Looking out onto the rolling hills of Summerfield Farms, it’s hard to not see opportunity. Fields of cattle grazing, free-range chickens and a color palette of summer produce are preparing for a plentiful season on the market. Yet, David Couch, owner of Summerfield Farms, has the vision to see beyond the hills. Couch has his sights set on changing the way our community makes choices about nutrition and wellness. Summerfield Farms wants to bring ethics and responsibility back into farming and land management – and they are doing that through sellingtop quality, nutrient-dense foods.
Couch purchased Summerfield Farms in 1996 with an interest in wildlife. After his first job on a tobacco farm and an entrepreneurial endeavor raising bull calves through high school and college, he became the well-respected CEO of Blue Ridge Companies. After years raising hay for horses on Summerfield Farms, he was drawn to the land.
If you’ve heard of the term “empty calories,” nutrient-dense is just the opposite. Nutrient-dense foods have substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and fewer calories. Grass-fed beef is a great example of a nutrient-dense food with a better proportion of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, plus more vitamin A and E. Understanding the potential impact that non-grain fed animals can make on our community’s wellness, Summerfield Farms wants to be the source for America’s most top-quality, nutrient-dense grass-fed beef and to become a learning center for animal and soil health in the Triad.
Their beef tastes great too. While grass-fed beef has a bad rap for being tough or tasting gamey, Summerfield Farms has done their research on best practices to maintain the intramuscular fat levels and omega ratios in their cattle. Their patience pays off, as they do not process cattle until they weigh at least 1200 pounds. I recommended sampling their grass-fed beef on the menu at Iron Hen. Their 1/2 pound Grass-Fed and Finished Beef Burger will hit the spot!
The best way to understand their practices is to visit the farm yourself. Recently, the Farm obtained a permit for events and agritourism. You’ll be greeted by the farm mascot, Buzz the Turkey, who is known to meet visitors with a friendly and funny welcome. Plus, their learning center is a great source to gain information about sourcing foods, all things healthy and wellness. Their farmers and family are also great resources for local farm referrals.
In the future, Couch envisions an expansion of the on-farm market and widening their channels of distribution in both retail and home delivery. But, ultimately he stresses that the goal is to produce the highest quality grass-fed beef in America. And, he claims they are on schedule.
Summerfield Farms Market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. They sell a variety of 100% grass-fed beef cuts, free-range chicken, eggs and seasonally available garden staples from peppers, to melons and tomatoes. Additionally, you can find their products on the menus of The Iron Hen and Zaytoon.
Rare Grass-Fed Beef Summer Salad
- 3 pounds whole beef tenderloin
- 15 ounces, fresh arugula
- 1 pint, small heirloom tomatoes, quartered
- 5 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 bundle, spring onions or scallions, sliced
- 1 handful, fresh basil and tarragon, torn
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh horseradish
- salt and pepper to taste
Assembly: Bring the beef tenderloin to room temperature. Rub oil on the meat an generously season with sea salt and ground pepper. Bring a dry cast iron skillet to smoking hot. Sear all the sides of the meat in the skillet. Monitor the meats internal temperature with a thermometer. I recommend a digital thermometer. Once seared, put the meat into a 425 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees. Take the meat out and allow to rest about 15 minutes. Slice thin with a very sharp knife.
Layer the meat on top of a bed of arugula. Top with thinly sliced onion, radishes and a sprinkle of basil and tarragon. Then top with colorful heirloom tomatoes. Mix all the salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Sprinkle over the salad.