A RETURN TO TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL PRINCIPLES
Instead of feeding their animals a diet of grain, farmers like Don Gilardi of Red Hill Farm are turning their animals back onto the land and offering them a diet of grass and alfalfa. The results are richer flavored products, whether it be for cheese, milk, or meat.
Red Hill Farm
29 September 2009
Don Gilardi’s 80 acre farm has been in the family since 1914. It was primarily a dairy farm until five years ago when Don began raising his family’s sheep. They are pasture fed, with a supplement of alfalfa from a feed store in Petaluma. The sheep are sheared in June; the wool is sent to Yobo Wool Mill and comes back as yarn, batting, and roving.
OTHER RELATED TERMS
Livestock that forage freely on grass and legume pastures as oppose to being fed corn and grains in confined feedlots.
Outside the United States this term refers to a method of farming where the animals are allowed to roam freely rather than being contained in any manner. In the United States, USDA regulations apply only to poultry and indicate solely that the animal has been allowed access to the outside. These regulations do not specify the quality or size of the outside range nor the duration of time the animal must be allowed access to this space.
CAFO: Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations
An animal feeding operation that confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season in an area that does not produce vegetation. CAFOs substitute structures and equipment (with regards to feeding, temperature controls and manure management) for land and labor. The United States EPA has created three categories of CAFOs in terms of their capacity: large, medium and small. The corresponding animal unit for each of these categories depends on the species of animal.
Conjugated Linoleic Acids
A family of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid found primarily in the meat and dairy products derived from ruminants. CLAs are considered to have anti-cancer properties.
ABOUT DON GILARDI
Red Hill Farms was founded in 1917 and is a 4th generation family ranch tucked into the rolling hills of West Marin, California. 300 roaming Dorset, Suffix, and Friesen sheep and 2700 chickens producing organic pasture eggs roam on 80 acres of certified organic pasture. Don also leases his sheep out for targeted grazing to provide such services as fire protection, grass management and fertilization.
ADDITIONAL WEBSITES OF INTEREST
Red Hill Farms