Bad news and good news

I’ve avoided posting anything about our beef being here today because I have to wait and see if our processor will have it done in time to pick up today. Usually I can pick up Friday morning, but sometimes it isn’t done yet. And with all the craziness going on, if it was ever to be not ready, it would be now.

So I called first thing this morning. Ring…Ring…Ring…Ring…No answer

Crap! Did they end up shutting down? They are in a different county than I am and I don’t know what weird orders the county may have imposed. Wake County has exemptions for our business (food and farming both) so we are free to come and go. Maybe they aren’t? I can’t imagine they’d be shut down.

Wait 30 minutes and call. Ring…Ring…Ring…Ring…Oh no! Really?!…Ring…Hello?

Oh thank God!

Hey, good morning. Just checking to make sure you guys are open and my cow is ready for pickup?

Uh, not yet. It is gonna be late. Will be this afternoon at best. Sorry.

Argh!!

So I hopped on here to let everyone know, because we’ve been telling people all week that we are restocking on hamburger, steaks, etc this Friday. But before I could get halfway started.

Ring… Hello?

Yeah, I know I said this afternoon, but I think we can be done with your cow by lunch.

No problem. That is great since we open at 2pm. Thank you.

Now, onto the pork. I also haven’t told you that our pork processor was able to get some of our pork done earlier than expected. They said yesterday that if I came by this afternoon, I could get everything but BBQ. So originally the plan was I would have already been on the way to the beef processor first thing this morning (that is 3 hours at best), and then reversed course to go to the pork processor (2 hours) and then been home in time for all that to be onsite before we opened at 2pm today.

Now I’m heading to pork first, I’ll get what is available, which is still most of it. Then I’ll head to beef and be sitting there at lunch time when my cow comes off the floor. Then I’ll high tail it to home to try to get here before we open.

So other than missing kielbasa, and BBQ, and making my day crazy, I think it will all work out for getting things here before 2pm. That DOES NOT mean we’ll have it all unloaded before 2pm so please don’t plan on walking in the door at 2 and getting beef and pork. We’ll be working to download the trailer as best we can, as we can also deal with each and every customer through the door.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

So much for that

I travelled from early dark to lunch today. Picking up milk, chicken, lamb, whatever. I won’t be getting my beef restock till Friday but at least pretty much everything else will be well stocked.

Jeanette came in 1.5 hours early just to stock up and get things ready.

Between all the loot I hauled home, and Jeanette stocking and restocking everything, we were loaded for bear.

I headed to the house to feed the family, and then looked back through the window and saw this.

Cars all along the parking lot at Ninja Cow Farm
It is hard to see them all but there are cars from one side of the picture to the other

This view was 15 minutes before we even opened! We are normally busy on Wednesday, but wow! I started scarfing my lunch down so I could get free, and headed over to the barn.

Cars all over the store parking lot
Each time I’d take a picture, two more cars would pull up. I finally gave up and just went with this.

I ducked in the back entrance to the store, something I’ve never even needed to do before. There were people all over the front waiting to get in at 2pm sharp.

Line of people in the store
Lined up to the entrance

The last time I saw it this busy was when we had the pet a pig day. We did 4x a Saturday’s volume (a month ago) in ONE HOUR. Yikes!

We sold out of eggs and most of the raw milk and the chicken got a good hit. We also worked the beef roasts and pork products pretty good. And the lamb, which we just received in this morning, went out seemingly with every other customer.

I’m writing this just one hour after that first hour. Things have calmed down now and you can get in and out. But kuddos to Jeanette for making it happen during a crazy busy time.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Corona Virus and the farm store

The last few weeks have been interesting to say the least. First, the world effectively goes crazy, then shuts down. We are just doing our thing, fat, dumb, and happy. I go get some milk and chicken, drop off a hog or two, pick up some pork. Tra la la, happy little farmer just doing normal stuff.

