Without much fanfare, Sheldon and Yvonne Headings quietly raise their herd of 100% grass-fed beef on 43 acres near Bellevue. They arrived in the area in 2010 from Tampico, Illinois where they raised beef and also had a chicken operation.
Heritage Beef is a group of five farmers who all raise grass-fed beef and jointly market their products. All the farmers raise Devon cattle, a breed well-known for producing tender, juicy, finely-textured beef with beautiful marbling. Grass-fed beef has high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, and no antibiotics, hormones or chemicals are used on the animals. Sheldon uses sustainable grazing practices and carefully rotates his cattle between pastures to ensure that they stay healthy and well-fed while conserving the natural resources on his small farm.
Sheldon sells about 1/3 of his beef through farmers’ markets (he also sells at the Dubuque summer market), but he also sells a lot of quarters and halves directly to customers. He raises pastured organic chickens, too, but only sells those off his farm.
Sheldon and Yvonne are Amish Mennonite and have four young children (with another due any day!). In the winter Sheldon helps teach at his children’s parochial school. Stop by and chat with Sheldon about his farm and cattle. You’ll be impressed by how much research he has done about raising sustainable beef and you’re sure to learn something. Thanks for your dedication to the Winter Farmer’s Market, Sheldon!