For the past 20 years The Organic Farm Butchery (previously Ti Kouka Farm Organic Meats) has worked hard to grow beyond a one-farm-story, and now have a total of 8 certified organic farms within the East Coast and central North Island supplying their butchery (including some familiar brands such as BioFarm and Sentry Hill). This network gives The Organic Farm excellent resilience against inclement weather patterns and logistical challenges, and a steady supply of high-quality meat 365 days a year. Earlier this year when Cyclone Gabrielle hit The Hawkes Bay, The Organic Farm were able to continue operating as normal with more than half of their farming partners not being impacted by the cyclone. Similarly in summertime the Hawkes Bay can experience long, dry, hot summers. Again, the company do not solely have to rely on Hawkes Bay farmers who may not be able to supply them with meat. Working with a network of different farms also uses certified organic farmland more efficiently, as some farms predominantly breed stock while others can focus on growing and finishing animals.
The Organic Farm methodology encourages diverse pasture with a range of grasses and legumes grown, as well as the rotation of grazing animals to ensure the topsoil is robust. They are producing grass-fed organic beef and lamb on hill country unsuitable for crops or vegetables. Allowing grass to grow long helps protect the topsoil from the sun and competes against weeds encroaching. Diversity in diet and careful selection of breeding stock help produce resilient animals that might grow slower than conventional animals but don’t need chemical support. This means they never spray the pasture or weeds with chemicals, never treat their animals with synthetic drenches or chemical supplement. They do not use chemical fertiliser to promote pasture growth.
Lastly, you may have noticed that The Organic Farm products themselves are not certified organic. Here’s why; for meat to be certified organic the abattoir used must also be certified organic. The Organic Farm’s nearest abattoir is not certified organic, (and refuses to get certified because The Organic Farm are one of the little guys!) The Organic Farm has made the decision that it is more humane to use the local abattoir, rather than transporting the animals a long distance to the certified organic abattoir. However, The Organic Farm is confident in the process of the abattoir not to compromise the organic quality of the product.