An historic farm manager and an animal-loving English major walk into a bar...
Who We Are
We're Rachel Koski Nielsen and David Nielsen - which doesn't mean much of anything, does it?
What we do is farm. We've been doing this together since 2010, with a total combined experience of 24 years. Back in 2011, we became aware that access to good, wholesome, whole, real food is outside of the reach of far too many people in this country. That year we grew and donated hundreds of pounds of food to a major food shelf in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where we lived at the time) - this turned us on to the idea that we could, even if only in a small way, put our skills to use to help improve our community's access to good food.
Between us we're also experienced with working horses and oxen, raising chicken and pork, and growing field crops and garden veggies alike by hand.
When it comes to farming, we want to ditch the machines.
We do everything that we physically can in the gardens by hand. We follow organic practices, avoiding the use of commercial pesticides and fertilizers. We use manure from our sheep, leaves, compost, and other organic matter from around the farm in our market garden. We control insects using natural methods.
When it comes to raising animals for meat, we do it Ethically or we wouldn't do it at all. This means that we treat our animals with dignity and kindness, and we genuinely care about them as well as for them. We won't haul our animals great distances to be processed; they aren't penned up indefinitely; their diet is natural and good for them; we don't dock tails; castration is done with the use of bands in the first 3 days of a ram lamb's life or not at all; we shear by hand, carefully; we humanely euthanize animals when the situation calls for it. We believe that an animal shouldn't have any bad days on our account - not even the day it is slaughtered.
We are not an "antibiotic free" farm - rather, we are a farm that uses antibiotics judiciously, only when absolutely necessary to improve the health and quality of life of an animal. Raising livestock ethically means that our animals are given antibiotics when needed, and under the advice of our veterinarian. Lambs rarely need antibiotic treatment. If you are interested in purchasing lamb meat and are concerned about antibiotic use, please feel free to talk to us about it - we keep medical records on our animals. We will always follow withdrawal guidelines regarding the use of antibiotics in meat animals.
Ethical livestock management also means that when needed, approved medications commonly known as dewormers are administered to animals on our farm. We follow all guidelines for the use of these products in animals intended for consumption.
In short, we do not and will not choose to withhold a needed medication from an animal just for the sake of meat labeling.
We've been farming in Sandstone, MN, since 2014, very lowkey and small scale. It's very exciting to be exploring a new way to sell and market our lambs, and to be finally moving into the sphere of market gardening. We're always learning and honing our skills, and we look forward to what's in store for the future!