Berkshire bacon is on the way!!

Well, several of our registered Berkshire pigs are going to the happy hunting ground later this week.  We will be offering some of this pork for sale to friends, family and other foodies like us.  We’re excited to see the results of what has been absolute hours and hours of work on these crafty, smart and enormous animals.  If you follow our blog (as infrequent as it may be), you already know a few things about how we raise our livestock, but if not, here’s a quick overview:

Organic…to be or not to be!

Being certified Organic is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming process that a lot of small family farms don’t undertake.  While we could certify once we have been on our land for 3 years (we’re not quite there), we don’t feel like it’s worth the thousands (upon thousands) of dollars to invest in this governmental certification, so instead we try to be transparent with how we raise our animals.  For our pigs, they are raised in a large pen with access to some forage.  We supplement their feed with commercial feed that is antibiotic free when we can get it.  Yep-that’s a big problem-that feed is not always available, but we do our best to avoid the antibiotic feed that many commercial pig operations feed exclusively.  In addition, our pigs receive zero additional medications during their life here with us.  So, I feel honest in saying that our pigs are sorta organic.

Registered?  Papers?  I don’t need no stinking papers!

But, really you do!  Our stock is registered and more importantly they are from registered blood lines found at a well established, well-respected family farm.  We can trace the lineage of our pigs and are happy to report that there are no “Uncle Daddys” among our boys or girls.  As we move forward with our breeding program, we will continue to ensure this clean genetic line by introducing stock from other family farms thereby keeping everyone pure Berkshire and not genetically compromised.

Butchering…learned it on youtube?

As a small family farm, we do a lot of things ourselves.  However, there are a few things that we absolutely will not do and one of the things at the very top of that list is butcher our own large animals.  We do not have the facility, training or equipment for it and we prefer to turn that over to trained professionals in established facilities whose cleanliness is inspected and maintained.  Do you really want me butchering your pork chops next to my coffee pot while running my dishwasher?  Yeah, I didn’t think so!

I’m your mother’s cousin’s sister’s friend twice removed…..you can cut me a deal on the price, right?

We love our friends, family and mother’s cousin’s sister’s friends and would be happy to give anyone who wants a large volume of meat a volume specific price.  However, please remember that these are Registered Berkshire pigs.  Do a quick Bing search for Berkshire pork and you will see that prices range from $15-$40 per pound from commercial producers who make no effort to raise organic.  In Japan, apparently the prices can go even higher!  But…we’re not in Japan and we’re not looking to extort money out of other pork loving foodies.  As we take this batch to butcher, we will sit down and calculate a fair price based on our cost that is reasonable. You will know the price per pound of the cut you want before you have to commit.  But, I’m just going to say this…if you want grocery store prices, ya gotta go buy grocery store pork…capice?

You don’t have to be a local yokel to enjoy these piggies

If you aren’t near us, we can ship to you!  Just contact us through our site and we can work out shipping, etc for you to get your little piggie products.  We may be country but we do have FedEx/UPS!

Speak now or forever hold your peace..

This is hopefully not a one time deal.  We will have other pigs available for purchase later this spring/early summer.  From there, our focus will be on our breeding program so that we always have a supply of yummy, delicious berkshire pork available.  If now is not the time for you to buy humanely raised, sorta organic, deliiiiicious berkshire pork, you will have other chances!

 

Thanks to everyone who helped, supported and educated us as we started this process of learning about pigs.  Now let’s go make some bacon!

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Gave it up for Lent..and so glad

I haven’t been a frequent poster here on our little farm blog in the last several months, but that has been primarily since life has become even more hectic than before.  Our little Blueberry is finishing up her first year of public school.  Sheldon seems to take on more work every day in an unending bid to see if a man can actually work himself to death.  Our farm has plugged along with everyone doing their part.  We’re coming up on butchering day for both our meat chickens as well as many of our pigs.  Our garden is still lying untending, but that will thankfully change later today.  And as for me, I have had feast and famine with consulting work, paid work and what I affectionately refer to as slave labor work (aka volunteering at Blueberry’s school)…so taking some time as a family to stop, slow down and ultimately eschew some incredibly first world treats as an homage to the sacrifice that Christ made for us when He died for our sins seemed like a good idea.

