What does "Grass Fed" really mean?

There's lots of confusion in grocery stores and co-ops and even restaurants regarding the various labels our food contains today.  Organic, Non GMO, Grass Fed, Natural, even Local has a meaning that is open to interpretation.

Consumer's Union has a new guide to consumer labels which addresses some of the confusion, and I highly recommend everyone take a look.  Its important to know what the labels are supposed to mean, and what they actually mean.  For example, USDA Certified Organic is a very rigorous label that is difficult for a farmer to obtain and retain.  "Local" can be used by pretty much anyone, and there's no clear definition.

We've been selling Lighthouse Farm 100% Grass Fed Beef since 2006.  We were using the term "Grass Fed" long before anyone decided to define it.  Some producers and purveyors of Grass Fed beef try to split hairs on what Grass Fed really means.  We use the term 100% Grass Fed, meaning that for the entire life of the animals we raise they only receive grass on pasture (in the summer) and stored grass hay (in winter).   

Our animals never get grain.  They get the best pasture all summer, starting in April, and running as long as possible in the fall, even into December if the snow tarries.

You might see terms like "forage-based" or "forage finished."  Forage can mean any food fed to beef cattle, it usually means pasture that is grazed, much like what we do at Lighthouse Farm.  But forage can also mean chopped corn silage, which certainly includes grain.  For those who want to be serious about avoid grain fed beef, be wary of any production model highlighting "forage" rather than 100% Grass Fed.

What about "Organic?"  The USDA regulates the term "Organic," its definition and its use.  Organic farmers follow a detailed production system which restricts the use of most synthetic chemicals, and requires certain practices which enhance the soil on farms.  In order to become "Certified Organic," and be able to use the USDA Certified Organic Label, farms must be inspected annually, to ensure they've followed the guidelines.  

Despite managing our farm in accordance with organic guidelines and practices, Lighthouse Farm is not Certified Organic, nor do we process our animals at a Certified Organic meat processor.  That means we cannot call our meat "organic."  We've welcomed inspections by our customers, and all have found us to be above reproach.

If you want the best, healthiest beef, make sure you are getting 100% Grass Fed.  Give Lighthouse Farm 100% Grass Fed Beef a try today!

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100% Grass Fed Beef - Since 2006

We started raising 100% Grass Fed Beef in 2006.  We were one of the first farms in Minnesota to offer 100% Grass Fed Beef direct from the farm to our customers.  We've sold to grocery stores and restaurants too.  Its been 11 years of painstaking craftsmanship. 

Yes, we actually think of the time spent observing and selecting breeding stock, tending to our organically managed pastures, and building relationships with processors and customers as part of our craftsmanship.  It hasn't been easy, and it isn't something just anyone can do. 

The animal pictured with this post is the result of 11 years of paying attention to the little details of farming from the timing of breeding, pasture movements, selecting cows and bulls.  He's also the result of 11 years of focusing on the big things, like making sure we care for our animals with respect, treat our customers professionally, and making decisions with the long-term view of our farm in mind, never trading long term soil health for short term financial gain.

We are proud (in a good way) of what we've accomplished on our farm.  But that's just a means to an end.  Our real goal is to share what we've accomplished with others.  We'd love to share what we've done with you.  Won't you consider ordering?  We love making new friends, and we love seeing other people enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Do you have questions?  We welcome them.  Feel free to call with any questions 763-260-0209 or email

Thanks for checking us out!

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Supermarket Ground Beef Comes from Hundreds of Animals.

Recently, I read an article about ground beef on Huffington Post, where the author explained what we've been saying for years, that supermarket ground beef is a mixture of beef from hundreds or thousands of cows.  The article suggests one response for consumers concerned about the lack of traceability in the conventional meat system is to purchase meat from you neighborhood butcher...  

We at Lighthouse Farm would say that if you want all your ground beef to come from a single animal, you need to know your farmer.  If that describes you, you've come to the right place.  To help you with your concern, we are putting our 100% grass fed ground beef on sale for a limited time.  In fact, in support of the "one animal, whole animal" approach, we are going to offer up for sale one of our beef that will be completely ground beef.  No steaks or roasts will be sold from this animal.  All the cuts will be made into ground beef.  Your ground beef will include all the cuts, including the expensive steaks, not just the "trim."  Also, this beef is a super lean, super healthy, in the prime of life beef, not a skinny, borderline-health cull animal.

You'll need to order a minimum of 100 lbs (once you try this beef, you'll wonder why you didn't order more).  You'll need to pay for the order in full when ordering.  Ground beef will be packaged in 1lb plastic pouches, and these will keep in your freezer for well-beyond 12 months.  We've had some in our freezer last up to 3 years.  About the only thing which will shorten the life of these packages would be the occasional rip or puncture in the packaging.  If you are careful with your freezer meat, this shouldn't happen, however.

Concerned about storage space?  Ground beef packages pack efficiently.  You'll need less space than you think.  The upper freezer portion of most household refrigerators will easily hold 100# of ground beef.

Order and pay now, and later this fall, you'll have a winter's supply of delicious, healthy Lighthouse Farm 100% grass fed beef.

