Bumpy Road Ranch is a farm in NE South Dakota. We subscribe to natural methods of farming. We believe in using nature to our advantage. We raise our animals out in the sunshine on the open pasture, using rotational grazing and biodiversity to help the pastures thrive, and the animals and land to both be improved instead of depleted. We believe in treating the animals with respect and not wasting anything. This is a good opportunity to try something new and be more adventurous in the kitchen!
Dave Crawford (left) has been farming for his entire life. His parents, Dale and Marjorie, founded their farm in the 40s. When Dave was young, he began helping his father raise mostly cattle and pigs, with a small variety of other animals here and there. He still resides on the same family farm with his wife, Barb, and daughter, Amy, who look after their livestock on the very same land he worked with his own father. Barb (not pictured) is a nurse and has worked at a local nursing home for over 30 years. She is skilled in the kitchen and enjoys canning pickles for our faithful pickle lovers.
Amy (middle), a 3rd generation farmer, left SD for some time after high school, and returned in 2014 to help Dave begin a new adventure in naturally raised poultry, pork, and a handful of fiber goats. She is passionate and driven to maintain the best practices for ethically and naurally raised animals. Amy is also the store manager for a local Habitat for Humanity store.
Kayla (right), also daughter of Barb and Dave, has been a lifelong resident of Aberdeen, and lives there with her husband, Tyler, and two daughters. Though not an official "farmer", she does lend a hand when a few extra are needed, whether shearing goats, or on harvest days.
Answers to many common questions.
This is not a regulated term. Many times this means that the animal has seen pasture in its lifetime (so be sure to be wary of this or any similar "buzz words"). However, we use it to describe literally how they are raised on a daily basis. All of the animals actually LIVE on the pasture. They graze, eat bugs, root, peck, and frolic in the sun. The turkeys and pigs have access 100% of the day and night. The chickens are tucked into bed at night (to protect them from predators) in a chicken coop, and let out every morning. This means they are often running freely for 10-12 hours daily. It is not feasible for a large farm operation to ever allow such things. It is not uncommon that pigs are kept on concrete in closed barns, poultry is grown 30,000+ at a time in a barn with no more space than a piece of printer paper. It is safe to say that we are in completely different realms of farming.
Turkeys--Broad Breasted Bronze. The breed was developed in the 1700’s in the US from wild strains of similar coloration crossed with turkeys brought from Europe. They tend to be a quite large bird, but are great foragers and thrived on pasture. They were larger than we planned (though we didn't have a selection of breeds this year due national issues with avian flu, which did not affect this breed when the chicks were purchased.) We've gotten many reviews raving about "the best turkey I've ever had!!". Next year we hope to find and purchase a smaller variety with the same great flavor. We do have few on hand, so get yours quick! Contact us!
Chickens-- Red Rangers. They are known for their to outoor hardiness, and are efficient and effective foragers, eating lots of bugs and weeds/weed seeds, which is important for keeping the pasture well groomed and pests under control. Very flavorful birds, challenging the “tastes like chicken” idea, with a skin that crisps up beautifully when roasted. We deliver!
Note--their CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) counterparts, the cornish crosses, sit at the feeder and just eat corn/soy based processed feed all day long in their closed, windowless barns. They often grow so fast their legs can't hold their huge breasts, so they couldn't get around even if they had the space to do so.--not our idea of good stewardship or ethical treatment.
Pigs-- Mangalitsa, Mulefoot, Berkshire, Berkshire/Yorkshire crosses, and some other crosses. The majority of our pigs are rare heritage breeds/crosses known for their superior flavor and marbling, hardiness, outdoor living affinity, and foraging efficiency. This is the type of meat that is prized in high end restaurants because it is darker, meatier, more tender and more marbled than what is commonly available today with a deep, creamy flavor. These pigs do not produce "the other white meat". We wouldn't want it any other way.
In summary...In addition to rich and intense flavor, slow-growing breeds tend to have better balance in growth of their organs, muscle, and bones. Because they come from a diverse genetic stock, their immunity is stronger. All part of the sustainable philosophy we strive for.
