Pastured Raised & Grass Fed
Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Goat, Pork, Rabbit & Turkey
Raised with Intention
The chance to see farm animals, called livestock, is one of the main reasons why so many visitors flock to NCOF. We purposely raise our livestock “in the public eye” to teach people where meat comes from, to encourage everyone to think about how meat is raised and the agricultural practices they support with their food dollars. NCOF’s livestock is organically fed and humanely raised according to organic standards, but is not certified-organic due to the cost of certification. Farm livestock is cared for by the teachers and children in our educational programs.
Availability & Pick up
Due to the size of our farm and the small number of animals that we can sustainably support on our land, NCOF sells meat in limited amounts, and only at certain times of the year. We sell most of our meat “fresh frozen” through our online store. Please allow 24 hours for us to fill your order. Meat pick up takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:30-4:00 pm, Fridays 9:30 am-1:30 pm, and other times by special arrangement with the livestock team. We offer fresh, whole unfrozen chicken and other meats by pre-order, when meat first comes back from the processor. Watch for those dates here and in our social media.
Every year we raise two Hereford calves from other farms. Bringing them in as calves in the spring, rearing them through the summer, and processing them for meat in the fall allows us to avoid the expense of having to feed them through the winter. As with all NCOF grazing animals, calves are rotated between pastures so that they always have fresh grass and to avoid overgrazing. They are also fed local hay and organic grain that we purchase. NCOF beef is professionally processed by a local, USDA-certified slaughter house and sold “fresh-frozen” by the cut.
We keep approximately 150 hens for eggs, which are called layers, and 200 meat birds, which are called broilers. During the day, our layers go outside and range around in large outdoor runs. One or two always seem to hop the fence! Every summer we raise two batches of broilers in mobile pens called chicken tractors, which we move every few days to fresh ground. This allows the chickens to scratch and eat harmful insects and worms and keeps their fresh manure from killing the pasture grass. At night, we shut the chickens inside their houses or tractors to keep them safe from predators. Our chickens are fed organic grain. They also snack on vegetable scraps and garden weeds brought to them by the kids in our educational programs. Our chickens are processed professionally twice a summer at local USDA-certified processors. We sell whole, dressed-out birds fresh and “fresh-frozen.” Please keep an eye on our social media for the chance to order a fresh NCOF chicken!
We are raising 3 Boer goat females, or does. They are a good breed for goatscaping and for meat. Our goats graze on the fresh grass in our pastures, and eat local hay and organic grain. We rotate them between the pastures to avoid overgrazing. Goats’ natural tendency to reach up high to eat the foliage of trees and shrubs and to eat poison ivy, makes them wonderful animals to use for clearing land! Our goats are processed for meat by USDA certified processors in the spring. We sell goat meat in cuts. If you wish to purchase a whole live animal, please contact the livestock team at [email protected]
Our pigs are a mix of two heritage breeds, Berkshire and Tamworth. We have four sows that we breed in the fall so that they birth, or farrow, in the spring and/or the summer. (Sows can have two litters of piglets a year.) We keep a few piglets each year as feeder pigs and sell the rest to other farms. Our pigs spend their days outside in our pigpen and in our back pasture. They love to root around looking for food and to lay in mud to cool off. Pigs are highly intelligent, social creatures that enjoy living in a herd. Some of ours have big personalities! True omnivores, pigs will eat anything, but we feed ours on compost, kitchen scraps, vegetables, and organic grain. Our pigs are processed by professional, USDA-certified processors into pork in the spring and fall. We sell fresh and cured pork by the cut, as well as ground pork, bacon, and sausage.
We have a small flock of Finn sheep, a heritage breed known for both good fiber and good meat. We pasture our sheep on grass and supplement their diet with local hay and organic grain. Our ewes are bred in the fall so that they will give birth to lambs in the early spring. They often have twins! When lambs are between a year and 18 months old, they are sent to a professional, USDA- certified processor, usually in the spring. We sell most of our lamb meat by the cut, but sometimes as live lambs to other farmers, or to families celebrating Greek Easter with a lamb roast.
Our rabbits are a mix of two larger meat breeds, Flemish Giant and New Zealand. We raise rabbits both for pets and for meat. Our rabbits spend their days in roomy, fenced outdoor runs where they can bask in the sun, dig in the dirt, tunnel in the snow, and be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. They spend their nights indoors in hutches, where they are safe from predators. We feed our rabbits hay and grain. We breed them year-round and process them for meat every two months.
Every June, we purchase 200 baby turkeys, called poults, from a local turkey breeder. We then brood them under heat lamps until they are strong enough to go outside and to live in our turkey house. Our growing turkeys spend their days hunting for insects and running around in a large grass pasture–an unusual practice for farms in this area. Females are called hens and males are called toms. You are welcome to come and visit them any time between mid-June and mid-November. Naturally inquisitive, turkeys like to amuse themselves by hunting insects, pecking at sparkly objects like buttons or zippers, and by running from one side of the pasture to the other. Moving encourages them to fully develop their muscles, so there is less of a difference in texture between the dark meat and the light meat of our birds. Our turkeys are processed every year by a USDA-certified slaughterhouse. Customers reserve them by placing a deposit on a bird; NCOF members enjoy priority registration. We sell our birds by pre-order either fresh or frozen, depending on when and where we can get a slaughter date at a local processor–a process that is becoming more an more of a challenge. NCOF turkeys are very juicy, roast faster than commercially-farmed turkeys, and very delicious.