Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about us, we hope they are helpful to you! Please keep in mind that our farm is an evolving creature like all others, and we do our best to keep these FAQ up-to-date. If any of your questions are not answered here (or if you just want to get in touch — we love to connect!), please send us an e-mail at info@horseradishranch.com! 

Products

Practices

Contact

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What kinds of products do you have?

Here at Horseradish Ranch, we raise livestock on pasture for meat & eggs, as well as grow specialty produce and dry goods (such as grains, beans, alliums etc). Our selection of animals and crops is ever evolving, so please visit our Products page for a detailed list of what is currently available and coming up soon! As we build our website, we will be adding pages with information about each of our specific types of livestock and crops.
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Where can I buy your products?

Currently, we sell our products at the Downtown Hood River Farmer’s market, from our online webstore for local delivery, and direct from the farm (contact us to make an appointment). For details, please visit our “Where to Buy” page! We take special orders, just shoot us an e-mail.
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Do you sell bones/organ meats?

Yes! Please see our What We Sell page for specifics.
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What is Blue Moon Stead and why are some of your products labeled this way?

Our farm, Horseradish Ranch, leases our acreage from part of a larger property. This larger property is Blue Moon Stead, owned by our landlady Barbara. Horseradish Ranch and Blue Moon Stead work closely together, having several collaborations and partnerships in our quest to improve this land and increase its productivity. We are busier than we can imagine, and in order to offer a wider range of products to our customers and diversify our land uses, we co-market some items grown by Blue Moon Stead on our website and at the Farmer’s Market. We share a property, farming practices, and a dream to help regenerate this land in years to come — it only makes sense that we include our customers in this relationship! Please visit our page on Blue Moon Stead for more information. If you would like to contact Blue Moon Stead directly, please send an e-mail to Barbara at bluemoonstead@gmail.com.
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What is Dry Farming and why does it matter?

Dry farming is the practice of farming crops or forage in an arid climate without the use of irrigation. This allows us to farm a property with limited irrigation rights, develop a system of farming that is resilient to drought and climate change, and work with the native weather and vegetation for a more harmonious relationship with our land. Dry-farmed crops and forages are extra-flavorful and have more concentrated nutrition than irrigated ones. Who doesn’t love a perfect marriage between healthy and delicious?

There is so much to say and learn about dry-farming, please read our Dry Farming page that expands on this topic in depth, exploring the pros and cons, why we have chosen to implement this method at our farm, and why it’s so important to us and the future of agriculture in the arid West.
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Is your farm Certified Organic?

In short: no. However, we strive to use organic principles in managing our land to provide the cleanest, healthiest foods possible. No herbicides or pesticides are used on our property — all of our crops and pastures are grown with methods that meet and exceed NOP (National Organic Program) standards.

We believe a healthy and varied diet combined with preventative management is the basis of good health in our livestock. We use primarily organic methods in our livestock management — however, there are times when we feel it is in their best interest or the best interest of our local food system to deviate from NOP standards for livestock. We are very open about these practices and are happy to answer any questions regarding them. Please see the rest of the FAQ for specific examples.
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What is multi-species rotational grazing?

Multi-species rotational grazing is the practice by which rather than have only one kind of livestock (i.e. Cattle) and allowing them to graze one large open field all year long, you keep several species of livestock that benefit one another (i.e. cattle, sheep, and chickens) and using a system of paddock or mobile fencing to move them around the pasture to eat one bit at a time. Please visit our page on Multi-species Rotational Grazing to learn more about the benefits of this system!.
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What does GMO-free mean? What are you feeding them, anyway?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. It refers to plants (and occasionally animals) that have been genetically engineered in a process other than natural breeding (i.e. a laboratory). Hybrids, which are a sterile or terminal cross (meaning not intended to be bred) between two fully natural breeding species is not a GMO. Hybridization is a very old practice that creates one generation of extra-hardy specimens, but does not replace the open-pollinated or purebred parents. GMOs, typically, have had their genome altered not only to make them more resistant to natural disease pressures, but specifically to tolerate the application of very high levels of herbicides to streamline operations for conventional farmers.

We are a GMO-free farm because we want to support a food system that is not reliant on copius amount of pesticides and herbicides, and for that reason we do not believe that GMOs are part of a resilient food system. We need breeds of plants and animals that can withstand changes in climate and management practices in years to come, and we believe naturally-breeding/open-pollinated and hybrid species is the best way to meet this goal.

The most commonly genetically modified foods in the USA are Corn and Soy. Our feed for our animals is 100% corn and soy free — that means not just GMO corn and soy, but no corn and soy of any kind. There are a couple of reasons for this.

