Beef

Are your organic beef fed grains and does this effect the omega 3's & CLA's?

We feed a special diet that includes organic flax and we are able to not only maintain a balanced omega 3 & 6 ratio, but increase the omegas and CLA's in the animal. This technology has been used by Blackwing since the late '80's and was taught to us by Dr. Jeffery Johns, a Canadian scientist. We initially used it to produce a balanced omega 3 & 6 oil supplement from the fat of the ostrich.

What is the difference between all natural, organic & 100% organic?

All natural refers to no additives and is based on testimony of the producer. Organic means the product comes from at least 90% organic ingredients, but 100% organic means 100% of the ingredients are organic. Animals that are certified organic must come from animals that the parents were certified raised organic and raised from birth on organic land. They must be fed organic crops. The land can not have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers for a minimum of 3 years prior to certification. No animal bi products may be fed to animals. No genetic engineered (GMOS) may be used in feed or the animals. The product to be certified must be documented from birth to purchaser for traceability and verification. Antibiotics can not be used in organic meat.

Will eating organic foods improve my health & how.

A recent study into organic vs. non organic foods showed that by adhering to a strickly organic food program any traces of herbicides will disappear from a childs body in 5 days. The controlled study had children eat non organic food and traces of herbicides showed up in the blood stream. They were then put on an all organic program for 5 days and the herbicide traces disappeared. They then went back on a non organic program and the traces of herbicides reappeared.

Why is Piedmontese beef more tender than conventional beef?

There are various technical reasons that refer to the genetics of the animal but the easiest explanation is: Piedmontese cattle have far less collagen than other cattle. The more collagen the tougher the meat.

Are your animals ever cloned?

The simple answer is no but importantly no organically grown animal will ever be cloned. This is one of the rules to producing organic meats.

Bison

Can you recommend some of the best ways to cook Bison?

Sure. Here are some of our favorites:

Skillet - Heat skillet on high heat. Add meat and sear 2 minutes on each side, then bake at 350 degrees until desired wellness.

Cover & Bake - Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Baste meat with sweet butter, olive oil or other preferred preparation. Cover and bake 35 minutes per pound. Internal temperature should be 125-135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grill - Sear meat for 2 minutes per side with a high flame. Lower flame and cover 3 minutes per side or to desired wellness.

Chicken

Are GMO's allowed in the feed of animals used to produce Blackwing's Organic Chicken?

All animals from which Blackwing's Certified Organic Chicken is produced must be free of or never fed GMO's. We do not permit GMO's in any feed given to our live stock.

Do your chicken ever have GMO feed given to them?

Organic fed animals are never given GMO grains and Blackwing never allows any of our animals to receive GMO grains.

Why does your chicken retain so much less water than other brands of chicken, organic or not?

The reasons why our organic chicken retains so much less water than other brands has to do with exercise.Muscle doesn't retain water. Our chicken have about half the fat of other chicken brands, which results in a much leaner product and higher muscle content. Fat acts as a sponge, and absorbs a lot more liquid than muscle. Fat takes up approximately 3 times the amount of space as the same weight of muscle.

We also use a different cleansing process than most other chicken producers. Most chicken producers use a chlorine rinsing process. We don't use chlorine, we use a special chilling process called ozonation. Ozone is a compound normally found in the atmosphere; when you use it as a cleansing agent, it's about 3400 times more efficient in killing bacteria than chlorine, and it naturally decays into oxygen, which leaves no chemical residue on the meat. Chlorine tends to leave a chemical residue on the meat, which is why you sometimes have an aftertaste to other brands of chicken. Ozonation allows us to have a pure product from start to finish. With a much leaner product and a quicker cleansing time, our chicken doesn't absorb nearly the amount of water that other chicken brands do.

One other difference is that all kosher products and many all-natural chicken brands roll their birds in salt or soak them in a brine solution, which helps to add weight to the bird by increasing water retention. An alternate method used by all-natural or conventional chicken producers is to soak or inject the dressed birds with sodium phosphate to increase purchase weight and water retention.

