Sterling CSA FAQ’s
WHAT IS THE STERLING FARM DOING IN THE TIME OF COVID-19?
To find out what we are doing to make our farm a safe place to work and source food during the COVID-19 pandemic, please follow this link.
WHAT ARE OUR VEGETABLE GROWING PRACTICES?
All our crops are grown without the use of persistent pesticides and using only natural fertilizers, like compost, rock dusts, and other naturally derived amendments. While we are not a USDA-certified organic farm, we follow the core principles of organic agriculture. We use a variety of different systems in our gardens including intensively planted raised beds, horse cultivated extensive row cropping in rotation with cover crops, and season extension in poly tunnels. All of our practices strive to improve soil biology and fertility, and increase the functional biodiversity of our agro-ecosystems.
HOW ARE OUR CHICKENS RAISED?
During the summer months our chickens are pastured and fed a commercial layer or meat bird ration. In addition, our different chicken groups rotate on pasture around the farm, taking advantage of the freshest and most nutrient dense pasture forage. During the winter months our layer chickens are raised in coops in our various barns. Our chicken flock is Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World.
DOES THE FARM HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE?
Yes, the Sterling College Farm has an instagram and you can follow us @thesterlingcollegefarm.
HOW ARE OUR LAMBS RAISED?
All our sheep are primarily grass fed, but are fed grain during key times of metabolic stress, such as weaning, during drought, close to lambing, and in peak lactation. During the summer months lambs are pastured in a rotational grazing system that provides all their nutrition, and during the winter months are housed in our hoop barn where they happily eat hay and minerals. Our sheep flock is also Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World.
HOW MUCH LAMB OR HOGGET WILL I RECEIVE?
One Live lamb is about 90 lbs, which will be ~55 lbs hanging weight (weight after processing but before cutting). In the end you will get about 75% of the hanging weight, or ~40 lbs of “take home” meat yield.
One live hogget is about 135 lbs which will be about 80 lbs hanging weight. In the end you will get about 75% of the hanging weight, or 60lbs of meat yield which you will be able to take home.
WHAT WILL LAMB COST?
For one whole lamb, you will pay approximately:
~$330 for the lamb + ~$45 for on-farm slaughter + ~$55 cut and wrap
= ~$440 for ~40 lbs of meat, or $11 per lb.
WHAT WILL HOGGET COST?
For one whole hogget, you will pay approximately:
~$480 for the hogget + $45 for on-farm slaughter + ~$55 cut and wrap fees
= ~$590 for 60 lbs of meat, or $9.80 per lb.
WHAT IS “HOGGET”?
This is a sheep that is between one and two years old. As the animal gets older the meat will be darker and more flavorful than lamb meat, with slightly higher fat content. This meat lends itself to all of the dishes that lamb is great for, and stands up well to flavorful braises and spicy curries. It also makes a better sausage than young lamb.
WHY ON-FARM SLAUGHTER?
On-farm slaughter allows for you to have a close relationship with your farmers and the meat you are eating. In all cases, transporting animals away from their social group and off the farm, is a stressful experience. On farm slaughter ensures that animals are in familiar surroundings up until their final moments. As we see the COVID-19 crisis unfold, with meat processing plants shutting down, and other supply chain issues, buying meat that is on-farm slaughtered ensures that you are getting healthy meat directly from your farmer. It also helps farmers sell their meats locally when large scale processing and distribution channels break down or when large scale distribution channels break down. In addition to reduced stress before slaughter, on-farm processing reduces the use of fossil fuels, thus contributing to a more carbon-neutral food system. If you would like to know more about on-farm slaughters in Vermont you can ask us questions or follow this link.