We enjoyed a great tour two weeks ago.
Thirty people walked, talked, and dined with us. The weather was beautiful, grass green, livestock in full form, and many good questions posed, resulting in very engaged discussion. We appreciated the time invested by those who made the journey to see our landscape, its animals, and its people, in order to witness the philosophy by which we operate. We viewed cattle, sheep, hogs, laying hens, and guard dogs. We also walked through pastures and talked about grass, organic matter, water, sustainability, and food!
One of the topics we stressed is the vital connection between you and us. Our farm constitutes a large expanse, containing considerable infrastructure: extensive fencing, endless gravel laneways, 18,000 ft. of underground waterlines, cement pads for water tubs, sorting facilities for two different species of livestock, barns for equipment, 300 head of livestock, and three houses for invaluable employees. All of this is dedicated to producing nutrient-dense, grass-based food for customers.
We are a normal business, with bills to pay every month, so we drive nearly two hours to Cincinnati several times a week to sell at farmers markets to customers like you in order to generate revenues. If we are not successful at generating enough revenues, then we default to producing for the commodity market, where nobody cares, which is what we did previously. The point is you are a critical link in our chain of success. We can't do it without you.
Most households commit 12 - 15% of their budget to purchases of food. How much of that is now going to grassfed meats? What do we need to do to invite you to spend 5% with us? We offer beef, pork, chicken, lamb, eggs, and prepared foods. Are these foods you eat? Are you buying them elsewhere? If so, would you consider bringing that business to us? We always have to earn the privilege of providing these foods to you. Assuming quality of product persists, however, we ask you to consider being even more intentional in your purchases of food. Bring as much of your weekly consumption to the farmers market as possible. We, and all the vendors, are not there to provide recreation and light entertainment, but to sell food and earn hard money.
When we exchange food for money, you and we become ever more connected. It is a powerful experience, and we are grateful to all of you who patronize us at the market and to the group who came to our farm two weeks ago. This farm becomes yours through your purchases and your visits, providing nutrition, reassurance, and peace to busy lives.
We are on a deep journey together, and isn't it rich? We wouldn't trade it for anything, even all the tea in China.
We are completing our first year of raising hogs, and learn more with every batch of eight or so we finish. We are trying to find the balance between too lean and too fat, we are exploring how long to leave them in woodlots, and we are experimenting with having them in pasture beneath a shade-mobile - an ongoing learning curve. They are intelligent animals, who are interesting to work with, and who produce a great food.
Speaking of learning curves, we have faced a few challenges on other fronts as well. A critical, hidden wire recently came loose on our new vacuum packaging machine, and the seal on a number of our packages has proven insufficient. If you received such a package, please let us know so we can replace it. Fortunately, we have found the wire, tightened the connection, and resolved the problem.
Last week we also managed to double the amount of salt required in a batch each of Moroccan and Vietnamese sliders. So, if the sliders you purchased last Saturday or Sunday taste salty, let us know and we will replace them. We apologize for these slip-ups. We want to address them as soon as possible, to minimize damage.
We served Susan's soulful Tar-Heel Pulled-Pork sliders for lunch at the farm tour. They are made from the shoulder of the hog, which we dry rub with herbs and spices and let sit overnight. It is then smoked for 4 hours at 175 degrees, followed by slow-cooking in the oven for 10 hours at 200 degrees. A homemade, Appalachian barbeque sauce is added, in which the meat sits for another 12 hours, before being packaged and frozen. So, this is an involved process, which Susan has uncovered through much trial and error, to produce a truly delicious sandwich. It is also great eaten straight, without fixings, by the forkful.
Last weekend we attended three different markets, and will again this weekend. Beth & Bob attended Milford and Findlay, while Susan & I attended Hyde Park. Please remember that Hyde Park continues through the winter in the Clark Montessori cafeteria, just up Erie Avenue, beginning in November.
With gratitude for our vital connection with you,
Drausin & Susan