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Feeding the animals that feed us

July 6, 2012

When Kelli Ruggles of Rolling R Farm in Olive Hill, Kentucky told me her meat is ash free, I knew we were not talking about a fire byproduct. One of the exciting aspects of visiting the farms that are suppliers for the Wild Ramp market is that I am learning so much, including a whole new vocabulary.  I am also learning about the food I have been eating, purchased at the grocery store.

ASH stands for antibiotic, steroid and hormones.

Why would Kelli consider this designation to be significant to mention about Rolling R beef, lamb and pork?   Because much of the meat I buy at the grocery store and  have been eating all my life has been produced in what is called “factory farms”. Those are large operations that produce and process animals for market in as cost effective a process as possible.

The FDA approves all aspects and they have determined that these are safe practices.  Antibiotics, hormones and steroids are a regular part of large feedlot practices at factory farms.

The farmers who will be supplying meat to the Wild Ramp typically have ASH-free practices. Roy Ramey’s chickens, for example, are larger than your typical 8 week old broiler because of the nutrition he makes sure they get, not the chemicals in the feed. You decide, now that you have an easy choice when the Wild Ramp opens very very soon, what kind of food you will feed your family.

It is important to note that all farms, even those certified organic, will use antibiotics when needed for a sick animal.  Any treated animal, however, is held out from processing for a full  month to be sure all chemicals are out of their system.

There is a lot of argument about that and it is not the purpose of this blog to get into the pros and cons. You can decide if you want to check into it, or perhaps you already have.

The Ruggles  feel that taking a little longer to naturally raise an animal to market weight and feeding them healthy food without chemicals means we will be eating healthier protein without chemicals as well.

If this is important to you and you do not have access to the Wild Ramp market in Huntington, West Virginia and there is not a market near you that provides information how the food they offer is raised, consider organic foods as the USDA requirements include being ASH-free.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. kennyrice permalink
    July 6, 2012 10:25 pm

    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48H7zOQrX3U&feature=player_embedded#!]I’m Farming and I Grow It – YouTube[/url]

    Need a theme song?

  2. July 6, 2012 10:31 pm

    Great post! I’m an advocate of grass fed beef myself ( no corn ). Have any of the farms there looked into the prospect of raising grass fed beef?

    • July 7, 2012 2:40 am

      All of the beef ranches I have been to do pasturing/grass feeding as the primary method, with hay used only as needed in the winter. Some grain is fed also but no one I have visited uses corn at all.

      • July 7, 2012 12:39 pm

        Nice! I’ve done quite a bit of research now on grass fed vs corn supplemented feed (for fattening up) beef. I wont go into it here but I will soon do a post on what I’ve found.

      • July 7, 2012 10:42 pm

        Great! Get to work and write that blog!! It is a topic that is on my list of things to do—to explain to the consumers why corn has been used and why alternatives are considered preferable.

      • July 8, 2012 1:11 am

        I was wondering. My son who lives east of Cleveland, Ohio is mulling over the idea of starting a farmers market in his town. He has a very successful business that employees over 150 people but is concerned about the quality of food being sold today. He asked if I had any experience in a farmers market or if I knew of anyone who could guide him re; where to buy produce, how to hook up with farms, pricing etc.I had to tell him ,”Not really but I could ask around.” He then asked if I’d be interested in being a working partner in it. Hmmmm, sounds really exciting but before I commit, I, like him would like to do some research into it. Do you or anyone else you know might be willing to answer a herd of questions on how to start up a farmers market? Joe

  3. July 7, 2012 2:29 pm

    Does the Rolling R welcome visitors. I live close and have questions about there mobile chicken coop.

    • July 8, 2012 11:50 pm

      Yes, the Rolling R welcomes visitors…but they are not the ones with the chicken tractors.

  4. kennyrice permalink
    July 8, 2012 10:17 am

    I think a regional directory or producers would be very handy.

    • July 8, 2012 11:49 pm

      We will have a list of the producers in the store, as well as information of their farming practices

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