What's the difference between "natural" and" certified organic" beef (or lamb)? 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 according to our organic standards, but for whatever reason, the farmer has decided not to certify. We raise that animal organically, but it cannot be certified organic. These are also considered "natural". Only animals that are 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 same standards for humane and natural conditions. Every year we have a farm inspection by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont where our pastures, management, and practices are reviewed. At that time, we are also required to present records of livestock health, feed & minerals,water tests, pasture management, crop production and management, as well as all receipts of products used. All our labels need to be approved by the USDA office in Maryland (all labels) and by NOFA-VT (certified organic) . Record keeping is essential!
We are very lucky to be just a few miles from The Royal Butcher slaughterhouse, which is a USDA inspected facility. All of our meats are USDA inspected. Please click the"Humane Handling "tab in the menu for more info on The Royal Butcher.