Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question and you shall receive an answer!
(i.e, use the drop-down option to see our responses to some of the more frequently asked questions)

ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

While we follow a lot of organic principals, we are not, and will never be, certified organic. The main reason for this being that we believe “organic” to be a bit of an empty title. Organic foods were initially a fantastic step in the development of responsible agriculture! But as soon as it became a regulated (and commercialized) term, “organic” became a bit hollow and void of meaning. 

That said, don’t get us wrong: if you love your organic suppliers, continue to support them (especially if they are local!)! Just make sure you do your research first because not all organic farmers are equal. Some are amazingly conscientious and go above and beyond when it comes to limiting eco-impacts. Others… not so much.

In short, before you buy, meet your farmer and educate yourself on their philosophy, priorities, and methods and make sure those align with your personal values – whatever they may be.

Management intensive grazing is a farming philosophy designed to ensure high forage yield, maintain animal health, and sustain the pasture ecosystem through the protection of plant biodiversity. A herd of ruminants left to their own devices will selectively eat the plant species they find the tastiest. These species, unable to get a break from the constant pressure from a stationary herd, are unable to thrive. This allows less tasty plant species to move in and take over, thus reducing diversity and harming the pasture ecosystem.

Management intensive grazing works to preserve the health of the pasture by containing herds to small(er) sections of field and moving them from paddock to paddock. This helps ensure the animals fully graze – without overgrazing, any given patch of field. While it means significant work for the farmer, the technique works to maintain the health of both the field and the livestock on it.

We utilize this form of farming because:

  • We have a limited amount of land to work with
  • It is a sustainable farming technique that maintains and, in many ways, improves the health of our land
  • It makes for healthy and happy animals

Yes and no.

While all ruminates can (and should) eat grass, many producers supplement with grain, corn, and / or soy either throughout the animal’s lives (conventional meats) or in the last month or so of the animals’ life (grass-fed / grain finished or grain assisted). This is done as the higher calorie profile corn/grain has over grass promotes faster animal growth (they reach butchering weight sooner) and boosts marbling. Conversely, Return to Earth’s lambs are 100% grass-fed. Our animals eat only grass and hay (as well as necessary vitamins / minerals, i.e., salt licks). While this means our animals take longer to raise, the resulting meat is notably more nutritious than grain-fed animals and boasts a better ratio of omega fatty acids. 

In the end, there is nothing inherently wrong with a grain-finished animal. As long as the producer is respecting the animal and considering their environmental impact, no one method of farming trumps another. It really just comes down to personal preferences, values, and priorities.

In short, because of time and quality.

A grass-fed / grass-finished animal takes a fair bit longer to get to a good weight for butchering than an animal fed or finished with grain. For example, a conventionally finished (grain fed) cow will usually take around 18 months to hit an appropriate butchering weight. A grass-finished cow will take 24-30+ months, but presents a far lower ecological impact and produces a nutritiously superior meat.

As a result, and because farmers should be paid for their work and time, grass-finished meats cost more than conventionally raised meats.

  1. We think it gives our animals a better quality of life.
  2. Pastured animals raised through a management intensive grazing process actually benefit the soil: sustainable / regenerative farming for the win!
  3. It’s what we like to eat. We prefer the taste and texture of grass finished meat – so it’s how we farm!

As a bonus, grass fed / grass finished meats are known for having a different nutrient profile than grain-finished animals. They are leaner, lower in cholesterol, and higher in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, and iron.

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