It began on Ash Wednesday.  We gave up TV of all sorts.  This meant not even watching clips on You Tube or watching the videos that are so often embedded in online news stories.  Absolutely no TV.  Day one didn’t go so well.  We were snowed in and The Blueberry was pretty high energy.  Couple that with my need to do work calls and Sheldon’s need to do work calls, and we needed a babysitter.  Enter in TV as Nanny.  Not our finest moment, but we like to keep it real here!   Other than that one time, our TVs have been dark.

In addition to giving up TV, we also gave up absolutely all sweets…cookies, cake, candy, pie, sweet breads, ice cream, etc.  That part we haven’t wavered on at all as a family. There have been times here or there where Blueberry has asked for a treat while we were out, but upon being reminded that we had given it up for Lent, she immediately withdrew her request.

It’s been about 46 days now as I write this and we are in the process of thinking about our Easter activities as Lent will end.  And let’s face it-when I think about Easter Brunch, I basically have this mental picture of the three of us eating some token food and then falling on the candy Lord of the Flies style.  I may be exaggerating, but probably not by much!

It’s been an interesting journey, and I’m not sorry one whit that we did this as a family.  However, we have learned some things that we didn’t anticipate like:

1) It wasn’t hard to give up the sweets.  Sure, there were days where emotions made us want to sit down with a bag of twizzlers (and by us, I mean me)…but we didn’t.  Instead, we sat down with hot tea, a good book (and often The Good Book), and just relaxed, prayed or talked.

2) TV wasn’t all that missed.  We were a bit worried about this..we’re actually not couch potatoes on the weekends, but after crazy, hectic days, Sheldon and I did like to veg out in front of the TV after Blueberry goes to bed.  Instead, we read, play cards, listen to music or sermons-it’s been nice.  In addition, by eliminating the morning news on TV, our mornings haven’t been any less hectic, but they have been a bit more quiet without anyone (read Sheldon) complaining that he can’t hear the news or other little people asking to sit and watch the news.  Instead, we just talk.

3) It’s kind of hard to find just a radio anymore!  We have a sound system in our “play room” but it’s downstairs and we wanted a little inexpensive radio/cd player for upstairs that we could also play things off a jump drive on.  That actually was hard to find!  We finally settled for a little system from Walmart and it’s been fine.  The Blueberry has fallen back in love with classical music often dancing around to Chopin.  I’ll take that over the earbleed of Taylor Lovato Bieber anyday!

4) The Blueberry has not struggled with this nearly as bad as I had anticipated.  Now, let’s be fair.  Unfortunately, her school does use the TV as “entertainment” during snack and when the teacher needs a break.  This doesn’t make me happy, but it’s a rant for another day.  In addition, we’re all required to provide snack one day a month.  Many of the other parents don’t define snacks the way we do, so she has gotten sweet treats at school.  Sure, we could have provided alternate snacks and heck, probably even requested that she went to the library during TV time…but..we’re not looking to punish or exclude her-quite the opposite, so we just let the school stuff ride.  However, beyond this, the kiddo has been incredibly grown up, curious and understanding about this journey without whining a single, solitary time about wanting sweets or TV.  Just a good reminder that often times as parents, we should remember that our kids can be capable of much more than we think.

And the one I didn’t really expect…

4) This has not been that hard.  I had originally suggested no sweets and then Sheldon upped the ante with no TV and to be honest, I thought he was smoking crack, banana peels or both.  I remember thinking there is NO WAY this is going to happen.  But then..it did.  And it did without drama, without difficulty, without regret.  Other parents told me we were crazy to even attempt this, but we didn’t listen.  When you begin to put perspective on all of these unnecessary things that we have put into our lives, and then take them away as a tiny first step towards honoring the HUGE sacrifice that was made for our unworthy selves…well, then, it becomes pretty ridiculous to gripe about giving up Justified when comparing that to the death of someone righteous.

Where do we go from here?  Well, I’m not entirely sure.  I had written a long conclusion about all of the things we are going to try and do, but I would rather sum it up this way instead.  We began this journey as a shared family experience to try and better understand Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Where we take it from here is really not up to us…but I look forward to being along for the ride.

From our family to yours, we wish you love, joy and excitement as we enter into the Three Days ending on Easter.  He is risen!