Saturday, May 28, 2011

Reducing Our Footprint and new Producing members!

We have been able to reduce our miles travelled each week by 100 miles! Sergio who runs a certified organic farm near Corona is going to be supplying us with wonderful fruits and veggies that we aren't growing and best of all they are Certified Organic. What a Plus! Grapefruit (rare Shabar Ruby), avocados(5 varieties), carob,figs, green garlic,loquat,mulberry, peach, pear(asian, bartlett) plums, heirloom tomatoes, pomelos, all will be coming on beginning this week! Our U-pick is going great guns and should be ready to start harvesting mid June, peppers, chiles, beans, greens, oranges, herbs and more! The best news is as soon as Sergio gets the ok we're putting in Poultry at his farm! The tractors will move through the orchards and gardens so real deal Certified Organic Poultry is coming this fall! whoo hoo! skip,shout, and dance of Joy! 
Grass Finished Beef harvest this week if anyone wants to come out and pigs are getting BIG! The Red Wattles are at Sam's until they get a little bigger and then they'll move over here to their new digs. True Heritage Pork from Verified Parentage. This is exciting stuff for us. Purebred Source Verified Berkshires from Phil will remain a staple as well as the Duroc pork. Pastured is Best!
The next round of lambs will be ready for harvest early July but we have enough to carry through until then. The commercial Flocks will be moving down from the canyon mid June. Don't forget the Goat Management class next week, only 3 spots left! Chicken Keeping workshop is tentatively sheduled for the Second Saturday in July, Dr. Mark will be here to give detailed instruction in management, handling, housing and harvesting. This is a FREE workshop, however if you want to take home a small coop for your own back yard we ask that you cover the cost of materials. I will send the list to those interested in participating.
Sustainer(tm) Update!
With your generous support we have been able to purchase a poultry plucker,scalder,cones and processing equipment. As soon as the harvest trailer is completed (and inspected)we will be able to process poultry right here at the home farm and take it to Sergio's when the birds are ready there.
Before I forget, I want to thank Linda and Kathy for giving me so much insight into the Truth about the Weston A Price Foundation. I was a card carrying sceptic until these great gals gave me all the facts. This is an organization I can support without reservation. Thank you ladies for taking the time to educate an old stick in the mud! When you said that I was already in line with your tenents I didn't realize just how in line I was! Great to find a large number of like minded people committed to Clean food and Health. And I'm Glad you liked the steaks too! Thanks again and Welcome Aboard!
Time to move the Farm Flock, Until Next time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Very exciting development!

There is now a DNA test available for freezer beef. As producers we have had to DNA test our breeding animals for several years, as well as test for pathogens and disease. Now for a very reasonable fee our beef can actually be traced via DNA for added security and source verification. This is going to be a benefit to grass fed producers like us because it removes any shred of doubt as to the origin of the meat people are buying. I'm in!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Farm Members That Grew Up Farming.

I love it when that happens! One of our farm members is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and when she came to pick up her beef share I learned that she used to raise goats. She gave me lots of great tips on our breeding program and I'm definitely goung to take her suggestions, so if anyone needs a La Mancha goat or two I have a couple available! She also gave me some insight into what I can do to make some improvements in the Poultry dept. as well. I really enjoy it when people come here and "get it" and it's nice to be able to exchange ideas with those in the know.  she's even going to come up and help move cows.Thanks Shannyn!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Now Here's A Challenge For You!

