The Zekiah Farms Difference
The difference is why we raise livestock and therefore meat. We raise livestock because of our two sons. We wanted to rear our children on a farm, pass on our love for the land, and teach them a strong work ethic. We wanted to be able to provide quality and healthy food. Our boys joined 4H, started raising livestock projects; those projects have expanded into Zekiah Farms meats. Remember, we won’t feed your family anything we won’t feed ours.
Zekiah Farms raises beef, goat, lamb, pork, poultry, and rabbit meat. Starting with quality animals and genetics is key to producing great meat. While maintaining excellent breeding stock, we will also use crossbreeding for hybrid vigor for market animals. Hybrid vigor is when two animals from genetically isolated breeds are crossed together, the performance of their offspring is usually greater than the expected average of the parents.
We use quality Angus with moderate frames, good natured, hardy, high natural marbling, easy calving and good mothering, and fast growing. We have the Wye Angus (historic Wye Angus Herd, Queenstown, MD) influence which gives the best balance of these traits and foraging genetics which can be traced back to the British Isles.
South African Boer goat, imported by way of New Zealand in early 1993, have short white hair and red markings on the head and neck. They are a large frame animal, uniform carcass, fast growth rate, high fertility, long breeding season, good browser, good milker and excellent mothers. Boer goats produce a meaty, stocky animal. The flavor and nutritional valve of the meat is unsurpassed. We have found a Boer/diary cross make excellent mothers; the 75% kid grows extremely fast.
Suffolk lambs are known for their quick growing and meaty lambs.
The Suffolk Sheep
From an 1897 publication
“ Handsome and hardy, happily hornless,
Prolific in twins, rarely born less,
Face and four legs as black as the devil,
The breast, back and loins all wide and level
Well covered in meat, of muscle no lack,
Legs of mutton well filled, tail level with back”
Yorkshire and Hampshire hogs, Old English breeds, which marble well so the meat is naturally juicy and flavorful with exceptional texture. Try pork again and taste the difference.
The Red Meat Chicken, is a breed of meat chicken that still knows it’s a chicken. So, when you put the chicken out to free range, it actually does it.
Californian meat rabbit characteristics are a higher meat-to-bone ratio, quick growth, fur color and ease of care. They were developed in the USA in the 1920s to provide good meat and fur production. They are currently the second most popular meat producing rabbits in the world. The body is plump but fine-boned. Californian rabbits have predominantly white body and black on the feet, nose, ears and tail. Their average litter size is 6-8 bunnies.
Raising and Feeding Practices
Our animals are lovingly raised with daily hands-on attention. We believe happy, healthy animals make tastier meat.
Their diet consists of free choice access to grass, forage, minerals, and grains to meet their nutritional needs. Just like humans, animals have different nutritional requirements at different stages of life. These requirements can’t be met by a single source. They are free from hormones, steroids, and antibiotic additives. Antibiotics are only used when medically necessary under the direction of a veterinarian.
Free range poultry - once our poultry have matured enough to be placed outside, they either have access to roam free or the pen is rotated to fresh grass. While the poultry are fed a grain ration, they are still free to peck grass and scratch for bugs.
Processing and Packaging
Where your meat is processed is just as important as choosing who’s raising your meat. We spent considerable time looking for the right butcher whom we could trust. It was important to us that our animals are humanely treated from start to finish. Also, the meat we get back is only our meat. The packaging of the meat is high quality and clearly labeled. The meat is USDA inspected, flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed to maintain its freshness and flavor.
We wanted a butcher who understood, we put our name behind our products. We use Smucker’s Meats for our beef and pork; Blue Ridge Meats for our goat and lamb. Both of these butchers are family owned and operated facilities.
Dry Aged Beef
All of our beef is dry aged, which yields an unsurpassed beef experience from the ground burger to the filet mignon. During this process, the beef is stored at near freezing temperatures and low humidity for 14 to 21 days. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavor.
The process changes beef by two means:
- Moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This creates a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste.
- Natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to a more tender cut of beef.
As the moisture is evaporated, the beef will lose a third or more of its weight. So, pound for pound, you are getting more beef for your buck.
We hope that providing you with the information of why we raise livestock, the types and breeds of animals, raising and feeding practices, and processing and packaging; you have an understanding of why Zekiah Farms is truly different. Zekiah Farms’ customers not only receive quality products and experiences, they are also supporting their local farms and youth!
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your interest and support.
The Thorne Family
David, Cindy, Tyler, and Cody