The flock of laying hens of Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery have been certified as Animal Welfare Approved. This certification and food label lets consumers know that these animals were raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S., using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm. The process of attaining AWA certification was arduous and thorough, says Tony. “In the end, we have become better farmers because of the standards we’ve had to meet to attain this certification. We’ve always raised our hens sustainably, and on grass pastures, but now we’re really honing in on improving the operation even more.”
Like other AWA farmers across the country, we understand the growing consumer interest in how animals are being raised. Raising animals outdoors on pasture or range has known benefits for animals, consumers and the environment. Our philosophy is that everything begins with healthy soil. “What you put in,” says Barclay, “is what you’ll get out,” so sustainable farming practices result in healthy animals, and healthy animals lead to healthy food.
Our laying hens are proudly raised on sustainably managed pasture using mobile housing and fencing to regularly move the birds to fresh grass. This method, says Barclay, “is beyond ‘access to the outdoors’—it’s true grazing.”
Receiving Animal Welfare Approved certification validates Indian Ridge Farm’s high welfare practices and recognizes us for taking extra care in raising their laying hens. The difference between our truly pastured eggs and others calling themselves ‘free range’ or ‘cage free’ is evident to our customers who love our eggs’ flavor and bright yolks.
AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther says, “The accountability and integrity offered by Animal Welfare Approved farmers like Tony and Barclay are unmatched in food production. We’re glad to have Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery in the AWA family.”
Indian Ridge products, including their Animal Welfare Approved chicken eggs, provide food for 68 Community Supported Agriculture boxes each week for families in the Telluride, Ridgway and Norwood area and are sold at the Telluride Farmers’ Market June through October. The farm also has a growing pastured poultry operation and raises grass-fed turkeys. We have one of the few Colorado Dept. of Agriculture approved processing plants on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Animal Welfare Approved is a national nonprofit organization that audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. Called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA has come to be the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it one of the most transparent certifications available.
Animal Welfare Approved’s Online Directory of AWA farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zipcode, keywords, products and type of establishment. In addition, AWA has published the Food Labeling for Dummies, a regularly updated guide available free for download on our website, that provides clear and factual definitions for the most commonly used food claims and terms. Please check out AWA at: www.animalwelfareapproved.org