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Happy Independence Day!

I trust you've just finished celebrating not only the United States' freedom as a nation, but also have had the chance to reflect on our individual freedoms as well.  Among the many freedoms we share is the freedom of choice to purchase food where we like.  As a farmer, this means everything to us, as we'd never have been able to build our business without the freedom to make individual transactions directly with our customers.  

As a consumer, you can know exactly where your beef comes from, and who raised it, how exactly it was processed, and exactly how fresh it is.  If this freedom is important to you, or you just want to experience one of the many freedoms this country has to offer, now is the time!  Don't get caught without 100% grass fed beef at next year's 4th of July barbecue.  Order from Lighthouse Farm today!

If you have any questions, you can reach us at, or call us at 763-260-0209. 

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Ready to Order your 2017 Beef?

This is the 11th season we've been selling 100% grass fed beef.  We are proud of the herd we've raised, and the calves we are offering for this fall's slaughter are fantastic.  

If you'd like to have the best grass fed beef in your freezer this winter, now is the time to order.  We have beef available for delivery in December.  We'll be taking last year's calves in over a 2 week period starting at the end of November, and will have this all delivered by the middle of December.  If you've been subscribing for a while to our newsletter, but have been waiting to order beef, now is the time.  We'll be harvesting the best quality beef of the year.  When we take the animals right off grass and put them in the freezer, you have the absolute best quality beef available.

Purchasing a quarter beef is a great way to enjoy our 100% Grass Fed Beef.  Our beef quarters range in size from about 90 to 100 lbs.  

Upon ordering a quarter beef, you will be charged $250 for the deposit on the beef.  At delivery, you'll be charged for the balance of your order.  Beef is sold for $9.00/lb. of packaged weight, the weight of product you will actually put in your freezer.  This price includes processing and delivery.  For example, a quarter beef weighing 90 lbs, would cost a total of 90 lbs x $9 = $810.  At delivery, you would owe $810 - $250 = $560.  Deposits are non-refundable.

About 40-50% of the meat will be ground beef, packaged in either 1# or 1.33# food grade plastic bags.  Additionally, you'll get all the major cuts, t-bone steaks, porterhouse steak, rib steak, sirloin steak, round steak, chuck roast, rump roast, sirloin tip roast, short ribs, stew meat.  Steaks are cut 3/4 inch thick and packaged 2 per pack.  Roasts are 2-3 lbs. Steaks and roasts are paper wrapped for long term storage.

Questions? Feel free to email:, or call, 763-260-0209.

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Now is the time to order 2016 Pork!

If you are interested in reserving a half or whole hog, this is the place. Purchase 1 deposit for a half hog or 2 of these for a whole hog.  $300 is the deposit fee.

We are selling half hogs for delivery in October.  We have 18 half hogs available.  Our price for pork in 2016 is the same as it was for 2015, $8.50/lb., which includes processing and delivery.  You can reserve your 2016 pork by making a $300 deposit today.

For years, we've been getting our pigs each spring from our farming partner.  This year, due to an overload of activity here, we've decided to have him raise the pigs for us.  We expect the same quality of pork, or even better, as the pigs will not be subjected to the "shock" of adjusting to a new farm.  If you have questions, please let us know.

Upon ordering a half hog, you will be charged $300 for the deposit on the pork.  At delivery, you'll be charged for the balance of your order.  Pork is sold for $8.50/lb. of packaged weight, the weight of product you will actually put in your freezer.  This price includes processing and delivery.  For example, a half hog weighing 85 lbs, would cost a total of 85 lbs x $8.50 = $722.50.  At delivery, you would owe $722.50 - $300 = $422.50.  Deposits are non-refundable.

You'll need about 3-4 cubic feet of freezer space for a half hog.  A half hog usually fits in the freezer section of a conventional refrigerator if it is completely empty.

Need more information?  Check out our Pork Ordering FAQs

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Last Call for 2015 Pork

Oh, glorious spring!
Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we got a nice rain to finish it off.  We couldn’t write a better story ourselves.  The end of winter is always time for rejoicing.  It also means that we must make a commitment to our piglet supplier as to how many pigs we want for the summer. 
This is the LAST CALL for 2015 Berkshire Pastured Pork orders.  After this week, there will be no more until the fall of 2016. As in year’s past, we are selling half hogs for delivery in November.  Our plan is to have your pork to you by Thanksgiving.  The good news is that our price for pork in 2015 is the same as it was for 2014, $8.50/lb., which includes processing and delivery.  You can reserve your 2015 pork by making a $300 deposit today. 
Never ordered Lighthouse Farm Pastured Pork before?  Check out our FAQs below for more information.

