Thanks to Jeanette who continues to come in on her off days and do all the work to make things happen. And to Wasim at our beef processor who managed to get our cow processed in record time, we have the freezers stocked with beef again.
I don’t have any cute pics or anything current to show you. Just know that hamburger, steaks, roasts, etc are back in stock.
On another note, I’m starting to see things turn back towards normal. Yes, we are gonna sell out of beef again. But take a look at one of our web statistics.
This downward trend in our web site traffic goes back to even higher numbers over the past few months. Things are slowing down. People are less freaked out. I think we’ll be back to normal in another 30 days or so, at least in our little store.
Here is another look, from a different platform, for our traffic over 90 days instead of 30. 90 days would put us pre-COVID craziness. It validates what I was thinking.
There is some noise in that data because it starts at zero. That isn’t entirely accurate as we weren’t measuring then but you can see that they current web traffic is pretty identical to where it was 90 days ago. That was a massive hump in the middle when you consider that we are already a page one result so we get a good bit of web traffic already. With restaurants opening back up, and people able to get everything, even toilet paper occasionally, at the store, we should be back to a more normal demand level pretty soon. Sure, we have a lot of new customers from all this, but I expect we’ll see normal stock levels in the store by the end of July. Chicken is back and that helps a lot. Pork we have on hand, either ours or someone elses. Once beef calms down things will be more like what we are used to.
During all this COVID mess, we ramped up like crazy on cleaning the store, finding alternate processors for our animals, and making sure everything was communicated as quickly and clearly as possible. What we didn’t do was go process a bunch of animals to capture demand now and shortchange us later when we run out. We didn’t change who we were or what we do. I predicted this chart above early into this thing, and we held the course during all of it. This thing will go away and we’ll still be here doing what we do, producing grass finished beef and quality pork, and bringing in other farmers who we know and trust.
Regulars make a business successful, not panic buyers who all want 1/2 of a cow.
I wasn’t able to get any inventory updates out last week. I do apologize. I just wasn’t able to get it done since I was out of town. Also, we had a change in inventory that I’ll address this week. I didn’t want to start a stampede so I let this little fact slip for a week.
Beef is currently very sad. Although we do have a cow at the processor right now so hopefully I’ll have beef fully stocked this coming Friday.
Pork is fairly well stocked. Most of it is from another farm, as we’ve been doing these past few weeks. But yesterday I picked up two of our hogs from the processor (last appointment I could get till OCTOBER! Argh!!) We have ground pork, pork chops, butts, etc from these hogs so we have a mix of our pork and other pork again.
Chicken is back in stock! That is the big news that I was hinting at. Last week we received 28 whole chickens. This is the first chicken we’ve seen since March so happy days! The people who happened by this past week had a pleasant surprise. This week, not only did we receive whole chickens, we also received parts and pieces which was a surprise. Christy had told us to expect whole chickens for a while but getting breasts and thighs and wings was welcome news. We only have some much of the cut pieces but we are well stocked on whole birds.
Goat and rabbit are still in stock. They are limited quantities as always but we do have them on hand.
Raw milk, as always, is well stocked. We continue to get requests from people to “hold some milk” for them. We simply don’t do this. Too many times we’ve gotten stuck with milk for people who never showed up. I’m sorry. We also get inquiries about why we don’t just get more milk since we run out every week, especially from new customers who want to buy 3-5 gallons at once (which we also don’t do). We are limited by how much milk the cows can physically produce each week. That seems to surprise people when I explain that. If we could get more milk, I’d be limited by how much milk I can physically store in the fridge at our dairy farm. If we bought another fridge there, I’d be physically limited by how much milk I can carry on our freezer trailer. Trust me, we put all the milk in the store that we can, every week.
We brought in a cow last Friday to finally get some beef back in stock. By Saturday the freezer was already looking sad. It was crazy busy as everyone waited to show up when beef was back in stock. Luckily we have another cow going shortly so we should be ok for the next little while.
Pork continues to be well stocked, although it is from our partner farm and not our pigs. The good needs is that means pork is 20% off and it is available.
Chicken is going to be this week! When I met Christy to pick it up. She explained that she meant “I’m going to start processing chickens this week. You can’t have any till next week. Ugh! We still have guinea hen and rabbit a plenty right now so we’ll be fine till next week when chicken shows back up. When it does, they will be whole chickens only for a while.
