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Founded in 1996, Ayrshire Farm, located in Upperville, Virginia, is a 1,000-acre USDA Certified Organic and Certified Humane working farm. The farm is managed around a passion for the humane treatment of animals, a commitment to sustainability, and pride in providing organic and traceable meat.
Ayrshire Farm was the first Certified Organic, Certified Humane farm in Virginia — having been certified organic by the state of Virginia before the National Organic Program was even passed. This means all animals graze on organic pasture, feed is always Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, and processing and handling facilities use only processing aids and cleaning materials approved by the National Organic Program and Humane standards. Additionally, Ayrshire Farm owns and operates its own USDA-inspected Organic slaughter and Certified Humane processing facilities, ensuring unparalleled transparency and farm-to-plate traceability to customers.
All of Ayrshire’s cattle are born and raised on the farm or on carefully selected partner farms. All animals are provided a nurturing and healthy environment with access to shelter, resting areas, ample space, and the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors. Ayrshire Farm is also one of only a handful of farms to be certified Predator Friendly, meaning they protect livestock through methods that do not cause any further loss of predator species in the area. Wildlife corridors are maintained and allow bears, eagles, foxes, and bobcats to thrive alongside Ayrshire Farm animals. Meats are not cloned, genetically modified, or pumped full of synthetic growth promoters.
All of the cattle spend their entire lives in pastures grazing in all four seasons. Ayrshire Farm takes advantage of natural shelters by keeping trees in pastures whenever they can and providing the right structures when needed to give the animals added protection from the elements. This means keeping animals in naturally shady fields whenever possible during the summer and creating windbreaks out of hay bales in the winter. In Virginia, there can be both extreme hot and extreme cold, so during any major heat wave or cold snap, Ayrshire checks on the water systems multiple times each day to make sure their animals always have access to clean, freshwater.
Ayrshire Farm believes that the health of humans, animals, and the earth are intertwined, so farming and environmental stewardship should be integrated. In 2019, The Savory Institute identified Ayrshire Farm as the regional center for excellence in regenerative agriculture. Ayrshire Farm joined a growing network of hubs around the world committed to restoring grasslands through holistically managed animal agriculture. Ayrshire Farm uses manure as a natural fertilizer to regenerate the land and amends their soil with cover crops and compost from their own three-acre compost facility.
Sustainable practices are also used, like comprehensive Holistic Land Management, planned rotational grazing, and responsible resource management to preserve a diverse ecosystem, mitigate carbon emissions, and greatly reduce the number of resources needed to raise healthy animals.
Ayrshire Farm is committed to genetic diversity in their herds. This means they provide delicious meats with complex flavor profiles you can’t easily source at most grocers. Ayrshire Farm raises Scottish Highland, Ancient White Park, and Shorthorn heritage breed cattle. They also cross-breed their animals to create more robust stock. Their beef is deep, nuanced, and complex with beautiful marbling that produces a slightly sweet, slightly nutty, rich flavor with just the right amount of fat.
Cattle are pasture-raised and grain-finished. In addition to the naturally available diet they enjoy for the majority of their lives, they also eat free-choice grain on pasture for at least three months. Feedlots are never used. Grain-finished, mature cattle yield high-quality, well-marbled meat that is then dry-aged for added flavor and tenderness.