Venmo (@seldomcreekfarm) payments in the deposit box in our farm store.