ONWARD

I had the most refreshing and invigorating discussion with the man who sells my pork. He is on a mission to feed good people good food and get good farmers a paycheck.  This is how it works.  On a given day the growers in his group add to his spreadsheet when they have to sell. Vegetables are the major contribution of course but there is also oils, honey, flour, seeds, beef, pork, lamb, etc. Lots of different foods.

The restaurants look at the spreadsheet and order what they need that week. Marty  and his son sends the farm their each order, then the farmer picks and cleans and packages and labels the vegetables and transports them to Marty’s farm by a certain day. He has huge chillers.  The next day he transports the products to Chicago and does the rounds of the restaurants delivering our goods.

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This should take you to the link to his documentary.

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For me I deliver the animal to the abbatoir on organic day and Will collects the carcass in his refrigerated truck and takes it up to the restaurant who ordered it.

The farmers,  Marty, and his son Will, go through this process 51 out of 52 weeks a year.  All the food is organic. He only works with growers who are guardians of the land and who ‘get it’ and he only sells to restaurants who are dedicated to good food and understand the concept of locally grown. (For instance, you are not going to get tomatoes and piles of eggs all years round in the midwest). He turned down almost 50 restaurants last year. So the demand is larger than what he can supply.

Last year he took the last of my pork.  I was recommended by Jake and we were all flat out and in the middle of the season so he took me on to sell those last 8 plonkers without even meeting me.  My little farm did well out of the arrangement.

Yesterday I went through a proper introduction and discovery with Marty and am now officially a part of this organisation.

And I can proudly say that I am the only woman he has who supplies pork. And now he has undertaken to buy my beef too! This summer he is all set to literally double his output.  So,  if I want to, I can grow and sell even more this summer. They love my pork – the chefs – they really do.

I have told him I cannot grow bigger than my land can handle, but I think I can become a bit more efficient and use the land better and maybe steal more family land from corn and beans.

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So next I will have a meeting with my financial backers (John and his mother: The Matriarch) and we will discuss putting more land into pasture for cows, and we need to look carefully at the fences we use to pasture the pigs so I can extend their pastures.

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I see the biggest loss being the garden – I just cannot have that huge garden to manage anymore. The garden takes more time than everything else combined and made very little last year. Having said that our plan as a couple has always been for me to grow the farm to just more than I can handle, by the last year John works in construction, then he will be available to farm with me and there will be enough work for him.  (OK that sentence is way too convoluted) Let me put it this way. Our John retires in October and then he can help on the farm too. Though I may have to smash his IPad.

And he will be the gardener. I will still need my milking cows garden! And the kitchens garden.

In fact I was thinking of reducing my animal numbers because of Johns retirement. He has been heavily subsidising the farm.  I could not see it working. But with the introduction of selling beef to the restaurants we may just get our heads above water.

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So after having laid the groundwork for years and slowly growing my land and my herds and my network it looks like we are set to make enough money for the farm to pay for itself.  I just need to hold steady and not take fright and flight.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi

WEATHER:  More clouds. Cooling off. How did it get to be Saturday again – already?.

Saturday 01/27 20% / 0 in
Partly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 47F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday Night 01/27 10% / 0 in
A few passing clouds. Low 26F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

Sun
7:07 am 5:04 pm

Moon
Waxing Gibbous, 78% visible 1:19 pm 3:01 am

 

 

79 Comments on “ONWARD

  1. Pingback: ONWARD — thekitchensgarden – Site Title

  2. Oh Miss C, what excitement, and what a great vindication of everything you’ve spent years developing and working towards. We have faith in you, Marty has faith in you, the chefs have faith in you. Of course you can do this.

    • It really only means I keep doing what i have been doing but with the promise of monetary reward – just a little – but enough to be able to afford good feed and justify a bit more land grabbing..

  3. How exciting!! I’m so glad others are appreciating all your hard work. John must be proud of you : ) I look forward to hearing more after your big business meeting ….

  4. Oh my goodness, this is just so exciting. I bet those chefs appreciate your pork! We often go in with my daughter and son-in-law on a lamb from a nearby farm and it is so delicious. My daughter also buys pork and beef from the same farm–the difference in taste in amazing. I’m so happy for you!

  5. I love that you are on a profitable path. Making a profit is huge for small farmers, especially those who do not rely on government programs or loans. I buy a lot of real food from a PA farmer who has a farm stand on Saturdays close by.

  6. This gives me hope that there are other communities of organic and clean-minded folks who want and even demand a better way of eating. I know of a few similar ranches in north and west Texas who extend organic fruits, vegetables and meats to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I am not aware of any in this state, but maybe they do exist. I marvel at the connectedness you have with these like-minded people. What a wonderful feeling it must give you to be a part of such a community AND to be the only woman supplying pork in that area! Woot!!

