FAQ – with Brad and Alana

What services does your farm offer?

We offer planned grazing services using goats & sheep for vegetation management and fire hazard reduction.  See www.thegoatworks.net

We also team up with land owners to lease land suitable for grazing cattle.

What do your animals eat?

If we feed grain, our animals are always fed non-GMO, first and foremost!

Our mono-gastric species (pigs and poultry) are fed grain rations that currently include non-gmo corn & alfalfa, along with brewer’s grains from a local brewery, with a small amount of a commercial ration that we purchase in bulk from a local feed store (The Farm Store).  We believe in supporting our local community!

Our ruminants (goats, sheep & cows) are fed mainly grasses with the occasional need for supplemental hay, although they do not receive any grain at any time and are grass fed and finished.  Our beef is nicely marbled, tender and flavorful which sets us apart from your mainstream grass fed product.

Can I purchase your meats outside of your CSA?

Our CSA is offered in 6 month subscriptions or monthly pay as you go, year round.

We offer bulk buying (1/4’s, 1/2’s and wholes) as well as individual cuts sometimes being available at the farm.

Can we come see the farm?

We always welcome visitors and encourage you to see for yourself what makes us different.  We do ask, that you make an appointment with us as we are a family farm (Brad & I with 5 daughters) with schedules often as busy as yours.  We like to be able to have you out when we have an hour or more to walk you around the farm to see all the different species we raise here, talk and answer questions you may have and just get to know each other.   Also, all of the pictures that you see on our website are actual pictures of our farm.

Where are your products sold?

We only sell direct to consumer, but offer many ways to purchase our products.  We offer a meat share program that runs for 6 months at a time for 2 seasons throughout the year as well as a monthly option.  This is great if you do not have a freezer and would like to commit to purchasing your meats from a source your trust.  We also offer bulk sales of 1/4’s and halves.

Are you able to make a living farming?

This is a popular question as we give tours and start to get to know our customers.  Brad and I currently make 100% of our income from agriculture.  My contribution is mainly the farm, providing meats and eggs to our community.  Brad runs The Goat Works, a vegetation management company using goats and sheep and sometimes cows and pigs to manage land in an ecologically friendly way.

It’s awesome there are so many programs for grants and loans out there for farmers.  Are you able to take advantage of those?

When we started this venture, we decided against using debt, loans or any government programs.  Growing both our businesses are done using the proceeds from said businesses and nothing else.  We believe a truly sustainable food system and business does not rely on “outside” moneys.  This is exactly why we started out meat share program.  It takes a lot of capital to raise livestock from birth to harvest (beef, 2 years / pork, 6-10 months / lamb and goat, 12-18 months, which doesn’t include gestation) and the meat share allows customers to support our farm, ultimately their meat source.

Do you raise all your own animals or do you purchase from other farms or ranches?

We raise a large percentage of our own animals.  We do purchase day old poultry.  We raise our own animals mainly to control the inputs from the very beginning.  Specifically with hogs, we were finding it impossible to find organically started or even non-gmo started weanlings and were purchasing our first hogs from a pastured pork operation that still fed convention feed, but shortly went out of business.  It didn’t take us long to decide to start raising our own and now do not bring in any outside pigs.  We do partner up to supply our CSA with a nice selection year round, but we are very picky as to who we choose to do so.  We currently are partners with Elster Ranch, www.elsterranch.com & Pharis Pork and Poultry who you can find on facebook.

Where do you buy your feed and why?

We locally source our feed mainly from other businesses in Nevada County.  The exception is that our non-GMO corn is grown in & around Orland, CA.  We believe in local.  Our roots are local.  We believe that as a local business, being supported by local customers, we should be spending those dollars here.  We even feed our family from local businesses and avoid those trips, down the hill.

What’s the most sustainable meat we can eat?  Why?

Ok, I admit.  This isn’t really a FAQ.  But it is a question that we ask ourselves a lot and in a little different light. What is the most sustainable meat we can raise? And the answer is always the same.  Beef, lamb and goat.  Why?  Because these are the meats with the smallest, almost non-existent need for outside inputs.  We grow grass, they eat grass, we eat the meat created.  Or, in the terms of goats.  We grow brush, they eat brush, we eat the meat they create.  Our Nevada County region is perfect for raising ruminants (cattle, goats, sheep).  These species thrive in our area without any other feeds needing to be brought in.

Our perfect farm, in a truly sustainable system would be creating all the feed for every animal produced on that farm.  Now that’s sustainable!  Almost anything in the outside world could happen and the farm and what it produces would not be affected.  On this farm the pigs and chickens would be such a small ratio of the whole of the farm.  But this is extreme.  Even to the point that the farm would have to have it’s own water source (in case NID went away) and it’s own electricity source (in case lights went out).  This farm would also have to be owned by the farmers.  But it sure is neat to have a focus on a sustainable method that you believe in, continuing to make steps towards it.  And who knows, maybe someday it becomes reality.

How do your customers describe your farm?

quality, healthy, delicious
independent, direct marketed, local
 good for the animals, good for the farmer, good for the cook, great for the family
positive impact on the cattle, the environment and the local community
no antibiotics or added growth hormones, non GMO
What books / periodicals do you read?  Or do you recommend?
Stockman Grass Farmer                          Guide to Healthy Living, by Dr. Dale Jacobson
APPPA Grit                                                 Omnivore’s Dilemna
Weston Price – Wise Traditions              Any of  “Storey’s Guides to Raising” sheep, cattle, chickens
Western Livestock Journal                      Nourishing Traditions
Ag Alert – California Farm Bureau         Anything by Joel Salatin especially “You can Farm”
Anything by Greg Judy                             Holistic Management International
Savory Institute

What are people saying?

You touched my heart the way you take care of your animals.  We are so enjoying your meat.

Patt – Nevada City

Thanks for another outstandingly delicious turkey!  We love that we know where and how our food is raised!  Thanks again for doing such a great job!

Judi – Nevada City

I roasted one of your chickens last night!
Delicious!!!!   Thank you.
Left overs tonight and tastes even better.

Diane – Nevada City

We appreciate you, your family & all you do! The turkey for Thanksgiving was just wonderful. I was sad after I came to pick it up & kept expressing my gratitude for its sacrifice for us. Then I brined & slow roasted it, & the turkey was the pride of our family gathering.

Paula – Grass Valley

That was one of the best turkeys we have ever had. Thank you for giving that Tom good love and food.
Dawn – Grass Valley

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *