Author Topic: Searching for Greener Pastures  (Read 1596 times)

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Offline sabertooth

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Searching for Greener Pastures
« on: February 25, 2018, 01:49:49 am »
Ive recently begun searching for more optimal sources of pasture raised Sheep, I have a truck and would be open to hearing of any sources of prime live animals located within or close to the South East region of the United States.

Been calling around and searching the web all week and I have some good leads, but am still unsure about where else to look before making a decision. Some of the larger farms in my region either use unpaleo methods, or wont sell directly to the public; while other smaller farms wont sell their fully mature optimal breeding age animals. Many farmers simply dont have sheep that are naturally fat and robust enough for my needs.

If anyone knows of a farm that would provide a regular supply of large fully grown paleo quality Sheep please let me know?
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Offline van

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 02:03:56 am »
I  assume you're looking for sheep vs. lamb due to what you believe to be healthier animals due to time allowed to collect nutrients?

   I'm interested in obtaining blood.  Derick, how long does it keep?   I buy directly from a small slaughterhouse.  I imagine that they, with a little arm twisting, could fill up quart jugs and ship it to me with my regular order.  I'd get it the next day.  Doesn't it coagulate, and how would I use it, or how do you use it?  Any insight would be much appreciated.
    Back to the sheep, we had a farmer raise lambs for our dogs.  Maybe you could do the same with one who has great land and great practices for the future. 

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 03:08:19 am »

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 03:12:13 am »
I did a google search of Icelandic sheep Kentucky, there are a lot of growers, they usually use more natural methods than average and the animals are of superior quality.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 05:35:05 am »
https://louisville.craigslist.org/grd/d/shetland-icelandic-sheep/6487416732.html

I would be discreet since they named them lol
I did a google search of Icelandic sheep Kentucky, there are a lot of growers, they usually use more natural methods than average and the animals are of superior quality.
I have dealt with the people like the ones in the add who do wool sheep, and its usually not worth the trouble to put on a deception.

Ive gotten Icelandic and Shetland sheep from local farms, and when raised properly they are fine animals, but I prefer the Katahdin breed that seems to fatten up better on pasture, or some kind of large meat breed hair sheep cross .

I  assume you're looking for sheep vs. lamb due to what you believe to be healthier animals due to time allowed to collect nutrients?

   I'm interested in obtaining blood.  Derick, how long does it keep?   I buy directly from a small slaughterhouse.  I imagine that they, with a little arm twisting, could fill up quart jugs and ship it to me with my regular order.  I'd get it the next day.  Doesn't it coagulate, and how would I use it, or how do you use it?  Any insight would be much appreciated.
    Back to the sheep, we had a farmer raise lambs for our dogs.  Maybe you could do the same with one who has great land and great practices for the future. 


If you find someone who will ship blood let me know, because I would like to find an extra source. Most USDA inspected facilities I have dealt with are not allowed to sell or give out the blood; and the small mom and pop ones that will, usually process a lot of sub quality animals that I would not want. The plant I worked at let me take blood from their animals, but they were all feed lot fed and it tasted horrid. I drove out to Arizona with the specific intent to collect about ten gallons of cows blood only to be told that the "cool inspector" was off that day, and the "by the book inspector wouldn't allow it". I seem to get an impression that most people dont want to deal with it, and its a damn shame, because I feel much more optimal when I have access to larger amounts of fresh blood....The frustration from dealing with all these insane regulations is almost enough to drive me to start stalking the fields and draining animals at night like an American Chupacabra

I will cut the jugular and collect the blood in a large bowl. I typically get about 2/3 to 3/4 a gallon of blood from a 175+ pound sheep. Half of the blood I will keep in a jar and drink fresh within a week, after a week in a fridge the blood begins to get a little funk and looses its energy boosting quality. The other half I will measure out into wide mouth pint sized jars, vacuum seal with an adapter , then freeze. This the best method for long term preservation I have found. The blood will still coagulate and the plasma will separate but all of it is good for consumption. Then after my fresh blood is run out, I can thaw out a jar and use it as needed.

I will also take portions of fresh organ meat, and mix various pieces together in pint size jars to vacuum seal and freeze. Pieces of Liver, heart, cardiac fat, spleen, kidney, and the occasional testicle, will be sealed and frozen in a jar together. I will also store the various parts of the stomach along with the sweetbreads in a similar fashion. This insures that I will have access to at least some small portions of fresh vital organs and blood throughout the time between kills. I found that the jars work better for sealing and freezing bloody wet organ meats than plastic bags that wont vacuum seal well, when too much fluid at the top of the bag inhibits the seal.
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Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 06:24:50 am »
I am not familiar with Katadins but the butcher told me my lamb was the best quality he had ever seen and found it hard to believe I never fed grain. I feel it has as much to do with their methods and pasture quality as it does to do with the breed. However I have heard that Katadins grow fat eating rocks so there might be something to that.

