Despite the continued grip of winter, I am thinking about the coming growing season. Tom and I are working on market plans but we need your input. We are raising pigs, broilers, eggs, rabbits, beef and possibly a few ducks (a new project for Erin).
We plan to have our products at the Downtown Grocery and the Red Clover Market by spring, and will also be at the the Weston Farmers Market on Saturdays from May to October. However direct marketing remains the main outlet for our ‘real food you can feel good about’.
The extreme drought of last year combined with our nation’s need to put corn into our gas tanks continues to cause the price of feed to go upward. For this reason we have thought long and hard about our decision to feed organic grain. We do not wish to price our products out of reach, but I am absolutely convinced organic is the right thing to do on many levels. Ultimately it is what I want to feed MY family. Period.
Other choices have been made to lessen the impact of high grain prices. We will be raising fewer pigs this year. By having fewer animals and starting later in the year I can grow more of their feed in the 3 acre pasture and rotate them through the crops, ‘hogging-down’ as they go. The other big choice we have made is to raise the white Cornish cross meat birds as the primary broiler. The slower growing Freedom Raiser will be offered but on a pre-ordered basis only. The Cornish reach market weight in 7-8 weeks and consume 25% less feed than the slower-growing but tastier (in my opinion) Rangers.
Some other fun things are in the works, Lizzy (aged 10) is starting an herb business, ‘Lizzy Thyme Herbs’, and will be selling potted plants at the market with me this spring. Erin will have rabbit available again this summer and also possibly ducks(?). Tom and I will also try our hand at finishing a few organic beef cows this fall!
The Marathon County chapter of Slow Food is going well-contact me if you would like to be on our email list. Slow Food is working in conjunction with Farm Shed to hold Field Days July 20th, starting downtown then continuing to 9 Patch Farm, our place, Half Moon Hill, and ending up at Stoney Acres Farm. Also the Second Annual Slow Food Farm to Fork dinner will be at Stoney Acres September 14th.
If you are interested in reserving your November 2013 half or whole pig now please mail me a deposit of $50 per half. First come, first served! I also have 20# boxes of pork available now, and again in the fall. If you are interested in the Freedom Ranger broiler or beef, I will need a heads up and $3/bird deposit by April 15th. Please see reservation page for pricing information. The reservation form also reflects a $.50 discount/lb for chicken pre-orders of 10 or more.
I am also working with the site www.pick-a-pepper.com, you can check our farm entry there to check availability of products (hmmm, does she have any brats left?) and use PayPal if desired. I would certainly prefer the old fashioned ‘check in the mail’ route but if you like to do things on-line…go for it! I do not have everything entered there, maybe by May??
I would love to hear your feedback! What other products are you looking for? Mushrooms, culinary or medicinal herbs, geese, veggies, sunchokes, berries? If a winter farmers market becomes available what would you like to see there (remember this IS Wisconsin!). Are your interests primarily in humane treatment for animals, supporting local farms, clean organic food? Or maybe you are one of our family members and have been guilted into this crazy operation! 🙂 Are you interested in classes on sausage making, fat-rendering, drying, canning, culturing/fermenting? Talk to me!
Here is the link to the reservation page.( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14s5Ciu0Qg5hPFKutvxzqa11VvhlUlUDXpjbYpROaxTE/viewform)
As always, happy to be your farmer!
Kris & Tom Hoffman