We get a lot of questions that end up in some version of, "why is it that your meat has so much more flavor than I'm used to getting in my meat?"
In some senses, we are raising the same products as other players in the marketplace, big and small: pork belly cured with salt, sugar, and smoke to make bacon. Cut up and whole chicken. Ground beef and lamb. Chorizo made from ground pork and spices. But where the difference lies is in what happened when the animals were walking around on our farm.
With each species of livestock we raise on our farm, we have one overlaying principle: Maximize the intake of quality forages. I'll discuss details about how we do this, and the health and environmental benefits of doing so in future posts. But why can we taste it?
The reality is that, while we humans can't easily digest pasture and forest plants, we can taste them in our meats. When our animals are intaking many lbs per day of green, in season grasses, clovers, and assorted other vegetation, they are absorbing large quantities of minerals, vitamins, and other compounds that just aren't present in a bagged animal feed. Additionally, when you add that chickens pick up rocks that break down in their gizzards, and pigs root around in the soil, oftentimes chewing on a mixture of roots, grubs, and dirt, the opportunities for these animals to uptake our farm's terroir into their structure, far outshines the opportunities afforded animals kept indoors, or other animals who never see a fresh new salad bar every day.
The typical pig or chicken raised, then sold to a grocery store (even under "Organic" labels lives indoors, in close proximity, and never sees a blade of grass or a ray of sunshine. Though efficient in some senses, this system produces a more simple flavor profile than one where all of the flavors of the forest and field are combined and concentrated into their tissues, and especially their fats.
If you haven't tried meat like ours, consider the chicken thigh: On our farm these birds used their legs to run around, hunting bugs, playing, and scratching in the soil. They lived about 40% longer than most meat chickens out there do, and the skin is yellow from the sunshine and clover. It crisps up perfectly and is full of complex flavors. The meat underneath has a little more texture than chickens that had little opportunity to do more than stand up and sit down. But it is also far juicier and the flavor of chicken is much more intense and satisfying.
The same is true when we open up the discussion to include the other species we raise on our farm: Pork, chicken, turkey, duck, and beef.