This past August, on what quite possibly was the hottest day of the summer, Lisa Webster graciously welcomed our staff to the farm she and her husband, Phil, have owned and operated since they purchased the land from the historic Steven's Farm in Windham in 1997. We spent two hours walking the grounds at North Star, with Lisa educating us about their ethical beliefs and how they maximize the use of the land while simultaneously preserving the natural environment that surrounds the 200 acres of the farm.
North Star Sheep Farm covers 200 acres of the most stunning landscape which has been farmed since 1767. They first came on our radar when we started putting lamb on our menu. We were looking for a local farm and with their commitment to sustainable farming methods and high ethical standards, we immediately wanted to use their product.
Christian made his first trip out in May, picking up a whole lamb to be roasted in our backyard as a trial for our August Asado. He came back excited after touring the farm and realizing that not only could we source lamb from them, we could also source hogs and rabbits.
The U.S meat industry is dominated by cruel and environmentally unstable practices. Our team at Dandelion is committed to seeking out and supporting small farmers, especially within our own community. The lambs at North Star, which are a Hampshire and Suffolk breeds, are pasture raised and free to graze in spacious fields, protected from coyote and other prey by their guard donkeys. They are raised on a 100% vegetable diet, completely free of antibiotics and hormones. Antibiotics are only used when absolutely needed and if an animal is treated with antibiotics, it is removed from their retail and wholesale meat program.
Donkeys not only serve to protect the flocks but they also play an important role in keeping the flocks healthy. Donkeys are naturally resistant to parasites that are harmful to sheep. The Donkeys are sent out into the pastures to "vacuum" up the parasites before the sheep go out to graze.
Pumpkins are also grown out in the fields for the sheep to eat, and serve as a natural dewormer! We learned so much on our trip. Lisa is not only dedicated to sustainable farming, she is an advocate and educator. It can't be said enough: Know Your Farmer. Take the time to learn about where your food comes from. Not only is it important to your health, the environment, and the welfare of animals, it's important for your own education. You can learn so much and be inspired by just taking the time to connect with the people, animals and the land from which your food comes from.