In response to a recent press release announcing that La Cense Ranch has become the first grassfed beef producer to be certified under the USDA “Grass Fed” standard, Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther made the following statement: “I am seeing a re-emergence of the arguments that surrounded initial discussions about the USDA’s ‘Grass Fed’ definition. The USDA standard only partially addresses buyers’ expectations for grassfed meat. We are concerned that consumers may assume that a USDA Grass Fed certification means that ruminants are raised on pasture for the duration of their lives, without confinement or feedlots.”
Shereen Alinaghian raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Saanen and LaMancha dairy goats in the hills of New York at Ardith Mae Farmstead in Stuyvesant, NY. The goats enjoy the diverse, seasonal forage, which brings unique flavors to the cheese. In 2004, Shereen was still living in Brooklyn, NY and today, she is making cheeses that have been called, “unparalleled” by Tasting Table.
One of Shereen’s main goals is to allow her animals to be animals. She makes sure her goats are able to climb, explore and sample as many types of forage as possible. The herd has year round access to a lightly wooded five acre paddock and during the growing season they browse on an additional 30 acres of raspberry, grasses and various species of saplings. The rotational browsing system provides the goats with their needed forage and exercise while also improving their soil and vegetation. Ardith Mae established an every-other-year breeding program which alleviates the health stress of a yearly pregnancy and increases the longevity of the herd. The goats are never given hormones or unnecessary antibiotics.
Ardith Mae Farmstead Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW goat cheese is available at the Union Square Farmers Market in New York (every Saturday, year-round) as well as the 80th/Columbus and 115th/Broadway Farmers Markets (every Sunday, year-round). For more information about Ardith Mae Farmstead Goat Cheese, please visit their website or visit their Facebook page.