Tuesday, October 20, 2015

White Oak Pastures Turns Zero Waste Practices into Pet Food and Chew

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Morgan Dyches or Emily Connolly
Melissa Libby & Associates

Georgia’s Largest Organic Farm Helps Consumers Emulate Natural Feeding for Companion Animals by Creating Convenient Raw Whole Pastured Poultry Line

ATLANTA (Oct. 19, 2015) – Given the way White Oak Pastures, a family-run farm in Bluffton, Georgia, humanely raises 10 species of animals, it’s no surprise that the farm is now offering an all-natural line of food and chews for pets. In addition to being the most diverse farm in the South, White Oak Pastures is also known for its closed-loop farming practices and zero waste protocol that now also benefits a new type of customer: the four-legged kind.

“We continue to learn more about how to manage our by-products, and pet food processing is our latest endeavor to utilize offal and also echo how dogs and cats have always fed themselves in the wild,” says Will Harris, a fourth-generation cattleman and White Oak Pastures’ owner. “We are excited to provide pets with something like they evolved eating, like their ancestors ate.”

All animal blood, bones and eviscerate were previously composted to make organic fertilizers to be used as soil amendments for the farm’s Certified Organic pastures and garden. Now, White Oak Pastures is turning them into chews and raw pastured poultry grinds for pets.

The success of the pet chews, which range from best sellers like the rawhide chews, tracheas and cow pizzles to pet marrow bones and rabbit feet, led the farm to explore additional products. With the help of Whole Dog Market, a strong supporter of the farm, White Oak Pastures has recently introduced three varieties of raw meat blend pet supplements made from its pastured poultry: guinea fowl, duck and chicken.

“The purpose of our blends is to provide a convenient option for customers feeding raw. We are not selling a complete diet, but more so, a raw supplement like what animals would have hunted for before kibble,” explains Amber Reece, who creates White Oak Pastures’ pet chews and also manages the farm’s egg candling and packaging, tallow soap making, hide tanning and leather making.

The farm’s pet food is processed in the same manner that its ground beef or ground turkey is made, only with the addition of organs and bones to create a delicious raw ground product. Because the raw meat blends and chews are made on premises like all of White Oak Pastures’ other products, they meet all the same standards that the farm’s human food meets, including Certified Humane, Certified Grassfed and Animal Welfare Approved.

The main benefit of White Oak Pastures’ chews is the lack of preservatives used. While larger commercial pet product companies often use chemicals to remove the moisture and other preservatives, White Oak Pastures uses sunlight for their rawhides and a dehydrator for all other chews.

“All of our rawhides are cut by hand, soaked in a sodium hydroxide and water solution to remove the hair, stretched and dried in the sun," explains Reece. “The other chews—like the cow trachea, esophagus and ears—are all dehydrated for 24 to 36 hours. We don’t use any type of fillers; our pet chews go straight from the animal to the consumer.”

Although the farm's current pet-friendly options are mostly geared toward dogs, White Oak Pastures’ director of operations Brian Sapp says cat treats are something they are working on for the future. The farm is also looking to offer a raw goose meat blend this fall.

Animal lovers can purchase White Oak Pastures’ pet products at the farm’s store in Bluffton or its online store, at Doguroo and The Whole Dog Market locations and at the East Atlanta and Peachtree Road Farmer’s Markets (chews only). For additional information on these products or White Oak Pastures, visit whiteoakpastures.com.

About White Oak Pastures
White Oak Pastures is a multigenerational, family-owned and operated grass-fed beef, lamb, pork, goat, rabbit and free-range poultry producer committed to the principles of sustainability and stewardship. The five-generation farm, led by owner Will Harris, has operated continuously on the same land in Early County, Georgia, for more than 150 years. White Oak Pastures cooperates with nature to produce artisan products that are healthy, safe, nutritious and delicious. Care is given to ensure that all production practices are economically practical, ecologically sustainable and that the animals are always treated humanely. White Oak Pastures never falters in conducting business in an honorable manner, for the sake of the animals, the land and the people eating the products. The farm now also offers on-site lodging and dining.

Harris and White Oak Pastures have received several awards for setting farming standards, contributing to the restaurant industry and being dedicated to the sustainability of organic farming in Georgia, including: 2011 Georgia’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 2011 Georgia Restaurant Association’s Innovator Award, Will Harris inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs, 2012 American Treasures Award from MADE: In America, 2012 Centennial Family Award, 2012 Distinguished Conservationist, 2012 LDEI Green Ribbon Recipient, 2013 Swisher Sunbelt Farmer of the Year and 2014’s Most Respected Business Person of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine.

White Oak Pastures also holds several certifications including: Certified Grassfed by the American Grassfed Association, Certified Humane by the Humane Farm Animal Care, Animal Welfare Approved by Animal Welfare Institute, Master Cattleman by the University of Georgia, Certified Organic by Georgia Crop Improvement Association and Good Management Practices approved by Silliker, Inc.

White Oak Pastures products can be purchased at more than 1,000 Publix supermarkets throughout the Southeast and at Whole Foods Market locations from Miami, Florida, to Princeton, New Jersey. The beef is distributed by Kelly's Foods, Buckhead Beef, Sysco Gulf Coast, Sysco Atlanta, Sherwood, Maplevale Farms, Merchants and US Foods. Customers can also place orders online. White Oak Pastures is located at 22775 Highway 27 in Bluffton, Georgia. For more information, call 229-641-2081 or visit whiteoakpastures.com.


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