2018 was marked with many firsts.
It was the first summer in over 30 years that there were no newborn calves on the farm. Last year's calves overwintered in Delta Junction and came back for the summer but participating in the joy of new life was something I missed. All of our breed stock are now dispersed to other producers who are maintaining our practices of natural, grass fed beef. We did learn that containing the yearling feeders that came down for the summer was very different from our traditional fencing used for our breed stock. We ended up with calves out roaming the country for very too much of the summer!
Another first that turned out to not be such a hot idea was getting into raw ("green") organ production for dogs. We actually tried it on ten of our first animals but concluded that dealing with stomaches and other organ meat and the incident rumen involved was not compatible with our human food production with our current infrastructure so we aborted that effort. I did develop a genuine appreciation for the complexity of cow stomaches.
This was the first year we exclusively used film and butcher paper to wrap all cuts with sharp bones. We may be able to move back more to vacuum bags next year because we have found a new source for heavier 5 mil plastic which might be able to handle the bones without leaking.
This year we were asked for "kalbi" ribs by three of our customers so we learned how to cut short ribs in the Korean tradition. I haven't heard back yet on whether we got passing grades for that effort.
Our marketing incentive to reward customers that brought new orders for a second side of beef with a 10% discount (and even up to 20% for some) was very successful. I plan to continue that practice for next year. It was so successful that we were short a few sides of beef. That is a reminder to get as high as possible on the order list so you aren't down on the bottom and get left out. To place an order all that is necessary is an e mail with a verification of a phone number, an estimate of the size you will want, and any exclusion windows when you might not be available for pick up next fall. E mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
We ended the season with a good supply of hamburger and summer sausage so if you need more please feel free to let me know.
Our plan next year is to be set up with freezer capacity such that we won't need to be so pressured to get the meat from the processing room to your freezer. It will mean that you will need to bring coolers or boxes to transfer the meat from freezer baskets into your car.
It is my plan to spend as much time as possible this winter down in South America doing Bible Translation work with tribes that we worked with over 50 years ago. That was such a joy last winter and if you want to follow those ventures you can follow www.animistbridgesforchrist.blogspot.com
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