Offline van

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 07:39:22 am »
thanks for the info Derick.  I'll let  you know if I have any luck.

Offline ys

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 12:24:33 am »
Have you considered raising sheep yourself?

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018, 05:02:25 am »
I Have thought about it, but there are a number of factors which are prohibitive of doing so at this time. Growing ideal sheep is a lot like growing ideal wine grapes. You have to choose a plot of land without knowing for sure if it will produce the quality desired, one valley will produce the best ever while adjacent land is no good. There are geographic areas to the south of where I live which Ive noticed significant issues in the quality of animals raised there. I no longer trust any animal raised within a 25 mile radius of the big coal plant which has long been leaching toxic coal ash into the surrounding waterways.

Much of the established farm suitable land in my area is abused, has limited forage, is over cut for hay or has been over grazed by cattle. The best farm land around is owned by the big money race horse breeders and they are too high class to raise food animals. While there is fallow land that is pristine and available, the initial time and money investment/gamble is beyond my current financial means. I am very much tied to city life, my four children, my girlfriend and my business are all in town and it wouldn't be economically possible right now to move.

I can make much more money where I am at right now, and really just want to find a farmer within driving range who would be willing to raise the kind of quality animals I seek. I would even be willing to pay twice the market rate for a supply that is up to my finicky  standards, but few people where I live have the kind of set up or motivation necessary to build and maintain a consistent supply. I have had the most success from small farms that are way out in hill country where there is nothing but wild forage and spring water...but these farms tend to have only a limited supply of optimal mature animals and I have exhausted much of the local supply over the years.
The last two I got from a Weston price type of family in Virginia, they were the most wonderful Ive had in a while, but they wont have any more till next year. I have been seeking out other places in that region near the blue ridge mountains, without much luck.

I am currently broadening my search radius to just about anywhere in the south east to Midwest for the pastured sheep of my dreams.
Just talked to a farmer down in Georgia and might be driving down next week to check it out...http://www.marviewfarms.com...but am still always looking for any good leads.
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Offline ys

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2018, 11:50:59 am »
What about Amish?  Are there any in your area?

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2018, 12:18:48 pm »
There are some Amish and Mennonite groups in the surrounding country and I have bought sheep from them before, though they are often hard to find without help from the internet. One farmer ended up selling his whole flock, and another one sold the farm moved to another region. The Amish around here are no longer as all natural as their ancestors and many supplement with grains and use worming drugs. 

Im still racking my brain thinking of the most economic and feasible solution, and it makes it difficult being as picky as I am. The Meat has to taste good or else no deal. If only I could find a primal source of the best tasting flesh, and pick up about 6 full grown animals at a time, I have someone who will board them until I eat them. The land is fairly good, but it is predominately fescue...the animals entirely raised there are not that bad, they just are not as sweet tasting as I would prefer, but it may be alright for maintaining animals who are already full grown for a few months until Im ready for harvest.
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Offline ys

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 01:40:40 am »
What about that guy in Texas?  I remember you liked his meat a lot.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2018, 12:20:34 pm »
The first time I went out west to meat the rancher everything was great, but the second animal wasn't as good and I never went back. I managed to find a large and very fat 3 year old Katahdin Ram which should tide me over for the next couple months.

There are so many variables in what makes for the best meat. I have had many observations, its a shame I haven't chronicled everything in more detail. This current Ram was raised on a hundred acre farm with only one other Ewe, and had been living in separated paddock all winter. Typically when males are all alone with no opertunity to breed or romp with others and have unlimited quality pasture, they will eat  themselves into being extremely fat. Ewes will also get very fat if they are not bred every year. Also when sheep are on open pasture without being crowded by other animals they dont get the kind of problems with parasites I see in animals who live in intensive grazing operations.

The Best animals I have eaten came from small family farms where a very small number of animals had access to a very large pasture. I believe that in intensive grazing commercial operations, even if well run, still over burden the land with excess toxiod excremental substances, and parasitical vermin.

