In this two-part series, you will meet some people who raise grass-fed beef, and gain an in-depth understanding of the many health benefits of pasture-fed meat.
Real People, Real Food
The sun is just about to set as I stand chatting with Carolyn Wheeler up near the barn and look out over the pastoral view. Pastures, forested areas, and hills recede into the indigo haze of distant mountains. A mild evening breeze refreshes us after a very warm day.
Carolyn's daughter walks toward us, two little boys running ahead of her. The youngsters are very fast and agile for such little ones.
"How old are they," I ask.
"The older one is three and a half, and the young one is two," Carolyn answers.
I am amazed how well-developed and coordinated these handsome little boys are for their age. Their bodies are more robust than those of most kids I have seen. There is a vibrance about them that is a joy to contemplate. I comment on this to Carolyn.
"We're pretty careful to feed them a healthy diet," she comments. "They eat our beef and chicken and get plenty of vegetables and fruits."
The younger of the boys races up to Carolyn for a hug, leaping into her arms. She lifts him up for a moment, squeezing him affectionately. I bask in the warmth of a mostly forgotten way of life; a farm family of several generations living and working together on land that has been their home for decades.
Buying From the Source
Carolyn and her husband, John Wheeler, own Wheel-View Farm. Here in rural western Massachusetts, they raise heirloom beef cattle - Belted Galloways and Scottish Highland - two breeds that have been in existence since before the advent of modern agriculture. Healthier and more even tempered than most modern breeds are the hundred-plus animals in their herd. The Wheeler family also raises chickens and has fresh eggs available most of the year.
Wheel-View Farm is where I do my meat and egg shopping. The freshness, rich nourishment, and taste of these foods is beyond that of any products I find in supermarkets, even in whole food stores. The way the animals are cared for reflects a model for how all our food should be raised.
I am a 'hands-on' kind of person when it comes to all things, but especially food. I thrive when I can see, touch, and smell the earth and the plants and creatures that provide nourishment.
This is real, something you can get your hands on. A real farm, where 'free range' is not just a state of mind, but living, breathing reality. It is not uncommon to drive up and find someone chasing an errant chicken to get it back into the large pastured enclosure that protects the flock. Carolyn once commented, 'Yes, the chickens are a little TOO free range!'
Over two hundred acres, most of it pastureland mixed with forest, is the scenic home of the Galloway/ Highland herd. They spend their days feeding on lush greens through the warmer months, and are supplied with plenty of hay and a warm barn and sunny yard in the winter.
Grains never pass the lips of these cattle - only greens and hay - the kind of forage that is biologically appropriate for such creatures. In my next article, I will explain the many health benefits of meat from grass-fed cows.
*Wheel-View Farm is located in Shelburne, Massachusetts, and ships frozen beef throughout New England, and also to some other nearby states.