I have not blogged in months... mostly, because I am opinionated and it may not always need to be said the way it comes out. I am loving our business and am beyond proud of where the business is going, evolving, and changing how people buy local meat! Honestly, if it was not for the pandemic I would have not moved forward in this direction due to fear and time constraints. I do not agree with the politics around the pandemic or how so much of this pandemic has played out, but in order to move forward and not look back it is time to see the positive! Our positive is this business and how much it has reminded us about the importance of family, agriculture, ranching/ farming education, and giving back to our community. So whether you think the Covid pandemic is good, bad, fake, indifferent, etc. try to find any good that has come of it! Dwelling on the negative will bread more negative energy and life is too short for that! Trust me I spent many nights in Facebook arguments, I've lost friends, and just simply questioned the world... that did not insight positive change or make me a better person. Find what you love to do, focus on what song makes you want to dance, what group of family or friends makes you laugh, and how you want to make a change for the better. For me I love my kids, my hobby farm critters, and my friends that make me laugh until I cry. I love that Farmstead Meats lets me meet new people, raise quality meat for consumers, and see the smiles on the faces of so many!!! What makes you happy? Do you have a big new adventure you are afraid to launch? 2020 was half empty make 2021 a full glass AGAIN!!!
I'm struggling a little bit to really say "support local", and then not define it. When I say support local I am thinking that means support a small local business that has products that are made in the USA, made possibly right in Northern California, or locally grown and raised within the local region. So many "local" businesses are actually selling a lot of made in China items, but them I'm like is that ok? It is still circulating money locally, and it often makes enough money to employ local individuals. What are your thoughts? Personally I fight this in my mind, but my real opinion is to try to go to local stores that sell USA made items, that is what I want to promote. It may not be popular with everyone, but that is my belief and opinion. Also, I am finding a lot of "local" butcher shops do not buy local meat and that really bothers me, and it is not because our prices are too "high"... I encourage you to ask questions to all your local businesses. If we want to see more local we have to make it a point to tell the businesses this is what we want and need as consumers.
I think there is a lot of fear right now in our nation, and even in our small communities. Politics are playing a major role in our daily lives right now and no matter what part of the spectrum you fall on you still need essential items and COVID is making this difficult. For us our restaurant clients are feeling stressed and unable to order like they normally would, friends and family are on unemployment, and so many are worried that the country may shut down again. We have made a really huge decision to butcher several steers right now to ensure we have enough meat for our customers. This is a lot of money out for us as well, and I'm not going to lie it makes me nervous, but we started this business so that we could ensure that our customers wouldn't be waiting in long lines for bad meat, and they would have a healthy option for their families. Opening a small business during COVID is not easy, but our support from our local community has been encouraging and is why I am up until late and up early feeding, watering, boxing meat, and delivering.
Overall, if you are thinking of supporting a small business or you have not made it into a local venue that you have been meaning to get to please do it, they need your support. Let's not live in fear, let's plan and work together! We have a lot of pork and beef, I am also buying more mature guilts to raise more pork and starting a pasture raised project. That is for a different blog... I am not sure, but I may have quite the pig farm going.
It is late and I have decided to get caught up! I have discussed this before... I am not great at the blogging or keeping up on marketing. I have had a lot of people asking me where we are getting our meat? Where do you market? Have you looked at other meat companies to steal their ideas?
Maybe a little blogging will help with this. We get our meat from cattle we have raised and some from cattle our partner rancher has fed out. We purchase cattle within Northern California, and we have been growing our small grass fed heard for a few years now. I'm hoping we get big enough to where we can involve other small ranches and teach people to be self sufficient and to buy local. Most communities in rural areas have everything we all need within a 25 mile radius... yet people are still going to Walmart. I do not care to be a marketing guru, just try our meat and you will be hooked. Third, nope not copying ideas, anyone who knows me is well aware I like to be different, unique, and an individual so I think Farmstead will lead the way one day.
