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News & Events
Jacob Horst is a fourth generation farmer at Windmill Meadows and has been farming since he was 4 years old. Now that is a lot of experience! With 4 generations of knowledge and a lot of personal hands on experience, Jacob has a lot to share with his customers about the food that we eat. “Education of my customers is where it needs to begin,” he says when talking about his plans for the farm. Currently, Windmill Meadows is not “certified” organic by the government. And although this label may mean something to some, those of us who make an effort to get to know our farmers, know that this label is much more complex than it sounds. Jacob knows that the price of the meat and dairy will need to increase to cover the cost of licensing the farm as certified organic. Conscious of his customer’s budgets, he wants to keep the meat as affordable as possible to compete with less nourishing but cheaper grocery store meat. He caters to the customer who enjoys good quality and tasty meat yet still wants to know the local farmer who creates their food.
Farming Practices and Philosophy
When asked about his favorite thing to raise on the farm Jacob replied simply, “Grass.” Although you and I might think that is an odd thing to favor, it makes perfect sense when you hear him talk about how he runs his farm. “It all starts with good grass,” he says. Windmill Meadows beef steers are 100% grass-fed and pasture- raised which have been cross bred to deliver a unique flavor. Jacob breeds mixes of MRY, Swedish Red, Ayrshire, and Friesian steers. The pork is also pasture-raised and supplemented with dairy and no grains. You may order whole and partial steers and pigs at reduced rates. This is a significant cost savings if you have adequate freezer storage and is highly recommended by Jacob. Additionally, Windmill Meadows offers pasture-raised chickens and eggs, milkfed veal, and from his dairy cows he offers lightly pasteurized cream line milk and raw milk cheeses.
Jacob’s farming practices reflect a model similar to that of Joel Salatin. However, Jacob admits that he is somewhat restricted by his low tech marketing approach as his Mennonite family does not use the internet or email to communicate with customers. Most of his marketing outreach is based upon farmer’s markets, co-ops, and local orders for his meat sales. Dairy is still their largest source of income and may likely be the force that finally drives Windmill Meadows to officially go organic on paper.
Jacob encourages his customers to get to know him and his family. You will find them kind and eager to answer any questions or concerns that you have regarding their products. But even more than that they are a wealth of knowledge about farming practices and the entire food process from grass to your plate!
Call or stop by and say hello.
Address: 20807 Leiters Mill Road, Hagerstown, MD
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Valley Co-op Stats
as of 6/2/15
Total Number of Members: 628
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New Members Since 1/1/15: 140
Total Number of Members on 6/2/14: 176
Members gained since then: 452
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