Behind the Food: Casa Rosa Farms
Full Circle works with the best farmers, ranchers and artisan producers in the industry to source only top-quality organic produce and other all-natural foods for our members. This week, we’re taking a deeper look at a Capay Valley, California-based family farm that produces pastured meats and certified organic olive oil.
Casa Rosa Farms
Casa Rosa Farms was started in 2009 by Rachel Kasa and Anthony da Rosa. Anthony grew up in the dairy and hay business while Rachel grew up in 4-H, riding horses and helping out on cattle ranches in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Anthony’s grandparents emigrated from the Acores Islands (an archipelago chain in the mid-Atlantic near Portugal) in the 1960’s and started a dairy farm with his father and uncle, raising all of their own heifers. Anthony’s uncle still breeds champion cattle on Fayal, in the Acores.
Raising cattle with quality genetics is a family tradition.
The core value at Casa Rosa Farms is honesty. The olive oil, hay and small-scale fruit production are all certified organic and the founders believe that all farmers are connected, whether organic or conventional.
“Farming is a trade, first and foremost, a business second and a lifestyle third,” says Anthony, cofounder of Casa Rosa.
“Grass-fed” means that an animal has been primarily fed any cereal crop or forb that hasn’t gone to viable seed yet. Alfalfa is a forb that is high in protein and fixes nitrogen in the soil, helping to build soil health.
One of the key differentiators for Casa Rosa Farms is how it finishes its beef. When a steer gets to within a few months of slaughter, its diet is supplemented with high quality alfalfa hay—that is grown right on the farm—to tenderize the meat and increase the fat marbling for a better taste.
Casa Rosa Livestock
Casa Rosa never administers any antibiotics in any form to its meat animals, but the farm is not certified organic because Anthony and Rachel prefer having the ability to treat a sick or injured breeding stock animal with modern antibiotics, if necessary. The alternative is simply sending all animals off to the sale barn at the first sign of illness.
“We have only had one animal that we had to treat with antibiotics in six years of raising cows,” says Rachel, cofounder of Casa Rosa. “But, if our trusted seven-year-old cow—who we’ve built a long-standing relationship with—needs an antibiotic dose to save her life, then we reserve the right to give her that antibiotic.”
During times of drought—like right now—hay is used to supplement cattle grazing, and as of 2015, Casa Rosa satisfies 95% of its hay needs on-farm. When additional hay must be purchased, it is always non-GMO.
Additionally, Casa Rosa is working to convert its grid-powered sprinkler-irrigated pastures into solar-powered, sub-surface drip-irrigated fields that can be used for livestock grazing and crop rotation. The goal is to reduce energy and water consumption without sacrificing yield.
Who is Casa Rosa?
There is an old saying that “you are what you eat.” Casa Rosa believes in feeding good food, grown in healthy soil, to healthy animals, while making a responsible environmental impact.
Casa Rosa Farms and Full Circle
Working with a steady buyer like Full Circle allows Casa Rosa to plan for the future and make investments in its business—like the 100% solar-powered walk-in freezer that was just completed. Full Circle is proud to partner with Casa Rosa Farms to provide our members with some of the best grass-fed meat available.
To learn more about Casa Rosa Farms, visit casarosafarm.com.