Milk is well stocked. A little less raw this week than last week, but we actually had 1.5 gallons left over from last week so we had more than we needed.
Goat was supposed to come in this week. But your farmer is a forgetful idiot and forgot to get it when he was at the farm picking up the milk. It will be next week.
Lastly, some of the freezer pics look a bit dark. I was in a terrible hurry and didn’t turn on the lights in the store to take the pics. Thought they’d be ok. Didn’t realize till now they weren’t. There is more product in their than it looks.
Just got word from our processor. We WILL have beef in the store on Friday. I’m going to go pick it up and we’ll be able to get it put away prior to opening on Friday so for those of you who are waiting to see if beef shows, it will be there.
We are OUT of beef. There is some ox tail and some osso bucco. That is it. However we SHOULD pick up our next cow on Friday so we should be fully stocked then.
Pork was just picked up, just over 400 lbs of cuts which is the equivalent of about 2 big hogs. This is from our friendly farmer we sourced from, which we spoke about before. Also, the processor has now informed us that we won’t be able to process any more hogs (after the two I just dropped off Monday) till OCTOBER! Argh!! We are going to have to be really nice to our friendly farmer to keep us in pork till we can get to the processor this fall. Things are REALLY getting crazy.
Chicken is still missing but we have more rabbit and guinea hen in the freezer. Christy said another couple of weeks till we get chicken again.
Milk is still flowing like normal. In fact we have more milk this week than I’ve ever seen.
Goat meat should be coming back in next week. It just wasn’t quite ready to load on the trailer this week. Barely missed. it.
Now for pics of what this week looks like. First, the pics of our trailer freezers this week. They were as full as I’ve ever seen them. I had to play Jenga to get everything to fit, which is unusual.
Now for our freezers. This is stocked (thanks Jeanette!) and as you’ll see it today when we open.
As I said, the beef freezer is empty. Friday should be stuffed full again.
There was some personnel issue at the creamery and we only get our normal flavors like chocolate, strawberry, etc. We got those by the case but not the one off flavors we needed. We are still in good shape on ice cream though. Guinea hens and rabbit are well stocked.
We received our full order of eggs and we have a few left over from last week so we are in good shape. Goat cheese, lard, etc are all in good shape as well.
But we are able to get pork from him sooner than with our hogs and we can order more with greater frequency so that makes life a little easier.
Again, we are supposed to pick up beef this Friday so if you are hankering for a steak, make sure you stop by Friday or Saturday. I’ll also post as soon as I know if I can pick up Friday morning so everyone who wants to come Friday can do so.
We were able to get some good product this week, with updates on lots of items. The short summary is:
Beef is almost gone but a cow is going to the processor this Friday. Back next Friday 15 May.
Our first pork from a friends farm hit the store this week. The label of Ninja Cow 2 didn’t happen due to a mixup, but fortunately they also didn’t put our logo on the package like they normally do. So any pork with no Ninja Cow Logo is the pork NOT from our farm. This pork will be discounted 20% off of our normal pricing to reflect it’s origin.
Milk came in like normal and we are fully stocked for the week.
We did not receive any chicken this week, and I didn’t even ask when it was going to be available. Maybe next week? Maybe after? Who knows at this point. The cool spring hurts the chicken growth so tell me when the weather will turn warm and I’ll tell you when the chicken will be here. We did receive in guinea hen though which Christy says cooks exactly like chicken and she said she prefers it over chicken. We’ll be carrying whole guinea hen till the chicken is completely restocked.
Due to a mixup we didn’t order any rabbit this week. More next week for sure.
We made our normal Tuesday run to get product. Getting pork, cheese, milk, ice cream, etc this week. This was our first week getting pork from somebody else’s farm so that caused a bit of extra visitation at the processor but everyone there is super nice so that’s more fun than a chore. I did something that I don’t normally do this week. We had all three freezers on the trailer full so I took pics of the freezers loaded so you get an idea of what has come into the store this week.
Some of you may have noticed that these are pictures of freezers. Especially that the milk rides in a freezer. You may be thinking to yourself, “Self, if he is putting milk in the freezer, isn’t it freezing it and messing it up?”
The answer is no. Some of the product is frozen when we get it, some of it is refrigerated. By using freezers, we are able to keep the frozen product frozen, but the items like milk are not in the freezers long enough to freeze. It would take many hours to freeze all that milk, maybe even most of a day. My route is setup such that I am only on the road for a few hours. If I have to go all the way to Acre Station (5 hour day), I pick up milk on the way back. In fact, milk is always my last stop, which means the milk is only in the freezer for 45 mins to an hour (depending on if I stop for lunch or not).
