100% organic grass fed beef
About Winter Green Beef
Here on the farm we put a lot of energy into growing high quality grasses, legumes and forage herbs. However, you won’t see these crops at Farmers Markets or in CSA boxes. These crops are grown specifically for the 100% grass fed beef herd.
Grain-fed cows have become the norm in American agriculture, but the natural diet of cattle is vegetation. Feeding them on a diverse pasture results in a healthier animal ecosystem, and environment, and in turn, healthier and delicious meat for you. Learn more about the nutritional benefits of grass fed beef.
Since 2004, we have been certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Certification ensures that our organic animals have not been given any growth hormones or antibiotics and have only eaten organic feed since birth. This certification also includes our pastures which receive the best care we can give them. In addition, most years we buy in 8-12 non-organic sustainably and humanely raised yearlings that are then raised organically while in our system – these animals are differentiated when sold.
At Winter Green Beef, we believe that increasing soil health is the most important thing that we do. Our cows live on pasture all spring, summer and fall. Using management intensive grazing, our cows are on a small amount of pasture at a time and moved as often as daily for optimal soil and herd health. This gives the soil and plants the ideal amount of agitation and fertility followed by a long recovery period.
As part of our partnership with Winter Green’s vegetable farm, a portion of our acreage rotates between vegetable production and pasture. This is part of our integrated farm system where the cattle nourish the land and provide fertility for the vegetable crops. The soil also benefits from rest between cycles of vegetable production. Our cows get a diversity of vegetation from these pastures that are reseeded with high quality forage during the rotation.
In the winter, our cows and calves are comfortably protected in a light airy barn and fed our own organic hay and balage (fermented grass). Housing our herd in this fashion has multiple benefits. Keeping these heavy animals off the pastures during our wet winters ensures the health of the herd, the land, and our waterways.
Another benefit of wintering our cows in this way is to capture their manure. Usually, organic farms rely on some form of animal manure for their fertility needs, but most of them use manure from large operations where it is hard to know exactly how the animals have been treated, fed or medicated. We have chosen to be responsible for our sources of fertility. We bed the cows down three times a week with straw that mixes with the manure. In the early summer this nitrogen rich bedding mixture is composted for the vegetable farm’s crops.
The cow plays a necessary role in creating and maintaining a balanced and healthy farm organism. They also provide important ingredients for the biodynamic preparations that we make and use on the farm. Biodynamic preparations can be viewed as medicines for the healing of the earth. Honoring the cow benefits the farm as a whole. Our cattle serve us by providing food, fertility, and entertainment. In return, we provide for their needs with respect, care, and love.
We, Kevin and Courtney, bought the cattle herd at Winter Green in 2020. With the change in ownership, Winter Green Beef LLC continues to raise the cows on the same pasture with the ongoing goals of excellent health and treatment of the herd and pastures. We enjoy working closely with Chris and Shannon at the veggie farm to keep the cows integrated with and providing fertility to their vegetable production. The founding farmers, the Via family and the Wade/Gray family own and live on the land and provide ongoing mentorship and support. We’re grateful to be part of this farm community and to be raising our cows and our family on beautiful and lovingly cared for land.