In nature parasites are not thou evil blight of doom portrayed by the cultivated farmers of domestic prey...Pastoral grazers are evolutionarally designed to avoid over ravaging the fields of Gaia. Animals that are thus attuned if they overstay their welcome, will receive the first discomforting symptoms (which make up the earths bio-messaging feedback system) Without hesitation the pasture devouring hordes heed natures subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) "hints" that it is time for migration toward virgin lands. Animals that are truly free roaming will instinctively seek out alternative places of nourishment, healing and purging in accord with the rhythm and whims of the great spirit. All earths creatures work to co-create the living world through such an enigmatic symbiosis. When the soil becomes inundated with worms and toxic scat, while being depleted from fresh forage, the herbivorian free spirits move on, way before the first symptoms of discomfort turn into a pandemic of pathological disease.

There are natural tolerance limits to the amount of toxic metabolites, parasite cyst, rotten muck ruminants can consume before problems arise. Decaying forage transformed by the gut micro flora of countless millions of ruminants crisscrossing the lands, need time to break down, while the once decimated forage reabsorbs the fertile essence of death and renews its mutilated shoots back into lushness. The best farming methods must take these natural limits into consideration, though it seems that through modern techics the limits can be pushed a bit. Through selective breeding and epi-mutagen adaption, many breeds of domesticated animals are able to better tolerate higher levels of parasites and survive on pastures overgrazed and overloaded with excremental animal tissue antagonistic bio toxic waste. "Life will find a way" though it isn't always pretty..... as the domesticated animals are Coping with being forced to live in confined spaces with limited natural resources needed for optimal growth and development...so are the humans who are made to consume the unfortunated, sour fleshed, feed lotted, cretins.

I can taste the difference in the way animals are raised and notice how differences in environmental conditions are paramount to quality. Animals raised and confined pastures that are not large enough to sustain them without the use of supplemental hay, often have issues. There a number of lessons learned when judging the quality of an animal. Accessing the qualities of the liver is one of the easiest way for me to judge quality. In general animals that graze in areas with too much fecal waste and too high worm loads, will often have livers that are much tougher in texture, discolorations, cystic lesions, and a bitter swampy taste. While animals that sparsely populate the land and have plenty of clean pasture (if supplemented then only with the cleanest hay) have livers that are very consistent in color, no streaks, no blemishes, is very plump, tender, and sweet tasting.

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Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2018, 12:43:15 pm »
Have you ever been to or tried Green Pastures farm? http://www.greenpasturesfarm.net/



I'm totally obsessed in the subject of producing quality lamb. I have a friend with 200 acres in the Catskills NY which hasn't been tilled in over 40 years, a lot of it probably in over 100, never has seen herbicide. Albeit 100 acres has been overgrazed, it was with over 100 dairy cattle for years and years and is well fertilized, the other 100 acres made into hay but is often driven over with a manure spreader. 98 years in the same family. Dairy has been unprofitable and the farmer suffered a stroke, he is trying to hold onto the place. Maybe it's a stretch, but I envision a fundraiser to fence the place for sheep, perhaps in exchange for lamb or even a stake in the farm? Great and beautiful hill farm, north facing which is perfect for summer grazing.



Turning 31, glad to have mostly recovered from the PTSD I developed from trying to be a farmer in my 20's. Kinda confused what I should do but eventually some day I will be doing exactly what you are looking for as it is basically all I care about. Thinking of moving to Alaska or some kind of fishing job, anything profitable to save up a nest egg. As time goes on the more I think I need help to get a great project up and running, but I was never able to find anyone interested in getting involved besides con artists. Alas I guess my best bet is to learn from my mistakes and start saving for the next 5-10 years.

Damn brain worms and mountain lions.

Offline ys

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 11:14:08 am »
Is it possible that in your quest for perfection you are chasing ghosts?  Every year I get Amish beef from the same area and every year it tastes different.  Some are better than the other but it does vary.  I went there to look for myself and all I saw cows grazing 24/7.  Is it possible that every animal has a unique taste?  Dogs did not seem to care about taste difference. They ate all the scraps the same way. 

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2018, 11:07:44 pm »

Perhaps the quest for the perfect meat is like vainly pursuing ephemeral phantoms. Driven by eternal insatiable hunger for the mythic Shangri La fauna, grazing the fields of the pure land, in yonder obscurity, somewhere way beyond the lost horizon. It is possible to some degree there are natural variations in taste that do not correspond to any serious quality issue and are beyond what is realistically possible to control, but I've been around the chopping block enough to know the difference between the seasonal variations in taste and the unique flavors of individual animals. Plus I often find a lot of cyst in the liver and lungs of animals that also tend to have a much poorer flavor profile, so Im pretty sure there is a real issue with quality in the farmlands of America.

