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SLEEPING CAT ORGANIC FARM is nestled between two lakes in Meeker County Minnesota. The land has been in the Desens family since 1927. Originally it was farmed the "traditional" methods of the time: with horse-drawn equipment, using no pesticides or artificial fertilizers.

By the time Ron went off to college (in 1962), the farm had been "modernized" with tractors and conventional agri-chemical use.
When Ron and his new family moved back to the farm in 1980, we slowly started to make changes. We converted our most erosion-prone land to permanent woodland, for starters. By 1983, no chemicals were being used on the farm. Despite our veterinarian's protests, the few cattle we owned were not implanted with hormones, nor were they given feed-grade antibiotics.

We became a certified organic farm in 1986.

Our cattle graze on pastures for seven to eight months of the year. In the winter, they eat organic hay that we have baled. As ruminants, this is exactly what they're supposed to eat.
When ruminant animals are fed grain, their meat and milk products are less desirable for human health. Their meat has more of the "bad" fat that clogs arteries, and less of the "good" fat that enhances our health. Feeding grain to cattle diminishes the supply of Omega 3 fatty acids--the "good" fat. Grass-fed meat has from two to six times the Omega 3s than grain-fed meat.

The above information is from Jo Robinson's book, "Why Grass-Fed is Best." You can buy or borrow a copy from Sleeping Cat Farm, or you can check out her web page,

Our beef is not certified organic, for two reasons: one, we purchase many of the cattle as week-old calves from a dairy farm. Two, our USDA butcher is not certified organic (for him to do that would require separate storage areas for our beef, and would be very costly to him). We do have about a dozen cows who produce their own calves each year. These calves are raised on mama's milk and organic pasture. Those we purchase are raised on non-medicated milk-replacer and gradually transitioned to full pasture. At slaughter time, they are NEVER "fattened up" on corn or any other grain. We do have a couple nurse cows who allow calves to nurse them, and these are raised the same as those calves born on the farm.

In 2006 we purchased a registered Red South Devon bull named "10-4 Romeo." He's the father of 4 cross bred bulls and 5 heifers, which will be bred back to Guernseys . We also purchased four Salers cows (one with calf, three that are pregnant). This is the nucleus of our beef cross bred herd, which will eventually allow us to raise fewer calves by hand, and will produce a beef carcass that's a little larger and "beefier." Both of these breeds have a reputation for high quality meat on grass and hay, and we're excited at this new direction we've taken.
FREE-RANGE, GRASS-FED CHICKEN-You need to know how your meat is raised!

FREE RANGE is a word that's largely misused in today's livestock production. All it means is that the animal has a certain amount of floor space and some exposure to the out-of-doors.
It's a step up from "battery birds," or cage-raised birds, although there's no guarantee "free range" birds have even had access to greens.
In most cases, chickens are processed between 6-8 weeks of age. Ours are raised to between 10-13 weeks. There's a huge difference in texture and flavor between a mature, full free-range bird, and one that's been kept in partial confinement and slaughtered very young.

SLEEPING CAT ORGANIC FARM RAISES "BEYOND FREE RANGE" CHICKEN....Our birds have FULL access to LARGE acreages every day. They have covered shelter available at all times, but the doors only close at night for protection against predators.

These are roasters not broilers. Don't chop them up and fry them, but cook them slowly, either by roasting, rotisserie, or baking. We've heard the "beer can"method works good!

Jo Robinson has much to say about the nutritional superiority of eggs from pastured poultry:
A USDA-funded test showed that they had 10 percent less fat, 40 percent more vitamin A, and 400 percent more Omega 3 fatty acids than eggs from caged birds. An unexpected finding was that the eggs also had 34 percent less cholesterol (160 mg. per egg versus the customary 214).

But it doesn't take statistics to convince most people that eggs from pastured hens are superior. The yolks are deeper yellow, and the whites are not runny. The taste is far better...try it for yourself!