Terrace Ridge Farm has beef down to a science

Matthew Parker, of Terrace Ridge Farm, in Carthage, uses science to bring pasture-raised beef to market. Matthew produces his pasture-raised beef through regenerative farming techniques, a deep knowledge of animal biology and nutrition, and the experience that only years of cattle farming brings. That is why his beef is in high demand – it’s delicious and nutritious, and it is raised locally and sustainably.

Contact Matthew as soon as possible to place an order because once the vacuum-packed beef hits the shelves in his coolers, customers stream in and the shelves are empty again. The beef is dry-aged for two weeks before it is vacuum packed. His next orders of vacuum-packed beef will be delivered in March, but orders are being taken now.

Planning an event? Stocking your freezer? Call today at (910) 639-8115 or email MGParker9943@gmail.com.

Terrace Ridge Farm is located in Carthage. Call them today.

Terrace Ridge Farm is a fourth-generation farm and a family tradition. Matthew’s great-grandfather purchased it in 1926 and raised dewberries, and his grandfather raised tobacco and cattle. Today, Matthew continues that cattle farming tradition.

“Matthew’s first memory is riding with me on the floorboard of our old Gleaner combine,” his father Michael Parker said. “He was just a toddler.”

Matthew graduated first in his class at North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in biological and agricultural engineering and a minor in soil science.

This solid educational background helped Matthew formulate the best diet for his cattle. His cattle are pasture-raised, and none are confined to feedlot pens. The most important part of their diet is excellent-quality grass and hay. Matthew supplements most of his cattle with a limited amount of a special feed blend made from locally raised grains, but he also raises 100% grass-fed beef as well.

“Just let me know whether you want 100% grass-fed beef or pasture-raised and grain-supplemented beef, and I’ll raise it for you,” Matthew said.

Terrace Ridge Farm raises Black Angus beef in Carthage.

“I don’t buy bags of feed at the feed store. Pesticides and antibiotics can make their way into those bags of feed, and you really don’t know what you’re feeding. My cattle don’t eat antibiotics and pesticides because I simply won’t take that risk with my customers’ beef,” and Matthew also ensures that his cattle are not implanted with growth hormones.

Matthew calls his beef “finished beef.” “Finished” means his cattle are raised until they reach the perfect ratio between fat and lean to produce the most tender and flavorful beef. “It can be hard to tell whether beef is finished simply by looking at it on the grocery store shelf unless you know how it was raised,” Matthew said.

Pasture management is a primary focus of Matthew’s style of cattle farming. One step in optimizing pastures is using a movable “shed sled” to feed round bales of hay. The cattle waste less hay, and their manure is scattered in the pasture to help recycle nutrients naturally.

Cattle enjoy the sled shed at Terrace Ridge Farm.

“A round bale of hay, at approximately one thousand pounds, contains about fifteen pounds of potassium,” Matthew said. “By feeding in the pasture, most of that potassium is returned to the soil, along with other beneficial soil nutrients.”

The shed sled was designed by Matthew’s father, Michael, who custom-builds them for sale to the public. Contact Michael at (910) 639-8115 or email MGParker9943@gmail.com to order a shed sled.

The shed sled also has a loose mineral feeder.

“Studies show that a cow needs four ounces of minerals a day. They can’t get that by licking a mineral block. That’s why I only feed loose mineral,” Matthew said.

The loose mineral feeder has a weather guard where the cows slide their muzzles inside for the tasty nutrition.

“If the cattle were fed hay indoors, we would have to scrape out all the manure, and most of the beneficial nutrients would be wasted,” Matthew said. “Feeding hay on pasture completes the nutrient cycle and is more natural.”

Most of Parker’s cattle are Black Angus, but he also raises a few Japanese Wagyu and Black Angus cross.

The Japanese Wagyu and Black Angus cross creates a gourmet marbled beef.

Matthew’s mother, Carol, a former biology instructor, is working on a cookbook blog to be released at the end of the month.

“She is an excellent cook,” Michael said. “She knows how to make the best stew beef.”

Carol and Michael Parker also offer personalized homeschool instruction at Terrace Ridge Academy. They recently instructed a class on soils and will customize classes for subjects from fence construction to chickens.

“We homeschooled both Matthew and his younger brother, Garin,” Michael said.

Matthew’s favorite cut of beef is the rib-eye steak. His mother likes the skirt steak, and his father and brother favor the London broil.

To place an order or for more information, please click here or visit their Facebook page.

Feature photo: Michael (left) and Matthew Parker stand in front of their sled shed at Terrace Ridge Farm.

~Article, photos, and videos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers.

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