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Sustainable Table: Locally Raised Meat

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HALSEY, Ore. — When Andy Walton bought his property near Halsey in 1977, it produced one crop: grass seed. Walton says he very quickly figured out that wasn’t the business for him, so he started to add more life to his property — literally.

“We produce milk, meat, eggs, pork, lamb beef — lots of cuts of that,” said Walton.

But Walton’s Lake View Farm bills itself as offering more than just food to eat; it’s food to live on.

“We take care of our animals, the animals take care of us,” Walton explained.

The chickens here are raised in the pasture, as are the pigs, cows and sheep. Walton even does his own butchering, to make sure the process is humane.

“The chickens come in from the field the night before,” he said, detailing the step-by-step routine his crew follows to get the job done.

Once they’re slaughtered, Walton says the crews “run ‘em through the scalder, pluck ‘em and then they’re eviscerated and there’s a whole crew that final finishes them.”

That takes a lot of work — and a lot of helping hands. One of Walton’s customers, Tim Nafziger, volunteered to help out.

“Last year, we found out he was doing chickens and I was like, ‘I wanna try that. Let’s see what it’s like,’” he said.

Another member of his family joined him, 5-year-old Katelyn.

“She decided she wanted to come and help Farmer Andy,” explained Nafziger. “She doesn’t want to do the killing or the butchering, but she wanted to catch all the birds.”

Walton’s humane approach is keeps Nafziger coming back.

“That’s the big thing. I know what Andy’s feeding these birds. I know they’re not stacked on top of each other. You can come out here in the field and see ‘em out here grazing,” Nafziger said.

For Nafziger and many of Walton’s other customers, that’s the key: you can see for yourself where your meat comes from and how it’s raised.

“If you’re able to come out here and look somebody in the eye, you should have a much better idea of what’s going on,” said Walton.

Walton believes in fostering a relationship with the animals, but Nafziger says he’s also focused on his customers.

“This farm is a unique farm in that I don’t just come and get my milk and from him,” Nafziger said. “It’s more than that. It’s about the relationship with you. That’s what I think I value just as much as the good food that we get from here.”

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