By: JoAnn Dahl, Owner #66
"It’s not just about what you take from the land, it’s also about what you give back."
Ross Uphoff, Owner #449
Walk around The Bluffs Farm with Ross and Ashley Uphoff and you will find yourself in a thoroughly charming landscape. The property has been in Ross’s family since 1887 and was originally settled by his great grandfather. Beautiful, lush, rolling hills of pasture land are cut here and there with ribbons of wetland and dotted all around by ancient stately oaks. Then you spot the cattle! With their long horns and shaggy brows, Scottish Highland cattle are just adorable. Although sheep, pigs, turkeys and chickens are also raised at the farm, the cattle are the iconic livestock at The Bluffs. Hearty, healthy and great foragers, Scottish Highlanders are the perfect fit for a grass fed operation. Grass fed simply means that the livestock are raised their whole lives, to finishing, on pasture. Animals at The Bluffs eat the way cows were meant to eat and know nothing of cement floors and artificial lighting. Ross and Ashley say “We are a farm, not an industry.”
Their commitment is not only to the health and well being of the animals but to the land, and in a larger sense, the planet itself. The Uphoffs employ regenerative farming techniques such as rotational grazing, and no-tillage cropping giving special attention to the health and biodiversity of the soil. “It isn’t just about what you take from the land, but also what you give back,” Ross explains. Well-managed grazing is the key. By locking carbon in the soil, it can offset or even completely compensate for methane and other greenhouse gases associated with raising beef cattle. With careful attention the pasture is never overgrazed and the vegetation soaks up, or sequesters, carbon, preventing carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. All the animals; the beef, the Icelandic sheep, the foraging Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, and even the turkeys and chicken, are moved around to forage in different areas at the farm. Ashley and Ross tend the animals and tend the land as well.
The results are good quality meat, ethically raised and with environmentally friendly practices. Although they have grown their herd from seven to 130 head of cattle, they are still a relatively small operation selling direct to consumers on their website and at local farmer’s markets. They sell to Sprout and have been featured at Purple Carrot pop-up markets. As owners/producers, Ashley and Ross believe in the benefits of buying local and being part of a community like Purple Carrot Market. They appreciate that when you buy from small, family-run, local farms like theirs, much of your money stays local. Supporting local farmers means supporting your neighbors and caring for your local economy. Constantly learning and with long range vision, Ashley and Ross are thoughtful caretakers- of their animals, their land and their community.
To learn more about The Bluffs and their product availability, visit www.thebluffsbeef.com or download their pre-order form.*
*Pre-order form is subject to change due.