About eight years ago I met a farmer named Roger Harris, who owns South Chestnut Farm in Pittsboro, NC. At the time I had just had the boys and was eager to get learn more about sourcing local grass-fed beef and pork. I had just read the book, “Omnivore's Dilemma” by Michael Pollan and “Deep Nutrition” by Cate Shanahan. These two books along with my new friend shifted everything for me.
Last week Roger showed us around his 50-acre farm. The kids got to see the cows which would later become a meal for them. Roger showed us how his Dexter cows rotate from pasture to pasture. They only eat grass from their first day to their last.
We met Ralph, Waldo, and Emerson, the goats that are Roger’s natural weed control. The land in the picture behind the goats was once thick with weeds and brush. The goats cleared it all!!
Roger’s eggs and chicken are the best and we learned why! In this picture you see Roger’s mobile chicken house. Every couple of days Roger moves the house and netting to a new location. The chicken fertilizes the grass which improves the nutrient density of the grass which the cows will eventually eat... Which improves their nutrient density... Which then improves ours when we consume their meat and organs! Back to the chickens! Their yolks are such a deep orange that the eggs literally glow when scrambled!
The eggs have a very high beta carotene content, giving them their deep golden orange yolk. Beta Carotene is an important flavonoid compound that has powerful antioxidant properties that help the body savage free radicals and limit damage to cell membranes, DNA, and protein structures in the tissues! The chickens are scratching for food eating worms, bugs, and grubs. Their feed is a non-GMO organic feed which correlates with a higher nutrient profile for the egg!
Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Fuel and movement of the animals are just as important as fuel and movement for us!
Although there was a bit of grumbling about how hot it was and how far they had to walk, the kids really listened to Roger’s education about how he ran his farm. The whole ride home in the car I was asking questions about what they thought of the animals and how Mr. Roger treated them before they become fuel for us. The boys (eight years old) really got it. The girls just understand the big concepts.
We walked right through the field with Roger’s “pet” bull named Chestnut Charlie, who did not mind us walking through his space one bit. We saw all of the mama and baby cows and met the pigs!
If you live in or around this area look Roger up at South Chestnut Farm!