Does Bent Tree Farms have any certifications? Are you certified organic?
At the present time, BTF does not hold any formal certifications. It is not because we wouldn’t qualify or don’t feel like they could be helpful. We believe that the best form of “certification,” is for you, the consumer, to build a trusting relationship with your farmer (us) and be able to ask anything and see anything at any time! That being said, we have considered applying for the American Grassfed Association (AGA) certification and may do so very soon. We already follow their protocols for production and heartily support their mission to be the most stringent grass fed certifying agency. We are not certified organic, but we follow just about every principle of organic production. We actually feel as though we go “beyond organic” in many ways (For instance, many organic producers can still utilize a CAFO, or feedlot. We believe that practice to be harmful to the animals as well as the environment).
How can I buy your meats?
Currently, there are a few different ways: Come visit us directly at the farm (Stonewall, OK). Meet us for a personal delivery in Ada, OK (contact us ahead of time to schedule this). Find us at the Paseo Farmers Market, April - October (OKC). During the farmers market off-season, place an order for delivery to OKC. Join our email list for more updates as we expand our delivery options!
What do you mean by “hanging weight” and how does that differ from the take home weight of my bulk beef?
Good question! We get this question a lot and feel it is important to understand when purchasing bulk beef. Hanging weight is the weight of the animal after slaughter but before it is cut up and packaged. For example, we may take a 1,000 lb steer to slaughter, and after the hide and internal organs are removed, the animal hangs and is aged for a period of time. The hanging weight (sometimes also called rail weight by the butcher) is the weight of the animal at that time (in our example, it would be approximately 500-600 lbs). This is the weight that we use when we sell our bulk beef. After proper aging, the beef is cut to your specifications and packaged. As that happens, our butchers will trim the beef further, preparing the cuts for your crockpot or grill. Depending on how you have your beef cut (bone-in vs. boneless cuts for example) the weight of the beef that you take home can be between 60-70% of that hanging weight.
What do you do if you have a sick animal? Do you use any antibiotics? What about chemical dewormers?
This is a tough question and one that we have wrestled with. First of all, a properly managed and cared for group of animals will not be sick. We firmly believe that healthy livestock should be the default, not sickness. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that accepts sickness as a normality, and consequently, that mindset has pervaded our farming and ranching. However, if one of our animals falls ill, we first examine our management practices to make sure that the cause isn’t something that we are doing inadvertently. Studies have shown that 95% of illness and disease can be traced back to improper management of the livestock. If a change needs to be made, we will take swift action to make that change at the management level. We also have a small arsenal of natural, organic treatments for various things. Our policy is that we will only use an antibiotic as a very last resort, in an attempt to save the animals life. We keep careful health records and cull (remove from the breeding herd) any animal that consistently shows signs of sickness or disease. We also keep a separate inventory of this meat so that you, our trusting customer, will not purchase it unknowingly.
What is the best part about farming?
The best part about farming is knowing that we are engaging in a timeless form of nurturing and stewardship, and that as the years go by, we can see the difference we are making in transforming and healing land. At the same time, we have the grand opportunity to provide nutrient-dense, nourishing protein to our community, so that you and your family can have a source of clean food from a farm and farmer that you can have a relationship with, that is a part of your local economy, and who genuinely cares about your health and well-being. Re-claiming the name of American agriculture to, once again, make it the foundational trade that honors the land, animals, and consumers. In a system like this, everything thrives.
Why the name Bent Tree Farms?
The namesake of our farm, the “Bent Tree,” is a majestic pecan tree over 150 years old. It has withstood many forces of nature, flood, fire, freezing and drought. The Bent Tree appears to have been an Native American marker tree. As a young sapling, a marker trees growing tip is pulled over and tethered to the ground. This produces a long term landmark showing an important location or path.