Jeanette and her family went to meet our seafood provider. With the restaurants shut down, they aren’t coming to Raleigh as often so it took us a few weeks to get another order. As hoped, we did get some big beautiful scallops along with lots more shrimp. You can see that pizza dough and pasta are also fully stocked. The pizza dough flew off the shelves after Jeanette brought it in.
We are fully stocked on BBQ again. And we hav some beef ribs left. All the premium steaks are gone at this point but they will be back next week.
We still have a good bit of pork leftover, including bacon, from our regular pigs. Jeanette will be restocking the pork chops, Boston butts, etc. from our latest pig today.
We did not run out of eggs last week with our normal order, and I picked up an additional 10 dozen this week beyond our normal order so we should be in great shape on eggs this week.
Jeanette was in the process of stocking this freezer when I took this. The ice cream will be fully stocked when you get here Wednesday. She selected some new flavors, one of which is banana pudding. According to Spork, who couldn’t resist, it is quite tasty. I have the Corona 15 (instead of the freshman 15) waist line currently so I abstained. It looks like we do have one rabbit left that I didn’t notice before so there is rabbit too.
The beef freezer is getting kinda sad. Hamburger is gone. Most steaks are gone although I think some sirloins are still on hand. People seem afraid of the large sirloin steak. They don’t realize that there are two steaks in one package. And if that is still too big, you can always cut the steak in half and have four steaks from one package.
We also had a number of people come in and get Osso Bucco last week after I mentioned it. Good for you! It is a great, inexpensive cut, and we still have some left. In case you didn’t have any good recipes, I’m linking a recipe that Lucy wrote a few years ago.
Again we are dropping off our next cow this Friday, and picking up next Friday so we should be fully stocked on beef by next week.
Things continue to be dynamic. Jeanette had a fairly epic day on Wednesday with a lot of product going out of the store. With that said, there is still quite a bit left and more to come.
We have a cow going to the processor this coming Friday, a week from today. We have pork from the processor Tuesday and Wednesday (two trips this week for me). We hope with sunnier weather to have more eggs consistently, especially with the pullets starting to lay. And of course our dairy farm continues to crank out milk and butter as fast as they can. If we don’t have what you need today or tomorrow, tell the girls working the store to put you down in the book and we can call you when it comes in.
Beef continues to dwindle down as our demand is outpacing our supply. However steaks, hamburgers, roasts, etc are still available. Looks like we won’t make it till the next cow is brought back but as of now, we have beef.
The chicken freezer continues to be sad. We are well stocked on ice cream. We have feet and some necks. And you can see the rabbit. Next week we’ll be getting guinea hen so expect some poultry in here starting Wednesday.
We have eggs still, maybe enough to make it through till next week. Although my daughter is baking cakes so that will burn through a few dozen so who knows. Butter, lard, cheese, are all in good shape.
Our freezer of premium cuts, seafood, and pasta are in pretty good shape. Shrimp remain and we hopefully have them and scallops coming next week. Pasta is in great shape. Steaks are getting pretty thin but I think I saw some ribeyes left.
Cheese is well stocked. We just received a new supply. Raw goat milk, and pasteurized milk are still in supply. There is even some chocolate milk left!
The pork freezer is getting thin, but we should be getting some more pork Tuesday AND Wednesday of this coming week. This will be the Ninja Cow Farm #2 pork, from another farm here in NC. These hogs will not be the same quality as our pork, and will be discounted because of that. But at least it is better than a freezer with cob webs in it.
The sausage freezer is stocked deeper than it looks. We have back stock of sausage so expect it to stay like this for some time.
A few posts back, I told you that someone at our beef processor had tested positive for COVID-19. They isolated that person quickly and sent them home. They then tested everyone in the building.
I checked back with the owner as soon as the results came back. Only that one person has the virus and everyone else was clean. They are not back to normal there yet, but they are slowly getting there. All indication are that we will be getting our cow processed this month on schedule. That is fantastic news and I just wanted to share it with everyone.
Today I made my normal Tuesday loop of Eastern NC to pick up product for the store.
