We have hummus!

Day 1 of having hummus in the store

Jeanette, “I brought in a bunch of new products. Bison, venison, elk, hummus…..”

Farmer Dan (internal dialogue) I sorta stopped listening at hummus. I don’t know what else she said. I LOVE hummus.

Farmer Dan to Jeanette, after an unexplained pause while he wasn’t listening, “Oh good. I like hummus.”

Jeanette, looks confused since he didn’t comment on the 17 other new items she was talking about.

End scene

Day 3 of having hummus in the store

Darling Wifey, “Hey! Did you know Jeanette brought hummus in the store?”

Farmer Dan, “Yeah, I heard something about that (discretely looks for crumbs on his shirt)

Darling Wifey, “I grabbed some. Let’s have it for lunch.”

Farmer Dan, “Sounds good. I’ll grab some cheese to go with it.”

Couple happily munches away at the kitchen table, discussing the day.

End scene

Day 4 of having hummus in the store

Darling Wifey, “Did you know there are two kinds of hummus in the store? Let’s try the other kind….”

Day 5 of having hummus in the store

Darling Wifey, “Ugh, WHY did Jeanette bring hummus in? I’m going to gain 20 pounds on this stuff!”

Farmer Dan, “Crunch, crunch. (Said while busily stuffing crackers and hummus in his mouth) Mmm hmm. I agree. Terrible idea. But don’t tell her. It’ll hurt her feelings.”

Epilogue

So there is a lot less hummus in the store now. And it is declining every day. Especially if the wife isn’t supervising Farmer Dan. Not to worry though, I’m sure Jeanette will be ordering some more soon.

Oysters are at the farm

No, we aren’t farming oysters. Although that would be cool. But I’d have to move to the coast. I mean, I like the coast. Ahh, living at the coast, with the salt air…

This is what I’m picturing in my head
This is more like reality for an oyster farmer

Yeah, I’ll stay here on the farm I think.

So the next best thing to living at the beach is bringing the beach to us. Jeanette has ordered some oysters from NC Seafood, the same people we’ve been getting our wonderful scallops and shrimp from.

Have I mentioned I like oysters? A lot.

I have my pictures searchable by topic/subject matter. That makes it easier to find a picture when I need one. Like if I need a cute cow, I just search for cute.

Betsy and her calf
And viola a choice of cuteness just pops up

Since I took a picture of the oysters when they came in, it will be easy to find that picture and complete this post.

Except all the pictures that come up look like this.

Me, with a stupid grin, sitting somewhere most likely by the water, with a big tray of oysters on the 1/2 shell. I can’t find the picture I took of just oysters, frozen in the store and ready for sale. I have too much to do to walk over, take a pic, then walk back, upload it, and post it. (translation – I’m lazy) so I’m inserting this lovely picture carefully curated from the internet google search.

They look just like this. But different.

They are fresh oysters from NC and the surrounding waters (think Virginia). And they are on the 1/2 shell ready to thaw and eat, or thaw and cook, if you are a monster who ruins an oyster by cooking it. If you are, don’t worry. I won’t judge you. While you are still here.

Just kidding.

However you like your oysters served, we are just pleased to have them available for you to compliment our other seafood offerings.

Ask Jeanette about the oysters when you stop in next time. Especially since hamburger is still on sale for 15% off so it is a good time to visit.

Hamburger is on sale

I don’t know how long this will last, but Jeanette informs me she needs some room in the freezers and she wants to move some hamburger out of her way. So from now until she tells me to stop, hamburger is on sale for 15% off of retail.

This does not include ground chuck or hamburger premade patties.

Use that gas your fought for this week to come and get some beefy goodness to stock your freezer for hamburger season which is around the corner.

Time for a new bull

Every few years we have to swap bulls on the farm. Now for those of you who might not know why.

No not you, I know you know about the birds and the bees. I mean the other people.

So the way it works is when a momma cow and a daddy cow love each other very much, sometimes they make a baby cow and it is a wonderful blessing and they are a family.

Then as the years go by, the baby cow gets older. If the baby is a boy, that isn’t a problem because when he’s born, we cut, um… We fix him so he stays a boy and doesn’t become a daddy himself.

If it is a girl cow, we can’t keep her from becoming a mommy and the daddy cow, he, um. Well.

