Pastoral Life on Harvest Moon Pastures in Westchester

Harvest-Moon

by Christine Covino

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard might be located on Hardscrabble Road, but life on this family farm is anything but hardscrabble for the cows that graze its rolling pastureland.

Located in North Salem, Harvest Moon produces grass-fed beef year-round from cows raised right on the farm. While it is not certified organic yet, Harvest Moon practices organic and natural farming methods.

The animals live very peaceful lives—they’re outside, free to graze, 365 days a year. During the colder months they eat hay the family has harvested from its own fields. They drink water from the same well system that provides drinking water to the homes and retail store on the property, and they do not get any grain or other supplements except for a salt lick and an occasional apple as a treat in the fall.

The farm keeps two separate herds, Scottish Highlands and Red Devons, the latter of which are a new addition and won’t be ready for a year or so. The Highland beef, which is currently in stock at the farm’s country store, is extremely lean—there’s almost no “bad” or saturated fat, given the animals’ diet. Beef that is 100 percent grass-fed is loaded with nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and it has fewer calories than conventionally raised meat, making it a much healthier option.

The Highland cows at Harvest Moon live for two or three years before slaughter—ample time for them to develop and grow on a natural schedule. In fact, the cows live at least twice as long as their conventionally raised, mass-produced counterparts, as they are allowed to mature without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics and fatty grain to speed up the process.

Inevitably, naturally raised beef is more expensive than mass-produced beef. The corn that factory farms use as animal feed costs less than grass, and the sheer amount of land required to give the herd a constant grass supply is staggering when compared to the cramped, unsanitary feedlot quarters of conventional beef cattle. So given their cows’ longer lifespans, more expensive feed and greater land usage, small, family-owned farms like Harvest Moon spend a great deal more money raising them. That’s why grass-fed beef has a higher price point when it goes to market.

Harvest Moon sells grass-fed beef throughout the year at its country store, which will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 19 and then seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Soon the farm will be selling shares of bulk beef and pork, all raised on site. Those interested can call or email the farm for more information.

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard is located at 130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY. For more info, call 914.485.1210 or visit HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com.