New Boston Beef is located on the side of a hill in the part of Thompson known as North Grosvenordale within the cozy village of Fabyan. As you walk up that hill you get a view of something fantastic- rolling hills, the farm's vegetable field, squares of haying fields, clusters of trees and forests of the Last Green Valley, and meandering cows that get to take it all in every day. This is what Jonathan and his family have preserved by raising cattle on their farm tucked back on country roads.
For Jonathan this existence among his cows is instinctual- they've been a part of his daily life ever since he was a boy and his parents had a dairy on the property. Goats, and horses found their places at Fabyan Farm, but the cows were the ones that made the biggest mark- so much so that Jonathan decided to start his own venture in 2008- New Boston Beef- a nod to the history of the area, which was formerly known as New Boston.
He started small- raising dairy replacement herder calves as just a young boy and gradually moving the operation into beef. He was making something of his own, so he bought the family farm in 2018 and buckled down on his mission- grass fed, grass finished, free ranging beef. A way farmers fed their cows back when the area was referred to as “New Boston.”
Feeding cows grass may not seem like rocket science to many folks- it's the stereotypical and romanticized image of farms we've seen since childhood- a black and white cow on open green pasture. The reality of it is that most of the beef that we get from grocery stores and restaurants comes from large operations that feed their cattle grain and limit their access to fresh pasture, also known as a feed lot. It's how meat is produced and then sold so cheaply, but in the process, it also loses its flavor, and respect for that animal’s life and well-being.
Along his journey, Jonathan was lucky enough that he met the lovely Sarah Salisbury- a chef who just happened to have the last name of a popular steak meal. Jonathan knew the ins and outs of how to care for animals; to look at the quality of life of each cow and give it the very best of everything he could, but Sarah brought the culinary flare.
They both knew that grass fed tasted better, but as they explored the science behind it (and delicious recipes), it became even more obvious and essential that they had to help their community at large have access to their healthier, tastier meat, and even more recently a small vegetable offering. Sarah added to Jonathan’s expertise by sharing those recipes in an educational, fun and relatable way with easy-to-follow blog posts and step by step photos.
And it is some tasty meat, with delicious marbling through each cut which makes it stand apart from its Big Box Store counterpart (not to mention dozens of other reasons!) They are
cows that are being given a chance to live their best cow-y life, which is a safe place to rest from the night and sun, clean water, and open access to pasture around the calendar. When the grass doesn’t grow in the winter months, Jonathan ensures his herd still remains grass fed by haying off about 200 acres of open fields that he rents up the road from the farm.
All this work and care makes for not just happy, but contented cows-ones who come and go and roam where they please on a large tract of land, which makes you feel grateful for a farmer like Jonathan. Someone who is not just caring for the community through his product, but also continuing to guard open green spaces, and the livelihood of his cattle as he tends them day in and day out.