We raise many heritage and heritage-cross breed animals, which come from long lines of pure breeds with deep history. Time-tested and selected for their favorable traits, they tend to be well-adapted to their environments, have better disease resistance, and thrive in pasture-based settings. While they do take more time to grow than their factory farm/CAFO counterparts, we believe that slow food is worth the wait and we are well rewarded with a deep, gourmet flavor in our meat. Taste the difference!
As you read above, the animals can freely graze and forage for plants and bugs, but they are also fed lots of spare garden produce and a supplemental feed mix of grains grown by farmers from our region. We only feed non-gmo, non-processed style, transitional feed. Transitional is a term to describe farms that are in the process of being certified organic, and thus they use organic practices and do not grow gmo crops. We are happy to support other local producers!
No. We are not certifed. Certification is expensive to attain and maintain. The "organic" term is a regulated term and, quite frankly, we believe that our practices surpass that of organic standards. Organic implies "natural", but we tend to be even more so. We choose not to use even certified organic fertilizers or pesticides/herbicides. We choose to use natural practices such as using garlic, apple cider vinegar, and herbs before using any organic or mainstream solutions. We have no other certifications either, as each would mean price increases, and lowering our ability to operate our farm efficiently. We believe in transparency, and would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have regarding specific practices.
We are not solely focused on production and profit. Production and profit motivate producers to concentrate on the wrong things. We refuse to treat living creatures poorly just because they will soon be meat for our table. In fact, we respect them because they will nourish us some day. We want them to live in the way nature intended and to be happy and healthy until the day they become food for someone's table. We harvest them in the most humane way possible. We have also have accomodated to some religious requirements in order to serve more members of our community. While it tends to be much more expensive to raise livestock in this way, we believe so much in doing the right thing, even if it is difficult or not as profitable as mainstream methods.
No. We have never, nor will we ever, give our animals anything of the sort. Our animals are grown with grass, nature, balanced feed, produce, and sunshine. Nothing complicated. No scary stuff here.
This is not a problem we have very often. However, on occasion, it can happen. If we have an animal that is sick, we first try natural and herbal treatments, and then we will give antibiotics only if necessary to treat them. Antibiotics are useful only when used appropriately, and we won't allow an animal to suffer for the sake of being "antibiotic-free", and will not be processing any animal that has antibiotics actively in their system. We don't give regular courses of antibiotics prophylactically or at sub-therapeutic levels as we don't have chronically ill animals, nor do we choose to be contributors to our nation's antibiotic resistance problem.
Buying pasture-raised pork in bulk is a great way to stock your freezer and save money on the best quality meat available. In general, we take orders for 1/2 or whole pork. We make an appointment with the butcher (let us know if you have a preference) and we will take care of transport. You get to customize your pork: how thick the pork chops are cut, sizes of roasts/hams, how much bacon or other cuts as desired (or cut back on the bacon for lots of ribs)! If you are interested in the getting a nice variety at a better price, this is the way to go. Many people team up with a friend and split the meat and pass on the savings. When buying in bulk you can get everything from nose-to-tail, or you can get just the ‘normal’ stuff. Go "whole hog"! (see what we did there?)
Yes, you can most certainly buy individual cuts! We currently have a bit of every type of cut in stock. We even have the more unusual stuff like lard, tail, feet, and tongue for the more adventerous folks! (Price list and ordering info here)
If you are price comparing Walmart, perhaps you should buy there. We are completely different ballgames. As discusssed above, we have no desire to mass produce sub-mediocre fast food. We choose to do things the right way, growing slow, and building layers of flavor, with no guilt involved from cutting corners and using questionable practices. It costs significantly more to purchase the top quality heritage and similar old-school breeds known for their awesomeness, provide room to roam, quality feed to eat (that we must drive to retrieve), and time to allow them to grow nice and slow. If you are looking for commodity prices, you get what you pay for (commodity quality). You can find better prices, but you won't find better flavor!
We currently have some chickens from our last harvest day. This year we did two chicken harvest days, one mid-summer, and one in the late fall. Please contact us if you would like to purchase meat. We deliver locally! (sorry, we do not ship, eat local!)