On 400 rolling acres in Meredith, New York, the Kjarval family has been refining the art of grass-fed farming for almost 30 years at Spring Lake Farm. It's what Ingimundar Kjarval was trained to do in Iceland, his native country, before adapting the practices to best fit the land and breeds of cattle and lamb that he raises here. In Iceland, grass-fed farming is conventional, his daughter Ulla, who grew up on the family farm, says. "Grass is what we really farm; the animals just help us turn it into high-quality protein."
The Kjarvals use no growth hormones on their animals, so a natural, healthy diet and ample pasture to roam in are hallmarks of the family's farming philosophy. These practices, coupled with skilled breeding techniques, lend the meat its excellent flavor and low-fat content. The farmers also breed Polish Arabian horses, as well as chickens and pigs for their own consumption. As of yet, Spring Lake Farm does not sell meat directly to consumers, but Ulla and her family are keen on bringing their family's old-school farming methods to the market in the future, and in the meantime, they encourage consumers to buy grass-fed meat at local farmers' markets or natural foods stores like Whole Foods. As well, Ulla's an avid blogger, and she has a number of great recipes that suit grass-fed meat, including chili con carne and Chinese meatball soup.