North Woods Ranch is committed to providing all-natural cuts of beef and pork directly to local neighborhood consumers. We produce beef and pork as nature originally intended, from animals who have spent their entire lives outdoors doing what they naturally do best. Our animals graze on pesticide-free range and are never given growth hormones, antibiotics, or any other synthetic inputs. This is beyond organic ranching at its best, in your backyard!
|Cattle on pasture showing graze line.|
|Younger pigs foraging in grass with woodland.|
We take a holistic approach to animal husbandry and understand that creating the proper habitat requires attention to all facets of nature. Our free range cattle and hogs improve the grounds with their grazing, trampling, and manure, our honey bees help pollinate our pastures, and the presence of local wildlife keeps pest populations in check.These are just a few examples of the ways our ranch works with nature to make both more robust.
|Rancher Oliver & Herd on the High Range|
Oliver started his career in the field of avionics. A graduate of Princeton University in Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering, he worked for NASA, Lockheed, and several private aviation companies. He quickly found a passion for the field of Information Technology and transitioned his career focus to his family’s small business and their computer systems. Oliver was instrumental in the exponential growth and development of their small manufacturing company on the Northside in Pittsburgh.
In September 2006, Oliver read the groundbreaking book, Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The book delves deep into America’s industrialized food-production system from which the vast majority of American meals are derived. Oliver was fascinated when reading the chapter on Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia. He realized that it was possible to raise extraordinarily healthy and delicious food while also treating the animals and land with respect and integrity as nature intends. Around that same time, he took interest in researching western medicine approaches to treating illness. Through these parallel studies, he became quite enlightened to the clear connection to overall health and the food we consume.
Oliver continued studying livestock food production and its effect on health and our environment. The awareness of how the landscape for farming in America had drastically changed in the last 40 years was staggering. So much of the tried and true fundamentals of raising a healthy animal for healthy consumption had been transformed - all in the name of quick and mass production. He, like many people, had no idea the cost that came with eating food that was raised in today’s concentrated feedlots.
After 23 years of working in all facets of computer engineering and design, Oliver longed to get out from behind the computer screen and off his office chair. After extensive study, conference attendance, and visits to progressive small scale farms, Oliver had the chance to make a change in his career that he had been looking for. In 2009, he had the opportunity to put his hands on something more than a keyboard.
That year, Oliver had an opportunity to form a partnership to start a farm implementing the sustainable methodology he had learned. He and his partner raised 500+ chickens and turkeys, lamb and beef. All of the animals were raised naturally and were 100% on pasture. This cemented Oliver’s love for the daily operational aspects of local ranching and led to his opening of his own farm, North Woods Ranch, founded in Marshall Township, in 2010.
North Woods Ranch is just a stone’s throw from Oliver's family home where he lives with his wife, Jodi and three school-aged children, in Marshall Township. The ranch is on land saved from developers in the mid-1990s by local entrepreneur François Bitz of FORE Systems. Oliver started with an initial herd of cattle and pigs and has ranged them on approximately 180 acres of both pasture and woodlands full time. This unique tract of land is nestled just outside of Warrendale and Cranberry, 30 minutes North of Pittsburgh. Now a blossoming cow/calf and farrowing operation, the cattle and pig herds have expanded to over 60 head of cattle and 120+ hogs.