Do you use chemical fertilizers? Should we worry about E-coli?
No. All our products are grown using only natural bug deterrent techniques such as netting and companion plantings. Alpaca manure is added to amend the soil and not applied directly to the leaves of any crops. We do not use cow manure in the garden as it is considered a "hot" fertilizer and potentially harmful to the plants. No chemicals are ever sprayed or used in soil amendment.
E-coli outbreaks in meat, poultry and vegetables found in your store are the result of the industrialization of our food production. Animals are slaughtered in massive assembly lines that can result in intestinal products (feces) contaminating the instruments, equipment and meat. Proper cooking at high temperatures can eliminate this risk but handling raw meat/chicken & then touching vegetables or utensils can transfer the bacteria. Washing vegetables alone will not kill the E-Coli bacteria.
Why do leafy greens and vegetables have E-Coli? Who is pooping in the fields? Well, it isn't likely human waste that is the issue. Animals from neighboring farms can contaminate irrigation water sources with feces. Many large farms must use & reuse local water sources that can have run off from other produce/animal farms where manure was used as fertilizer or soil amendment. Humans handle the vegetables and leafy greens many times throughout their journey from field to store. Again, possible to spread bacteria from gloved hands to the whole "lot" of food passing through their respective work area. They aren't washing their hands after every head of lettuce after all.
The closer you are to your food source, the less likely there will be contamination and potential risk. Know your farmer - know your food
How do I store my farm fresh meat for the whole year?
Most home refrigerator/freezer combinations have a self defrost feature in the freezer section. This is made so that the freezer doesn't "ice" over and become full of ice from the constant temperature changes with the door openings. Self defrost means that the freezer raises the temperature inside the freezer to above freezing for a short period of time to eliminate ice build up within the chamber. Because of this defrost feature, it is HIGHLY recommended that you do not store meats or eggs that you intend to keep for more than a few weeks in a traditional upright refrigerator. Longer term storage of perishable meats and eggs should be kept in a chest type freezer which is intended for long term storage. Worth the investment to be certain that your long term storage remains healthy & illness free. If the power goes out, these units are designed to remain temperature controlled for days as long as you keep the lid down. Far better insulation and no automatic defrost feature.
What is so special about Alpaca products & why are they so expensive?
Alpacas are no longer imported from Peru into the USA. All alpacas are bred here in the states and are expensive animals to purchase for this reason. The animals must be sheared once a year by professional shearers that travel across the country from farm to farm. This is ONLY product obtained from these animals and so supply is limited. Vet care and feed is specialized for these gentle camelid cousins.
Alpaca fiber is an excellent insulator against the cold but also helps to wick sweat away from your skin. flame resistant and light weight, the Alpaca's fiber is perfect for outdoor wear. It hypoallergenic as well because it lacks the lanolin that sheep wool contains. It is the lanolin oil in sheep wool that makes many folks itchy.
All our profits from the Alpaca products go toward care, feed and vet bills for our herd.
Why can't I have fresh whole chicken that isn't frozen?
Small farms are exempt from expensive licensing requirements that larger corporate chicken meat producers must pay, but we are still held to very strict rules for handling, processing and storing the farm fresh whole chickens. Chicken must be chilled immediately after processing to reduce the likelihood of bacteria growing on the meat and potentially causing illness. We process our birds outdoors and immediately chill the meat at several stages throughout the process to ensure the upmost quality & safety. Even though the bird is heat sealed in a poultry bag, it is not without risk. Naturally occurring bacteria on the animal can multiply in the presence of warmth and exposed skin. We are required BY LAW to freeze the packaged bird until it is sold. Freezing DOES NOT reduce the nutritional value of the meat nor change the taste in any way!