1) We believe in using local ingredients that can be produced in our area to help create a resilient food system. Corn and Soy are primarily grown far away from the Northwest, so we would rather include local grains like Wheat and Peas in our feed ration than ship in Corn or Soy from far away.
2) The demand for organic corn and soy has outstripped the ability for USA farmers to meet it, and as a result much of organic Corn and Soy is imported from other countries, whose “organic” standards are not as strict as those in the USA.
3) Corn is a wind-pollinated plant rather than bee- or self-pollinated, and it is very easy for cross-contamination to occur between types of corn. Even to just breed one variety of corn, you must do so miles and miles away from other corn growers to prevent contamination. Even an organic corn farm, if not far enough away from a conventional GMO corn farm, can have the genetics compromised if pollen blows in from the GMO corn farm. We feel we are on the safe side to simply not include this crop at all, and use instead crops like peas and wheat which pose no GMO contaminant threat since no GMO versions of these crops have been approved by the FDA.
4) Many people in our modern age have allergies or sensitivities to corn and soy, and we enjoy providing corn-and-soy-free meats that they can eat with confidence.

Corn and Soy are not the only genetically modified foods, but they are the most prevalent. Alfalfa and Canola are also popular animal feeds that have had GMO strains developed. We specifically buy organic, GMO-free alfalfa from a local rancher (who grows in a valley near Dufur, OR without any GMO alfalfa nearby) who also farms his hay without dependence on pesticides and herbicides. We have in the past sourced feed from Mosaic Farms in Philomath, which uses a GMO-free canola oil in the feed ration, but are currently transitioning to milling our own feed here on our farm with the use of Safflower/Sunflower oils instead, which pose no risk of GMO contamination since no GMO versions of these crops have been approved by the FDA.

Note that while we are not always able to source organically grown ingredients for our livestock feeds, we prioritize local farmers first, and prefer to do business with those that do not use herbicides or pesticides in their operation whenever possible.
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Do ever treat your animals with antibiotics or hormones?

We never use hormones of any kind on any our animals. We never use antibiotics of any kind in our poultry and small stock (chickens, ducks, rabbits). None of the lambs or goats destined for your plate have been treated with antibiotics.

We do everything in our power to prevent health issues occurring in our sheep and goats, but there are rare occasions when we feel is the most humane treatment option available. We will treat our breeding animals with antibiotics as a last resort (these are animals that were never intended for butcher, but are bred to provide us with lambs and kids each year). If one of our butcher lambs or kids presents with an issue that must be treated with antibiotics, we will remove that animal from the commerce stream and simply keep the meat for ourselves, so that our customers can feel confident that the meat they are purchasing is from animals never given antibiotics.

We hope that after years of work and selective breeding we can eliminate the use of antibiotics in our sheep and goats altogether — we know that with increasing resistance in bacteria, we can’t rely on this technology for long.
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How about vaccines and other medications?

We do not use any conventional medications or vaccines in our small stock (poultry, rabbits). We do not vaccinate our market lambs/goats destined for your plate, and use only use medication sparingly on them (see below).

Vaccines are the first line of defense against a great many illnesses that plague humans and animals alike. Vaccines stimulate the body’s natural immune response to help build immunity to a disease before an exposure that might otherwise lead to infection. We feel that using a vaccine to boost immunity is a much more natural and desirable process than potentially having to use antibiotics to treat that disease down the road — or have to put down an animal with an incurable disease.

That said, we select for health and hardiness in all of our animals. Currently, the only animals that we vaccinate are our breeding sheep and goats (we do not vaccinate our lambs and kids or our poultry & rabbits), and we use vaccines in our breeding stock about a month before birth so that the antibodies generated by the vaccine are present in the mother’s milk, protecting the young lambs and kids from infection without having to inject the lambs and kids themselves with the other less desirable ingredients in vaccines.

We do not vaccinate our lambs and kids. But in the future we may chose to do so if it seems necessary. Please note the vaccines are allowed by the NOP (National Organic Program) and certified organic livestock operations, so with our judicious use of them we are already operating above and beyond what is required of organic farms. We dislike the idea of dependency on vaccines for health, but we must also keep our animals healthy and happy while we continue to select for natural resistance to common diseases.

As for other medications: For parasite prevention and general management, we use only organic treatments like herbs and garlic to encourage good immunity and health in our animals. We believe prevention is really the best medicine!

