Monday, September 26, 2011

What I want to see.

I want to see consumers seeking out educational avenues to find out where their food comes from, how it is produced, and why there are different protocols for each specific growing practice (management type). I want them not to blindly accept that Organic is Best, or Grass fed is the same thing as Grass Fed and Finished. I want them to understand that the vast majority of farmers in America are multi-generational farmers on family run farms and ranches and that the average cattle herd is 40 head. I want people to Care enough to take the time to Know who produces their food. To actually follow a seed from planting to harvest, to Watch A lamb or steer "From Conception To Consumption"(tm), To Understand why some things cost more than others, and why some that do should not. I want them to go to the County Fair and visit the exhibits, I want to see support for Youth in Agriculture, The average age of the American Farmer and Rancher Today is 57, If our youth are not involved, encouraged and Appreciated they are no going to go back to the farm. When you see that 5 year old with his first Turkey in the show pen, I want you to smile, I also want you to bid on that kid's bird and help him get to college! Or when that FFA kid shows that lamb, pig, or steer they raised, ask them what they fed, how they finished, what did they do to get ready for the fair? Take time my friends, learn about your food and those that have made it their life's work to put it on your table.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why does it take so long to get my Beef?

Here is a time line for the beef we offer. Please be aware that other producers do things differently and this is an example of our own practices.
From Day of slaughter to finished product takes 5 weeks.
Custom Slaughter timeline:
Day 1: Butcher arrives at field and dispatches the steer, The skin,head, feet, and innards are removed and the carcass is take by the butcher to the packer, be it the butcher himself or another location.
 2: Once at the packer the carcass hangs for 21 days in the cold box to dry age, we will go into the details  of temperature control and humidity in another post. Dry aging improves the flavor and texture of the beef.
3:  After dry aging the carcass is trimmed and cut into portions called primals, these primals are then further trimmed and cut into portions for our members. This process can take several days, and the meat is held near freezing the entire time.
4: After the meat is cut into steaks, roasts, etc. it goes into the deep freeze where it is taken down to -10 degrees. At that point it is ready for me to pick up and deliver to our members!
USDA Inspected for retail Sale.
Day 1: The steers are hauled to the slaughter facility where they are inspected for good health and then dispatched. They then go into a "hot room" where the carcass rests and cools for 24 hours.
Day 2: Another USDA inspector takes samples of the beef and determines the grade that the animal will receive (choice, select etc,)
Day 3: the carcass is moved to a dry aging facility where it ages 21 days.
Day 25: The carcass is moved again to the USDA inspected Processor where it is cut  wrapped and frozen for transport.
Day 27-40 The meat is delivered from the processor to the licensed cold storage facility where we can then pick it up for distribution.
Only USDA Inspected Products may be legally shipped. Custom Meats are pre purchase only because you have to own the cow BEFORE it is dispatched. That is why we have a farm membership program firmly in place. You own a piece of every animal that is grown by us for our members. And now you know why it takes so long to get that beef from the field to your freezer!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Appealing to the masses.

Let me begin by saying that I'm not going to make everybody happy every time they read this blog. That is just a fact. I talk about a variety of things that I am passionate about and not everyone shares those passions. That is ok! Even if you don't like everything you read if you come away learning something you did not know, I achieved my goal of educating the consumer.
I raise Grass fed and Finished beef and lamb, others don't, they prefer a different model that works for them. I partner with people that raise pastured pork and poultry and keep a few here at the home farm, I don't have the time or space to raise a large number of omnivores. Those folks do. Other folks raise them under different management protocols and that is their choice. My focus (and Pet Peeve) is that whatever system you prefer for raising livestock, be honest about it! Explain the how and the why. People are Smart! They will be able and want to make informed choices. If one person gets the fact that all pork and poultry contain no added hormones because it has been illegal to do so since the late 1950's rather than because someone is waving the no hormone banner to play on consumer fear of additives in our food I have done a good thing! If someone learns the difference between a cow calf operation, a feedlot, and stocker producers, all the better!Or The fact that all cattle start out as grass fed beef and the difference is in the finishing therefore the term Grass Fed that you see in the store can mean absolutely nothing. There needs to be a dialog between the farmer/rancher and the public. Yes Virginia, among other things I Am an AGvocate!
I follow a Primal eating lifestyle, again others don't and that is fine. You will see recipes that showcase the many ways to prepare the products that come from the animals we produce, Not all will be my personal eating method but everyone can benefit from learning how to prepare meats correctly, and some of  my friends and followers eat things I cannot. Where possible we will give the adjustments. My Facebook page for the farm is geared more toward those that follow the same lifestyle that I do, But, at the request of a fan, I have started a new page. MM Livestock Co Livestock 101 where questions can be asked and answered with unbiased information. People need to be able to get detailed information with scientific backing. That is what I am going to do there. There will also be a linked blog for longer posts and data. Thank you all so much for liking us and supporting what we do! I home that I can clear up some of the confusion for you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Learning is Fun!

