MOST OFTEN, THE FOOD WE PURCHASE AND CONSUME AT OUR TABLES HAS TRAVELED HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF MILES.
A head of lettuce from the Salinas Valley in California (the source of 80% of US lettuce) travels nearly 3000 miles to Durham, North Carolina. The end product is of questionable integrity having only a barcode and corporate label to tell you the story of your food. The idea of purchasing local food without barcodes is not a new idea, but one that is quite novel in today’s economies of scale.
Green Button Farm is governed by God and the natural principles of our local ecosystem. We believe there is a symbiotic relationship between the plants and animals of our farm and manage our agricultural practices in harmony with this relationship. In a healthy ecosystem monoculture does not exist, large animals and birds purvey the landscape and the sun provides the energy to sustain growth. A healthy ecosystem maintains its own fertility and provides for its own water conservation. We manage our farm to imitate healthy ecosystems found throughout the globe, careful to maintain the integrity of our animals being.
Ryan always says with a grin “If you would not want to picnic beside it, why would you eat it? If it smells, it ain’t done right.”
Green Button produces pastured chicken, turkey, and ducks of the highest quality. Our birds live all but the first two weeks of their lives on pasture foraging grasses and insects for 25-35% of their diets. The balance of their diet consists of locally milled grains. They follow the large animals (predominately cattle) on the property incorporating nutrients into the soil and regulating pestilent insects. Under Ryan’s watchful eye, our birds are humanly harvested with integrity on farm and air chilled to insure food safety and quality.
We offer our clients 100% pastured beef free of antibiotics and hormones. Our farm intensely manages our animals to imitate the buffalo herds of the Great Plains and the large herds of ruminants in Africa. Because we move the animals to fresh pasture on a daily basis we have a great deal of interaction with them insuring their welfare.
Pastured Pork Production
Another one of Ryan’s isms “You can better judge a farmer by his library, than the calluses of his hands” is how we began pastured pork production. Ryan found a book published by Iowa State University in 1947 title “Swine Production.” To his surprise the cover of the book features beautiful Durocs on green pasture. It looked so natural and clean. Our heirloom breed pigs graze on pasture with access to grasses, legumes and forested areas. The resulting pork is intensely flavorful. Bacon makes everything taste better, especially Green Button Farm bacon. Our restaurant, Picnic Durham, exclusively uses Green Button Farm pork in its whole hog BBQ.
Our laying hens have access to fresh new pasture every 3-4 days. We repurposed a cotton trailer from Down East into a mobile chicken coop. We maintain a flock of heirloom, threatened breeds of chickens including Black Austrolorps, Dominiques, Welsummers, Americauna, White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Silver Spangled Hamburgs. These old breed birds are highly adept at foraging their diet and avoiding predation. Green Button Farm eggs are fresh, beautifully brilliant and full of nutrients. We dare you to crack open one and compare to the industrial version of eggs.