Free Ranging the Red Ranger

Laura Mortelliti

The breed we raise, the Red Ranger, is an extremely mobile bird.  This quality has its pros and cons. The birds grow at a slower rate because they are very active.  “In allowing it to go wherever it wants, it runs off into the pasture and burns some serious calories. It's getting vitamins, minerals, and plant secondary metabolites from foraging in the pasture. But being further from the ideal feed source, it will not quickly get plump”, says Jeff Lackey, our Poultry Production Manager. Because our birds are athletes, we have put together cooking tips for their leaner, healthier meat. A benefit of the Red Ranger’s active disposition is its significant and visible impact on our pastures. They are very thorough grazers and scratchers. As our birds disturb the surface of the pasture, they...

Bone Broth

Laura Mortelliti

 

Spotlight On Our Poultry Crew

Laura Mortelliti

Savory Workshop at White Oak Pastures - Build Soil, Build Wealth

Laura Mortelliti

White Oak Pastures teamed up with the Savory Institute to present a Holistic Management workshop led by Spencer Smith. Spencer is a Savory Institute Accredited Field Professional and owner and operator of the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management.

The workshop lasted four days and included 17 participants from as far as Tennessee and Oklahoma. We split our time up between the classroom, the pasture, and the pavilion. Each participant received coaching from Spencer and created an individual grazing plan for their farm. 

We are proud that our farm acts as a gathering place for members of the agricultural community interested in regenerative farming and holistic land management. Our workshop participants came from every stage of holistic management- from conventional farmers looking...

Employee Spotlight: Jeff Lackey- Poultry Production Manager

Laura Mortelliti

Biofertilizer Use In Our Poultry Program

Laura Mortelliti

   

White Oak Pastures is full of passionate and innovative employees. A project started by our recent intern, Karen Cano, has continued on past her graduation from our internship program. Her independent experiment focused on developing a biofertilizer program on the farm. We have continued this project and are excited for long term incorporation of biofertilizer on the farm.

 

 

Below: Karen trains members of our poultry crew on creating different biofertilizer concentrations depending on the application they intend to use it for. 

 

Our biofertilizer is an anaerobically fermented microbial solution made from the rumen of ruminants. We have made large batches of concentrated solution. Depending on the intended application, we have corresponding, specific dilution formulas....

Good Land Stewardship Can Be Seen

Laura Mortelliti

 Above: This fenceline demonstrates the stark difference between a pasture that was grazed (right) and a pasture left fallow (left).  We own the right pasture and recently aquired the left. We look forward to increasing the bioproductivity and forage profile of the new pasture using all natural, animal impact. 

Guardian Dogs

Laura Mortelliti

Farming daily reminds us that we are part of nature, not separate from it. Particularly with our holistic, natural approach to land stewardship, we respect and work with the natural world. To this end, we must face the trials that come with a natural, pasture-based system, including the presence of natural predators. We cannot be with our animals 24/7 and depend heavily on our Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) to protect our herds during the night.

Who Rules The Roost?

Laura Mortelliti
 

Shade As Silvopasture

Laura Mortelliti

White Oak Pastures has based our land stewardship on Savory Institute's Savannah paradigm. In this system, the ideal composition is 20% shade, 80% pasture. We are working with our Iberian and heritage hogs to create the farm’s 20% shade, silvopasture ecosystem. Our woody polyculture will include trees such as oak, pecan, fig, pear and olive trees. The tree density will be about 40 trees per acre. This is not a dense canopy and will allow sunshine to filter through so that our livestock can forage a pasture understory. The dehesa forests in Spain on which we hope to model our Iberian pastures have a tree density of 85-120/hectare.

Our Hog Production Manager Aaron Lorenz explains the specific role our pigs play in establishing savannah ecosystems:

Hogs love fresh pasture and cool...

Gone to the Dogs (Herding Dogs)

Laura Mortelliti

Herding our hoofstock is not an easy task. Our animals are raised on terrain ranging from brambled woodland to open pasture. We often need to sort and separate the herd into smaller groups based on factors such as age, gender, and genetics. We find our herding dogs indispensable in these complicated tasks, especially when moving our goats and sheep which are notoriously hard to work with. Dogs are an efficient, finessed,  low-stress way to move large groups of livestock. 

The Compromises of A Land Steward/Herdsman

Will Harris

As a land steward and herdsman, Will is always making compromises with the long term picture in mind.

Bacon-wrapped Pasture-Raised Chicken Legs and Smoked Sugar-Free Bacon
Tallow Be Thy Name is a new non-dairy butter substitute made from grassfed beef tallow.


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