We get a lot of interest about butcher day on the farm, so I thought I would write to explain how it happens. I set the butcher dates, usually months in advance, depending on their busy season. If it's deer/elk season, I schedule those months before, as they get so busy. I pre-sell the animals we are going to butcher. They call me the day before, to let me know what time the crew will be here. Jay usually get's up a little early, and corrals the beef we are going to take. I sometimes help with this, if he wants my opinion, or there are multiple animals. You want a one shot kind of butcher, no one that is inexperienced at this...safety and you don't want all your hard work ruined by someone that is a bad shot and you have the animal running around mad, for safety reasons and not to get all that adrenalin running through their blood and into their system! The assistant bleeds them out and Jay transports them to the butcher truck with the loader tractor. They always park at the end of our driveway, near the lamb pen. When they are done with the beef, I am the clean up girl at the barn where they were shot. I immediately get the hose out and wash down the road, as much as I can, and the concrete that leads down to the area they were in holding at. Not only does it look unsightly, but it starts to stink when as it warms up, so if it's not rainy season, I'm right on it. Same with the hogs and lambs. The hogs are taken with a bullet but the lambs, they break their neck...so it's fast and they don't suffer. They are both bled out as well...and I'm in the barn next, hosing off the concrete pads, the walls and wood, if there is anything on them. It's all the butcher's job after that. They remove the heads, stomaches, hoof portions that aren't edible. They remove the tails and cheek meat of the beef for me, as it makes for great stews! The customer is entitled to it if they want it. If they don't I take it. Jay has fond memories of his grandmother Minnie, coming to the farm every week end from Seattle and making the family oxtail stew. The carcass are hung in the sterile butcher truck to their shop, ready to be custom cut and wrapped.
I have been bound and determined to check off my list, to update our site and write blogs regularly. Since butcher our May butcher date is upon us, I thought it a good time to blog about the process. We get a lot of questions about it, so hopefully this will help. We pre-sell our animals for butcher, which is required, unless we have them processed at a USDA processing facility. There is not one in this county yet. There is one in the works, hopefully it will be up and running in the next 1-2 years, as well as a USDA mobile unit. As of now...we can sell beef by the 1/4,1/2,3/4 or whole animal, lamb and pork, by the 1/2 and whole. You choose your custom cut/wrap using our butcher's guideline sheet. There is always wiggle room...so be sure and ask. Processing time on the beef is 10-14 days, as it dry age hangs at our butcher shop before it is custom cut/wrapped, according to your request. The pork processing time is 7-10 days, to allow for the hams and bacon to be cured/smoked. The processing time on the lamb is determined by what day of the week they cut lamb next. All the meats are wrapped in plastic then paper and each individual package is marked what cut it is. The lamb burger and pork sausage are all in rolls, 1 lb.or more, it's up to you. We ask that you have your cut/wrap instructions in on or before butcher day, so that when the shop is ready to process the orders, they have your card in front of them. You provide them with your name,phone # and our name, so they know what farmer you belong to. If you are looking for 100% grass fed beef, and all natural pork and lamb, non-medicated meats, then we would love to be your source.
I'm finally taking the plunge! Since having our (the farm's) first web-site built and launched recently, I've danced around it enough, and decided it was time to start writing about this life I stumbled into and love. I don't claim to be a "lifestyle expert", "food expert" or any of the other catchy phrases I see attached to self proclaimed experts of food,lifestyle, and media. I am however, authentic, and merely want to share what knowledge I have gained, mostly from the time I moved onto the farm, and our experiences, sometimes very funny. Some days you could just not make up what happens on the farm, and my friends have often encouraged me to write about it...so here I am! I will be blogging about happenings on the farm, the "haycation" homes, where they come from, and the people we meet through hosting their stays on the farm, food (I love to cook), I am self taught, no formal culinary background. However, I have a reputation for baking and making some pretty kick ass food and desserts, so I want to share some of that with anyone who is interested. I will be posting recipes for not only our meat customers, but anyone else you wants to learn how to say, make a roast 101, gravy, pie dough etc...the basics and then some. We try to waste little (that's where the frugality part comes in), whether it's in a meal we made (say, a roast, and then planning meals for the next few days eating it up), or in the butchering of an animal, and eating as much of it as we can, with little being wasted, hence oxtail and cheek meat stew! We raise pork, beef and lamb for meat sales, as you can see from the site. Jay will be sharing some of what he does now and again, care and feeding of the animals, what is involved in butcher day, chasing animals off a neighbor's lawn and getting them back home, fence repairing (after afore mentioned wandering animal gathering), and just general farming knowledge that he has learned in his 57 years (his lifetime) of living and farming on this very farm. That in itself is so unusual these days and people are always intrigued to hear the story~about this beautiful farm his father bought in 1949 and his parents grew to be one of the most well respected diaries in the area until the year 2000, when they stopped dairying. We started "bringing back the farm" in the year 2008 and we haven't stopped! I like to think that people are wanting to live a simpler life, get back to basics and my hope is that in sharing our stories, will be not only just fun to read, but hopefully encouraging others, who are looking to start raising their own animals, raise a garden,start a farm, or just want to experience farm life vicariously through us! I always say when marketing the farm for "haycation stays", come to the farm to disconnect and reconnect! I hope you enjoy my future blogs and you find them at times entertaining, useful and fun to read. I feel like a live in a little slice of heaven on earth and want to share it with you! I finally know the saying is true..."do what you love and it won't feel like work"! So true!
City born and raised, now living among the corn maze. I don't profess to be an expert at anything, but I hope you enjoy what I have learned along the way and landed right where I love...this farm!