Sometimes the Amish or other well intentioned farmers will buy farmland already rundown, depleted, has poor water quality, limited forage variety etc.... so that even if they are running a clean operation and everything looks good at first glance there still can be issues with pasture quality. 

A dogs readiness to eat anything is not typically a good indication of anything. Domesticated dogs will eat practically anything without much discernment, I feed the meat I dont like to the dogs....as likely did our ancestors who first domesticated the canines.

Cats on the other hand seem much more finicky about their food. My cats will hunt and eat wild chipmunks, sometimes only eating the head or top half of the animal. They seem totally uninterested in any of the lamb or beef I have offered them, but will eat chicken and tuna. Of course both my dogs and cats were raised on Kibble so their instinctive drives are not primarily ideal.

My instinctive eating habits have evolved so remarkably over the last few years and my sense of taste and smell are much more keen than I can ever remember growing up. Growing up in a house of smokers, constantly covered with artificial cleaning agents and deodorant products, eating processed crap....every piece of meat would be cooked with barbecue, covered with seasoning or covered with ketchup. My senses like the majority of other humans growing up in similar conditions had been handicapped. 

Now days I can detect what my girlfriend has eaten hours earlier from the slightest scent, the very faintest hint of a spice left on the cutting board triggers a strong taste response, the most subtle of flavors stand out in ways that never occurred before. Even the differences in body odors of other people are more pronounced. This last animal was a very mild tasting ram, feed on very clean pasture, but I noticed that the blood has very little salt taste, and Im pretty sure that this farmer never set out any salt for it. Other animals that have limited access to clean water and drink mainly from stagnant ponds will have the taste of stagnant water in their meat. Animals that live on over grazed land and are supplemented poor quality hay will taste horrible... while those who have access to clean lush pasture with natural spring water and only supplemented with good hay will typically be very good. This is now common sense to me, but it took a few years of tasting a variety of different quality's and kinds of animal before being able to better discern between the Good the Bad and the Ugly.   

This is all purely anecdotal generalization, and for sure there are many other factors to be considered, but there are seems to be differences between the hormonal conditions of the animals and how my own hormonal balance manifest. Castrated males seem to be hormonally neutral having little effect on my own testosterone. While pregnant or nursing females seem to have a testosterone inhibiting factor. Intact mature males that are separated from females and allowed live fat, lonely, and lazy have a little effect on testosterone, while mature males that are competing and mating in a herd environment seem to have a larger effect. Some unbred ewes that are not nursing will have a strong aphrodisiac effect similar to the intact males. There is a vital essence transference that is more distinct and noticeable when one lives from consuming one whole animal after another, as opposed to those who eat random bits and pieces for may different animals during the same time. Im convinced that at least on a subtle level the hormonal, glandular, vital, and perhaps even what the ancient hunter gatherers labeled spiritual qualities are passed on from the flesh of the devoured to the devourer.
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Offline ys

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2018, 10:52:48 pm »
If you ever get around Chicago area you are welcome to taste my stash.  I'm curious to see how you will rate it as I don't get much variety.

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Searching for Greener Pastures
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2018, 01:50:00 am »
Flavor can vary from year to year and field to field. Generally an animal's flavor is mainly based off of the last 1 month of it's life before it is slaughtered. Pigs can be fed a diet of entirely seafood waste products for their entire lives save the last month fed exclusively barley with no seafood taste remaining.

Mineral supplementation will impact and improve flavor, as will greener pastures that are at their best generally in late spring and early summer. They say deer in velvet around the 4th of July are better than those shot in season and in my experience the meat has a sweeter flavor. At this time they are bright orange furred while in fall the turn dark greyish brown.

Some pastures are legume dominant while others are grass dominant and still others are forbs dominant and some livestock will have access to browse.

Some animals are more picky while others are more adventurous, some are nervous while others are aggressive. The pushy boisterous animals will be the most athletic and probably taste the best as well.

Most producers castrate their males and if their intact full grown animals are large they attempt to sell them as breeding stock instead of food and command a hefty price tag.

Would you not consider purchasing a smaller acreage that would be more affordable to increase the fertility of the land to ideal thresholds and while you may not be able to produce a living for your family from the land, you could certainly provide your dietary needs off of a good 5 or ten acres which may not be much more expensive than your average house on 1 acre?