Suzanne Nelson Karreman and her family, along with a dedicated and passionate farm team,…
Stacey and David Perea, along with their three sons, raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) laying hens, pigs, beef cattle and sheep at Red Boat Farm in Fort Payne, Alabama. David grew up on a farm, helping to pick corn, repair fences and barns and raise animals alongside his father. Stacey grew up in town but had parents and grandparents who instilled in her a love of plants and animals. “To say that our families have been preparing us for this life is an understatement,” says Stacey. In 2016, the Pereas purchased the farm that David grew up on and began to rebuild barns, fences and buildings in preparation for adding livestock.
The flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens, including hardy, traditional breeds such as Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds, are raised outdoors on pasture, and are able to perform natural behaviors, like running, dust bathing, pecking and scratching for grubs and seeds. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
The Pereas raise Kunekune and Glocestershire Old Spot, Mule Foot and Mangalitsa pigs outdoors, on pasture or range, where they are free to root and forage as pigs naturally do. This high-welfare management is a fundamental component of AGW certification and is known to have environmental, nutritional, and culinary benefits. “We chose the breeds of pigs due to their docile nature and the fact that they are suited for pasture-based management,” says Stacey.
In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the herds of Belted Galloway and Longhorn beef cattle and flock of Katahdin/Dorper cross sheep at Red Boat Farm are Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range.
For the Pereas, ensuring the health of the animals is the most important aspect of their animal husbandry practices. One way that they work to promote animal health is through regular livestock rotation. The livestock at Red Boat Farm are rotationally managed, grazing one section of pasture before being moved to fresh fields. This type of management allows grass to recover before animals return to graze again; it also keeps the soil properly fertilized and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments.
The Pereas chose to pursue AGW certification for the verification and level of trust it provides for their customers. “Anybody can make claims about their farm and products, but the accountability of certification makes all the difference. We have made it our mission to raise traditional breeds using high-welfare production methods on our farm, and we’re glad to have AGW verify our hard work,” says Stacey. “We also appreciate having a guideline, the AGW standards, to show where we need to be and set a high bar for our management and production practices.”
The Pereas, with former work experience in the restaurant industry, are in the process of opening a market and restaurant in downtown Fort Payne. “We are trying to fill in a gap for our small town and offer a place for people to source locally grown meat and vegetables along with frozen meals that can be purchased and reheated at home,” says Stacey.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW chicken eggs and pork along with Certified Grassfed by AGW beef and lamb from Red Boat Farm is available for pickup and delivery in Fort Payne and the surrounding states, including Birmingham, Alabama and parts of Tennessee. For more information, visit redboatfarm.com, follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram and contact Stacey Perea at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 674-0075.