It’s not about the money; it’s about health

By Meagan Flynn

The Cory family has some neighbors who think they’re crazy.

Tom and Mary Cory decided 10 years ago to do away with the conventional corn and soybean farming methods and convert their 85 acres into a grass pasture — now the grazing haven to about 35 cattle and 220 sheep. The method is less lucrative, more labor-intensive, and the market is smaller.

The Cory family farm includes 85 acres of grass pasture for all-naturally raised livestock. Back, from left to right: Lorinda, 5; Mary, Tom, Spencer, 17; Gavin, 16. Front: Luke, 11; and James, 8.

The Cory family farm includes 85 acres of grass pasture for all-naturally raised livestock. Back, from left to right: Lorinda, 5; Mary, Tom, Spencer, 17; Gavin, 16. Front: Luke, 11; and James, 8.

But their products are entirely chemical free: no genetically-modified organisms, no growth hormones or soy. To the Corys, this makes any extra effort worth the trouble.

“We’ve got a lot of issues health-wise in this country, and we didn’t see those 30 years ago like we see now,” Tom said. “I think that’s what caused us to start thinking, ‘Maybe we need to journey toward that type of lifestyle.’ ”

Within their own household, the Corys have taken healthy dieting a step further. They have cut gluten completely from their diet, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, raw cheeses, nuts and sourdough bread — all gluten-free — and have experienced more energy and fewer allergies as a result. About a year ago, they carried this part of their lifestyle over to production and created gluten-free beef sticks, which are processed — still chemical-free — in Missouri. Their goal this year is to put the product on retail shelves.

Their own products from the farm, such as beef and pasteurized eggs, naturally do not contain gluten. But, Tom said, the majority of all processed food lining the grocery store aisles do.

“There’s definitely been more of an awareness (of going gluten free),” Mary said. “I think it’s getting to be such an issue that it can’t be ignored.”

The Corys have partnered with “likeminded” producers in Iowa — gluten-free Ami’s Cakes and Confections of Ames, for example — in an effort to help promote this natural and healthier approach. They’ve even maintained close relationships with competitors to help each other improve business. Only about 25 grass-pasture farms like the Corys’ currently exist in Iowa, Tom said, which pales against the tens of thousands of conventional farms.

“It’s a lot of work not to use chemicals, but we can feel good about the product we have,” Mary said.

To purchase products from the Cory Family Farm, visit www.coryfamilyfarm.com, and learn about its home delivery system coming to Des Moines and Ames. RELISH

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