Ok look. Don’t let your kids read this unless you are ready for some conversations I can’t help you with.

Eventually the females get old enough they start looking good to the bull. Even if that bull is the same bull. So every few years, we need to either sell off our younger cows so they don’t breed or swap bulls so we don’t have bulls breeding their daughters. It was time for us to swap and luckily we had a neighbor who needed to get rid of a bull himself.

Our big boy first arrived in the pasture

Luckily Bryan the neighbor had an older bull that was perfect for what we need. A registered Hereford bull who had already spent time at several farms and had even gone to college at NC State. Actually I think this is the first time we’ve had a college educated bull. Hmm, that should definitely go into his name. Maybe a character from Real Genius, which is a family favorite movie. Chris Knight was the main character. Nah. Chris the bull is boring. Actually I guess the movie centers around Mitch. Mitch the bull could work. But we have a Mitch moving onto the farm next month to rent a house. That would be confusing. Or Lazlo was a good name. The crazy guy who lives in the closet. Hmm, Lazlo the bull. That might work. I like it. (Pending approval by the women of the house)

Anyway, a key criteria we look for in a bull is calmness. I don’t need 2500 lbs of twitchy anger, spreading that attitude to the rest of the herd. I want a gentle giant who is a big pushover. Lazlo certainly delivered in that regard. It took me three times as long to back the trailer up to the pen than it did to load him. Bryan just got in with him and walked him up onto the trailer like he was going to Sunday church.

When we got home, Lazlo just stepped off the trailer and strolled into the pasture like he’d been here before. No excitement, no quickness to his steps. Chill would be the one word I’d use to describe him.

The ladies, who’d been without a bull for a week or so, were quite keen on checking him out and everyone integrated quickly into a new normal. Lazlo will spend a few years here and then either move onto the next farm or head off to the market. Until then we’ll enjoy him being part of our herd.

Get a dog they said…

Roxy, dead asleep at my feet

Why is it we cannot get a normal dog? We had to get this meat missile who chases squirrels so hard she pulls her hamstring and then comes in the house and sleeps like this.

She is really good at catching stuff out of the air though so that is pretty cool.

Usually you don’t get to see Roxy when you come to the store. We keep her locked up in the house during store hours. She LOVES people. But she runs at them 100mph to say hello and looks like she’s going to eat you so we just keep her inside.

Well maybe not dead asleep

Test post

We’ve been having trouble with our posts not showing up on Facebook when we post one to our website. The easiest way to test (the new auto poster) is to throw up a post like this and see is the blasted thing works. Because just this test message would be boring, here is a cute farm picture.

Baby piglet with cute little girl
Another gratuitous shot of cute with cuter.

2021 vegetable CSA signups are available

Our awesome vegetable farmer Jenn at Chickadee Farms sent me a text last week that she had some spots left open on the CSA for this year which just started. Unfortunately I was out of town when she sent it, so I’m just now posting about it. So… if you want farmer fresh veggies to go along with your farmer fresh meat, sign up for Jenn’s weekly or bi-weekly CSA. The details are on her website. We don’t make anything on the CSA, it is just a service we offer to our customers so they can get great produce and it helps a small local farmer tremendously.

What we have, and what we are doing about what we don’t have

It has been a rough couple of months for us in farming. Our pork processor burned down, leaving us with nowhere to take our pigs to be processed. We went to another processor to try to get by, but they needed two months to do incorrectly, what our normal processor did in a week.

Then we had a problem with our beef processor. I don’t want to get into what happened as it was an honest mistake. But it cost us a cow. Understand we produce one cow per month. So costing us a cow costs us 1/12 of our annual production. It is a big deal.

Then our chicken farmer was coming off of winter and we were unexpectedly out of a bunch of chicken parts for longer than expected.

Pork, beef, and chicken make up about 90% of our total sales and all three have been hammered in the first quarter due to availability in the store. It has been rough.

In addition to all of the above, our seafood and premium cuts freezer died on us and took a week or so to get fixed. That means all those items had to be stuffed in other freezers, which fortunately due to the above had room in them.

So what are we/did we do about it?

