A Senior's Farewell to the University of Minnesota

Completing the Shires, Shorthorns, and Sheep: Exploring Livestock Production Systems in England marked the end of my undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota. Leaving for England two short days after my college graduation seemed to be a little daunting, but there's no doubt in my mind that it was worth it and a GREAT way to end my collegiate career!

The highlights of my trip to England included visiting farms, such as Wimpole and Native Beef, to see how they are working to preserve the genetics of England's heritage breeds, seeing the racing industry in Newmarket, and experiencing several markets in London. Growing up in production agriculture has given me personal experiences with raising beef, sheep and crops, such as corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. I enjoyed observing the similarities and differences between agriculture in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Heritage breed preservation seemed to be important to several of the farms we visited, and I didn'…

Who Cut the Cheese At Borough Market????

Borough Market first began in 1014 AD near the current location of London Bridge as a means of selling vegetables to the community. The market was not managed well, so in 1755 the city petitioned Parliament to relieve them of managing the continually growing market. In 1756, the Borough Market Act was passed, which gave Southwark Cathedral permission to move the market to its current location.

Today, these little piggies went to market (to shop)! It wasn't too busy when we first arrived, but as the morning carried on the market filled up very quickly. Vendors were set up everywhere, selling goods ranging from Ethiopian cuisine to goat milk ice cream to zebra and camel meat!

With recommendation by Beth, we began by browsing through the market. We saw a variety of cultural foods, aged cheeses, bread, meat cuts, tea... the list goes on and on.

At this market stall, they were selling and giving samples of unique cheeses. The cheese on the left consists of milk from buffalo, which had…

The BBQ and the Chop Chop

On Friday May 18, after the tour of Northfield Farm, they provided our group with a BBQ.When we first thought of a BBQ, we thought of baked beans, pulled pork, and chips.However, their BBQ options consisted of lamb or beef burgers, chips (fries), coleslaw, salad with salad cream, and a mint cucumber salad.We soon found out this wasn’t your typical American BBQ.During the tour and the BBQ, we were told that all the meat served from their food truck came straight from their farm.All their meat is raised, butchered, and cooked by Northfield Farms.They also take part in the Borough Market selling burgers and other cooked goods out of their food truck.Northfield Farms is known to be the first farm to have a food truck at the Borough Market.

Burger, chips, and sides served to us by Northfield Farm.
The menu to Northfield Farm's food truck services.
On Friday May 25, we visited Native Beef.After touring the farm, they also provided us with a BBQ.They prepared their home raised, pasture …

Two Shakes of a Lamb's Tail

Farming is a hard business and there’s not much worse than low and unsteady prices.To help supplement & stabilize their finances, some farms have diversified their operations into more than just one or two crops or species.This is the case with Northfield Farm and Sondes Place.Inside of the on-farm shop at Northfield Farm, you can find cuts of lamb right alongside their beef offerings that were raised on their farm.At Sondes Place, the cattle are neighbored by around 300 Highlander ewes.They have also developed an asparagus field, local school programs, a firewood enterprise, & environmentalism and stewardship schemes.

Whether in the pasture or the display case, beef and lamb at Northfield Farm can be found right alongside each other.Their beef animals graze in the same paddock as their near 100 breeding ewes with lambs.This flock contains genetics from a range of breeds including the local Border Leicester as well Scotch Halfbreds, Cheviots, Hampshire Downs, & Llanwenog to…

The Chaps of Chapman Equestrian

This morning we explored Chapman Equestrian and their world of eventing. We toured the stables and watched a riding demonstration. The tour began in the tack room, where all the saddles hung neatly aligned on one wall with matching covers. The bridles were all cleaned and hanging on the opposite wall. The cleanliness of everything was the first indication that the farm was well managed and showed a professional environment.

From the tack room we proceeded to the paddocks, where Jonathan explained that each horse is individually turned out. The 12-acre area was split into one half acre spaces for each horse. He also stated that he has eliminated the use of gates in the interest of safety so there was no longer a solid structure for the horses to injure themselves on. For most of the year, the horses are turned out as much as weather and scheduling allows. During the winter months, the horses are housed inside but let out for two hours each day for exercise.

The stables were a tradit…

Where's the Beef?!

Beef, beef, beef!

Our day today was all about Native Beef Farm, located in Chalfont St. Giles. Native Beef is a farm run primarily by Jonathan and his one part-time worker. All of the cattle that he raises are pedigree Red Ruby Devon, aside from a handful of Devon x Red Angus crosses. Each of his cattle finish completely off of pasture grass or grass silage, without any addition of cereal grains, supplementation, growth hormones, or antibiotics.

One of the most important and unique things to Native Beef is the fact that Jonathan sought after an AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) stamp of approval and a certification from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association! Both of these groups demonstrate just how committed he is to creating a high quality beef product, in a way that is the least stressful for the animal.

Across the 400 acres of the farm, there are currently 220 cattle allotted to various paddocks. In the wintertime, Native Beef has the facilities to house a maximum of 250 cattle, all b…