Beef from some of our cattle is labeled "natural". This assures that this animal has not been given hormones or antibiotics and is raised naturally, without chemicals. At High Ridge Meadows Farm, our "natural " beef is raised using the same methods as our certified organic animals. All are grass fed on certified organic pasture, left with their mothers , have free choice to shelter and are fed organic minerals and organic hay in winter. An animal that was born on the farm, but did not spend the last trimester of gestation on the property under organic production, cannot be certified organic. For this reason, we sometimes have an animal that is not certified organic, although we have raised it organically since birth. That animal would be classified as "natural". If meat is labeled "organic" or "natural" it doesn't mean it is also grass fed. At High Ridge Meadows Farm, all of our lamb and beef is grass fed and finished. Likewise, meat labeled "natural" does not necessarily mean it has been raised organically. At High Ridge Meadows Farm, all of our animals are raised organically.,
Also,from time to time, we purchase animals that have been raised to our grass fed, organic standards but are not certified organic. These animals are considered "natural". Only animals that have been gestated for at least the last trimester,born and raised on our farm, or purchased as certified organic, can be called "certified organic". Both "natural" and "certified organic" meet the standards for humane and natural conditions.
Each year we have a farm inspection by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont where our pastures, management, and practices are reviewd. At that time, we are also required to present records of livestock health, feed & minerals, water tests results, pasture management, crop production and management, as well as all receipts of products , seeds, feeds, etc. used. All our labels have to be approved by the USDA office in Maryland(all labels) and by NOFA-VT (certified organic). Record keeping is essential!