The most important ingredient to good grassfed meats is not a beautiful shepherdess or great green grass, though invaluable, but carefully chosen words.
Words and language are links in chains that bind together many facets of our business. These include: building infrastructure, managing soil and plants, rearing livestock, maintaining equipment, shipping livestock, having livestock processed, transporting meat, cooking meat, marketing it, and delivering to customers. Those are nine distinct activities to be managed. If performance within and among those activities is "off", impact ripples throughout the line of connection. When things goes awry, it is usually because of communication; someone said one thing and meant another, generating degrees of confusion and unintended outcomes.
Too often the source of poorly chosen words is the self, at least in my case! Doesn't the following statement, "Only move the cows to high-ground when it floods", have a different meaning than, "Move only the cows to high-ground when it floods"? In the second, the sheep are left behind to swim on their own. So, the manager inquires why the sheep weren't moved. The answer is simple, "because you said "only move the cows." But that isn't what I meant! But it is what I said... All because a word was unintentionally moved from one location in the sentence to another.
I recently asked the meat processor to make some lamb patties for us, assuming they would be just like the beef patties we always request - 3 round, 5-oz patties to a package. Well, the lamb patties came back as 4 square, 4-oz patties to a package. I also asked them to make lamb bacon for us, assuming they would make it just like our pork bacon, cut thickly. The lamb bacon came back cut thinly. Both assumptions failed to communicate.
With enough misplaced words and assumptions, chaos eagerly finds an opening. Adding to the challenge of communication is the fact the English language is always evolving. Stately nouns are disrespected by creative speakers and turned into unconventional verbs. In addition, an annotated and abbreviated new vocabulary, created by the surging digital world, confuses matters further. "Organic" used to apply primarily to beautiful, rich, black soil; now it has been co-opted to determine the kind of advertising Facebook will support. Further, language is now being extended with "emoji" symbols - a new word itself, bringing incremental "form" to the English language. If you are happy about saying something, why not just say so, rather than include a stylized picture of a smiling face? For those who are more visual than literal, perhaps the emoji symbols are a welcome addition to the English language. Apparently, the same word in Chinese can carry three very different meanings, depending on "tone". At least we don't have to deal with nuance of tone, or do we? We have all been told by parent or spouse, "I don't like your tone."
So, communication is complicated. When it is executed well, great products result, like poetry, beautiful buildings, and grassfed meats! When done poorly, mediocrity is replicated and even harm imposed.
One of our neighbors, Nancy Stranahan, in an excellent communicator, who chooses her words very carefully, to profound effect. She is the Director of Highland Nature Sanctuary, which is creating a series of nature preserves throughout southern Ohio, referred to as the Arc of Appalachia. If you want to read great writing about important topics, take a look at this winter newsletter, especially the first article addressing the "Irrepressible Resurgence of Life":
Included in the newsletter is an article about Red Stone Farm, the mother farm of Grassroots. If only you want to read that article or even if you want to read that article only, follow this link.
Susan and I enjoyed a potent evening last Friday, before both the "super moon" and a powerful bonfire extinguishing a year's worth of brush. We were at a loss of words before this display of power and light, as are guard dogs when eating breakfast. "Wordlessness" can be sacred.
One of our favorite and regular meals is Shortrib Burgers. We often enjoy them with organic french fries roasted with beef fat, but here they rose to an even higher level accompanied by potato pancakes and baked apples.
For holiday parties and football gatherings, remember our grassfed chili and also the sliders: Moroccan, Vietnamese, and American. All easy and delicious.
The next two weeks at the market are the last two before both Christmas and New Years. So, plan ahead, and let us know of unusual needs, as soon as possible. We will not be at Findlay this weekend, but will be at Hyde Park on Sunday.
We will be smoking chickens and legs-of-lamb next week. If interested in either, send word.
May carefully chosen words enhance the well-being of us all.
Drausin & Susan