Orchard Hill Farm in Woodland produces tasty organic Highland beef

12 years ago
Aroostook Republican photo/Natalie Bazinet
Stan and Gail Maynard, owners of Orchard Hill Farm, interacted with the newest members of their organic Highland Beef herd earlier.

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

WOODLAND — Whether it’s due to the sunshine, open pastures or the grass-fed foraging, the organic Highland beef born and raised in Woodland is tender, juicy and delicious.

Co-owner of Orchard Hill Farm Stan Maynard says that the calmer the animals are, the better quality beef they’ll yield; living stress-free lives breathing clean county air and frolicking through open fields of forage, you haven’t tasted high quality beef until you’ve tried Orchard Hill Farms’ Highland beef.

Stan and Gail Maynard have been farming for years and explained that cattle that are 100 percent grass-fed from birth to market are eating exactly what nature intended, and will produce quality beef that is much lower in saturated (bad) fat and high in omega-3 (good) fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins A and E.

Their ground meat — dry-aged for 21 days, is sold frozen in cryovac packaging and is 96 percent fat free.

“Buying locally produced meet from small farms reduces the health risks associated with industrial beef and reduces the costs and waste of resources required by shipping great distances,” they explained. “Purchasing locally helps preserve farmland and the rural lifestyle, [which is] Maine’s farming heritage.”

The increased nutritional profile of the organic Highland beef is one reason why the Maynards have established a loyal list of customers, including the New Sweden School.

“The school likes the organic highland beef because it’s very lean,” Gail explained.

The Maynards are advocates of sustainable agriculture as a way of life, as practiced on their nearly 400 acres; they believe that healthful beef can be raised in a manner that benefits their animals, customers and the environment.

Orchard Hill Farm has received honors for their environmentally conscious practices, including being named the 2010 Conservation Farm of the Year during the Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District (CASWCD) annual meeting.

“This award is presented by the District to a landowner that does an exemplary job of natural resource conservation on their farm. Stan and Gail Maynard raise Scottish Highland beef cattle — one of the largest herds in the state — on their farm in Woodland,” said Ben Lynch, director, CASWCD during the 2010 meeting, also commending them for their conservation efforts.

“They have worked closely with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) implementing conservation practices recommended in their nutrient management plan. Such practices, including constructing a heavy use area, manure storage, diversion ditches, vegetated filters and storage area to filter and treat runoff. They also practice rotational grazing that gives their animals fresh pastures frequently and minimizes nutrient concentration,” Lynch said.

Since the Maynards moved their farm to Aroostook County in 2001, their herd has grown to about 80 heads of high-quality organic Highland cattle, which is “one of the world’s oldest breeds of cattle,” Stan explained.

The farm is famed not only for the high-quality organic beef it produces, but also the healthy breeding stock they raise.

Orchard Hill Farm has one of the largest herds of purebred registered Highlands in Maine, raised naturally and humanely with respect and careful genetic selection.

They will be participating in Open Farm day on Sunday, July 22 when visitors are welcome to stop by the Pratt Road farm to meet members of the herd and even try their hand at grooming the shaggy-coated cattle.

As explained by the Maynards, Orchard Hill Farm animals are handled frequently, many are halter trained, gentle and love being brushed and combed.

Additional information regarding the Orchard Hill Farm in Woodland can be obtained by visiting www.aroostookhighlands.com or calling the Maynards at 498-8541.