Thursday, November 29, 2012

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

For those who have been customers of our farm for a while, you have hopefully noticed that we are very dedicated to keeping things local.  We work with local farmers to grow our hay and grain.  We use our neighbors and good friends the Holden family to mill our feed on a weekly basis.  This keeps our feed as fresh as possible and nutritional value as high as possible as the feed doesn’t have much time to oxidize before it is consumed.  Our feed also doesn’t travel long distances which saves on fuel.
We butcher and process the meat using three different, but local, owner operated USDA inspected butchering plants.  The meat then goes to local customers, local restaurants, and local retailers.  Nearly every dollar we spend for our farm stays local.  I believe that I speak for each consumer and business involved in this process when I state that we are all feel we are better off as a result.
As our business grows and develops we are pleased to announce two new partnerships!  The first partnership is with Faust Creek Farms owned and operated by Shannon and Mandi Fowles and their four beautiful children.  Faust Creek Farms is located just outside of Vernon about 5 miles north of our farm.  The Fowles share many of the same values we hold when it comes to farming.  They are dedicated to local, natural, antibiotic free, humane, pasture raised animals.  Their focus is primarily in poultry although they keep a few other critters around as well.  They have taken over all of our poultry equipment and have started pasture raising chickens and turkeys in a cooperative effort with our farm.  They hope to expand into other poultry in the near future as well as build their own poultry butchering facility right on the farm!
In addition to the poultry, the Fowles also frequently host farm events with hay rides, hot chocolate, and pony rides.  Starting now and leading up to Christmas, the Fowles will be selling fresh cut Christmas trees.  The Fowles also own a food wagon where they serve smoked pork (from our farm) chicken, turkey, and bratwursts.  You will be able to find their food wagon at farmer’s markets next summer.  Come check out their farm, pick up a Christmas tree and/or try a smoked pork sandwich Southern style with coleslaw.  Admission is free.
Teaming up with the Fowles will offer our customers a steadier supply of poultry.  Prices will stay the same and we will still deliver and handle the transactions.  We will be able to focus more time and attention on our pork, beef, and goat.  Additionally, our customers will now have access to specialty products like smoked chickens and turkeys. 
Our second partnership is with Squatters Pubs and Beers a local microbrewery located in downtown Salt Lake.  We get the spent brewers grain (barley) from Squatters which we feed as part of a ration to our pigs.  Why brewers grain?  Growing pigs need more protein than what pasture, wheat, oats, and barley can offer.  To supplement our pig feed, we have alternated between soybean meal and distiller’s grain (a byproduct of ethanol production).  The two issues we have had with both of these supplements is first they are most likely derived from genetically modified plants (GMOs).  Second, they are the only portion of our feed ration that we haven’t been able to source locally.

By utilizing the brewer’s grain from Squatters we accomplish several things:
-          We give our pigs a balanced diet that gives them all the elements they need to grow and stay healthy.
-          We now source 100% of their feed locally (within 1.5 hours drive of our farm)
-          Our pig feed is now 100% GMO free!
-          We avoid the $0.25 - $0.50/lb price increase in our pork we were planning for 2013 due to the drastic increases in feed costs we have seen in the last year.
-          Better pork – the more barley, wheat, and oats (small grains) the pigs eat, the better the pork will be.  This is opposed to the typical pig feed of corn and soybean. 
There are so many benefits to staying local.  Our favorite part has been the sense of community we now feel in many aspects of our operation.  It is amazing to watch as more family farms start popping up, food quality is increasing, and local businesses are stronger and able to compete with large international corporations.  Staying and buying local just makes sense!