Monday, December 26, 2011
Vacuum Packaging and preservative free sausages! Read below.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that we are already starting a new year. The last few months have been crazy as we have tried to keep up with getting everyone their orders for the holidays. Our little farm continues to grow. We are grateful for the support we continue to receive both from our customers and the media. This past year we stayed busy building our new, larger farm.
The last two months were challenging as we incurred new difficulties with our butcher. The butcher went through a USDA inspection audit that left them scrambling to jump through some ridiculous hoops. The audit found no issues with sanitation or anything of the like. The issues were related to paper work, record keeping, and marking weights on each package of meat. Because they didn't have weights marked on the packages of meat, the butcher was forced to temporarily forego the USDA inspection and instead operate under Custom Exempt status. So some of our customers may have noticed that the USDA stamps were crossed out with marker and that the labels were stamped "Not for Sale". This simply means that the meat cannot be sold to somebody who is going to retail the meat. Sales direct from the farm are still legal. Our butcher shop is owned by an older couple who doesn't accept change very easily. Rather than jump through the hoops the USDA was requiring, they informed me that they would no longer be USDA inspected. Additionally, that let us know that they were increasing their prices by 20%. This was unacceptable to us as an ever increasing portion of our pork is sold to retailers. Instead, we went to another USDA butcher shop and made arrangements with them. This shop is actually the shop that does all the curing of hams and bacon for our now former butcher. They do a fantastic job and are very easy to work with. The reasons we haven't used them in the past is that they don't have a kill floor and they have typically been more expensive. However with the other butcher raising their prices, they are now slightly cheaper with better services.
The bottom line is that we are still incurring a significant increase in our butchering costs. We are simply passing this cost on without any additional markup. Our whole pig price is now $3.75/lb on the hanging weight and half pig price is now $3.95/lb on the hanging weight. The good news is that we will be able to offer our customers an overall better product. The new price will include vacuum packaging which will allow the meats to stay fresher much longer than with the paper wrapping of the past. We will also be able to offer a wider variety of sausages some of which will include preservative free recipes. Sausage flavors include: Breakfast, Italian, Monterrey Jack, Monterrey Jack with Jalapeno, Bratwurst and possibly a few others. We are waiting to hear which ones will be available without preservatives. We hope eventually to offer all sausages without preservatives.
The butchering industry in Utah still leaves much to be desired, but given our options, we believe that this will offer the best that is available.
For those who aren't aware, our pork is now available by the cut at Caputo's Deli (downtown location) as well as Liberty Heights Fresh.
We wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to supplying you with the best pork and beef Utah has to offer!