If you plant a garden every year, you know that no two seasons are alike, that no two plants are alike, that not even two vegetables from the same plant are alike. Even when we are meticulous in our methods of rotating the soil, planting the seeds, watering and tending to the plants, the harvest may be bountiful and beautiful, but it is never identical. So while your homemade vegetable soup or fresh Caprese salad is delicious and nutritious every time you make it, the presentation never looks exactly the same.
That can also be said of our organic animal feeds. The whole grains that Pacific Northwest farmers grow for our feeds can be different varieties, depending on the season. For example, our feeds have included various breeds of wheat, including Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Durum, and Soft White. Likewise with the raw flax or sesame meal that is used for our products; sometimes these inputs have a fluffier or denser look to them. A variance like warm weather may cause the meals to adhere more to the grains.
(Photos courtesy of The Bread Lab. Click to enlarge.)
Unlike pelletized or mashed feeds, those variations are visible from batch to batch, which is important to us. We view our feeds like a craft product, and the beauty of that is that no two are the same. Processed feeds, such as pellets or mash, combine all ingredients into an indistinguishable feed. We want to be able to see each grain of wheat and barley in our Naturally Free Organic Layer feed, not only because we geek out on grains, but because in their natural state they retain their nutrient levels. Regardless of these visual differences from the handmade nature of our feeds, the guaranteed analysis on each product ensures the nutrient value is met as promised.
We also want to be able to see each ingredient because we can reinforce our quality standards, support our dedication to ingredient purity, and preserve the identity and tracking of our food from field to feed. We work directly with our growers to help them understand the raw quality of our feeds and why we are different from most feed mills who grind all of their ingredients. Each delivery of whole grains or micro-ingredient must meet our high standards or it will not be used in our products.
Occasionally we hear from people regarding a bag of our feed that looks different than previous bags they have purchased. We appreciate that about those who use our feeds – they’re conscientious and connected to their food system from feed to table. We intentionally set up our feed-making process in a way that allows us to accurately track and record every bag of feed. We take a much more “hands on” approach than most feed mills. Each bag of feed has a lot number that can tell us every detail about each ingredient that went into that product. By utilizing small batch production runs, we can ensure accurate and safe quality control.
Although the ingredients in our feeds may vary in size, color, and shape, they are always Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Animal Welfare Approved and meet our high standards —uniquely beautiful, consistently nutritious.