Local farm offers organic options
November 5, 2010
Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away, which means millions of Americans will soon be purchasing a turkey for the feast. However, Co-Owner of Pure Sun Farm Terri Pearson said now is the absolute best time to buy beef.
The steers have been eating grass from the pastures all summer, Pearson said, so the meat is more nutrient dense than during the spring and winter when the cows eat mixed feed.
Pure Sun Farm is a certified organic dairy farm located about five miles north of River Falls on St. Croix County Road MM. Owners Dan and Terri Pearson sell their milk to Organic Valley — the nations largest farmer-owned organic company. They also sell organic meat and poultry that they raise on their farm to the River Falls community.
Pure Sun Farm is one of 13,000 certified organic producers in the U.S., according to 2007 data from the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s website.
Pure Sun Farm became certified organic in 1996.
The increase in organic farms in the U.S. is correlated with the increase in sales of organic products.
“Over the past decade, sales of organic products have shown an annual increase of at least 20 percent, the fastest going sector of agriculture, according to OFRF.
The certification has allowed Pure Sun Farm to meet the demands of some consumers who want to know where their food is coming from and how it is produced, said Pearson.
Brenda Gabriel is one of those customers.
Gabriel has been purchasing beef and eggs from Pure Sun Farm for about five years.
“We buy their product because eating healthy, life-giving food is important to us. We know their products are not full of harmful chemicals or growth hormones which make animals grow unnaturally,” Gabriel said.
According to OFRF, certified organic famers have to abide by strict standards that prohibit giving livestock and poultry antibiotics and hormones.
Organic farmers also have to feed animals that are raised for their meat, dairy and eggs organic feed and give them access to the outside.
The chickens at Pure Sun Farm are free-range but Pearson said totally free-range can endanger the chicken.
A chicken that is totally free-range would be susceptible to predators such as raccoons and coyotes, so for protection, the Pearsons put them in a pen during the evening and morning, said Pearson.
“This gives them a source of fuel and water and a place to lay their eggs safely, so I am not running hither and yon looking for eggs under every tree.”
The Pearsons have been selling their pasture raised, grass-feed beef since they began farming together in 1982. The Pearsons sell their beef by the pound or in larger amounts.
Although Pearson suggests buying in large amounts because it saves time and money, many people are shocked by the price.
Including processing fees, one-quarter of beef costs around $600.
The meat and poultry sold at Pure Sun Farm is different than what is sold at the local grocery stores Dick’s Market and Econo Foods, said Pearson. For the last four years, the prices have stayed the same, but Pearson said, in October, the prices were raised slightly.
A pound of hamburger costs $6; a fully dressed 5 lb chicken costs $20; and a dozen eggs cost $3.75.
“Even though organic prices are higher than the grocery store, the long term pay-off is worth it. Good health from healthy food also means less money shelled out for medical care. It means a better quality of life,” Gabriel said.
The Pearsons have a retail permit and the farm is annually inspected by the state of Wisconsin, said Pearson.