    Vegetable gardens are so labor intensive. I cut back on my biggest garden last year – I simply cannot keep up with all that is required from planting to harvest time. The pecan orchard cleanup takes up most of my time now. I can imagine if you do it for big production for restaurants it’s just too much to contend with, along with the livestock. Will you still keep a smaller garden to support family and the workers that help you all spring and summer?

      • We would but this year’s crop proved to be ruined by weevils mostly, and some scab disease. We still haven’t found anyone to help us with pruning and maintenance… and I haven’t managed much in the cleanup department either. It’s such an old orchard that it may not be good for anything other than a wildlife sanctuary. Today’s commercial pecan production is much different than it was when this orchard was planted. I’m not sure we can ever make money from it… but we initially purchased it for the deer. It’s just fine if all it ever manages is to feed the wild things. 🙂

  7. Well, isn’t that splendid! I love how in the space of one paragraph you scale back the big garden, but maintain the ktichens garden, and then John will retire, so he will be able to garden and farm. Perhaps not scale back so much as reconfigure. There may be ways to garden and raise vegetables more intensively than in conventional rows with slightly less work, or perhaps grow crops that require less human hours. Lord knows I’m working on this, too. It is truly shocking how little we pay for fresh veg – there we see most clearly the absurdities of our government-subsidized big-ag industries, I think. Anyway, tremendous news about the plonker and beef sales! Wonderfully done!

  8. Wow! And the adventure continues in an exciting direction! How wonderful!!! 🙂

  9. Lots of good news in this post. The arrangement with the organic foods supplier is a good deal for him, you, the land, the restaurants, and the diners. I hope it goes well. I look forward to watching.

  10. That sounds brilliant. Selling quality animals and vegetables to restaurants is a big thing here. People want to know where their food comes from.

    • It is a very upwardly mobile movement – I am so happy to be involved at a more lucrative level – not a lot of money in the realm of things but better every year I hope.

      • Having watched people struggling to stay on the farm – by supplementing with off-farm work, just as you do there – for my whole life; I am truly hoping these new, more direct supply chains mean that Producers finally start to get fair prices in return for all the never-ending work they do…
        All the best for the future!

  11. Onward …. and upward 🙂 This is all good news indeed. I could not get your link to the documentary to work but did go look around the site and it all looks amazing. I am so proud of you, your attention to detail has been rewarded, I assume the organiser does get a cut too? Laura

  12. What exciting and promising news Miss C! This journey will be fascinating to experience with you. As I read this post I was trying to remember just how I found your blog and I really don’t remember, although I would guess it had something to do with my keen interest in the pictures you have consistently posted of the animals, as I am not a farmer and my own personal garden has now been condensed to a few small beds in front of my apartment. It has been, and now will continue to be, a pleasure to see where this new road takes you (us). Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey 🙂

  13. Have you read “compassionate carnivore” by Catherine Friend? She talks about ‘happy meat’ like what you are producing.

  14. So wonderful to read your well thought out plans, look a little way down the road with you & see your bright horizon. I wish you & your family & partners much success & happy days ahead.

  15. Blooming heck ! Thats a very exciting onwards and upwards…yet at the same time a very daunting prospect. Great things will happen on the farmy and many changes to be made. But however many changes will be made two things will remain constant..your love and care of your animals. So l say Cheers! Miss C many congratulation for progress onwards and upwards. Lots of love

  16. Bravo! I am thrilled for you and happy that you have found a well established group of people to help you market your thoughtfully raised animals.
    I am fortunate to live in an area where there are numerous farmers markets and so appreciate having access to locally raised animals and produce.
    Have a wonderful day.

  17. I’ve been looking all over the place to find an organic, free range, happy cow source for leg bones, knee caps, and hearts/liver/tripe for my dog. I thought that these “extra” parts would be easy to come by but everyone tells me that I have to call around slaughter houses (that’s what they call them) but I just can’t do it. I am so very squeamish (and soft) that I need a middleman to broker the deal. I wonder what Marty and Will do with these parts – and could I buy your farm’s “parts” from them (or you)?

    • Marty and Will sell the whole animal to the chefs – the kitchens use everything up. Are you close by? I can get you the parts you need next time I take an animal in for mysellf – I always get bones for my dogs. I will be taking a steer in in a few months. c

    • I disposed of all my “trim” via Facebook. We did our own beeve this year- from walking around to packed into the freezer. By the end of it, I was begging people to take the final joints of bone.
      You might try asking in a local to you garage sale group for trim/organs. Granted I live in a rather rural area, so it may take you a few tries.

