FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

JANUARY 2016 ORDER UPDATE - PLEASE NOTE WE ARE TRANSITIONING TO A NEW WEBSITE WITH ONLINE ORDERS - VISIT THE NEW SITE AT WWW.ALLGRASSFARMS.COM

 

Q:  DO YOU HAVE A FARM STORE?  WHAT ARE THE STORE HOURS?

A:  THE FARM STORE IS OPEN 7 DAYS PER WEEK FROM 10 AM - 6 PM.  The store offers raw milk, pasture-raised eggs, grass fed beef, pastured pork and chicken, goat milk cheeses and gelatto, Kombucha, local herbs, seasoning mixes, and fruits and vegetables in season. 

 

The store is located inside the Brunner Family Forest Preserve, on IL Route 31 north of Dundee and south of Algonquin.   The street address is 18N681 IL Route 31, Dundee, IL  60118.   Many GPS systems do not recognize this address, it is best to Google "Brunner Family Forest Preserve" and then click on the Directons button from the Google listing.

 

Q: DO YOU OFFER FARM TOURS?

A: Beginning in June 2016 we will be offering free farm tours every Saturday afternoon at 3 PM, weather permitting.  Please meet outside the entrance to the farm store for the tour to start.  These are guided walking tours that will take approximately 45 minutes, you will see the vegetable plots, orchard, greenhouse, chick brooding area, and the pastures where the chickens, pigs, and cows spend their days. Boots or sturdy walking shoes are suggested & long pants are recommended since there is lots of tall grass, bugs, and even some muddy spots at the farm. No strollers can go into the tour area since it it tall grass with uneven terrain.

 

We will also provide a milking demonstration on some Saturdays, by appointment only from 5:00 to 5:30 PM where visitors can watch the cows come into the barn and learn about dairy cow care and the milking operation.   All visitors must remain calm and keep voices down to keep from spooking the cows and disrupting the milking process.  Special group tours of the Brunner Farm are available by appointment only, fees apply depending on the type of group (no fees for children or school groups).

 

Q: HOW DO WE PURCHASE YOUR PASTURE-RAISED EGGS?

A: We have plenty of eggs available at the store, sold by the dozen.  You can also purchase eggs online and then pickup at the store.  Regular price for eggs is $7/dozen for large eggs and $8/dozen for jumbo eggs.  We recycle egg cartons so please leave us any extra egg cartons you have laying around the house.

 

Q: HOW DO WE PURCHASE RAW MILK?

A: If you are interested in obtaining raw milk, stop by the farm store for a sample of milk.  As of January 2016 all of the milk produced on our farm will be distributed through a herdshare program.  Barrington Natural Farms herdshare program is a contract between you and the farm that allows you to buy a "share" or portion of the dairy cow herd and be entitled to a percentage of the herd milk production.  

 

Participation in the program is two-fold. First, there is a one-time purchase to buy your herdshare. Each herdshare entitles you to approximately one gallon per week. Next, you pay Barrington Natural Farms on a monthly basis to board and care for your share of the herd and to prepare the milk for your pickup.  

 

For a monthly price that is about the same as organic milk from the store, you’ll get your own weekly gallon of fresh, local, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk that supports your health, your community, and your planet.

 

Because of the laws in Illinois, the purchase of a herdshare is a little more involved than buying a gallon of milk from the store. You will need to sign two contracts: a Bill of Sale for your share of the herd and a boarding agreement (Bovine Agistment Agreement) that outlines Barrington Natural Farm's commitment to taking care of your herd. If you are comfortable with the contract terms, you'll need to return the completed forms, along with your payment, to get your first share of milk.

 

All herdshare owners are required to bring or purchase their own containers.  We recommend the 1/2 gallon wide-mouth glass mason jars to store the milk. They can be purchased at most Ace Hardware stores, Meijers, Woodmans, and online. Herdshare owners can also purchase them from us already cleaned for $3 each.  Gallon size jars are too big and unwieldy for most people to pour from, and the plastic milk jugs are very difficult to fill and keep clean with the small openings.

 

Q:  HOW DO WE ORDER BEEF, PORK, AND CHICKEN?

A:  Please click on our ORDER FORM which will open up a one-page fillable PDF Order Form with our meat products listed.  We typically sell our meat products in bulk orders only, we do not sell by the cut except at year end if we have anything left after filling all the bulk orders.  Join our newsletter list to find out if we have individual meat cuts available for sale after we fill the bulk orders. 

