On a beautiful farm along the Buck Run in East Fallowfield, Pennsylvania, there is one very content herd of cattle. Dr. Bill Elkins and his wife Helen have been raising Angus beef on their 200 acre farm for over thirty years. Dr. Elkins explains a bit of his history, “I grew up on a farm in Pocopson, had a career in medical research, and after that I wanted to get back into farming.”
The cattle at Buck Run Farm are raised within a holistic grazing system. There is one large herd moved to fresh grass daily. This practice mimics nature before there were fences, when wolves were the primary predator. The size of the herd is always changing, and the calves get to stay with their mothers, nursing as long as they need, to ensure their health.
Farmhand Dustin Eirdosh, who is also a cheese maker, has this to say, “I’ve worked in livestock for seven years and this is by far the best operation I’ve ever worked on. In terms of animal welfare and holistic herd management, this farm excels.” Dr. Elkins adds, “They live outdoors year round, so they hardly ever get sick. Out here, an injured cow is more common.”
“Angus cattle are an English breed, first imported in the late 1930′s. Before WWII, most beef in this country was grass fed. After the war, agriculture was developed for grain production. Grain then became over-produced and low priced. The theory was if farmers fed it to cattle, they could get money out of their grain crop,” Dr. Elkins explains. Pastured beef has returned to the American table, and most people agree that it simply tastes better. Dr. Elkins samples the meat from each animal for quality. Careful records are kept regarding the lineage of every cow, so that the herd is given the opportunity to improve its genetics.
Right now on the farm there are bulls running with the herd, as the first of two breeding seasons is well under way. There are two calf crops per year, which helps spread out the age of the herd. Twice a month, one to three stockers (cattle which are at the size and age of being ready for market) are sent out to Smucker’s in Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania. This particular slaughterhouse caters to farms that maintain smaller herds. With smaller numbers to process, higher standards of workmanship and quality can be maintained.
At Harvest Market, we are proud to offer our customers this high quality meat. Only available ground, Dr. Elkins Angusburger Beefsteak is sold in one pound packages.