A truck load of porky goodness
A truck load of porky goodness

But Jeanette is placing bigger orders with our partner farms, like an order of magnitude bigger than we’ve done in the last year. And we are still selling out of stuff more than normal. I’m still kinda doing my thing, talking to our farmers, dropping off a cow at the processor, watching the stock market plummet, just merrily driving around and seeing everyone, dropping off animals and picking up meat. Everyone is sorta wide eyed or shaking their head at all that is going on, but everyone is still working, everyone is open. Farmers and their related businesses don’t have days off, and don’t stop. Animals have to eat every day, that is just part of being a farmer.

food for animals from the farmers market
Food for the animals on the farm

Then this week, we had about 3-4 times normal volume in the store on Wednesday. Wow. Jeanette is some sales lady, she really must have had somebody decide to stock up. Shame she’s gonna be off the rest of the week and the girls are gonna cover for her.

two business men looking at a chart with growth that goes off the top
Business is off the chart

I casually mention to the Mrs that she might want to grab any hamburger she needs for dinner this week because with these sales, I could see us running out of hamburger. Which is saying something because the last cow we processed was heavy on hamburger (read: we were well stocked), and our restaurant customer, Brew N Que isn’t really ordering any hamburger right now since everyone is shut down. Wifey grabs a few pounds of hamburger and a couple of gallons of milk for us before we open on Friday.

The Princess and Myla sweeping up
The Princess and Myla sweeping up

Friday the 11 year old, and her friend Eva work. They can run the register, but they aren’t the sales people that Jeanette is. We have to do a lot of educating of our customers. “Oh, yes we are out of that roast, but this roast can be substituted, no problem. It comes from the same primal.” Things like that. Don’t expect an 11 year old to know that level of detail. They have an even larger sales day than Jeanette did on Wednesday.

Girls playing apples to apples with Alarita
Crystal dealing out the next hand

Then Crystal works the store on Saturday and it is a huge sales day again. It wasn’t as big as Friday, but by this point, we are out of hamburger, out of milk, low on chicken, low on pork. You get the idea. It is hard to sell out of an empty basket.

Busy vintage telephone operator
A good problem to have

While all this is going on, my phone has been blowing up. In the past week, I’ve turned down the sale of at least 6 whole cows. Not everyone wants a whole. Some want 1/2. Some want 1/4. But if I add them up, it is at least that many cows. We only process 1 cow per month so we are talking about nearly half of our annual sales I’ve turned down. My answer to everyone is, “We are selling by the cut, in store only. ” They mostly go away with that response. The store and our regulars is our focus. I tell myself that as I watch tens of thousands of dollars go away.

I was at the beef processor (where we take cows to become steaks) and they were telling me that farmers are just backing up and dropping off cows with no notice. You see, it takes about 90-120 days to get on the schedule to have a cow processed. But farmers are getting so slammed for demand, they are desperate. I marveled at the audacity of someone making their demand problem the processors problem. You don’t just drop a cow off with no notice. That is a living animal and the people on the receiving end have to have a plan or the animal suffers. Luckily we keep a standing appointment with the processor every month so we are in and out like clockwork. Also luckily, we just processed about 900 lbs of pork because we are moving through some other stuff related to the pork products. And mainly because Jeanette told me to go process some pigs, she needed product!

New welcome sign and store entrance sign
New welcome sign and store entrance sign

We are just a little farm store, run by kids and one kindly lady who takes pity on us and works here. We are doing about 4-5 times normal business right now, and turning down sales on 1/2 and whole animals daily. Luckily everyone has been super nice, our regulars understand what we are going through, and our new people are just happy to find us in this dire time. I’m hauling more meat than ever, and I don’t see if changing in the next few weeks.

We are surprisingly well stocked for the level of business we are doing. We are going to do our dead level best to keep the store well stocked for everyone. But obviously we are going to run out of things. We do that even when things are slow.

Tuesday I will be picking up chicken, lamb, milk, and maybe some pork products. Friday I will be picking up a whole cow that we just processed replenishing our beef supply. Then next week, it will be chicken, milk, and pork.

Know that we are doing our best to keep you fed during these trying times.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

We are open normal hours today and Saturday

I’ll be dropping off a cow today, so that we can have a restock of fresh beef next Friday. So we should be open as normal, with lots of beef and still pork remaining from our pickup earlier this week.

One thing we don’t have yet is our sausages. I dropped off about 300 lbs of pork at the sausage maker last week and they are working through it now. Thankfully they are still open. Hopefully I can run over there today to drop off one last bit of pork I missed (duh) and they can start cooking BBQ next week.

