Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Out with the Old, In with the New

Well, I wouldn't exactly call the steers & calves 'old', but it was time for them to take a trip to see Mr. Horst, our USDA-certified butcher approximately 45 minutes from the farm. It's never an easy task, but it's a fact of life whenever a farmer raises livestock for meat. While there are a few USDA butchers closer to the farm, I prefer to take my animals to Horsts' because they do an excellent job at cutting & packaging. Rarely do any of their vacuum-sealed packages come unsealed. But most importantly, they provide a clean and low-stress holding environment. The animals have access to water and are not kept in over-crowded pens. No downer cows, no abuse, no filth. Because they limit the number of animals they slaughter in a given week, Horsts can devote the care needed to minimize the possibility for contamination. We can thank Horsts for maintaining our level of quality in the products we deliver to our customers. I think I'll dig up some fresh horseradish to go along with our grass-fed steaks.
Phyllis plays Queen of the Stump.

This is Emma's calf, Grayling. She's getting so big. Don't worry, Gray. Be a good girl and you won't end up at Mr. Horst's.
No matter how good any of these guys are, though, they're going to be someone's dinner eventually. Until then, they'll live the good life.
And speaking of the good life, the next batch of veal calves is already here. The truth is if you eat ice cream, drink milk, use butter or any type of dairy product, you're contributing to the veal industry. They can't all be bulls or beef, especially the Jerseys. They are a by-product of the dairy industry. Since practically all veal operations only use large-breed dairy calves for veal since they grow faster, smaller breeds are often worthless on a commercial level. Instead of living three or four months in cramped boxes, fed a slurry of powered bone meal, milk and antibiotics and injected with synthetic estrogen, our calves have room to run and are fed a mixture of skim milk and buttermilk with some added organic 'milk only' replacer and grass hay or pasture. Sure, the meat is a little pinker than that pale, gelatinous goo tasting of little more than the sauce in which it is cooked which is currently sold as veal, but when you toss one of our veal chops on the grill it's going to end up tasting good without any help from breading or sauces. For people who love good veal, but don't want to eat it because of all the horror stories they've been told by the animal rights activists, remember this picture.


  1. I was one of "those" who really wasn't for sure how I would handle eating our animals. I have come to terms with the fact that they have a wonderful life while in our care, and they were put here by the Lord for our benefit. I still don't develop relationships with the ones we will eat. We have 4 pigs headed to the butcher soon. I feed them and care for them, but I sure don't scratch their ears and spend enormous amounts of time with them. I am glad you addressed this issue in your post.
    grace and peace,

  2. We have often raised our own veal calves too and I much prefer the pinker, healthier meat that comes with a little exercize and a balanced diet.