Happy Spring!After a restful winter, the grazing season is upon us.With the pastures now dotted with chickens, pigs, and cattle, it finally feels like spring.
Bloomington Community Market: Every Saturday, April 2-November 26, 8-1.
Bardstown Road Market (Louisville): Every Saturday, April 2-December 17, 8-12.
Broad Ripple Market (Indianapolis): Every Saturday, May 7-November, 8-12:30.
Indianapolis Winter Market: Every Saturday through April 30, 9-12:30.
The folks who own these businesses are committed to supporting the local food economy and small farms that produce sustainably raised products. We encourage you to frequent their shops and restaurants. Lennie’s Brew Pub(Bloomington) You’ll find our chicken on their fabulous menu.
Pine Room Tavern (Nashville) Many of their chicken dishes are made with our chicken. Goose the Market (Indy) Our pork bellies are used in Chris’s Bacon of the Month Club, and our eggs can be found there as well. Mayan Café (Louisville) These folks are the real deal…amazing food and wonderful people…so visit them every chance you get.
Easter Loin Roasts-
We are in good supply of bone-in loin roasts and have set Saturday, April 16th as pick up day for these, just in time for Easter. They weigh 3.5-5 lbs. each, are $7/lb. and are frozen.Email us or stop by one of the markets we attend if you would like to place an order.
Swine and Sustainability-
Since we began farming 6 years ago, I have been known by many as the “chicken girl.”I was somewhat settled with this title, but as we began to raise more hogs, “hog lady” has taken over.Whether you want to call them “swine”, “pigs”, “hogs”, or “hoggie-hoggie” (as Abe does)…they are fascinating creatures and as such, I have come to terms with my new title.
The first hog to grace our farm was Hammy, back in 2007. We didn’t know anything about hogs when we brought him home, but when deciding how to raise him, we combined a reasonable dose of common sense with our desire for him to be happy.We could see that he liked to graze, root, and wallow….so we provided an environment where he was free to do those things.We loved having Hammy on the farm, but our choice of names for him was intentional, to remind us what his final purpose was.We gathered pumpkins, apples, and nuts for him all through the fall and come processing time, Matt saw that Hammy’s last supper was pumpkin, his favorite.
After Hammy, many more pigs have called Schacht Farm home. In 2010 we raised 220 hogs on pasture, producing around 30,000 lbs. of pork.As is the case with everything we do, we don’t just want to raise more; we want to do it better.As we continue to grow our herd size, we are challenged by our continued desire to raise happy animals, produce a wonderful product, and be both environmentally and economically sustainable as a farm.
I came across a quote a few years ago, and while I don’t know who said it, it challenges my thinking often; "If biological diversity is declining, if topsoil is eroding, if water resources are being depleted, or an increase of external inputs challenges solvency, the system is not sustainable."The reality of an increase in external inputs related to our cost of production becomes painfully obvious as I see the cost of grain for our hogs rise almost daily.
I have always been intrigued by the old-time practices of fattening hogs in orchards, pumpkin patches, under oak trees, and on alternative forages, and this year we will be experimenting with several of these options.We see these practices as a way to insulate ourselves somewhat from the rising costs of production by decreasing our reliance on outside inputs.This is of course a win-win when looking at both the economic and environmental sustainability of what we are doing. Our cost to raise the hogs will be less due to a decrease in purchased grain, and the soil is improved by rotating them over the pastures, all while allowing them to follow their instincts to forage for their food, which in the end produces better tasting pork.
This year, like every other, will provide many opportunities to deepen our knowledge base and refine management practices.We have learned to embrace this steep learning curve.We look forward to another great growing season, and as always, thank you for your continued support of our work here.