 

You can print the order form, fill it out by hand, and fax or scan/email back to us for review and processing. If you are fairly good on the computer, you can type in your requested order quantities and contact information directly into the PDF form, save it, and then email it to us directly.

 

You can also order all of our products and pay online at our new website www.allgrassfarms.com

 

Once we receive your order, we will call or email you to confirm your order and make sure we have adequate supplies and the date or dates your order will be ready.  All orders must be picked up from the farm or the processor; delivery is not available.  At that time we will give you the amount of your deposit, as noted on the order form for meat packages. You can then mail us a check for the deposit amount, made out to Barrington Natural Farms.

 

Q:  HOW DO WE PICKUP OUR BEEF, PORK, AND CHICKEN ORDERS?

If you order a half or whole hog, you will deal directly with the processor/butcher shop to customize your meat order.  We will contact you shortly before or after we take the animals into the processor so that you can contact them directly with your cutting instructions, such as the thickness of steaks, size of roasts, bone in or bone out, size of packages, etc.  These large orders you will pickup directly from the processor, pay them for the processing fees, and we will bill you directly for the remaining meat costs.  We use several different local processors so we can't tell you which one has your meat until we take the animals in and assign them to customers.  Our current beef and pork processors are Lake Geneva Country Meats in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Sorgs Quality Meats in Darien, Wisconsin.  Next year we may begin using Eickman's Processing in Seward, Illinois.

 

If you order one of the 50 lb. or less beef or pork packages, we will pick those up from the processor, bring them home to our freezers, and contact you via email to setup an appointment to pickup your order from our farm.

 

All chickens will be processed at Twin Cities Pack in Beloit, WI this year. We bring them all back to the farm in coolers and customer pickups will be at the farm starting Friday afternoons and extending through Sunday.  If you order chickens for a particular pickup date we will send you a reminder email 2-3 days before the pickup date. 

 

Q:  WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A WEEKLY FULL DIET CSA BOX?

A:  A typical full-diet CSA weekly box will include 7-10 different vegetables picked fresh, one gallon of raw Guernsey milk, one dozen pastured/soy-free eggs, a whole pastured chicken (~4 lbs), a pound of grass-fed ground beef, 4 bone-in rib steaks (2-3 lbs), a pound of stew meat, a pound of smoked bacon, a pound of ground pork, and 6 bone-in pork chops (2-3 lbs).

 

The next week's box might include 7 -10 different freshly picked vegetables, a gallon of milk, a dozen pastured/soy-free eggs, a whole pastured chicken, a pound of ground beef, a 3-4 lb chuck roast, a pound of breakfast sausage, and a 3-4 lb. pork shoulder roast.

 

During the season each full diet shareholder will also receive a jar of local honey, farmstead cheeses inclulding cheddar, colby, mozzarella, feta, and occasional herbs and fruits such as melons and apples in season. 

 

Q:  WHAT KIND OF CUTS ARE IN A 25 LB MIXED CUTS BEEF SAMPLER PACK ORDER?

A:  The beef sampler pack contains 10 - 11 lbs of 90% lean ground beef in one pound packages, two 3-4 lb roasts including chuck roast, rump roast, or sirloin tip roast, one package of round steaks, one package of sirloin steaks, and one package of premium steaks (i.e. T-Bone, Porterhouse, Bone-In Rib Eye, New York Strip Steaks), plus a package of stew meat and/or short ribs.   All premium steaks are cut 1" thick with 2 in a package.  A 50 lb. beef sampler pack is equivalent to two 25 lb sampler packs.

 

Q:  WHAT KIND OF CUTS ARE IN A 35 LB PORK SAMPLER PACK ORDER?

A:  A typical pork sampler pack includes about 8-9 lbs of smoked ham - usually a quarter ham plus 2 - 3/4" thick ham steaks, two shoulder roasts weighing about 3 pounds each, and 3-4 lbs of sausage and or ground pork in 1 lb packages.  It will also include about 10 lbs of bone-in pork chops, 3/4" thick, 2 to a package, and 4-5 lbs of real smoked bacon (yes, actually smoked in a smokehouse). 

 

Q:  HOW DO WE GET OUR ORDER - ARE DELIVERY OPTIONS AVAILABLE?

A:  Chickens and raw milk must be picked up from the farm and those pick-ups are scheduled.  Beef freezer packs are also picked up directly from the farm.  For hog orders of whole, or half animals, you can pickup your order from our processor. We use 3 or 4 different processors and we will connect you with the processor used for your order so you can complete cutting instructions directly with them and schedule a pick up time appropriate for your schedule.