I know that many of you have heard about the Month Without Monsanto Challenge, well we've decided to offer up a challenge of our own. A Month of Sustainability! Now we are going to be fair and give you until August 1st to prepare. We are asking our members, friends and anyone else that wants to participate to dedicate the month of August to going Store Free! At the end of the month tally up what you did not spend at fast food joints, coffee houses, convenience stores and grocery stores and donate a portion of the savings to a Sustainable Charity or NPO.
For that month shop exclusively at farmers markets, directly from small local farms, and maybe even sign up for a trial membership in a CSA. Tell us what you did and the best example wins a 25lb sampler and a 1 year farm membership.
A friend of mine did this and was floored by the fact that she saved almost $500.00 in household expenses. The way that she prepared for her Store Free Month was to stock up on essentials like hygiene products and staples. (Just think of what else you grab running to the store for Toilet Paper!)She joined a CSA and purchased all of her meat farm direct. We are lucky to have a dairy near by and she went there for her milk and cream, churned her own butter, and put every dime that she would have spent running to the store or fast food in a jar, at the end of the month her total savings was $492.75.
I know that I spend $5.00 or more a day just on Coffee drinks! (just adding up the cups I throw away is going to be staggering.)
She says that the first week was tough but by the end of the month she was into the routine and can now go right past the convenience store and get just what she needs at the Supermarket without the impulse buys and still have money in the household budget at  the end of the month> she is donating a portion of her savings each month to Heifer International and The Weston A Price Foundation<  Email me and I will send you information about trusted farms and CSA's in your area or contact your local Weston A Price Foundation Chapter and they can direct you to sources for Clean Food close to you. The Eatwell Guide and Slow Food International are also good sources for information.
I will post my preparation for A Month of Sustainability as I purchase so you can get some ideas. Post yours too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

YUK! It's still raining!

It's raining again and I'm slip sliding around the place! Tommy brought a load of gravel for the driveway so hopefully the pothole will stay gone this time. Pork and beef shares are ready for Saturday pick up, Chickens arrive Friday and yes all you dog lovers the feet and heads will be in bags in the offal chest first come first serve.Chris usually gets them early so watch for the bumble bee! The garden is finally looking like a garden! the corn is Knee high and the beans and squash are up. Some of the tomatoes are blooming YAY! and the salad bowls are getting full. Watermelon and Cantaloupe went in today as well as more garlic and onion sets. We had a wild swarm of bees take up residence in the Oak tree by the road and thank goodness they are gentle bees! Mr Bayless brought us a skep and they moved right in. The hops I planted should keep them happy until more veggies start to flower. The lady next door has a beautiful flower garden so they will find plenty to do.
Cricket helped move sheep yesterday and 4 pups get on a plane Friday Morning. That Just leaves Monkey and Soot to find homes. Iris went to live with Jaimie and the goats (translate to in the house with Joe) Grace is in fine form and as fearless as ever, I hope Cricket comes on like her mama! Flit is Definitely destined to be a sheep dog as she has no desire to even look at a cow, Uncle Tweed has corrupted her! Wallace is on the disabled list for a week o so due to his much needed surgery.(he got neutered)
Shadow is doing really well and this seasons Farm Flock lamb crop is about weaned off. They will be ready to go at Christmas time so reserve them early. Emma, Claire, and Lisa will be home from their lawn mowing duties tomorrow so mom's don't forget Emma's pop tarts!
 Miss Mary's piggies arrive Monday so there will be a family of Red Wattle hogs in the land yacht. No pork from  them for about a year as they are just young shoats and will be breeders. Thank goodness for Phil or we wouldn't have pork to offer. The front pasture is starting to green up so that the bucket calf can come home and you all can wach him become beef! Ah the dogs are barking better go see what's up. Until Next time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Get Ready for the Green Feast!

When? Sept. 10,2011
Where? The Ecology Center San Juan Capistrano
This is a great event that benefits The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. They hold workshops on sustainability and do all kinds of great things! They do a field to fork dinner once a year and it is a BLAST! Great food, great fun, great drink, and you get to meet the farmers and the chefs. As Evan fleshes out the details I will let you know what is going to be served and the cost for tickets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Cuts

