As you may have noticed or heard, we took a considerable shift in direction in 2022. We went from being primarily focused on selling monthly subscription boxes that included beef, pork and chicken in 2022, to selling mainly sides and quarters of beef and lamb in 2023.
There were a number of reasons for this…
- Raising chicken and pork requires purchasing a lot of grain. The increasing cost of these would have forced me to raise prices of these significantly and would also cause significant cash flow problems.
- Lack of time – My ‘real job’ has changed and now requires more travel, and my son decided he was going to get a ‘real job’ for the summer.
- Cost of storing and delivering meat was getting to be very significant.
I realize that the change to selling larger quantities from individual cuts and monthly boxes does not work for a lot of our customers, and I do feel bad about that. However, the previous approach was not sustainable for me, and a change needed to be made. Overall it has been a very successful change, and I hope to continue this way for at least the next couple of years. Demand has still been higher than supply, less time selling and managing inventory has allowed more time for other things, and, I have not had to increase prices even though costs have risen significantly.
The switch away from relying on off farm feed has also been a very satisfying one. There is something that does not feel right to me raising animals on feed that was not grown on the farm, and I often wonder if that was a line we crossed that allowed for huge increases in the scale of farming and the many problems associated with that. Cows and sheep I can raise with my own grass and hay grown right here. Pork and chicken require feed brought in from large distances.
So what does 2023 look like? From a product availability I will have more beef available again in the spring and in the fall, and lamb available next fall / early winter. When I have a better idea of how much and when I will reach out through our email list and let people know how they can order.
From a farm perspective, I want to focus on a couple of things. The most important is a number of long over due maintenance and building projects. The second major thing is to start working on ways to grow feed for chicken and pigs. I do love pork and chicken, and miss having them, so I would love to find a way to grow them from feed grown here on the farm.
Hope you have a great 2023!