Frequently Asked Questions
Where is our beef sold?
We have a farm market where we sell our products and expect to launch an online store in early 2020 that will include options for home delivery or on-farm pickup. Our meat can be found at local restaurants including Hawkeyes in Silverdale, and both Pag's Pub and Paganini's in Doylestown. Some of our items can also be found at The Old Dutch Cupboard in Franconia.
What is 100% grass fed?
The purest definition of "100% grass fed beef" is meat from cattle that have never consumed any grains such as corn or soybean meal. Our calves are raised on our farm only eating their mother’s milk and grass. They are weaned after 8-9 months, and are finished cattle at 24-30 months. In the winter months, the cattle are fed haylage and dry hay.
What do the cows eat?
A cow is a ruminant who naturally only forages on grass, legumes, and plant matter. They instinctively know what plants hold the vitamins needed for their diet. We offer an organic mix of minerals and salt they can lick whenever they choose throughout their life on the farm.
Is there a nutritional difference between 100% grass fed beef and the typical commodity beef that is fed grain?
Grass fed beef contains less total fat and less saturated fats than the same foods from grain fed animals. Pastured animals contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that some recent studies indicate may help reduce weight and prevent cancer, and which is absent from traditionally raised grain-finished cattle. Grass finished beef has a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 compared to a more than ten-to-one in grain finished beef. (Michael Pollan)
How do you care for your pastures?
Primary fertilization is by cattle grazing. All fields are tested every three years for PH and residual Phosphate and Potassium as well as multiple nutrients and organic matter. Manure, as well as compost made from leaves, mulch hay and cow manure bed pack, is spread on the fields to enhance the plant growth. Lime and potash are also supplied to our fields to enhance growth. Pastures are continually monitored for balance of legumes which return nitrogen to the soil and percentage of grass mixes. During the early spring frost, we might seed red and white clovers if needed. Since we have begun rotational grazing, our pastures have improved remarkably from 1-2% Organic matter to now 4-7% organic matter. No herbicides are used on pastures. Weeds like bull thistles are rigorously hand dug while moving cattle and observing the fields.
What breed are the cattle on Tussock Sedge Farm?
The cows are Red Angus. All calves are produced by natural breeding on our farm and not sourced from open markets. We have a “closed” herd to control health and avoid introducing disease from outside sources.
When are calves born?
We calf in March and April, as well as in August and September for year round finished beef.
Do you use growth hormones or prophylactic antibiotics?
No, we never use prophylactic antibiotics, growth stimulants, or hormones.
How do you treat illness?
We observe and closely watch for any illness while rotating herds. If an animal is in needs treatment, it will receive homeopathic or holistic care from the farm manager. If the illness is contagious (ie. pink-eye), the animal will be quarantined. Moving more frequently to fresh grass is a good remedy for some illness.
What environmental improvements have you done on your farm?
With the partnership of the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Services, we restored 26 acres of land to its natural wetland form. This also serves to slow runoff by forming several dams and silt collection basins. This land supports an increasingly diverse habitat of insects, amphibians, birds and predators. Our friend, an avid birder, installed and maintains blue bird boxes and barn owl boxes for nesting across our seven farms, most of which are used annually to raise a new generation of chicks. All of our historic barns have had modern drainage installed so that manure and nutrients do not enter the nearby streams. Most of our pastures have been terraced and contoured to prevent erosion by containing run-off. We also have planted more than 1000 native trees as a buffer along the streams and waterways.
Does grass fed beef taste good?
Grass fed beef has a deeper or richer beef flavor since cattle require longer time to finish on grass. It also has less fat than grain-fed beef. The flavor is sweet and nutty and takes on unique flavor of the farm on which it is raised.
Do you cook grass fed beef differently?
Grass fed beef should be treated more gently than conventional beef because the fat is more finely grained and there is less of it. Cook roasts in a crockpot on low or warm settings, or in a very low heat oven for many hours. If you choose to braise grass fed beef prior to cooking it, use extra fat in the pan like butter or duck fat to do so. Steaks should be cooked at a high temperature until medium-rare or medium this allows the outside of the steak to sear and hold in all the delicious juices.