We do not give any conventional medications to our poultry or rabbits. But if one of our sheep is suffering from a hoof problem or injury, we will use things like a topical hoof treatment or other topical medications for wounds, only if it seems necessary. We do not treat our butcher lambs and kids with internal medications that have the potential to compromise the meat, and withdrawl times are always strictly adhered to. We do not use any conventional medications as a routine course of management, only to treat acute problems if we feel it is necessary to ensure the welfare of our sheep, which is very important to us. Every year we select the breeders with the best, hardiest genetics to continue our lines and continue to reduce the need to use any medications at all.
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How come not all of your animals are 100% grass fed?

Our lamb and goat are grass-fed because they are ruminants — which means they have several stomachs that contain beneficial bacteria that allow them to break down plant material into sugars which their bodies can use for energy. This is a healthy way for ruminants to eat!

However, other livestock have different digestive systems. Chickens, ducks, and pigs are much like humans — single stomached organisms. While plant material is an excellent supplement to their diet and creates vigor and health through vitamins and minerals, they cannot break it down into energy the way that a ruminant can. They need to eat a variety of other easily digested energy-containing foods like grains, legumes, fish, bugs, fruits, and others in order to stay healthy.

Commercial meat rabbits have been bred to thrive on a grain-based diet, but wild rabbits are capable of living on forages alone. Rabbits have a digestive system most similar to horses — not true ruminants, but they still have some symbiotic bacteria that allow them to fully digest plants. While we do feed a supplement of grains to our rabbits right now, they are fed primarily forages as the main part of their diet, and we hope through selective breeding and grazing to establish stock in the future that can thrive on forages alone!
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Do you have a newsletter?

We most certainly do! Our e-mail newsletter is a great way to follow what’s happening on the farm. Our bi-monthly updates won’t clutter your inbox, and will provide you with a great window into the happenings here on the farm, as well as special offers and newsletter-subscriber-only coupons.

Click Here to subscribe to our Newsletter!
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Is your farm active on Social Media?

Yes! We have an active Facebook Page as well as an Instagram that we use to share photos and moments of daily farm life as well as make annoucements. Please follow us!

While we love to post fun photos and videos, our e-mail Newsletter remains the best way to keep in touch with the farm and any major updates, as well as product availability and coupons not available through social media.
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How can I best support your farm?

Buying our products is really the best way you can show your support! Small farmers like us depend on a strong relationship with our loyal customers to keep us in business, and keep doing the hard yet rewarding work we do.

Aside from purchasing our products, other ways you can show your support is by sharing our name with friends & family, getting in touch with Northwest media outlets on our behalf, and just generally spreading the word about the good news of regenerative agriculture and the benefits of happy, healthy animals 🙂
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What’s the best way to get in touch?

The best ways to reach us are by e-mail (info@horseradishranch.com) or by telephone (509)-310-3157. Text messages to this number is a great way to reach us on the fly! We try to check our voicemail every few days and will call you back as soon as possible, but cell phone reception can be a challenge in our location, so texts and e-mail are more reliable.
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Can I visit?

We love visitors. Getting to share this beautiful place and the work we do here is part of what makes it all worth it for us! We do not keep regular hours for visitors since we are not “open to the public”, so please Contact Us to make an appointment to come see us and get a tour of our property. We are about a 25 minute drive outside of the town of White Salmon, WA.

Out of respect to us and our livestock, we ask that all visitors please leave their dogs at home (we have more than we can handle as it is!). If you live on or are coming to us directly from another farm that has any livestock, we ask that you please wear clean clothes and a clean pair of shoes to help prevent the spread of livestock pathogens to our property. We may give you a pair of our boots or boot-covers to wear here on arrival.
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How do I make an order through your web store?

Our web store is hosted through a platform called Barn2Door. When you click the Web Store link in the main menu, you’ll be directed to our online storefront on their website. They have made the online shopping experience very easy and painless — just fill your cart with the items you want, take note of the pickup or delivery date for the item, and pay via credit card through their secure site! We try to make ordering our food as easy and accessible as possible, and the Barn2Door interface helps us a lot with this goal.
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Are your products available for shipping or only local delivery?

All of our products are only available for local delivery or pickup in the Columbia Gorge and Portland areas. We feel that it is important to stay local with our products — we grow, give, and love in the Columbia Gorge, and want to strengthen our regional food shed with our efforts. If you live outside of our region and want to learn more about how to find a farm like ours in your area to connect with, we are always happy to communicate with people from all over the country!
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I am having a technical issue with the webstore — help!

If your issue is related to our delivery routes, pickup sites, or availability of products, please Contact Us directly.

If you are having an issue getting the Barn2Door website to accept your financial information, load pages, or other technical problems with the platform, please contact Barn2Door directly and they will help you address the problem promptly!
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