Mint Creek Farm is owned and operated by Harry & Gwen Carr and their children, who are lucky to work together with dedicated friends to make a organizational team of a dozen people total. The Carrs started with 50 acres in 1992 and have grown the farm to 220 Certified-Organic acres. Who would have guessed that a combination so simple as sheep on grass could help with global warming? Grasses and legumes naturally process and fix carbon in the soil. Rotationally grazing perennial pasture is actually one of the best carbon-dioxide-absorbing natural systems there is— even better than planting trees, because the forage plants are kept in their vegetative state by the regular grazing of livestock. Raising sheep and laying hens was originally part of the Carrs’ plan to enliven and enrich the natural prairie ecosystems in their area that have been so depleted by modern mainstream agricultural practices. They now raise sheep, cows, pigs, goats, and various poultry, as well, with the of goals of bringing back biodiversity and fertility to the land through organic farming methods and making life-giving, grass-fed meat and eggs available here in a region where it is hard to come by. Mint Creek Farm meat and eggs are available to order online and ship, or pickup at your local farmers’ market or co-op in the Chicago area.
The Carrs studied Biodynamic agriculture at the Michael Fields Institute and learned that planting perennial grasses and legumes is the first step in revitalizing farmed-out land. They also saw demonstrations of how to rotationally graze livestock, and learned how frequent movement of grazing animals is good for animal, forage, and soil health. Harry learned to plant mixes of legumes and grasses suited to the different conditions of the farm through trial and error and by talking to area farmers. He also does his best to use the farm as a safe haven for native species of plants and birds to live and nest. Soil tests show great improvements in soil fertility and texture since the land was purchased. It makes the Carrs happy to be a part of a beautiful natural ecosystem: thick swards of grasses keeping the topsoil from eroding and cleaning the air while the livestock live on it symbiotically, bolstering soil fertility. It makes them all the more proud that this ecosystem offers their family, friends, locals, and chefs some of the most delicious, healthiest grass-fed meat in the country.
ABOUT OUR LAMB
In general, lamb is very digestible and is hypoallergenic for many. Our lamb tends to be leaner, and the flavor is mild and delicate.
All of our sheep are 100% grass-fed, which means that what fat they have is rich with Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). All grass-fed meat contains high amounts of Omega 3's, as opposed to the Omega-6 fatty acids prevalent in grain-fed animals. The ideal human diet provides a balance of these two types of fat, weighing a bit heavier on the side of the Omega 3's. (The average American diet is very heavy on the side of the Omega 6's.)
CLA is a natural cancer-preventing substance primarily found in red meat; it is found in greatest concentration in grass-fed lamb. According to the May 2005 issue of the Stockman Grass Farmer, some of grass-fed meat's benefits include: 500% more CLA, 400% more vitamin A, 300% more vitamin E, 75% more omega 3, 78% more beta-carotene than grain-fed.
More Information on nutrition and grass-fed animal products can be found in books by Jo Robinson such as Grass-fed is Best.