Why is there so much less fat in your organic chicken?

Most chicken producers, whether organic, all-natural or conventional, use animal fat or vegetable fats and oils as a significant ingredient in their feed in order to keep their feed costs down and increase the amount of fat in the animal. Certified Organic chicken producers can use vegetable oils and vegetable fats as a feed ingredient under the National Organic program.

Most producers also give their birds less than or around 6 square inches of space per bird, even other organic producers. 6 square inches of space per bird is the minimum space requirement per bird for the National Organic Protocol; there is no space minimum per bird for all-natural or conventional chicken producers.

Our organic chicken is raised without the fats that make up such a significant portion of other diets. We also give our chickens far more space to run around per bird than the minimum requirement, and that doesn???t include our outdoor pasture. We make sure that every step of the raising process takes utmost care of the animals and guarantees the most tender, delicious chicken available. The end result is an overall chicken that has less than half the fat of other chicken, and breast meat that is fat-free.

How do you chill and cleanse your organic chicken, and is there any advantage to it?

We chill our organic chicken using an immersion process, as do most chicken processors. Our difference is in how we cleanse our chicken, which we do by using ozonated water. Ozonated water is created by using Ozone (O??), a compound which occurs naturally in our atmosphere. When we use it as a cleansing agent, it is about 3400 times more efficient in killing bacteria than chlorine, which is the normal cleansing agent used for chicken.

Most chicken processors use a communal bath, which is where 700-1000 birds are put into a large bath of water, chlorine is added, and dressed birds are added until the entire lot of birds meets certain bacteria levels. We use much smaller non-communal baths; our birds are put into a bath of ozonated water, with no chlorine added. Ozonated water is much more efficient at killing bacteria, so we don't have to immerse the birds for as long. Since we don't use the same water twice, our chances of cross-contamination in terms of bacteria are virtually zero.

Since ozonated water is an organic compound, there is no aftertaste or chemical residue on our chicken, unlike many other chicken products. Chlorine is labeled as a recognized carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) by the US Department of Agriculture.

The advantages to our chilling and cleansing process are 1. There is virtually no chance of cross-contamination of bacteria; 2. There is no chemical residue on our chicken whatsoever; 3. There is less than 1% retained water in our chicken, compared to an average of 8% water retention of other chicken brands; 4. Our product has the purest taste possible!

General

How do you ship your meats?

All of our meats are shipped in a cardboard box which is lined on all sides with an 1 1/2" thick styrofoam. We place a thermal insulated liner bag inside the box, pack the meats with dry ice and gel packs, and then top the box with foam insuring that there are no air pockets. We guarantee all shipments so if your package arrives perished we will re-ship or refund your money.

Are your animals humanely handled & processed?

Blackwing created a humane policy of raising, handling & harvesting animals back in 1990, long before it became popular or a concern to consumers.We are animal lovers and would never permit any kind of abuse from birth to harvest.

Are your meats gluten free?

Our Ostrich, Organic beef, Organic Chicken, Bison, Elk, Venison as well as our jerky & sports sticks are all Gluten free. Please note that ALL our products are gluten free.

Are your products certified organic & by whom?

the following organizations under USDA rules certify blackwing products:
beef: CCOF & MOSA.
Bison:CCOF , OCIA & MOSA
chicken & other poultry: Iowa dept. of ag, Mosa, Pa. dept of Ag.& OCIA.
Pork: Mosa & Iowa dept of ag.
All are processed under USDA organic supervision.

Are your animals ever given hormones or growth additives?

Blackwing does not permit any animal we raise or purchase to be administered hormones or growth additives.

Do you feed your animals corn or soy?

None of our animals are fed these except for our Organic Chicken which is given a special diet of organic corn and soy meal.

How are your animals raised? In what environments?

All of our animals are free ranged. Our bison, ostrich and Piedmontese beef all roam on thousands of acres. When they are finished, they are brought to smaller acreage to separate them where they can continue to graze, but are supplemented with alfalfa, flax, and various mineral/vitamins. Our Piedmontese beef are fed organic barley, sweet peas, alfalfa, and flax. All of our 100% organic feed is grown on the same farms that we raise the animals. Our organic beef & bison are raised in Canada, our chicken in Wi.& Michigan.

