Since 2011 we have raised free-range cattle and sheep on our farm, aptly named One Mile Farm for its location to our brewery, to serve in our restaurant. This endeavor has been both a rewarding and positive experience over the past 8 years. After careful and thoughtful consideration however, it is with content hearts that we have made the decision to close One Mile Farm. Many of you may ask “why?” Simply put, we are streamlining operations as well as increasing our support of local farmers by putting the task of raising our cattle in the capable hands of Ashland rancher Dave Westerberg of Valley View Farms.
As all members of our community can attest to, recent summers of heavy smoke and hazardous air conditions have resulted in a significant decline in tourism. Some of the hardest businesses hit? Local restaurants such as ours. Farm operations are costly, and as we focus our attention on strengthening our relationships with local farmers to produce farm-to-table food, it was the right decision to close our farm and transfer the responsibility of raising our cattle to esteemed rancher Westerberg.
The cattle we had previously raised on One Mile Farm were purchased from Westerberg as calves and brought just a quarter of a mile from his farm to ours. Essentially, the only difference between Standing Stone raising these cattle and Westerberg is that they will be grazing on grass just a short distance away. The manner in which they are raised will remain the same: 1) The land and cattle are chemical-free – no fertilizer or hormones are used. 2) They graze freely on open pastures using a management-intensive rotational system that helps rejuvenate the grass and soil, with the herds moved from one section to another sequentially. 3) These cattle are raised holistically using organic, responsible and sustainable farming practices.
Standing Stone management met with Westerberg recently to take a tour of his farmland and its operations. It was during this tour that Westerberg shared he and his family have raised purebred Black Angus cattle here in Ashland for more than 70 years on 80 acres of family-owned property.
Westerberg has 31 permanent pastures under his care and these are often divided with temporary electric fencing to facilitate their managed intensive grazing goals; the main goal being to improve the biological life of the soil.
Westerberg is currently raising approximately 100 cattle and separates them into various groups. These include cows with their offspring, adolescents on an intensive nutrition plan and mature cattle nearing processing time. Just as they were on One Mile Farm, these animals will continue to be processed humanely, and the quality of the resulting product will remain the same: grass-fed, grass-finished beef that has health benefits such as higher Omega 3’s as well as lower saturated fat and cholesterol versus conventional beef.
These cattle graze on a wide variety of grass species including rye grass, orchard grass, timothy, 3 types of clover, birds foot trefoil, meadow foxtail and plantain. During our tour with Westerberg we witnessed many cattle “mooing” for his attention while gathered at various gate entrances. When asked what they were mooing about he shared that they were trying to get his attention in order to be let into other nearby pastures with enticing grasses. To say these cattle live a happy life appears to be an understatement by our personal accounts.
As we continue to work with local farmers, our menu will also reflect even more farm-to-table choices than ever before. We currently partner with RA Farms, Happy Dirt Farm, Wandering Roots Farm, Mushrooms All Year and Fry Family Farms, keeping it local while sourcing vibrant, wholesome ingredients. The next time you dine with us, check out our Weekly Specials Board to see the current items sourced from these farms.
As a sustainable, environmentally conscience brewery and restaurant, we are excited for this next chapter in our story and look forward to bringing you, our loyal customers, all things “local.” Thank you for your continued support and patronage. We couldn’t do it without you!