Roaming Farm in South Deerfield produces all-natural beef

Daily Hampshire Gazette, October 28, 2013. By Kathleen McKiernan

SOUTH DEERFIELD — For five years, Scottish Highland cattle have grazed on 80 acres of sprawling pasture on South Mill River Road at Roaming Farm.
But for the first time, the owners of Roaming Farm have begun selling all-natural beef out of their house this year.

At Roaming Farm, cattle are pasture-raised and fed with no added hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. The cattle get 80 percent of their nutrients from pasture and 20 percent from grain supplements.

“The combination makes the beef tender,” said Julie Chalfant, who owns the farm along with her husband, Steve.

The breed of cattle is slow growing, which produces tender, flavorful meat, Chalfant said. The animals’ long fur coats also insulate them in the winter so they do not need a layer of back fat, which helps create lean beef.

Roaming Farm produces a variety of beef from tenderloin steaks to flat irons and roasts.

The beef is processed by Adams Farm, a USDA-certified facility in Athol.

Because the cattle are slow growing, the Chalfants had to wait a few years before they were old enough to breed. There are 14 female cattle, one bull and 35 calves.

Roaming Farm chose Highland cattle because of the breed’s self-sufficiency, Chalfant said.

The cattle are primitive and they have qualities such as hardiness, good mothering, easy births and they can eat different foods.

Roaming Farm has been a member of the local heroes program of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, which has helped the new farming business start out. Chalfant said she’s attended seminars hosted by CISA that educate farmers on how to cut different beef and meetings to connect farmers to local chefs and markets.

“It has been fantastic,” said Chalfant, who hopes to start selling the beef in stores.

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