 

We currently do not have delivery options available for customers.  All meat must be picked up from the farm or the processor.  

 

Q:  DO YOU OFFER FARM TOURS?

A:  Beginning in May 2016 we will be offering two daily farm tours, one at 11 AM and another at 3 PM. Please meet at the farm store at those times if you are interested in a farm tour.  These are guided walking tours that will take approximately 30 minutes, you will see the vegetable plots, orchard, greenhouse, chick brooding area, and the pastures where the chickens, pigs, and cows spend their days. Boots or sturdy walking shoes are recommended.   

 

On Tuesdays and Saturdays we will offer a guided milking demonstration beginning at 5:00 PM where visitors can watch the cows come into the barn and see the milking process, close enough to touch the cows.  All visitors must remain calm and keep voices down to keep from spooking the cows and disrupting the milking process.

 

Q:  IS GRASS-FED BEEF HEALTHIER FOR YOU THAN GRAIN-FED BEEF?

A:  Definitely, grass-fed beef is lower in fat and calories. There are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals. To begin with, meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat. If the meat is very lean, it can have one third as much fat as a similar cuts from a grain-fed animal. In fact, grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk.  Learn more about the health benefits of grass fed meats.

 

Q:  WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR PASTURED/FREE RANGE EGGS AND THE ORGANIC CAGE-FREE EGGS FROM THE SUPERMARKET?

A:  The amount of vegetation - "greens" - they get in their diet.  Most organic "cage-free" eggs from the grocery store are produced by hens roaming "free" inside a giant confinement facility, usually along with thousands of other hens. They may be "cage free", but they are certainly not free-range.  They may have access to a small yard, but most will not ever go outside during their lifetime.  They do eat certified organic feed, but that is the only similarity with our free range pastured hens.  Our laying hens spend virtually their entire lives outside on grass, and their eggs tell the difference.  Our eggs have a firm, rich orange yolk from all the chlorophyll in their diets, the grocery store organic eggs will have pale yellow yolks.  Our girls eat their veggies, and it shows up with healthier chickens, who lay healthier eggs for health conscious consumers.  For a nutritional comparison of pasture-raised eggs vs. conventional factory eggs, see this chart compiled by Mother Earth News.

 

Q: ARE DEPOSITS PAID FOR CHICKEN, BEEF, PORK, TURKEY, AND CSA ORDERS REFUNDABLE IF WE WANT TO CANCEL OUR ORDER?  WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T PICKUP OUR ORDERS?

A: Deposits are not refundable.  If you would like to cancel your order we will credit your deposit toward any future purchases of our products.  For example if you put a $100 deposit on a 25 pound beef sampler order and later decide to cancel your order, we will apply that $100 towards the purchase of milk, eggs, chickens, beef, pork, vegetables or whatever products are available.    

 

We have a limited amount of refrigerator and freezer space to store beef, pork, and chicken orders for customers. When your order is ready we will reach out to you via email to setup a pickup date and time. We will attempt to reach you three (3) times, if we do not receive any response we will offer your order to other customers on the waiting list.  Orders not picked up within two weeks of contact will incur a 10% weekly storage fee.

 

Q: HOW MUCH FREEZER SPACE WILL WE NEED?

A: A 1/4 Beef (Split Half) will required about 5 cubic feet of freezer space; a side (1/2 Beef) will require 8-9 cubic feet of freezer space, and a whole beef will require approximately 12 cubic feet of freezer space.

 

Q: ARE YOUR PRODUCTS CERTIFIED ORGANIC?

A: No, although we do practice organic principals in all that we do.  We looked into the certification process and decided it was not worth all the hassle as we would have to get each of our products certified separately (i.e. eggs have a different certification process than beef, pork, or milk).  For EACH product we would have to complete a separate certification application (20+ pages!), pay an upfront certification fee and annual ongoing certification fees, and fill out lots of paperwork every day about what we are doing on the farm.

 

Instead we have opted to provide FIRST PERSON Certification - we let our customers inspect us and ask all the questions they have about our farming practices.  We do practice organic farming principles, in fact we go "Beyond Organic" in most cases because of the way we raise our animals outdoors on pasture. For example, most "certified" organic chickens are raised in a huge confinement building and never see the outdoors, much less eat any greens or free range on pasture.  Our hens may not be "certified", but we can assure you they are the happiest, healthiest hens around and lay the most nutritious eggs available!