Your Local, Organic Christmas Ham (or Pork Loin): Live the New American Dream With Little Sprouts Farm
A good job. 2.5 kids. A house with a view. Retire at 65. The American dream—so five minutes ago.
Today, an organic, self-sustaining farm with as many kids as you want is the new American dream, according to Dave Salch of Little Sprouts Farm.
Little Sprouts produces turkey, chicken, lamb and pork on their farm, adhering to the most humane and organic practices, which includes using the whole animal.
“We used to do a lot of hams [for Christmas], but we’ve gotten away from that,” says Salch. “Our pork is mostly a year-round thing now, though we plan to have a special on pork loins this year.”
This special is because that is what Little Sprouts happens to have on hand right now, which isn’t what the average American is used to.
“It is interesting because when you talk about particular cuts, looking at the bigger picture, people are used to going out and buying as much of a particular cut that they want,” he says. “The problem is that is not what nature provides.”
After taking out the two hams in a pig, “the question is then, ‘what do you do with the rest of the animal?” adds Salch.
He says that they will probably have an “alternative Christmas meal” themselves, based on what they have available.
“Little Sprouts Farm is primarily our answer to the lack of the modern food system,” says Salch. “The best way to heal health issues is with good food. Good, organic vegetables are easy to find, but good, organic meat isn’t easy to find. Our focus is producing traditional foods in a traditional way for people who want to heal through the food that they eat. The ‘good’ meat that you find in the store is only slightly better than the ‘bad’ meat, as far as the practices used to raise it.”
About three years ago, the Salch family (Dave, his wife Brenda, and now six children, ranging from 9 months to 13 years) started home deliveries of their farm goods, which was dependent on their “best eggs in the world” from their heritage breed chickens.
“Everyone has a quota of eggs,” says Salch. “People signed up for our subscriptions, and we offered other products.”
Which was the perfect business model for the first two years, but then tragedy struck. Little Sprouts’ chicken shelter and coop, which housed their own breed of custom, heritage cluckers, caught fire and wiped out over 300 chickens, which basically ended their egg business overnight.
“And if people are ordering eggs, they are more likely to add a bar of soap to their order, but they wouldn’t just order a bar of soap,” Salch says.
Now, they are working on building their chicken herd back up to snuff, but in the meantime, they were able to focus on their meat production. Their meat is now available at the Medford Food Coop, Whistling Duck Farmstand and Easy Valley Farm in Rogue River. They are also testing shipping their product out of the Rogue Valley this month.
“In the process, it has forced us to rethink what works and what doesn’t,” says Salch. “Our long-term goal is to streamline the process so that other families can reproduce this model. Young couples come by all the time, asking how they can do what we do. It isn’t competition, there could be thousands of people like us in the Valley and still have people to feed. It is one step beyond doing seminars. Like an apprenticeship, but they are in control of their own space. That is the ultimate goal of what this is all about.”
Little Sprouts Farm
4446 Dodge Road, White City