At Riverstone Farm, We raise animals for meat similarly to the way we grow our vegetables, with care for the species, the land and the customers who will consume it. Our animals are well fed, given a natural environment to live and forage and are handled and slaughtered humanely when the time comes to process them. Each species is given an environment that promotes health for the flock/herd, so the meat is natural, healthy and tasty.
We buy six week old piglets from a neighbor who breeds Tamworth hogs. Once at Riverstone, they live in large forested paddocks and are rotated regularly. They get a daily ration of GMO-free corn/soy meal that we pick-up from a local feed mill. They are also fed fresh organic vegetables from our farm’s seconds and overruns, mostly leafy greens, squash, sweet peppers and tomatoes. They spend their days digging around their forest paddocks finding roots and nuts. We generally send the hogs for processing at 30 weeks or when they are about 275 pounds. In recent years, we’ve used Alleghany Meats in Monterey, Virginia for processing, a small specialty USDA monitored slaughterhouse, who package and label the cuts and do smoking and curing of hams, bacon and sausages and bratwurst.
We purchase young steers from a neighboring farm that breeds black angus cattle. They come to us at about 5-6 months of age and spend a year at Riverstone Farm being rotated from field to field, grazing our mixed pasturelands. We process the steers when they’re about 1100 pounds, when their fat marbling is at its peak. Once weened, they are grass fed only during their lives and do not receive growth hormones or antibiotics. A few choice animals are selected from the herd for butchering into cuts. We hang the meat for 28 days to insure proper curing for flavor and tenderness. We generally package only a few prime cuts, allowing that our ground beef and stew meat include some unusually tender parts of the animal.
For several years, we raised our own flock of sheep and sold cuts in our farm store. However, we sold the flock and are now buying choice lambs from a local shepherd. The animals come to us while still with their mothers and are rotated around the pastures until about ten months of age. They are processed into cuts and sold as pre-orders only. Call ahead, we do not currently stock lamb in our Farm Store.
A flock of hens resides on the farm and are cared for by one of our residents. They are offered fresh in our Farm Store under the Riverstone label. These hens range in large movable paddocks that are rotated regularly making the eggs colorful, healthy and full of flavor.