Belly Rub Bacon is heritage breed, pastured pork raised on organic feed, plenty of grass, treats from the garden, and whatever bugs, grubs, and roots a happy pig with its snout in the ground can find!
This year our pigs are crosses of a Berkshire x Gloucester Old Spot boar and a Berkshire x York sow from Sunset Creek Farms outside St. Cloud. Our breeds are always selected for their ability to thrive on pasture.
They spend their entire lives outdoors where they are happily able to express their full pig nature, namely munching on grass, rooting in dirt, wallowing in the mud, and napping in a pig pile.
Their omnivorous pastured diet is supplemented with feed from southern Minnesota organic grain farmers. Feed varies depending on availability but primarily consists of small grains such as field peas, oats, barley, alfalfa and wheat in addition to occasional corn. There is no soy in their feed.
The herd is rotated through paddocks of fresh forage, and this year they are helping us renovate an overgrown and underutilized section of the farm. By giving them hay bales to nest, play in, and spread around their paddock (they even eat some too!), they are helping to increase organic matter in the soil and spread pasture grass seed in goldenrod-dominant areas.
After experimenting with Mangalitsa crossed pigs last year, we decided to return to raising Berkshire crosses due to customer feedback and our own taste tests! Both are delicious but it's our opinion that Berkshire bacon is simply the best, and the pork chops, hams, and steaks are a beautifully dark red, juicy meat unlike anything you will find in a grocery store.
Welfare, health, and humane handling of the pigs is valued above all -- and yes, the pigs get belly rubs!
Ordering is currently open for half and whole hogs. See the Order page for all the details!
Our sheep were sourced from breeding stock developed by Janet McNally at Tamarack Lamb and Wool down the road in Hinckley. Janet is an long-time sheep grazer who thoughtfully bred Dorset and Ile de France sheep and selected only hearty ewes that performed well in a grass-only, pasture lambing system (meaning no barn, just like nature).
These are meat breeds producing a medium sized, tender, delicious lamb. They also produce wool and we have plans to offer sheepskins and yarn in the near future.
They are rotationally grazed and are 100% grass fed and finished. We are thrilled to have Janet, a published and well-known grazing expert, just down the road to help us establish our flock and breed healthy animals in a healthy pasture ecosystem.
We currently have a very limited amount of lamb available, and are offering sample cuts to pork customers upon request. Please let us know if you'd like to try some!
Our brave livestock guardian dogs were also bred and raised by Janet and are crosses of Maremma, Spanish Mastiff, and Polish Tatra. They are as important to our sheep operation as the sheep themselves, as we are in an area with plenty of coyote and wolf predation.
These are large dogs (75-120lbs) with a fierce deep bark, but a shy and gentle nature around trusted humans. Lena asks for belly rubs just like the pigs, Shadow loves a good ear scratch, and Polly would prefer to give you a sniff and then run circles around you in excitement.
The dogs allow us to farm alongside thriving wildlife, and display impressive bonding behavior with their flock. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for the daily activities of Lena, Polly, and Shadow!
We are currently in the beginning stages of establishing a grass fed and finished herd of Red Angus/Hereford crossed cattle. While healthier for both animals and humans, it takes much longer for an animal to grow to finished weight when exclusively grass fed than when feeding grain.
We will likely have a small quantity of beef quarters available the fall of 2018 as we finish our first two beeves. Please let us know if you're interested in future beef availability by signing up on the mailing list.
We are not ashamed to admit our first flock of chickens was an impulse buy at a chicken swap we happened upon at the feed store in town. We soon began taking in "city chickens" as well--old laying hens from urban backyard flocks with maybe not the highest egg output of all time...
A mish-mash of Araucana hybrids and we're-not-quite-sure-what, these chickens lay brown, green, and bluish-hued, medium size eggs. They live in a mobile coop (sometimes called a chicken tractor) and spent the summer following the sheep flock through the pasture, keeping the fly pressure down and helping to spread manure along the way.
While we know it's disappointing, we are not currently planning to focus on egg production in these start-up years. However, if you come visit the farm, we may have a dozen or two available for purchase, or if you're lucky we'll even feed you breakfast!