Supply chain woes hit Ninja Cow Farm

You’d have to live under a rock to not know about the supply chain issues we are all facing. Diesel prices are crazy, you can’t get tires, and the grocery store has empty shelves….again.

But our supply chain is much shorter and has different kinks.

Pork We are mid switch from our pigs raised here on the farm to our new pork farmer. It took a bit to get things moving and we ran short on pork for a few weeks, especially on our most common items.

Chicken Our chicken farmer usually meets us every week. We get chicken and dairy products on the same delivery. But with fuel prices so high, we don’t get to meet every week now. We only meet if the order is big enough to justify the trip. And she’s behind on growing birds. Again. So a lot of what we order isn’t available when we order it, which makes the “is it worth the drive” game even harder to play. And now there is some bird flu going around and she can’t get chicks. Chicken has been a mess the past few weeks.

Beef I started a new job off the farm and I ended up being late to delivery this month’s cow. Which of course means we ran short on beef because I was a week late getting the cow to the processor. A job? Me? Wait. Wait! I can hear the questions now.

You got a job? Are you still going to farm? Yes I’m still a farmer.
Are you selling the farm?! No I’m not selling the farm. Hence the whole, I’m still a farmer thing.
Why did you have to get a job? Does the farm not make money? What? You thought the farm made money? Heck it never made money. Nobody farming makes money.
If you don’t make money, how do you keep farming? This new job isn’t my only off farm job. I’ve had an off farm job the whole time.
But this is an adult job, real work, nose to the grind stone kind of thing? Oh heck no. No adulting for me. This is definitely a kids job. A big kid, but kid for sure.

Farmer Dan flying a Citation to the Bahamas
Thirty five thousand feet up
The Caribbean, a beautiful site from any angle

I’m flying for hire now. Currently flying a jet (which is cool) and soon to be also flying a King Air (which is cool) and even flying a Cirrus (which is cool). Can you tell flying is cool? Can I tell you about it? My wife is tired of hearing me talk about planes…… No, oh ok. So about that farming….

So back to our beef being late. I got stuck in the Caribbean with a broken airplane and was late getting the cow to the processor. Yes, being stuck in paradise, and getting paid for it, was as bad as it sounds. The only car available to rent was a convertible. No really…. Yeah, my family didn’t believe me either. But I’m back and farming has kicked into gear. This week I drove 35 gallons of diesel out of my truck hauling product around NC and back to the farm.

The first load of pork from our new pork farmer
Just some of the raw milk goodness
Beef, two freezers worth

The stupid beef picture won’t post correctly. Sorry it is so large.

So the store, which was kinda sad last week, is back in full swing. We have most of our products in stock again and more stuff to pick up in the pipeline. I’m sorry for the things that we were out of. It was out of our hands for the most part and we had to just do the best we could. I’m mostly around this month so deliveries should be normal. And we already have our next cow in line to go to the processor so we should stay in beef heading into summer. So all in all, things are back to normal. Or as normal as it gets around here.

Our website actually works now

For the past several years, our website has progressively gotten slower and slower. I’ve deleted a lot of content, or resized images extensively, or called our hosting provider to be sold yet another upgraded plan which was marginal at best. Despite all that, the entire website crawls. I’ve investigated several times just dumping our provider and getting a new one. But that requires about 2 solid days of being in the office non-stop, just banging my head into the wall till the new hosting works with the old website. As you can guess, I haven’t been able to free up those two days.

With all that in mind, I received an email out of the blue from our hosting provider saying we’d been moved to a new server in house. Now this free move to a new server (I’d already paid for one, it didn’t help) only required about 2 hours of being in the office, lightly tapping myself in the head with a ball peen hammer, so much easier than a full hosting company changeover. But I was skeptical. Then I clicked on our website to see if it worked and….

The website works like it is supposed to, quick and responsive. Of course NOW the hosting provider, when queried, said the old server had problems so they needed to move everyone to a new one. Argh! Of course it had problems! I’d been telling them that for years.

Speed! Finally!

So apologies for the lack of speed on our website. Apparently it is all better now. Enjoy the speed. Maybe I can actually post some content now that I don’t have to watch paint dry on every click.

We are unexpectedly closed (only) today

Closed sign

March 10, 2022. Our person scheduled to work today is sick, and everyone else is already committed to other things, so we are going to close today. Our normal schedule will resume (with different, not sick personnel) tomorrow 11 March and again on Saturday 12 March we’ll be open as normal so it is just today. Sorry for the inconvenience.

We have a date for raw milk’s return

Bottle and glass of milk

We have babies on the ground! And with that comes milk, milking, milk testing, preparation, storage and finally TRANSPORT. (In case you don’t know, transport is when it actually shows up here at the store.)

We know for certain that we will have raw goats milk on 2 March and we may even have some cows milk on that date as well. For certain we’ll have both cow and goat milk on 9 March.

Now to try and answer the questions I think people will have.

Can I reserve some milk for me?

No. We do not reserve raw milk. It is first come, first serve. We do not, and we have never had, enough milk for everyone. We’ve held milk in the past for people, who then didn’t show up. So if you are frustrated at why we won’t hold milk, blame your peers.

Do I need to join the herd share to buy milk?

If you are planning on drinking it, yes. Also if you are planning on getting yoghurt, butter, etc. All of those items require you to be a part of the herd share. If you are only purchasing the milk for your pet, then you do not have to join to herd share. However, we charge $2 more per gallon for non-herdshare purchases so if you plan to buy all season, it is cheaper to join.

What does the herdshare cost to join?

We charge the cost of a gallon of milk to join. At that point your name goes on the list for this season and you are free to purchase.

What does a gallon of milk cost?

