Soil Farms and Sheep Herd Profile
Soil Farms is a small family farm in West Sebastopol that recognizes that high-quality, nutrient-dense foods come from healthy soil. Our farm utilizes regenerative farming methods that improve soil, pasture, and productivity of crops on the land that we cultivate. The 16 acre apple orchard creates a savanna setting, with lush grass between the shade of fruit trees. Our livestock are rotationally grazed in small paddocks that are moved on a daily basis to ensure fresh pasture supply everyday.
The flock of heritage Katahdin and Dorper sheep is our favorite enterprise on the farm. Playing with newborn lambs in Spring pasture is quickly becoming our favorite pastime. We move our sheep onto fresh pasture daily, so they are very comfortable and friendly with people. The sheep herd receives supplemental salt, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, dietary kelp, additional minerals, electrolytes, and probiotics to maintain maximum animal health. As a result of this beyond-organic management approach, we never have to use wormers, antibiotics or growth hormones on our animals. At Soil Farms, we take pride in producing authentic, humane, healthy meats for our local food community.
Lamb Quality Description
At Soil Farms, we strive to produce truly pasture-raised meats, in farm systems that mimic natural herding patterns and improve farmland soil quality. We plan our rotational grazing patterns holistically, to capture the maximum nutritional value from the pasture with each species of livestock, and seasonally produce the highest quality meats possible. Our sheep herd management is planned to align lamb birthing time with the Spring grass flush, to ensure the best pasture throughout the lamb growth period. Our ewes lamb just once a year, to allow them sufficient time to regain full strength before the next lambing.
Heritage breeds of sheep produce a unique, palatable, highly-sought quality of lamb meat. Most lamb produced on the market comes from sheep that have been bred to have a dual-purpose of meat and wool production. These larger-framed sheep produce bigger lambs, but most require supplemental feed to fatten up to a good finishing weight, whereas heritage breeds perform wonderfully on pasture alone. Our lambs grow up on pasture grasses, resulting in healthier meat rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and a flavor profile that takes on the character of the land from which it was raised. Additionally, wool sheep produce an unpleasant tasting oil called lanolin, which is responsible for the off-putting “gamey” flavor of most lamb meat. Heritage sheep shed their wool each year naturally rather than being sheered, and don’t produce lanolin, so the meat maintains superior flavor.