"Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves..."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Walden Farm is one of over fifty farms on the 2007 Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map and is certainly worthy of its name, emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and sustainability. Scott Brooks and his wife, Nikki, offer naturally-raised premium beef from Angus and Angus cross animals raised from birth on their own farm. Nearly all feed is produced on the farm, with the exception of salt and certain mineral supplements necessary for maintaining the health of the animals. It's important to Scott that he offers a homegrown, premium product. "It's higher quality than what you'll find at your local supermarket's meat counter, and it's priced very reasonably," he explained.
Scott and Nikki Brooks, now both semiretired, have been in business for 35 years. While the farm was once a larger dairy operation, the Brooks family now uses their expertise and facilities to produce beef, an operation Scott says makes the most sense for the land they have. They keep their land in forages to preserve the topsoil, and stress the importance of land stewardship. Scott describes himself as very fussy over the treatment of his animals, and is very strict on the use of antibiotics, employing them only when absolutely necessary. "90% of his animals," he boasts, "have never been in contact with a needle."
For those of us who are new to buying locally raised meat straight from the farm, it's important to understand that buying from places like Walden is a little different than purchasing a dozen tomatoes from the market. The Brooks' deal in bulk freezer orders. Customers need to be prepared to purchase at least a quarter of an animal, which works out to between 100 and 120 pounds of meat, a purchase of around $400. Given the quantity of the minimum order, you will need substantial freezer space. Additionally, orders need to be placed in advance; an order placed today wouldn't be filled for another month or two. From time to time there are retail cuts available, but Scott emphasizes that while he will always try to accommodate special requests, Walden Farm is not a small order retailer.
Ordering beef from Walden isn't as difficult as you might think, and there's no doubt you'll be paying less for beef of the very best quality. When asked where one might start if they're considering his product, Scott answered simply, "Call me! Come and visit!" If you are interested in a bulk order with Walden but you don't know where to start, just give Walden Farm a call. The Brooks' have an open door policy, extend a friendly invitation to visit the farm and see the animals, and are happy to answer any questions you might have about consumer-direct bulk orders. Just make sure you schedule your visit in advance.
Find Walden Farm on our map under #32, or use our online directory at http://www.environment/hamilton.org/eatlocalhamilton.org/eatlocal.
Scott and Nikki Brooks
250 Alberton Rd., Jerseyville
Contributed by: Graham Jenner