Fiesta Farm values --> a different production system
• Animals on pasture, 24/7
• Rotational grazing/foraging
• Pasture management to maintain vegetation and maximize forage quality
• "Pasture" means grass or forest, never a dirt lot, concrete slab, or shed
• Ruminant animals 100% grassfed - no grain, ever
• Monogastric omnivores (chickens & pigs) managed to maximize foraging, supplements are "free choice"
• Foraging/grazing animals yield meats with higher vitamin content and favorable fat profiles
• Hens on pasture yield eggs with lower cholesterol and more vitamins
• Slower-growing, foraging animals are more flavorful and accumulate more nutrients
• Intense, personal attention to daily animal welfare by the farm owners themselves
• Room to roam, 24/7, means animals can express their natural behavior
• Rotation means an always-fresh living environment
• Clean living prevents disease
• Low-stress handling prior to harvest
• Gratitude is key - we honor the animals that feed us
The Real "Organic"
• No hormones or antibiotics
• No pesticides or added fertilizer on the pasture
• 24/7 access to real grass, bugs, and other forage
• Outside feed supplements certified organic
• No de-beaking or forced moulting
• No GMOs
• We do not third-party certify as "organic," as most consumers who seek out organic really want "biodynamic" (look it up!).
Production systems, labels, and values
A farm's production system is a direct expression of its values. It is the deciding factor in what kind of food the farm produces, and in the way the farm impacts society and the environment.
Consumers who pay attention to labels aren't looking for small variations on the same old production systems. They are looking for food raised by a different system entirely.
Our own customers taught us that following common label requirements will not address their concerns about how their food is raised. They expect more, and so do we. Our customers seek out our meat and eggs because our production system aligns with their values.
Labels are useful when having a direct relationship with the person who grows your food is not practical. They ensure a minimum standard is met, or more commonly that certain inputs are avoided.
There is no substitute for knowing your farmer, knowing how your food is grown, and feeling good about the impacts your food choices have on the rest of the planet.
fA "production system" is the collection of practices used by a farm to grow and harvest crops or livestock for food. Simply put, it is "the way the food is grown" or "the way the animals are raised." More importantly, a farm's production system is a direct expression of the farm's values. It is the deciding factor in what kind of food the farm ultimately produces, and in the way the farm interacts with society and the environment.
The production systems used to produce the meat, eggs and dairy products sold in US supermarkets today are very different than what most consumers imagine, even when those products are labeled "free range," "organic," "grassfed," etc. In reality, the label requirements are structured to allow producers to comply without changing the overall production system as compared to a typical commercial system. "Cage free" hens, for example, still live tens of thousands to a shed, without any requirement for outdoor access. In our experience, people who pay attention to labels aren't looking for small variations on the same old production systems... they expect foods raised by a different system entirely. Unfortunately, that's not what they are getting by paying a little more for a special label at the grocery store.
This problem took us completely by surprise. In our first year of full-time meat and egg production we embarked on the path to "organic" certification. Very quickly, our own highly educated customers taught us that following the organic certification requirements would not address their concerns about how their food is raised. They were looking for something more. We also realized that other farms, who are using the very production systems that we avoid on principle, can hide behind labels and avoid disclosing real practices.
Because our products are not currently sold in stores we're able to have a direct relationship with every person who eats our meat and eggs. Our customers know our farming practices, and they know us - their farmers. They know that our production system reflects their values. Labels and certifications are useful tools when having a direct relationship with the person who grows your food is not practical; they ensure that at least a minimum standard is met, or more often that certain undesirable inputs are avoided. In the end though there really is no substitute for knowing your farmer, knowing how your food is grown, and feeling good about the impacts your food choices have on the rest of the planet.