We need to be reliant upon each other, and not the big box stores. It is a blog I can have my own opinion, right? For one, I am unsure as to where the meat is really from in the stores, I am not sure how fresh the produce is, and I do not want to deal with all of the folks during COVID. Doesn't matter what your belief is someone on either side is cranky at the store... the people mad at those wearing masks and then those wearing masks are angry at the people not wearing a mask. The arrows in the store, the dirty looks, the anxiety some feel, etc. I would just rather take a day a week to buy at a farmers market and then buy from other local artisans for products. Bottom line know where your food comes from, give a gift from the heart that is made from a local artisan, and support each other. Ok that is all I have for tonight.
Anyone that knows me knows... I like to talk a lot, but that is not what this blog is about! Something else about everyone knows is that I love history, antiques, looking for treasures, and going through black and white photos. I love looking at photos and going back in time through the visual history of our ancestors. My paternal grandfather passed away 5 years before I was born leaving me a missed opportunity for WWII stories, stories of the great depression, coming from Illinois to California to live, etc. It also has allowed me to dig deeper into the photos of this man and his family and learn more, and also listen to stories from my aunts and uncles. I have always known that grandpa Stan owned a grocery store, after his service in WWII where he earned a purple heart, but I never realized what all that entailed.
The other night I looked at this picture that is amongst the other black and white photos on my night stand... I started asking questions and digging through some old newspaper clippings. Grandpa Stan had worked in butcher shops as a young man in Illinois and also came from a family that had owned a small cafe. The store he owned in Thousand Oaks was not just a grocery store, but a small meat shop as well. I have never felt connected to my grandfather until that moment, and I thought it was really neat that my newfound love for selling meat and being involved in the food industry is a family connection to tradition. I will post a few pictures of this man I never knew and maybe one day I too will own my own meat shop!
Ok, for one I said I would be back sooner... sorry. I am still not a comfortable blogger, but today I woke up and everything pointed to a blog topic. I woke up thinking about our Farmstead Meats business, and then realizing we do not have a huge ranch and for marketing purposes maybe that is necessary. I started worrying that, because we are not rich or never inherited a big ranch from our family that maybe this will put us at a disadvantage. I started feeling like all I have is a small farm, big dreams, a big heart, and a need to educate consumers about healthy meat choices. Then I rolled out of bed did my daily chores and came back in to find RFD TV on with a short story about a small goat farmer and her dream to raise goats. Though goats are not my animal of choice her story gave me just the inspiration I needed! She started with a small piece of property, like under an acre, and then just started going to dairy goat meetings. Learning more and more and was able to get a few goats, make more money from her farm, and now has 40 acres. We have 10 acres and then we rent all of our other small ranches in order to run our small cattle operation. Our other animals are at our small farm and I love to go out everyday and spend hours with these critters, and maybe one day we will not have to lease cattle grazing land, but for now we do. It is ok to be small, to work hard on your own, and to have BIG DREAMS!
Ok folks I am taking a break from setting up the ecommerce. I am not a tech person so all of this has been a huge learning curve for me. In the meantime all the permits have passed and I have the green light to launch the business. I am so excited to get our beef out into the community! We have worked really hard for the past few years to keep more cattle back and grow our ranching practices. What I really like about the program I am starting is that it is local, but also dedicated to working with other ranches and possibly helping them sell their meat in the future. I am not great at blogging and it is not completely comfortable for me, but I will try to keep it up weekly. Ok, back to the painful website building... its healthy to learn something new!!! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,....
I have been talking to a lot of folks over the past week and so many say, yes I buy my meat local. True, they buy it at the local grocery store, but that store is getting it from a large scale processing plant that is getting the meat from who knows where. We do not know where, because they do not tell you on the packaging. This blog is not to bash on anyone or make anyone feel bad, but just to shed light. Maybe you like the mystery meat you are getting, maybe you are happy with not knowing, and it tastes good to you. I just want folks to start reading labels and becoming aware! I am a huge believer in buying local, working together to trade items, and to supply each other with items we need. I do not want to depend on big box stores to tell me the truth about products I am eating and putting into my body and my children's body. What are your thoughts?