Lighthouse Farm Pastured Pork FAQs
1.  How much meat is included in a half hog, and how much freezer space will I need?  
Half hogs weigh between 80-100 lbs.  You'll need about 3-4 cubic feet of freezer space for a half hog.  A half hog usually fits in the freezer section of a conventional refrigerator if it is completely empty.
2.  What cuts can I expect in my order?
You’ll get all the normal cuts, chops, shoulder roast, ham and bacon (naturally cured, no nitrites added), some unseasoned ground pork.  Also ground fat is available if you want it, as are organ meats.  You can also have your half hog cut to your specific requirements.  Some of our customers like ham steak instead of ham roasts, some prefer fresh, uncured ham or bacon.  Normally, we have the pork chops cut 5/8 inch thick, and packaged 2 per package, the shoulder roasts are 2-3 lbs.  The ham roasts are cut 2-3 lbs, or in the case of ham steaks, we get them 5/8 inch thick with 2 per package.  The bacon is cut to a medium thickness and packaged in 12 oz. packages. When ordering a half hog, you can have it cut and packaged however you like.    We’ll coordinate all that as we get closer to harvesting the hogs.
3.  What if I want some special cuts of pork, not your “standard cutup?"
Once you place a half hog (or more), in your shopping cart at the Lighthouse Farm Online Store, you will see a comment box where you can add any additional comments.  You can let us know about your special request there if you like, or if you think of something over the summer, you can tell us s about it right away, and also, you will receive an update email from us in Sept. or Oct.  We will ask you if you want any special cuts at that time.  If so, you can just let us know by return email.
4. When and how do I pick up my order?
When you order from Lighthouse Farm, delivery is included in the price of your order.  We will be taking hogs in for slaughter at the end of October and the beginning of November.  In our update email in Sept. or Oct., you will get a general delivery time frame, something like, “Your order will be ready for delivery the week of Nov. xx”  If for some reason that week is absolutely out for you, please let us know at that time.  If not, then we’ll set a specific date for delivery after we take the pigs into the processor.  Generally, a week prior to delivery or so, we’ll give you a window of time during that delivery day that you can expect your order.
5.  I’ve paid a $300 deposit at ordering, how much is the balance, and when do I pay the balance?
You are charged for your order based on the packaged weight of the pork you actually put in your freezer.  Therefore, we will not know the exact amount of your remaining balance until we pick up the order from the processor the morning of your delivery.  If needed, we can call you with that information as soon as we have it.  You will pay the balance at the time of delivery.  We actually prefer checks or cash, but are happy to run your credit card right at your door.  (We’ve got one of those nifty card readers on our phone!)
If you have other questions please don’t hesitate to email us at or if not, you can place your order here.
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Spring is coming!

Spring has sprung here on the farm.  Well, at least the thermometer is telling us so!  We are grateful for the warmer weather, but let’s be honest this winter has been mostly mild.  And being its only March 9th, we are kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, and maybe we’ll endure another bite of cold or pile of snow yet, who knows.  For now, we are enjoying it, as are the cattle.  
When the temperatures get up in to the 50s for the first time, the cattle and their warm winter coats start to get itchy.  They start looking for anything solid they can find to rub on, the sharper, the better.  Big oak trees are probably the preferred tool by most of them; but fence posts, rocks, the hay feeder, buildings and even each other work fairly well.
We passed into daylight savings time as well over the weekend, which is always a sign that spring is on the way.  Its still light enough by 6:30 am or so to get hay feeding done without a flashlight, and the sun is up late enough to enjoy some outdoor time later in the day.  All in all, its a wonderful time of year to be out on the farm.
As mentioned in past newsletters, we are out of beef, currently, save for a few bulk packages of ground beef remaining.  We will have more beef this fall.  We are taking deposits on beef for fall, so check out our online store for details.
Also, we still have some half hogs available for this fall.  I just made an appointment with our processor to process hogs on Nov. 3, so we should be able to deliver pork by Thanksgiving as usual.  Half hog deposits are $300 each and the price for pork in 2015 is the same as it was for 2014, $8.50/lb., which includes processing and delivery.  You can reserve your 2015 pork by making a $300 deposit today.  See our online store for details.
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Gathering with Lovers of Food

SFACONF201500146We had our annual Sustainable Farming Association gathering with farmers and foodies on Valentine's Day, the day set aside for lovers...  Love is defined as "a strong feeling of affection and concern". I would venture to guess that all those there had strong feelings of affection and concern for food, where it comes from, how it's raised, how to produce enough of it, how to prepare it, the issues involved with it, what impact it has on our communities and our world.


So, this gathering on Valentine's Day? Seemed entirely appropriate due to the fact that those who were there are basically in love with good food and were with others who love it as well - couples, singles, friends, families. Yup. All good.

Plus, an inspiring speech was given (by someone I greatly admire), along with entertaining presentations as well as educational and practical ones. Amicable conversations were plentiful and delicious food was enjoyed. All because of our strong feelings of affection and concern for food.




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2015 Pork Ordering

This year, we are doubling the amount of pork that will be available this fall.  As in year’s past, we are selling half hogs for delivery in November.  Our plan is to have your pork to you by Thanksgiving.  We are now taking deposits on pork for this fall’s delivery.  We have 18 half hogs available.  When those are sold, there will be no more until the fall of 2016.  The good news is that our price for pork in 2015 is the same as it was for 2014, $8.50/lb., which includes processing and delivery.  You can reserve your 2015 pork by making a $300 deposit today.  **Important** all deposits, including those for half hogs are non-refundable.
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