Christy, our chicken farmer, had a Monday today. The truck wouldn’t start. The battery wouldn’t take a charge. The hog wouldn’t get on the trailer. Everything went wrong. Fortunately, I’d forgotten to pay her last week when I picked up so when she got out the truck over an hour late for our meeting, I reminded her that I was a deadbeat customer and had no room to talk (I’d paid her in full for both as soon as I saw her invoice this morning.)
It is all good natured and we do a lot of business together. I was happy to wait for her as she bends over backwards for us routinely.
The only chicken we received this week was a few packs (the last packs!) of ground chicken. We are still waiting on the first birds to be ready to harvest. Maybe next week. Maybe the week after. Depends on weather and whatnot. We did receive a good amount of rabbit and lots of ice cream. Christy also told me that she had lots of guinea hen in the freezer available, and that she actually preferred it to chicken. She said most people don’t think about guinea but maybe we should try it? I told her to be ready for an order next week. For those who are missing our chicken, expect guinea hen in good supply next week. The cooking and eating are nearly identical, except you get more white meat than on a comparable chicken. Poultry is going to be back on the menu next week!
While I was waiting on Christy, I inquired with our pork processor if any of our pork might be ready to pickup. Please? Maybe? Fingers crossed? Brooke said not only was some ready, ALL of it was ready. This is the pork I dropped off a few weeks ago after getting it from the processor down East. I didn’t think it would be ready yet so this was a great surprise.
I was able to pick up dinner sausages, breakfast links, BBQ, and I don’t know what else. It was about 600 lbs of pork so what would normally be two months worth of sausage. It’ll probably last till next week with what is going on currently.
I then went to visit our dairy farm and had a good visit with the lady who runs that. We received our full complement of milk, yogurt, butter, etc like clockwork. She’s amazing. I don’t tell her that enough. Have I mentioned how much I love our farmers and people we work with? They are all busting their humps to get us product so you can buy it.
When I got back to the store, I found a box of honey from our hives, all bottled, labeled, and ready to go. Jennifer had been by and it looks like the first honey harvest has already happened. That is awesome because with the allergies blowing around in the wind, we could all use a little local honey.
All of the below pics are prior to Jeanette restocking Wednesday before the store opens. All the product I brought home, except for the milk, is still in the stock room and not in these pics.
Onto our remaining stock.
The chicken freezer continues to be sad. We did restock on ice cream so at least we can starve to death happy and fat. Expect a big load of guinea next week.
We received our full order of eggs this week. Some may be a bit smaller than normal since some of these are from first time layers but I’d rather have smaller eggs than no eggs. Combine this with the other egg produces we have delivering on Wednesday and we should be good on eggs this week.
We put 800 lbs of beef in the freezer last Friday. There are already holes in the freezer where things are getting thin. We can only get so much, so fast, so this will have to last till the 14th when we drop off our next cow.
On a postive note, the test results came back from our processor where they had the COVID-19 scare. Only one worker had the virus and he’s quarantined. Everyone else is clean. The whole place is likely being doused with enough commercial cleaner to float a battleship and we should be in business for our next cow. Phew!
One thing we are getting like clock work is our normal supply of milk. In fact we are getting more pasteurized milk than ever so we should be in good shape on milk, both raw and not.
Don’t eyeball the yogurt (Jessie!) that is ordered for a customer.
This picture doesn’t include any of the pork I just picked up. But we are out of butts and most pork chops. We do have a pig at the processor right now and I expect to get those cuts next Tuesday when I make next week’s run.
The right side of the pork freezer is looking sadder than the left. Again, this is all before being restocked.
This freezer will be fully stocked when Jeanette restocks. The locopops are also fresh and just picked up so bring your kids, we have fresh snacks for them.
Our premium cuts freezer is still fairly well stocked. As is the pasta. We just restocked it and we are already ready for another order.
Our shrimp is about 1/2 way gone from the initial order from a few weeks ago. We have scallops coming next week I think. Might be time to get some shrimp coming too.
All in all, we are in about as good of shape as we can be considering what is going on. It seems that the world has gone crazy again and that grocery stores are getting wiped out again since Tyson foods President said to expect supply disruptions. I just had a state wide broadcast of a farmer trying to get rid of 4000 piglets because he had nowhere to take them and another farmer I met today was telling me of a friend who had long abandoned hog houses that people were trying to rent just to have somewhere to put their hogs because they cannot get them processed.
I thought maybe we were getting on the backside of this thing. Looks like there are more bumps in the road coming. Rest assured, we are doing all we can to keep things sane and normal here in our store.