Over the last several weeks we have run out of some of our product. One of the things I hate most, is telling a customer we are out of something. Yet, when growing sustainably during the warm season there will be transitional times when we are out of items. I wanted to explain just a few reasons why we do run out of some of our products and offer solutions to the quandary of how to get over the seasonality of our business so that we can both team up to have the best available meat while supporting the land that produces it.
Our business is centered around growing good grass. Wait, what about the animals? Well, we must first have good grass to have the healthiest animals possible. We prefer, in a perfect world, to only raise animals when the grass is green. Because different species take different amounts of time to grow out, we are able to process different items throughout the season. Fall is always the heaviest time for processing. When we started our business, we only took orders for fall fulfillment. Over the years, as we have grown, we have found ways to have meat available for extended seasons but have not yet gotten to the point where we can have all things all season long.
While the seasonality of the grass and the life cycle of the animals limits are product to consumer time, the availability of processing does as well. Did you know that 80% of all of our beef in America goes through just 4 beef processors. It is a huge centralized system. This is a hurdle that we are constantly trying to beat for many reasons. We believe in a decentralized food system in America. I will probably write about that later. How it affects are product availability is in the lack of infrastructure available to small producers. Processing plants have closed up and there are just a few remaining. During their busy times, like the fair season right now, it is difficult to get an appointment when you want one. In a few weeks, we will be back to having pork and lamb processed and expanding are product list. Soon, we hope to fix this problem by having our own processing establishment.
So, what do we do to learn to eat locally when we can’t get all items all year. It does take planning ahead. We love the opportunity to sell a new customer on the benefits of having a freezer. When you stock up on meat and have it at home you are able to get it when it is in season in bulk, no longer having to worry about running out. It is right at home and ready to use. Nothing could be more convenient than that!
Next, eating in season is wonderfully rewarding. It just feels good. Before the advent of refrigeration, people survived by eating what was in season. This process tremendously cuts down on the energy needed for storage and transportation. I could right a book on the seasonality in the garden but I am here concentrating on the seasonality of meat which is a much shorter topic. Pork and red meats are winter meats while chicken is a great summer meat. Chickens raise out quickly during the heat of the summer. They are small and store well in the freezer. They are lighter and go well with the myriad of summer vegetables not leaving the over full feeling. Nothing sounds better in the winter than a roast with winter vegetables. Now, I’m not a purist and I do vary from these norms but it is helpful to think about when trying to lessen your carbon footprint and eat sustainable foods. If you haven’t yet done so, we hope you take the time to try our pastured chicken. There is plenty of availability left. We have many different possibilities from drumsticks to whole chickens. If you need help placing an order, never hesitate to call (765) 436-2186 or email Jessica.