HOW in the world did a former enthusiastic VEGAN and an outdoorsman come together and become organic livestock farmers?” That’s how the Salt & Light Heritage Farm story begins on their website at organic-mn.com.“
As a young adult, Leah grew dissatisfied with commonly available meat with its chemicals, hormones, and factory farming practices. Her passion was such that she became a vegan until she started connecting food with farmers. Having worked on organic farms and gaining experience she began to think, “Maybe I can do this!” Together with husband Ron, they decided to raise their own ethical and healthy meat, starting Salt & Light Heritage Farm on 80 acres outside of Two Harbors in 2016. Run by a simple philosophy that respects life, land, water, and air, they honor nature and its inherent laws. Whether it’s animal or vegetable, there are no pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, GMO’s or “other weird stuff”. “We believe in working within the delicate balance that our creator, the first gardener, created.”
Salt & Light Heritage Farm has been growing their own cross-bred heritage chickens, turkeys, and pigs, developing hearty breeds for our area. Their beef calves come from a northland organic, grass-fed breeder and they take only a few calves at a time, finishing them off to butcher weight, so they have a consistently rotating supply of meat for sale, selling on average 2 beef cows per month. This symbiotic relationship helps breeder, marketer to be more consistently profitable. Pigs and poultry are butchered a couple times per year. Beef can be pre-bought “on the hoof”, or by the pound from their website, or because they are able to USDA package for retail sale, you can purchased over the counter at Louise’s Place in Two Harbors. With a philosophy, “Food is medicine,” the farm is adding fruit orchards, and sells berry plants and sustainably harvested fiddlehead ferns and ramps in season.
Since Ron also works away from the farm, Leah, with the help of 4 year-old Cherish and 2 year-old Joseph, takes on much of the daily chores. When asked if she could have one wish there was little hesitation. “If someone could do the housework, then I could be outside more. I’d much rather be outside even in the muck!” A key to success is the rule that “We don’t produce what doesn’t pay for itself. It costs money to raise good food.” But their customers share their same values about food, and many have become friends. “The dividends are in your health”, says Leah. The farm pricing structure is based on true costs. Not subsidized by the government. No sacrifice in animal care. No sacrificed of the Land. The next hurdle to tackle is switching to completely biodegradable packaging by early this year, which was written about in a story from the North Shore Journal. (Read the full story here)
With persistence Salt and Light Heritage Farm finally adopted a high quality backyard compostable packaging solution! It looks and acts just like plastic, provides excellent protection for the perishable products they produce and benefits the environment instead of polluting. By early 2021 their products will be 100% compostable.