One of our members called and asked for more information on pork shares so I called Phil to get the actual yield based on 250lb live weight. The cut list is very basic and yield will change depending on specific cuts, for example, if you want a crown roast then you get no ribs, a Porchetta will do away with the bacon etc. So here goes...
Live wt of 250lb yields about 73.6% or roughly a 184lb carcass. (Much bigger than this and it is likely to be an older animal and will be tough. Most hogs are harvested between 7-9 months of age) total yield 140lb pork 44lb skin, fat, and bone.
Hams(Hind Leg) 45lb 24% of carcass;
27.8lb cured or fresh ham, 5.8lb trim, 11.4lb skin,fat, and bone (trim is what is made into sausage and or ground pork)
Side(belly) 34.9lb 19% of carcass
19lb bacon or fresh belly, 5.8lb spare ribs, 9.1lb trim 1lb fat
Loin 33.8lb 18%of carcass
3.2lb back ribs, 10.7lb boneless loin, 7.6lb country style ribs, 5.7lb loin roast, 1.6lb tenderloin, 1.6lb trim, 3.4lb fat and bone.
Picnic 16.6lb 19% of carcass
12.2lb boneless picnic, 4lb skin fat and bone.
Boston Butt (Shoulder) 14.7lb 8%of carcass
4.4lb blade steaks, 7.8lb blade roast, 1.7lb trim, .8lb fat
Misc. 39.2lb 22%of carcass
15.4lb jowl,trotters, neck bones etc. 22lb skin,fat, bone, 1.8lb shrinkage and misc loss.

To clarify a little bit, we usually leave the skin on the hams, and NEVER factor bones or trotters into your take home weight. If you want the neck bones, tail, head, leaf fat etc. just ask and if it isn't already spoken for its yours! I feel that it is improper to ask someone to pay for what is usually considered loss. I had one member comment that she received soup bones as part of a CSA purchase elsewhere and was horrified that someone would expect her to pay the same price for them as she would expect to pay for a pound of ground meat. We add those things in as extras. Offal is the same way with the exception of liver at the Farmers Market.  Duroc Pork Shares are $5.00lb and Berkshire Pork Shares are $8.00lb and the price is for Member Farm Pick Up Only. Shipping is not included in the Farm Member price and must be calculated seperately.
Call or e-mail for per piece prices please.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lamb, Trails, and tribulations...........

Due to a HUGE mix up I have 5 lambs available. Betsy requiring a heart lung transplant and communication breakdowns caused the cancellation of half of a lamb sale. If anyone is interested let me know or off to Dixon they go! I'll be shipping them next week for USDA processing and they should yield about 60 lbs each. These are the BIG range lambs. Cheryl has some Khatadins ready for those of you that prefer the flavor they'll be about 20lbs smaller a finish. The dorper crosses here at the farm will be ready for Christmas. Shadow in doing great and is finally in with the other lambs. He's still a daddys boy and comes begging whenever J goes outside. You watch I'm going to end up with another mascot around here. Dawg is bad enough! Beef shares pick up on Friday this week because I'm going to a Team Sorting on Saturday or you can arrange to pick up on Sunday at the Farmers Mkt.
Robert is finally on his way to Belize and what they are doing down there sounds VERY exciting. I wish I could go even if just for a little while.
All in all things are good here at the home place, the heirloom corn is up and the tomatoes and ground cherries are leafing out. Critters attacked the runner beans but the bush beans and long beans seem ok. The Medicine Wheel Garden is shaping up and many of the herbs are taking off. Lambs and goats are growing like weeds! Louie went home with Diane today and Iris is going tobe Jamies new goat tender. That just leaves 3 of the cur pups and they can stay until we see if they really want to work.
 Come by and see what we're doing. Jody has re-designed everything from the entryway to the lock-n-load room. I think she thinks we're all super human or something!
Thanks again to all of you that sponsored us on the ride for diabetes this last weekend. It was a lot of fun for the riders and the party afterwards was a hoot! Don't forget the breast Cancer ride in Oct. Sustaining Members get free concert tickets and VIP seats for the ranch rodeo. Wishbone will be back this year with new material and some old favorites.
Please Don't forget to plan for the end of June. J will be handling things by himself for the first time and I'm hoping to have everything lined out for him, but we know how that goes don't we? I need to be 3 people! Anyone want to barter some office time?