In the spirit of community, celebrating local farmers, and strengthening out local economy, we thought we could share some Producer Profiles featuring local farmers and purveyors highlighting their Maryland-made offerings. There's nothing quite so satisfying as aligning our actions to our beliefs!
Who is Koofie's Natural Living Farm & Botanicals?
Koofie’s Natural Living Farm & Botanicals is a small woman-owned and operated family farm in Libertytown, just north of Frederick. The biz is run by Kelsi Stembel, whose nickname is "Koofie," who moved to Frederick almost 7 years ago with her two girls to learn more about farming after teaching middle schoolers for nearly a decade.
Kelsi Stembel, Owner-Operator at Koofie's Natural Living Farm & Botanicals
What do they sell?
Koofie’s Natural Living Farm & Botanicals produce pork, lamb, duck and chicken eggs. Koofie's also sells handmade, small-batch natural body care products.
Meat Raised with Ethical Growing Practices
Koofie's Natural Living Farm has a small heard of pigs consisting of one boar and two sows, along with piglets in various stages of growth.
Unlike factory-farmed pork, in which the pigs are contained in crowded cages and not allowed to move freely or spend time outdoors, Koofie's does things differently.
The pigs have access to 10-30 acres of woods and are fed fermented GMO-free and soy-free feed daily in addition to what they glean from the forest. Pork is available as a half or whole hog, or in smaller sized- bags. All is available for pre-order or to order in their online store.
"I feed my pigs twice a day rather than using a pig feeder," said Stembel. "This allows me to set eyes on them often and observe them. I can see if anyone is limping, or not eating, or if there seems to be problems with hierarchy. Because of frequent observation, I’m able to get to know them well, treat any problems and separate pigs out of the group if they aren’t getting along," she added.
"It also allows me to soak and ferment the grain I’m using, which allows the pigs to better access the nutrients in their feed," Stembel continued. "I can adjust the amount of minerals or protein in their feed based on their condition within half a day of noticing a problem."
Stembel's insistence on the quality of the feed of her pigs isn't the only thing that sets her apart from factory farmed meat. For her, it's about allowing the animals to enjoy a life that's aligned with her values.
"My goal is for the pigs to lead the happiest lives possible while they’re under my care," she explained. "Some pigs really enjoy tummy rubs and others don’t. Pregnant pigs in the summer really seem to enjoy a lot of time in a cool wallow, so I make sure to run water to them, so they don’t have to travel to the spring-fed wallows or the creek."
But this high quality of life isn't reserved solely for her pigs.
"The same is true for my birds. I set eyes on all of them at least twice per day," Stembel said. "I try to balance their access to free-ranging with my ability to keep predators away. Their feed is also fermented, though sometimes on the coldest days I can’t feed soaked feed because it will freeze! I adjust their minerals and protein as I get feedback from the previous day’s meal."
Death with Respect for Life
"When it is time for the pigs to head off to be processed, I make sure to spend some quality time with them beforehand, thanking them for their gift," Stembel explained. "I do my best to make the transition as easy as possible, by getting them used to the trailer they will be transported on. My goal is to make their transition as stress-free as possible."
Stembel's refusal to feed her animals GMO grain, or keep them penned indoors against their will and unable to move freely, will definitely appeal to more sensitive individuals and animal lovers. But for the pragmatists, the impact of eating meat reared right over in Libertytown has environmental implications which benefit Marylanders, as well.
A key benefit of buying local meat and eggs from a local farmer such as Koofie's Natural Living Farm & Botanicals is reduction in carbon footprint. Less fuel is needed to transport the food to your table via plane or truck, which mitigates climate change by reducing air and water pollution.
Buying non-local food funnels money out of our community with every transaction. Buying goods grown nearby keeps jobs, resources, and food security right here in Frederick County.
When does Koofie's Natural Living attend farmers' markets?
You can catch Koofie and co. at The Frederick City Market Sundays May 10 - Nov 21 from 9 am til 1 pm at 331 N. Market St. They also have started attending the Downtown Frederick Bazaar on Saturdays in the afternoon-early evening. Both are located at 331 N. Market Street.
Before you attend, you may want to check their Facebook page or Instagram, as they will post their schedule when it changes. They have a mailing list through our website; if you’re on it you will receive weekly emails during the market season, with updates on where they will be and what they will bring.
You can also find them online at koofie.com.
"I farm because I love it," stated Stembel. "I want the best possible food and body care for myself and my family. I also know that to be happy, I need to spend significant amounts of time outside and in the company of animals. Farming really has changed my life. I love who I am and what I do."
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Find out more:
Koofie's Natural Living & Botanicals | Libertytown, MD
Phone: (410) 599-3395
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