I don’t know. Pricing has been insane lately on everything and our dairy farm manager is still getting her costs together. I’m sorry, I wish we had a better idea but pricing has been crazy. Last year it was $12 for a gallon, $14 if you were not part of the herdshare. I expect it will go up once we get pricing but that is a moving target, as I said. We’ll have pricing in the store by the time we have milk.

Is there a limit to how much milk I can buy?

Yes, especially in the beginning. Everyone wants to get milk and there is only so much to go around. Jeanette will be limiting milk purchase in the store until our supply and demand stabilizes. Once that happens we will probably get a little more flexibility in what you can purchase at once. One thing to know is if you are wanting to freeze milk, let Jeanette know so she can put you on a first call list for when we get to Saturday and still have some milk. It does happen occasionally.

Are you going to dry off again this winter?

I don’t know that either. The plan wasn’t to dry off this winter. But you know what they say about plans and contact with the enemy. This year, I’m hoping we can be on reduced milking instead of being completely dried off, but we’ll have to see how the year goes.

Raw milk is almost back

Farm product in a trailer mounted freezer
Our raw and non-raw milk fills one entire freezer on the trailer. This is double stacked two deep

About 3-5 times per week, I receive this email.

Do you carry raw:

snail milk?

…..I heard from a friend of a friend who’s cousin’s niece’s brother said that you have it and I wanted to know if I could:

stop by in 5 minutes
pre order 16 gallons
just go in the store even though you are closed
bring my dog by to drink it right there in the store.

I answer everyone pretty much the same. I link to the post I posted back in October where I announced that we were drying off the animals and tell them to check back in February.

I’m not smart enough to keep the raw milk status on the top of the web page, mainly because I don’t have a lot of time at the computer anymore, and when I am at the computer I’m wasting time doing pointless things like paying taxes, paying bills, doing the accounting, etc. You know, goofing off. I just don’t get to the website enough to post updates and do my normal erratic writing. But I spend so much time answering these emails that it finally occurred to me that maybe I should move this topic up the priority list. So, here is the status on raw milk.

All the critters are as wide a battleships, ready to deliver new cuteness to the farm. We expect them to start dropping in the next few weeks. Once babies start hitting the ground, we’ll have the craziness of getting moms and babies sorted and nursing properly. Then the craziness of convincing animals that had gotten used to sleeping in that now we are going back to milking at 5am. Then we have to get the milk tested. Then coordinate a pickup date for the first weekly pickup. THEN we will have milk back in the store.

Until all those things happen, we do NOT have any raw milk. Or raw milk butter. Or yogurt. Or anything else that is raw milk based. The first few weeks of milking will be just milk, but we’ll start working our way into other products as time progresses.

I will post here when we have a date for first pickup. Sometimes the situation is fluid, so my post may be, “And we’re back!” because we just didn’t have time to plan that effectively. Sometimes animals make things smooth, sometimes it is an adventure. I will do my best to get notice out as soon as I have it available. So stay tuned.

We are closed for the snow

Raleigh 2014

Not saying we are going to repeat the above, but it isn’t like we are known fo handling a bit of snow with aplomb. With that said, we are shutting down today (Friday) and tomorrow. Have fun making snow angels and drinking hot chocolate. I know we will.
See you Wednesday when we reopen.

Everything (mostly) is on sale!

The winter doldrums hit us, just like every year. Unfortunately the New Years resolution to finally start eating better can’t outweigh the empty wallet of Christmas just past and sales slow down this time of year.

To help folks get back on track with their eating habits while the ol’ wallet recovers, we are putting all beef and pork on sale in the store (except ribeyes, BBQ, filet mignon, Canadian bacon, bacon, and tenderloin). Everything else beef and pork is 10% off until the end of January.

You know the leftovers from Christmas are done. If they are still in the fridge, they are starting to grow their own biosphere. It is time to get some good food back in the house. Stop by during our store hours and stock up during the sale, and help me get some room in the freezers so I can drop off another cow at the processor.

Surprise turkeys are available

Looks like we have four turkeys available in the store after yesterday’s madness. There is a 10 lb, and 11 lb, and a 24 pound, and a 27 lb fresh, never frozen turkey in our fridge in the store. They are first come, first serve today.

Thanksgiving turkey.

I know what you are thinking, “But farmer Dan, you said that all the turkeys were sold already. I called you a week ago and you told me no.”

Yep, you are right. I’m at a loss myself. One of the turkeys is an orphan. The person who ordered it changed her mind and isn’t coming to get it. It happens sometimes.

Two of the turkeys showed up from our farmer not part of our count. I don’t know if someone is missing some turkeys elsewhere, or two extra got on the truck when she wasn’t looking.

The final turkey? I don’t know where it came from. Maybe they are breeding in the cooler? Who knows? Anyway, we are open normal hours today, 2-6pm. And the turkeys are first come, first serve. Whatever we don’t sell, we’ll put in the freezer and have for Christmas dinner at farmer Dan’s house. Mmm, turkey sandwiches.

Standing rib roasts are available to order

Rib roast, cooked perfectly
Standing rib roast

With family coming in this year, a lot of people will be looking to get a standing rib roast. We have availability for a few of them and Jeanette is taking orders now. Deposits will be required and pickup will depend on when the next cow is picked up so you’ll have to coordinate with Jeanette on the schedule.

To reserve a rib roast, call the store during store hours and put down a deposit, or better yet, stop by and put down a deposit. Pricing is the same as our ribeye pricing which currently is $25.00 per pound. But in the world we are living in, that price is subject to change at any moment. But once you put your deposit down, it won’t change for you.

2021 Holiday hours

Jeanette just reminded me that I haven’t even talked about holiday hours. So here are the days we’ll be closed this year.

November 25th and 26th we will be closed for Thanksgiving.

December 24, 25th, and 31st we will be closed for Christmas.

January 1st we will be closed for New Years