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!


Anonymous said...

Would you please clarify how Squatter's Brewery makes your supplementary pig feed non-GMO. Isn't the brewer's grain derived from GMO-corn? About 6
months ago I read that Monsanto has already planted fields of GMO-wheat, and I read about a year ago they were going to genetically modify alfalfa too, so please be careful on your sources and seed there too. Thank you for all you do to raise non-labeled organic meat. It's a continual struggle I know. We went non-GMO in our family about 2 years ago, and I am continually informing our family about foods and changing the things we eat. My husband is good, reads labels and is aware now too, and very supportive. I have been purchasing non-GMO organic meats, organic dairy, everything essentially for some time now and may be interested in purchasing meat from you in the near future. I'm in marketing, and I think the information you are getting out to the public is wonderful! Have you considered making your meat available in local grocery stores? I live in Lindon, UT and think that it's great that you do delivery to Home Depot parking lot, as I'm about 5 min from there. It is very important to me what the farm animals have been fed, and am looking forward to reading more about your farming practices. Thank you for treating your animals humanely. I grew up on a farm in south GA similar to yours--mostly pigs and cows, a few chickens. Grew up eating like a king, but didn't realize it back then :)

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Most beer is made from barley and therefore not GMO. Some beers use oats or wheat. There is no GMO wheat, oats, or barley that has been approved for use in the USA. While we are 100% against the use of GMOs on our farm, there are many misconceptions out there. For example, most people don't the difference between transgenic and cisgenic GMOs. Cisgenic GMOs are very similar to hybrid species of plants. If consumers don't understand the science behind GMO's we will never win the fight against them.

GMO alfalfa has been around for years and we are very selective with the alfalfa we purchase to make sure we don't get any of GMO varieties.

However, the sad reality is that most farmers have no control over cross pollination that occurs from neighboring fields. Each kernal in an ear of corn is separately pollinized. Therefore it is entirely possible to have an ear of non GMO corn with one kernal that has been cross pollinated with a GMO variety of corn from a neighboring field. For this reason, it is difficult to conduct conclusive DNA tests to prove that a crop of grain in GMO free. This is also the reason a "certified GMO free" label will likely never become a national standard like the certified organic label has.

Even reading the label can be misleading. The certified organic label allows dozens of chemicals to be used and doesn't contain any standards for animal welfare. Look up "free range" eggs to see how that label can be misused. Even 100% orange juice doesn't mean 100% orange juice. There is even lobbying going on to redefine what constitutes "milk".

We prefer to work and sell directly to our customers. The only way consumers can truly be sure of what they are getting is to visit farms and get to know their farmer.