What is Natural
Our cattle are raised as nature intended; living outdoors, in a herd, on pasture. In the winter, when snow covers the ground, they stay in a large treed area where they can take shelter from harsh weather. The cattle are free to spread out under the trees at night. We have found that the cattle stay cleaner and drier than they would if confined to a barn or feedlot, where bacteria and pathogens might flourish. Our experience has been that animals that are not confined to a barn or feedlot remain healthy, and do not require drugs. If one of our animals were to get sick and require treatment by antibiotics, that animal would be removed from the herd, and sold into the conventional market.
There is no one definition of natural, nor is there one certification agency to determine what can be called natural. For Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef, we can tell you what it is not. Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef does not use any hormones or steroids or antibiotics. Pemberton Meadows does not use any feeds that incorporate rendered ingredients or byproducts. All our winter feeds are grown on our farms, or on that of a nearby neighbour. We feed home grown hay, and crushed oats and barley, without additives of any kind.
Natural beef tends to be leaner and tastier than most conventional beef. It only stands to reason that an animal that spends its life walking around on natural pastures would have a stronger texture and flavour than one that is just standing in a feedlot pen. Meat is good for us. It is an over abundance of fat that is not healthy. You can expect natural beef to have more flavour than conventional beef, but to have less fat.
Why not Organic?
We are often asked” why is your product, not certified organic?”
The answer is simple…….. potatoes!
What do potatoes have to do with beef?
Pemberton is primarily a seed potato growing Valley. The production of seed potatoes requires a rotation of fields, that will be often fallowed. The seed growers of Pemberton typically require more acreage, and more fields than they might own. It is common and necessary for seed growers to lease fields from their neighbors. We typically lease one of our fields per year to one of our neighbors to allow them to grow a crop of potatoes.
The production of seed potatoes requires the use of sprays to control diseases that could be multiplied through their seed. This prevents us from getting organic certification. It is however, the neighborly thing to do, and is part of integrated farm management in the area in which we work.
In all other ways our standards of production meet or exceed organic standards. Our standards of feed, breeding, transport, and livestock handling and health care are every bit as stringent as organic standards. We do not use hormones, steroids, or any antibiotics. Our animals are always outdoors, and are either on pasture in the summer, or eating hay and grain when snow covers the ground. We do not qualify for organic certification mainly because we want to be good neighbors. While our beef is every bit as pure as organically raised beef, it is just not certified by a third party to be so.
We can identify every animal from birth through its whole life. A numbered ear tag is attached when each calf is born. From this, we not only know the parentage of that animal, and the date of its birth, but can monitor its growth and health its whole life. We are constantly checking the health of the herd, and periodically bring them in to be weighted and closely checked over.
Isn’t it nice to know where your food comes from and how it was raised?