Happy Spring! After a winter to rest and plan we are excited for the start of the grazing season. The cattle and hogs are already on pasture. The hens continue to be rotated around to fresh grass. The chicks are in the brooder where they will stay until they have enough feathers to brave the weather. Each grazing season brings many learning opportunities and looking back, seems to be a springboard for the coming year. Here are some things I look forward to experiencing this year with the farm. -Having folks enjoy time at the farm during the events we have planned for the year including Spring Open Farm Day. -Refining our management in efficiently rotating a larger number of cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys on pasture. -Using specialty forages planted in the summer to provide forage for our herds and flocks through the winter months. -Meeting new customers through farmers markets and the CSA as well as those purchasing in bundles and bulk. -Enjoying our farm through the eyes of our one-year-old little boy, Abe.
Thoughts on sustainability- Every once in a while we get a big ol' pat on the back from nature to let us know we are on the right track with our farming practices. These bits of encouragement come in many forms. Last Sunday evening we were setting up temporary electric fencing to make a paddock for the cattle to graze in later this week. We were in one of the pastures where we grazed the turkeys this past fall. It is the most lush, full, rich green pasture you can imagine. The fast early growth of this paddock is due in large part to the level of nitrogen deposited on the land by the turkeys. The thickness of the sward is due to applying the right level of grazing "pressure" at certain times of the year while allowing the pastures to reseed themselves at other times. This carpet of forage was enriched not by chemical companies, biotechnology firms or the newest designs in farm equipment ....but by utilizing the grazing instincts of the animals we care for and timing their "work" with the seasons. How cool is that! We sat right there admiring that pasture and loving what we do more than ever.
CSA changes- We have had a wonderful response to the meat and egg CSA we started this spring. When we were first designing the shares we wanted to offer a mix of special cuts like beef filets and pork tenderloins as well as every day cuts such as chuck roasts and pork sausages. After some very helpful feedback we realized that most folks wanting to participate in the CSA wanted more of the everyday cuts and did not really want to pay a higher price per lb. for the specialty cuts. So, we have decided to reduce the price per lb. of the share and include more of the everyday cuts. Folks still have the option of adding those specialty cuts at the 10% discount. We will have more shares available starting in September. Let us know if you are interested in participating.
A note about farm growth- Customers are often curious about the number of animals we raise. When we give them the breakdown, they often ask if all the work is done by just the two of us. The answer used to be "yes", but over time we have learned the joy in drawing others in to the mix. While the vast majority of the work is still done by the two of us, we now operate what we call the "friends and family plan". We lean on these folks to help us when we need another set of hands. Loading broilers at processing time, gathering, washing and packaging eggs, setting up portable fencing to rotate animals to fresh pasture; the list goes on....and we simply could not do it all without these folks. This year we will be putting a few of these folks to work at the various markets we attend so be sure to look for our sign and meet some new faces of Schacht Farm. So...for those who want to know...what will the animals from Schacht Farm produce this year? Eggs- 20,000 dozen Chicken- 18,000 lbs. Pork- 22,000 lbs. Beef-11,000 lbs. Turkey- 11,000 lbs.
Bulk Purchasing- It looks like this spring we will be able to fill orders on our waiting list for bulk purchases of beef and pork AND even have enough to fill new orders by fall. With a cost per month of only about $5 to run a medium size chest freezer, purchasing in bulk certainly does offer savings and convenience.
New Products- Canadian Bacon- $8.50/lb. Sliced Sandwich Ham- $5.50/lb. Chorizo- $5/lb. Seasoned Pork Burgers-$5/lb.
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