Hides

Why are your Bison hides so much less expensive than other bison hides I see on the web?

Our Bison hides are a by-product of our meat business. We select only the December through early March hides to be tanned. We professionally tan them in Mexico by Mexico's finest tanner and we sell them wholesale to everyone.

Organics

What is the difference between all natural, organic and 100% organic?

All natural refers to no additives and is based on testimony of the producer. Organic means the product comes from at least 90% organic ingredients but 100% organic means 100% of the ingredients are organic. Animals that are certified organic must come from animals that the parents were certified raised organic and raised from birth on organic land. They must be fed organic crops. The land can not have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers for a minimum of 3 years prior to certification. No animal bi products may be fed to animals. No genetic engineered (GMOS) may be used in feed or the animals. The product to be certified must be documented from birth to purchaser for traceability and verification. Antibiotics can not be used in organic meat.

Ostrich

Why Ostrich?

Ostrich is a wonderfully healthy red meat with all of the flavor and texture of beef. It is rich in protein and high in iron yet is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than skinless chicken or turkey. It digests easily because of its low fat content. No bacterial problems.

Health conscious Americans are demanding leaner and healthier foods for their diet. Ostrich is recommended by the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Association, the American Dietitians Association, and the American Diabetic Association, as well as many physicians.

Extremely healthy and wonderful flavor.

Is cooking Ostrich any different than cooking Beef?

Yes. Ostrich is an extraordinarily lean and delicious red meat. Becuase it is so low in fat, Ostrich cooks more quickly than Beef. We also recommend cooking Ostrich with a small amount of olive oil to help prevent sticking.COOK 1/3 THE TIME OF BEEF AND SERVE AS RARE AS YOU WISH.

I noticed that your Ostrich meats are advertised as being rich in Omega 3's. What does this mean?

Omega 3's are an EFA (essential fatty acid) which is an important nutritional element in healthy foods. Foods high in Omega 3's are generally more desirable than foods containing lower amounts of Omega 3's. Blackwing Ostriches are grown on a wholesome feed blend which is high in Omega 3 content. We are the only growers of ostrich that we know of that feed flax to their animals and the flax increases the omega 3's.

Can I refreeze ostrich meat after it has thawed?

You may refreeze, thaw & refreeze ostrich meat. Many chefs do. The meat is incredibly lean and we only suggest you wash off excess blood as it might carry over the flavor of iron which the meat is very rich in.

Are ostrich a clean animal and can they be kosher?

Ostrich are farm raised and are considered livestock. Those that are used for meat are domesticated animals. They can not be kosher as the kosher laws were made thousands of years ago before they were domesticated. The meat has been clinically proven extremely healthy and safe and recommended by most health organizations including American Heart, Diabetic, Cancer, Physicians, etc...

Product Pricing

How does supply & demand effect prices in the healthy meats industry

Americans are recognizing the need to eat healthier as more is understood about the effects of hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals sprayed on our crops are having on our health. Demand is beginning to outgrow our supply and this is having immediate effects on the cost of Organic animals as organic & certified antibiotic/hormone free live stock continue to escalate in cost. Blackwing is steadfastly committied to offering only the cleanest & purest proteins while doing everything possible to keep the live stock cost from becoming excessive or price prohibitive to our customers. Growers will demand higher cost for their live stock when the demand continues to grow beyond the supply.

Our suggestions to Blackwing customers to help ease the burden of rising cost:
a) When possible purchase our value packages of 5 or 10 lb packages. This reduces the shipping costs per pound of purchased product. Blackwing frozen meats may be kept frozen for as long as 2 & in some cases 3 years.
b) consider obtaining a small chest freezer to allow for storage of bulk purchases.
c) take advantage of our special offers published in our newsletters. While we are committed to selling our products at wholesale restaurant prices, we occasionally are able to negotiate favorable pricing with our growers and as a result offer price specials to our retail customers.