Archive | April 2016

April 2016 Goings on

I will be honest with you, keeping up with the farm has been a challenge.  My foot really has slowed me down and limited what I am able to do everyday.  Now that it is starting to heal and that the weather is getting warmer, it is time to just push through.  Our day starts at 4:30. Before the sun comes up, I start with the paperwork for the farm and my bible/prayer time.  Once the sun is up the animals start calling to me.  The day comes to an end when everyone is locked back up safely in their pens around 8 pm.  In the middle of the day we address whatever problems come up, clean pens, collect eggs, homeschool the children, cook 3 meals a day, clean the house and plant the garden.

There have been several additions to the farm, we currently have 60 meat chickens, 10 turkeys, 5 ducks, 5 rabbits, handful of tilapia, 3 goats, and 36 laying hens. Within the next week we will have 2 liters of bunnies born, 3 baby pigs arrive and 5 more turkeys will be coming.

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We are also in the process of putting in a garden.  The soil is so bad, we are having to bring in truck loads of compost.  It is costing a lot of money, but so does buying groceries.  We are hoping and praying that the investment pays off and the need for the grocery store will be greatly reduced. So far we have had 21 yards of compost delivered.  I do not think that it will be enough and we are going to need more brought in.

Our world is crazy, but it is a good crazy. We are learning new things everyday.  Some days are good and some days are bad, but all in all we feel very blessed to be farming.

 

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Buying a side of Pork

So we are starting a new chapter on the farm, we are selling sides of pork.  We loved raising pigs last year and this is something we are going to expand on.  I hope we continue to love it!

 

Pork Cuts Vintage Vintage blackboard cut of pork

the picture is from imgarcade.com

This is the email that I sent out to inform people about what it means to buy a side of pork.  I hope that it is helpful to you as well, even if you do not buy from us.

Hello,
Thank you for expressing an interest in buying Pork from our farm.  This email has a lot of information in it but if you still have questions please feel free to call me.  Most of the people that we sell to are friends and family or friends of friends and family.  We love you all and will not judge you one way or another if you decide not to buy from us, this is not for everyone, we understand that and will continue to love you no matter what!

About our Pigs: Our pigs are Gloucestershire Old Spots, a heritage breed of pig that is an original homesteading pig breed from England.  These pigs were almost extinct in 1990 in the United States but are making a come back now through awareness and education.  This breed thrives on pasture, has an amazing personality, is easy to handle and the meat tastes great!  We raise our pigs on grass, not concrete like most pork is raised.  They play in the mud and sunbath.  They are given as much pasture as they want, but are fed grain as well, they are not 100% pasture raised. They are also given treats like veggies from the garden and they love apples and watermelon.

When buying a half an animal you pay the farmer for the animal, the farmer transports the animal to the butcher for you, and then you pay the butcher for the custom processing.  Buying pork in bulk can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’ve never bought your meat this way. You want to think about what cuts of pork you and your family like to eat. In the Spring, you might be thinking about grilling meats, but remember to think ahead to the fall and winter when you might cook more roasts and stews. The butcher vacuum packs the pork and it will keep in the freezer for a year or more. When you buy a side of pork, you are the one that calls the butcher and tells them how you want the meat packaged and processed.  How big do you want your pork chops?  How many pounds of ground pork do you want in one package?  How big do you want your roasts / ham?  Do you want it cured or left uncured?  Buying this way gives you more control over your food.

Lets talk Money: The cost is $4.25 per pound of hanging weight to the farmer (which is me!), and the custom processing costs to the butcher.  The processing costs varies slightly depending on what you want but it is about $80 give or take depend on the size of the pig. The price is based on the hanging weight of the pig, which is the weight after the head, feet and organs have been removed, but before it has been butchered into usable cuts. We estimate that the hanging weight of a side of our pork will be between 70 and 100 lbs. That equates to about $400 for a side of pork, plus the $80 to the butcher. Add those together and that is the per pound cost of the meat.  To compare it to the cost at the store, look at the price for a pork loin, ground pork, bacon, ribs, ham and chops; average all that together and you will get an idea of how the price per pound compares.
You pay $200 now to me as a deposit and the remaining $4.25 per pound to me when we find out the hanging weight.  You pay the butcher directly when you pick up your meat.

Cuts of Pork
There are five specific sections to a hog, two of each section if you’re buying a whole hog, or one of each if you’re buying a side:

– Loin
– Belly
– Ham
– Shoulders
– Ribs

This is a rough picture of what you can get, it changes depending on the size of the pig and how you want it processed: 6 pounds of bacon, 7 pounds of rope sausage, 16 pounds of ground pork, 6 pounds of shoulder roast, 4 pound loin, 9 pound ham, 4 pounds ham steaks, 9 pounds pork chops, 1 smaller pork loin, 4 pounds spare ribs, 1 1/2 pound spare ribs, and 1 1/2 pound baby back ribs.

Ok, I know that was a lot of information.  Please, please let me know if you have any questions!  I currently am picking up 3 baby pigs at the end of April.  I already have 1 1/2 reserved.  If you are interested please let me know so I make sure I have enough.