Ironstone Spring Farm: The Community’s Connection to Locally Raised Grass-Fed Beef
Jun 29, 2019 12:59AM
● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
The all-natural, 100 percent grass-fed beef from Ironstone Spring Farm, located in Lancaster, is the epitome of farm-to-table fare. The farm dates back to 1805, and Liz Martin is the fifth-generation owner. “In 2005, I noticed trends taking shape for locally farmed food as well as grass-fed beef, so I created my own herd,” she says.
The pure-bred Black Angus cattle hail from Aberdeen, Scotland. Raised free from hormones and antibiotics, the cows are bred with bulls on the farm, and calves are born around the month of February each year. They drink their mother’s milk, wean naturally and are pastured-raised until they are processed approximately a year and a half later.
“Cows are herd animals, and we keep them together to foster their natural instincts. Our farm uses a rotational grazing method whereby the cattle move from pasture to pasture on our 85 acres eating mature grasses that are free from pesticides and chemicals,” describes Martin. “During inclement weather, sheds are provided for them to go into at their leisure. When it snows, they are given all-natural grass hay, the majority of it having been harvested from our own pastures.”
When Martin made the commitment to raise 100 percent grass-fed, grass-finished beef, she signed an affidavit for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She believes it is important for people to be informed in order to understand the topic.
“Some farmers will allow their herds to graze on grasses but will then fatten them up with grain before processing time,” says Martin. “The beef may be referred to as ‘grass-fed,’ but it is not 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished like our beef. It takes patience to let cattle be truly grass-fed,” she affirms.
David Perlmutter, board-certified neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and author of the New York Times Bestseller Grain Brain, suggests that grass-fed, grass-finished beef may positively support brain function.
Health benefits are attributed to 100 percent all-natural, grass-fed, grass-finished beef because it is lower in fat than grain-fed beef and contains omega-3 fatty acids that may aid in preventing heart disease and diabetes. It is also high in CoQ10, an enzyme needed for proper heart function and a powerful antioxidant, and the meat contains Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps with immune function.
“Our beef is processed at a local USDA certified processor, in sizes ranging from a whole portion to a one-sixteenth portion, cut to customer specifications and individually packaged and labeled. Options also include sausage, jerky, bologna and soup and marrow bones,” says Martin.