  18. Such wonderful news, C! And no need for fright or flight; you’ll have the support of an army of restaurateurs (and all of their patrons: ) who clamour for the produce from the Farmy…
    And all of us here, of course; )

  19. It is sad that the hardest part of farming can be generating resources just to keep it going. I suppose many things are like that nowadays. We live in a region where it is nearly impossible to pay taxes on our ancestors modest home that was payed for generations ago. Unlike the agricultural land that used to be around it, the home generates no revenue on its own. I can not imagine what the formerly vast orchards (that were here only a few decades ago) would cost in taxes. Maintaining the land in production is not an option.

    • That is so sad. We have pretty heavy taxes here in Illinois too – the bulk of my mother in laws land is rented out to croppers to pay for that, isn’t it awful that your homes were paid off just for you to have to pay exorbitant taxes. And here if you make improvements you pay even more – even if you put in a concrete walk or patio. So So wrong.

  20. What a good feeling that the chefs value and love your pork. Marty and his son are doing a very good thing for his vendors and for the people who get to enjoy the food. Oddly enough, Bill and I were talking about finding a local source of organic pork and beef liver just yesterday. When he gave blood yesterday, the technician told him that he was low on iron, hence the liver, which I love too. Great news for you, John, and the Farmy!

  21. Very exciting news, for sure. And the possibility of being able to expand your land puts you in a very enviable position. iPad or not, I am thinking having some help and working companion will be a big plus as well.
    Hope you have a great day too. – Mame 🙃

  22. That is very good news Celi. I have just finished reading a book called The Plant Paradox which includes quite a bit of information about American food production and it really needs some help from people like Marty and yourself. (I was reading the book because of food intolerances, the food production info is not the main thrust of the book) Were you ever able to get your ‘organic certification’ or is there some kind of interim ‘in transition’ certificate you can get to sell organic?

  23. Congrats on the news, Celi. I have to agree about the taxes, it’s so stupid to have taxes at such rates. People wonder why family farms have been disappearing but don’t want to hear the truth of the matter. Between not being able to compete with the mega farms, not having places to sell what the family farm produces, the excessive taxes on land, improvements, income, purchases, etc., it’s no wonder family farms are being lost. I’m sure this opportunity will benefit you greatly.

  24. You have put a smile on my face this morning as I read your news, out aloud to the G.O. Both because we are great believers in & supporters of small farmers-producers, and that it is a well-earned reward for your ongoing efforts. So interesting to hear your -and John’s post retirement- plans. Hold on, and enjoy the ride ♡

  25. This is such wonderful news C. All your hard work invested in the land and your animals will finally start to pay off and make it all worthwhile…finally! You must be so proud to be part of something so important as feeding good clean food to people and being such a great stewart to your land and animals in doing so. This definitely is a well earned reward! I would be puffed up like a fat hen! 🙂
    Congratulations!

  26. Long time reader, first time poster here. I’m so thrilled to hear this news. You have worked so hard over the years and deserve the proper recognition as a farmer and custodian of the land. I hope you can push back the corn and beans even further!!

  27. Thank God! After all the financial problems of the past few years here is hope and satisfaction! And the latter is as important to you as the first, I know. I do hope you get the extra land to use . . . . and we’ll so enjoy the developing situation and knowing there is something in the bank for emergencies . . . .

  28. What a wonderful idea! I couldn’t connect to the documentary but I did check out the website and even took the liberty of forwarding it to the people I get my meat from. They raise their animals much as you do. They even come to pick up the excess horse manure from me to compost it to improve the soil of their farm without chemicals. Even here in this rural area between two small towns we have a couple of ‘farm to table’ restaurants. I am fortunate to be able to purchase meat direct from my friend and what veggies I don’t grow I can get from another friend down the road who operates a vegetable CSA. I wish you the best of luck with this venture and hope all the pieces fall into place seamlessly!

  29. Wow…. That is SUCH exciting news! 😀 I know how hard it is to just break even let alone make enough to live off of… I am so happy for you!

  30. I have eaten at one of these restaurants in the city. At the bottom of the menu it gives credit to the farms where the food supplies have come from. It was neat to see the acknowledgement and the food was delish!

  31. Congratulations.
    This gives me hope that more people are truly beginning to “get it.”. 🙂

  32. Dearest C, this post is the happiest thing of any kind I’ve read in eons! Hurray, hurrah, huzzah!!! Good on you and John, and all best wishes going forward. I’m elated for you. May you reap the rewards for which you’ve been working so very hard. Oh, joy!
    xoxo,
    K

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