I am learning a LOT! As many of you know I am definitely a computer novice, I'm just getting the hang of uploading pictures to facebook for goodness sakes! But with friends like Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations and Date Night Doin's I'm having to definitely take a crash course! Several of my Ag. Buddies are great bloggers and they are teaching this ol' cowgirl the ropes! I never dreamed that the life I live would become a subject of interest.
People are becoming much more interested in where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate, and as an educator this seem like a logical progression to me. I have spent years teaching those in the industry about genetics, breed selection, range management, feeds and feeding. I think it is wonderful that the general population is getting interested as well. I realize that you may not want to know how many pounds of seed it takes to cover an acre of ground, but you do want to know what kind of seed is planted and why. As a grass farmer I feel it is important for you to know the difference between grass fed and grass finished. You need to be aware of the differences between Cow/ calf operations and stockers, feeders and grazers. Appropriate Species specific diets are crucial to great end products. For example: Cattle finished in a feedlot on grain are different from cattle fed hay in pens and those are different still from cattle finished on living forage. Muscle mass, fat content, and flavor differ significantly with each production model. The same goes for sheep and goats. 90% of us have to feed baled grasses at sometime during the year BUT we don't market at that time because the quality of the meat is lower and lacks the finish our customer base has come to expect. People will tell you that grass finished animals will not grade, NOTHING is further fro the truth. Grass finished beef and lamb will consistantly grade choice or higher on grass when managed corrrectly.
Pork and poultry being monogastric(single stomached) omnivores require a completely different feeding program. They cannot and will not survive on grass alone. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and yes even insects and other animals are part of their dietary needs. We personally do not feed any GM plant matter to any of our livestock and have never used soy based feeds. We are even having to make changes to our permanent finishing pastures due to the deregulaton of GM alfalfa and the fact that it is grown in our drift plain.(upwind).
Now that I have that out of the way, I also intend to keep you up to date about things happening here at the home farm, Like the lamb that was born last week and the custom hogs that are growing in the summer garden. I'm still weak in the picture posting department so for now the facebook page will have to do!
Please feel free to ask questions and I will answer them here for everyone.
Until next time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kosher Lesson and other interesting things.

I think the most interesting happening here on the farm this last week was having a Rabbi actually come here and perform a Kosher Slaughter. Every facet of the Kill and processing is overseen by a Rabbi. Every organ Must be inspected and every vein removed. If every part of the animal is not perfect the whole animal is considered Traif under Kosher law. (It is still fine for non Kosher folks!)And the cleanliness requirements make USDA requirements look weak! It was Fascinating!
We custom slaughtered 2 steers and they are dry aging as we speak so Farm members orders are on track. I'm finally starting to post pictures on the MM Livestock Co Facebook page and we'll keep adding more! Manny the new lamb is doing fine! he get's his tail done today and we'll post the pics on fb. In this part of the country wool sheep really need their tails docked to avoid fly strike. We band tails at 3-5 days old and have never had any ill effect. The Hair sheep have short tails that do not require docking, Many of our hair sheep crosses are short tailed and don't require docking either. Our farm pigs are growing out great! Thanks again Dave for letting us have these 4 beauties! They have been moved into the summer Garden area and are turning it over beautifully!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coincidence? I think Not!

The Gremlins are at it again! This time it was funny! I told Ya'll I would be moving cattle today, and while I was on the road our local Animal Control Came by! According to the farm members that were here volunteering at the time, Someone Not local to the Area had called in a complaint that some of the livestock had no shade. The officer was completely satisfied with our shade system and I was told that they had a pretty good chuckle about the whole thing. They have to address every complaint even if they know for sure it is a waste of their valuable time and limited resources. After it was explained to the officer the trouble we've been having they informed us that confidential information always can be subpoenaed and that complaints can be viewed with a written request. COOL HUH! My file just keeps getting thicker.  If small farmers would cooperate with each other rather than waste other peoples time   we could be the change we want.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Working on the websites. Market Day, and friends!

As some of you have already seen, the fellas have been working on the websites! has a whole new look on its home page and the rest of the site will be up soon.
We had a great day at the market. Lots of regulars and some new friends came to see us. It was Angela's birthday so we had a celebration and a lot of fun. George came and went Hunting, he's going to come take some on the hoof photos for you all real soon! ( I can't take the pictures and be in them so he's going to have to help!) The piggies scored big time! Squash and Watermelons, some strawberries and Purslane. Nice treats! Come see us at the Murrieta Certified Farmers Market on Sundays from 9-1. In addition to our grass based meats, you'll find organic veggies, Garlic, Breads, salsa, flowers, and a host of other great things, I'm on a pluot kick right now and can't get enough of them, Yum! Remember Sat 9-10 is share pick up here at the farm and we have some special things going on at the Market next Sun. in honor of 9-11. Until Next time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Farm Member Notification.

The attacks against us are escalating once again and we have had to make some changes to the farm to ensure the safety of our livestock and the people that live here. A new gate has been added across the drive and no animals have access to the exterior fences. Please call for the gate code. The last time that vicious rumors were circulated one of my horses was killed by someone feeding him apples laden with needles and although the authorities are aware of the perpetrator's illicit and illegal activities  they cannot stand guard at our gate. This time around the internet is again the vehicle of choice for the attacks.please report any emails, postings, and or facebook contact relating to me personally, the farm, or any of our associates to the local authorities and I will provide the number and email address for the Federal Agent handling our case to anyone that needs it. This type of activity is considered an act of terrorism and is being treated as such. These people have even resorted to filing false reports with some of the agencies we have to deal with and those reports have been proven fraudulent and of no merit. I will never understand this kind of activity and it is a very scary thing to wake up with people at your gate ready to haul away your LIFE'S WORK because someone posted on Craigslist that animals and farm equipment were free for the taking. One of our pastures was set on fire, and I can't even pick up goodies for Smoke without these people claiming we are doing something heinous. Lucky for us the perpetrator's facebook postings were captured before they were deleted as were their other postings around the internet. I am shocked by the number of farmers and ranchers that are experiencing the same thing and we have formed a group to share information and suggestions about how to deal with these acts of terrorism. In the course of this investigation we even found evidence of other people pitting farmers against each other to break mutually beneficial ties. All of our livestock and pets are fine and so are we. Thank you for your love and continued support. Farm pick up is the morning of the 10th as scheduled.