It was apparent there was some reason family members were not purchasing the good beef that has been raised here on the farm. A Bible verse came to mind that helped explain it, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Mark 6:4.
That explained it. Really, it was a good question though. Growing up on a cow/calf operation on a farm as a youth did not teach much about growing good beef cows. Or did it? The training of our minds has been such that if one does not have a degree in a subject, or years of work in it, how could anything be known on any subject? Years ago that learning was called the ‘school of hard knocks’. Learn by doing, by asking good questions, and reading good material. Learning from those who have walked the long path we newbies have just started on. Learning from trial and error.
Reading, asking questions, visiting other farmers, going to feed stores and touring a processing plant was begun months before the steers arrived. We toured Joel Salatin’s farm, Polyface Farm, in Swoope, Virginia. Purchased several of his books: Folks, this ain’t normal , Salad Bar Beef; and The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs , to name a few. We toured T & E Meats in Harrisonburg, VA. We visited farms and spoke with beef farmers. We spoke with feed store owners about types of feed and how much to give. Finally, we purchased quality miniature beef from a reputable farm and breeder, Bryan Hill Farm in Broadway, VA. That maiden year then became trial and error as the first steers were unloaded onto our green pastures.
There were buyers for all the beef, and it was exciting hearing the feed back come in. We knew it was good, and now so did our customers! We are now finishing our second round of hand-raised beef. These, we feel, will finish out as nicely as the first ones. It is satisfying work.
So it was exciting when the inquiry came from a family member for a roast. The freezer is cooling a lot of empty space right now because thirteen months have passed since those first beef cows were processed. Yet, there was a nice-looking bone-in roast remaining, weighing around three pounds.
With bated breath we awaited the remarks from this tough family customer. A text came through with this photo and remarks:
We consider this compliment better than one that could be given from the Queen of England herself! (No offense to the Queen, please.)
Some of our previous blog posts you are sure to enjoy about the cows: “Meet the Farmer & the Farm”, Aug 14, 2016; “The Steers are Gone”, Jan 4, 2017; “Feedback has Come”, Mar 5, 2017.
We all have begun as a newbie at some point or another. Keep on keeping on, do the due diligence, follow your gut and heart, and love what you do! Happy farming to you!
Know the farm, know the farmer.
Homemade is best.