I’ve decided that our farming style although consisting of less technology and power implements than of other modern farms, is decidedly newfangled anyways. We are drivers, not drovers.
How so? If we were totally realistic and traditional, we would use the most local slaughterhouse for our processing and packaging. We would function as the animals’ drovers, herding and walking them to the nearest processing facility. That would have been then — and this is now — we drive the animals to Randolph, Vermont to the cleanest, most polite and trustworthy facility we have discovered. [Note that we drove the trailer holding the four pigs and put the lambs on the back of the truck last Tuesday which was a 90+ degree day in Western Massachusetts and in order to keep the truck from overheating, had to run the heat on high blowing on us for three hours up, and three hours back to and from the butchers. I was late in arriving at the Bernardston Farmers Market because of our “quirky truck” and its never ending issues – but arrived safely with beef to sell at 5:05 p.m. What is the current status of the lovely waxed truck? We have replaced the starter, flushed the radiator, had the radiator blown out with compressed air, Tuesday we burst the power steering something, last month we lost the front brake line, have yet to fix the e-brake, and I locked myself into the truck on the passengers side, as the door lock sticks and we were without a vice grip on Tuesday]
The traditional methods of raising our animals on grass, breeds of animals being mostly heritage (old breeds) – as well as the lack of mechanized, tow-behind, wheeled, toothed and gasoline consuming farming essentials — are our links to the past — while our feet are firmly planted in the here and now. We have options. There are a few slaughterhouses within three hours drive from us and there are numerous marketing options for our products. We have made the decision to sell our products in a face-to-face method, at farmers markets where the consumer can ask questions and speak directly with the farmer — basically, I can meet all of my customers. You can ask me what the pigs last meal was before they were processed, you can find out where we get our pigs, what shots and vaccinations have been administered to them during their entire life and, up until last week, you could drive down the dirt road and view our pigs in the pasture doing all of the natural loungy-type things that pigs enjoy doing.
Yet, we chose the hands-on farming that takes time and patience. Why? Passion. Committment. Quality – the result is better; and the control is tighter over the lifespan of the product.
Speaking of our decision to use a quality butcher – Scott the butcher called me yesterday to tell me that our Pork and Lamb will be available for pickup Monday, August 17, 2009. That means that we will be selling Sweet Italian Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, and Chops beginning Tuesday at the Bernardston (MA) Farmers Market, from 4-7 p.m.
- Lamb will be available for only two weeks at the Farmers Markets in Bernardston and Northfield (Tuesday 4-7, Bernardston and Thursday 4-7, Northfield) August 28, 20, 25 & 27th. What else will be in the freezer? Ground Belted Galloway Grassfed Beef, Tamworth Sausage and Chops. After August 27th, Leyden Lamb will be back in attendance at the farmers market, and I don’t want to compete with their business, plus, I don’t expect my lambs to last for very long!
- Pork: Tamworth Chops, and Sausage: Sweet and Breakfast. They will be available until they are gone. A word to the wise – if you like it, then buy more of it and save it in your own freezer, because my stock will sell out of mine. last year, I was only able to save a half a pound of the sausage for our own consumption. (That is pathetic.)
Bacon and Ham Steaks will be a few more weeks.
They have to get to the smokehouse and finish processing.
I will post that date when I know what it will be.
I am not sure that I would be happy with fewer options, and being a drover.