We were blessed to form a partnership with BB Organic prior to all of this and we were able to buy a cow from them which offset our missing cow. We label their meat with their farm name so folks that want just our beef know the difference but their product is excellent and raised beautifully. We’d been working on this relationship for some time prior so it was just a blessing that their first cow for us came up right when we desperately needed it.

For pork, our hogs FINALLY got processed so we were able to stock up for a time. Now we have our next pigs going to a different processor for the kill part, and back to our normal processor for the value add. That means it will look and taste just like normal. It took us over a month to get an appointment at this new processor and those hogs are going next week so give us a a couple of weeks and we’ll finally have some fresh pork back in the freezers.

For chicken, our wonderful chicken farmer finally made it through the winter and has started processing again so we are back in business on chicken and chicken parts. She also is greatly ramping up her rabbit production with some fancy new rabbits from Alabama so we should be solidly in rabbits going forward.

Lastly, during all this Jeanette has been bearing the brunt of our lack of stock. of course she hasn’t sat on her laurels. She has found sources for farm raised, pasture raised elk, venison, boar, and water buffalo. Pretty fancy stuff. She’s brought in the meats, plus she’s bringing in the organs of these animals because we have a large contingent of customers who buy organ meats for their pets.

In addition to all that, we have some new seafood options as well. Oysters on the 1/2 shell plus the normal seafood we’ve been getting already. I’m having oysters and beer one day soon, that I can promise you.

I am taking a cow this Friday to the processor. One that we won’t have any trouble with this time as we are all a little smarter. So we’ll have our beef heading back in the following week. With more beef from BB Organic following shortly behind.

Lastly, $800 later, our freezer is fixed and full of product again so we are back to speed.

What is in the store actually?

I get emails and calls routinely.

“Do you have any ribeye steaks?”

“Is there raw milk in the store?”

“I need (insert ice cream flavor here). Do you have any?”

Everyone knows me, because I’m “Farmer Dan.” The guy who runs the show. El Jefe. Plus the voice on the other end of this internet thingy. So of course I am the one you ask. Here’s the truth. I’m barely in the store. I go in once per week, for about 30 minutes, to drop off all the goodies I’ve picked up from our other farmers. I put most of it in the stock room (not the customer area). And then I go about the rest of my day blissfully unaware of how much butter we have.

Jeanette does all of our store management. And our ordering. At this point in our farming career, I just drive the truck and pay for stuff. She’s El Jefe when it comes to the store, and the source of all the information when folks need to know what we have. So my answer to everyone when they call/text/email is either, “Call the store during store hours and ask Jeanette.” or the ever popular, “Forward this to Jeanette and get her to answer it.”

Usually I’m not even here when these requests come in so it isn’t like I could walk over and look. Why am I telling you this? Well because I feel like an idiot for not knowing the answer to your question. Confession is good for the soul and all that. Plus, if you are looking for an answer to a stock level question, your best bet is to follow one of the two solutions above. If you are a regular you probably have Jeanette’s info. If not, call the store during store hours.

Hello from the farm

I’ve decided I’m going to write the definitive book on internet marketing. I feel my unbridled success as an internet marketer uniquely qualified me as an expert. Here is my rough draft.

Step 1. Content is king. You have to supply your audience with consistent, engaging content. When you look at what we do here on the farm, we post exciting content every… um. Scroll back a bit further…. Crap does that say December?

Ok, I suck at writing content lately. Like the last year plus. Here is the dirty truth. Back when I used to work in corporate, I had terrible insomnia. Most nights I’d get a few hours of sleep, at best. Sometimes none at all. What could I do to take my mind off my day job and its stress? How about writing about a calmer, happier topic. Cows, pigs, funny stories of happenings on the farm. I wrote those at 2am. Usually during the middle of the night when everyone was asleep. Getting a few hundred words down would help with my stress levels. If nothing else it made that time productive.

Now I am cursed with relatively sound sleep. Plus my time spent at my desk overall is greatly reduced compared to those days. Now I barely have any time at my desk at all. When I do get there, there is a stack of bills, questions to answer, accounting work to be done. All things that have a higher priority on my time (hard to farm when the power has been turned off from lack of payment) so I end up knocking out the must-dos before the to-dos and writing just hasn’t been a must do. With that said, I’m taking a bit of time this morning, before I head out, and get some updates out so at least you know our status.