Dear Friends and Local Food Enthusiasts,
2011 was an exciting and chaotic year for our family; our first full year on the farm. We are enjoying the lifestyle change and even though summer seems FAR away, we need to start planning for our second season at GrasWerka Family Farm. If you purchased pastured pork, chicken or eggs from us last year I would love to have feedback on quality, price, and convenience and to hear your favorite recipes.
Our family (the girls included!) attended the GrassWorks grazing conference last week and had the privilege of hearing Joel Salatin speak. Local food faces many challenges, including rising grain prices, corporate ‘big-ag’ monopolization and unfortunately, our own government. Despite (or maybe in spite of) the obstacles we are passionate about returning healthy, local food to your kitchen.
We again will offer pastured Berkshire hogs by the ½ or whole (approximately 75# pork from a half) and a limited availability of individual cuts. We buy 8 week old piglets and raise them to approximately 7 months of age (280 lbs). They receive no genetically modified feed, and are moved onto fresh pasture every 2-3 days. Some improvements for this year: more annual crops planted for the pigs to self-harvest: peas/oats, turnips, radish, pumpkin and corn. Our pigs were on the small side last year and I hope to correct this for 2012! I have also arranged for our pigs to get whey and spent brewer’s grains from a local brewery. This should help us keep prices down, make things VERY local and still keep genetically modified grain out of our food.
The chickens will also benefit from the new feed sources. We will again raise the slower growing Freedom Ranger broilers on pasture. They spend 10 weeks with us and average around 6 lbs each. I have been on a bone broth kick lately, a great calcium and glucosamine source! Ask me for the ‘recipe’.
Erin (13yrs) is excited to raise meat rabbits for sale next summer. She and Tom have been making plans for an escape proof rabbit pen which she can move to fresh forage daily. Lizzy (9yrs) just wants a goat. She and I are having fun making ricotta and mozzarella cheese now and a goat would allow us to have more fun with dairy! Hmm, European goat ice cream…
If local, healthy and DELICIOUS food is something you want to be a part of please respond in the next week or two! Right now I am looking for tentative numbers of broilers and pigs for planning purposes only. I cannot tell where our prices will be yet – but expect them to be similar to others at the local farmers market, a little higher than conventional GM feed but lower than certified organic. Also if you are in the Wausau area and interested in receiving eggs on a weekly basis next fall please let me know. Pass this along to like minded friends- we will offer referral bonuses this year !
The Hoffman Family