Rural Route 1
Colo, IA 50056
Bill and Mary Beaman and their youngest son, Jeff, shown here, run Beamans’ Grazier Farms near Lenox, Iowa. They want to provide the option of local identify-preserved meats in the supermarket and restaurants. The Beamans farm is one of 42 small family farms from Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin that comprise Wholesome Harvest.
In 2001, a young Iowa farmwife set out to eat well, save the earth and the small farms on it. Wende Elliott was committed to feeding her children safe meat and encouraging responsible farming practices in her region. So she created a mission statement and designed a simple label on her home computer for what is today the Wholesome Harvest coalition.
Wende, along with husband Joe Rude and their three children, continues to run Harmony Hill Farm and is part of the Wholesome Harvest coalition. Member farms range in size from five to 900 acres and in history from just a few to 150 years; each produces premium certified organic meats including beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, duck, goose, and pork.
A farmer owned company, Wholesome Harvest offers not only a regional fair trade option, but is also unique among its competitors in voluntarily surpassing USDA organic standards. All animals are pasture-raised; even the organic label and free-range claims dont guarantee that animals spent most of their time on pasture. But Wholesome Harvest pledges to forsake any confinement, feedlot or factory farming of any species.
Wholesome Harvest provides an alternative to corporate factory-style produced meats by marketing directly for the small organic farmers as a farmer-owned brand. With the stability and added value that Wholesome Harvest provides, organic family farmers can survive and make improvements to their environments and communities. You are really buying direct from the farmer when you buy Wholesome Harvest.
Five percent of profits are donated to regional environmental and rural revitalization projects.
Why is growing organic a priority for your business?
We are committed to growing wholesome food in an honorable way for you. Our vision statement is Eat well, save the earth and the small farms on it. We are a group of concerned small farmers who are particular about the food we want to feed our own families and want to share some with you.
What is your favorite part of being an organic farmer?
We feel very fortunate to be the producers of food and it is as much a spiritual path and political mission as it is a profession. For example, Martha and Mike Galecki, lamb and poultry producers in Collins, Iowa, believe they can teach their children a love of the earth, the preciousness of life, and the positive values of hard work and cooperation by involving them in daily farm chores.
Why should people buy organic products instead of other options?
USDA organic standards are a minimum level of accountability for environmental stewardship, record keeping and independent verification of claims. However, the USDA organic seal on meat does not warrant that the product was grown in the USA, was not in confinement or feedlots, or was not from a corporate factory farm or vertically integrated multinational processor. In fact, most are. We feel it is important to also support fair trade, pasture based and regional food systems for maximum social responsibility, animal welfare, and consumer choice and safety.
The meat we produce is raised on organic certified pastures that are free of pesticides and GMO seeds. The animals are not fed antibiotics or hormones, and the meat products do not contain additives, preservatives, nitrates, casings, or artificial colors or flavors.
What makes your farms special?
Wholesome Harvest is unique among meat brands because it voluntarily surpasses the USDA organic standards to bring you the highest standards of animal welfare and land stewardship. By not raising animals in factory farm conditions or being a vertically integrated corporate processor, the costs of production are higher, but we hope that some consumers will want to support independent choice and maximum animal welfare. Wholesome Harvest was the first meat brand to offer to do voluntary testing for BSE but is prohibited by the USDA as of this printing.
Where can consumers get your products?
Our meats are available through our website as well as at select locations of the following retailers: Hy-Vee, Super Target, Dahls, Whole Foods Market, Kowalskis, Harvest Health, Lunds, and Byerlys. You can also find it at a number of restaurants and co-ops. Studies show that if fourteen consumers request a product, the grocery store manager will start to stock it. So be an advocate for local organic farmers!
To learn more about Wholesome Harvest, visit their website at wh.farm or call (641) 377-7777.