The girls will be working instead of Jeanette both Friday and Saturday. That means there may be cookies. Maybe not. Depends on what mood the wife is in. With all the craziness going on, she’s not keen on extra cleaning in the kitchen. She is however interested in some spring cleaning so if it looks like we are having a yard sale in the front yard, that is just the wife doing her thing. I’m going to hide in my truck today and stay on the road picking up and dropping off meat.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Yes we are open

With all the crazy in the world, we are faced with a simple question. “Are you open tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th?”

The quick answer is yes. Yes we are, our normal hours from 2pm-6pm.

In addition to just being open, Jeanette was busy restocking literally hundreds of pounds of chicken, pork, lamb, and goat today so she’d be ready for you all tomorrow. We also restocked milk and milk products today as well.

So come and see us tomorrow for all your food needs. Jeanette will be looking for you.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

New Saturday hours

Today is the last day we are going to be open all day on Saturday. Starting next Saturday, 28 December, we will be open from 9am till 1pm instead of traditional 5pm.

This will allow us to get to Saturday night church without committing any number of sins just crashing into one another trying to get out the door after work on Saturday. Plus this more closely matches our hours the rest of the week, meaning whether you work Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, it is a four hour shift either way.

Lastly, it means the girls, who are older now and want to go skating with their friends, or have sleepovers, or whatever, aren’t tied to the store all day. They can work the morning, and get off just after lunch and still see their friends.

So please still come and see us, just do your grocery shopping first, then go to the park.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Standing rib roasts are still available

Just a reminder that we still have a few slots available for standing rib roasts for Christmas. They cost the same as a ribeye steak, no premium paid. But you have to order them. Don’t be like the people calling me the day before Thanksgiving and asking if we still had turkeys. Get your order in so we can have an awesome centerpiece for your Christmas dinner ready when you are.

Call the store during store hours, and Jeanette can get your information.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Herd Share renewals

Raw milk in refrigerator

Once per year, we need to update our herd share memberships and now is the time for those of you who are part of our program.

If you don’t recall (and all the original details are here in this post), it is simply the cost of a gallon of milk to be a member. We try to make it as painless as possible for you. But it is an important membership, as it allows us to be compliant with NC laws, Senate Bill 711 to be specific.

You just just pay in the store when you come in, so it isn’t complicated. We are required to renew this membership once per year under NC law.

Raw milk, with NC required warnings
Raw milk, and all it’s warnings

If you don’t want to be a member, that is fine. But you will have to buy your milk under the old NC law which allowed for selling milk not for human consumption. The milk will cost a few dollars more, and it will have a large sticker on it to comply with that law. We also will want to know that you are feeding it to your goldfish, not to your kids.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Thanksgiving hours and turkey pickup

Next week is the big week. I’m already feeling big because I’ve been eating too much this week already and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Ugh. By next week I’ll look like this.

Fat sea lion laying on concrete
I wonder if there is any pie left?

Because of the holiday, we have different hours and days this coming week. Instead of being open Friday from 2-6pm, we will be open Monday from 2-6pm. This will allow me to go pick up our fresh turkeys Monday morning and bring them back and keep them in the fridge for all of our customers. Pickups will be Monday for Turkeys, period. Otherwise we’d have to freeze them and none of us want to have a fresh turkey that is then frozen, to then thaw. Kinda defeats the purpose.

Wednesday we will be open our normal hours, from 2-6pm.

Friday, as I said we will be closed so you can go get your Black Friday on.

Saturday we will also be closed. Spork and I have to be at a school in Virginia and with all the Thanksgiving goings on it is better to just be closed.

The following week we will return to our normal schedule.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Standing rib roasts

Standing rib roast

Every Christmas we forgo our normal ribeye steaks and instead have our cuts made into standing rib roasts. These are always very popular and we always sell more than we can produce.

The way the process works is you call into the store (919-322-0197) during store hours and talk to Jeanette. You tell her how many pounds of rib roast you want. She will take a deposit from a credit card over the phone. She will put you down for that amount in her book and when we process our Christmas cows, we have the butcher cut your roasts to spec, or as close as we can get it. Then we call you when I go get the meat from the processor and you swing by during store hours and pick up your beautiful rib roast. Unlike our turkeys, your roast will be frozen so there is no rush to get the roast or worry about it spoiling if you are traveling for Christmas.

The price is exactly the same as if you’d ordered that many pounds of ribeye steaks, because effectively that is what you did. We don’t up-charge just because the steaks are now magically a roast instead.

We always sell out of these roasts so get your orders in early.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.