Friday, May 4, 2012

Well hello!

I just came back to find a surprise in the sheep pasture! A new ram lamb! Mom must have skipped her preg check because he is definitely a surprise!
 It has been an odd day that's for sure! Running to the post office to verify that shipments actually went out because there is no on line data, Yep it's all on its way!
I got grilled by the cutest lady in the parking lot about Beef production! Her name is Addie and she used to live on the Vail Ranch when she was a girl and knew my dad!  After telling me some neat stories about what he and Mahlon Vail did back in the day she started asking me about the cows. I figured that she was just curious about how things had progressed in the last 40+ years, but Nope! Addie wanted to know how we were breeding, what improvements we had made over the years and if our White faced calves were Hereford or Simmental crosses. (If a breed of cattle does not have the genes for white faces, the offspring will never have a white face) I told her all about our breed-up program and she was delighted and approved! She also wanted to know if I had a horse kind enough for her to ride out with me some time. I better put a few miles on Red! He's a good boy buy I think Miss Addie will definitely expect better manners! (and a 87 years young she has a right to expect them!)
She is coming by the house in a few days with some pictures and I will be sure to share them!
 On another front, I've been talking up a storm since completing the Masters of Beef Advocacy course through the checkoff. I am constantly astounded at the disconnect between consumers and producers. People genuinely don't know where, when, why, and how their food, and especially their meat is grown.  Some of the biggies are Why Grass finished takes longer than grain finished, What the differences are, and the questions to ask when thinking about buying meats directly from the farmer or rancher. (I'm working on a printer friendly list of questions for folks to use as a guide.) I do think folks are starting to take a keener interest in their food and appreciate the food choices that are out there, but they don't know quite how to get exactly what they are looking for, or more accurately how to ask for it. If a place seems too good to be true, sadly, it usually is.
Farming and ranching aren't always pretty professions, some facets of production can be downright unpleasant in fact, and we need to show our customers both sides of process. The good and the bad, the miracles and the failures. If they only pet the babies and never see the end result, how are they going to know what actually goes into producing meat for the table?
 Some of my best stories come from when families come out on custom slaughter days! The kids are asking what every part is and why it looks the way it does, Mom is wringing her hands wondering if she has scarred her kid for life, and many of the big tough dads are hurling behind the barn! The kids are amazing! So curious, and the butcher takes the time to talk to them and explain each step. Our  future foodies getting a first hand lesson in where their food comes from. Just remember, Keep it real, do it right, be humble and beyond reproach, practice transparency and folks still may not like what we do, but they have to respect it!

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