A new farm customer, during a conversation about how we raise and butcher our livestock, stressed her belief about how important it is that we share these things with our customers and potential customers. Basically, she agrees with our methods and is willing to use her dollars to vote to support our practices, and she would like others to do the same.
We like to butcher the pigs here on the farm, for less stress to the animals, and to include all members of the family and farm shareholders, no matter how deeply intense a time that is. It may not be a joyous harvest, like our CSA harvest days, but it is powerful. Respectful. Important to be witnessed and attended.
If not butchering chickens and turkeys ourselves, we take them to another small family farm, where the whole family works in the processing room, from the little kiddos on up. We, and our own children, stay and talk with them. We are in the processing room. Again, we attend to the important giving of life for our ultimate nourishment. We have done our best to respect these animals in life, and we respect them in their death.
We raise animals for you. When you reserve an animal in the spring, we create a contract with you to raise it in a manner of which you would approve. It’s YOUR animal. We respect the animals, and we respect you, for choosing to support a humane, sustainable food system. The nurturing and harvesting of life is intensely personal for all of us here. I still cry when I lose a young, fragile turkey poult or a predator takes one of the chickens (ask us to tell you the story about the 4th of July midnight skunk sometime!).
We do not eat a lot of meat in our house. Our diet is mostly vegetable based, but we eat moderate amounts of humanely raised and harvested meat — more now than before now that we can get it from our farm or neighboring farms with similar practices. This meat costs more, but it requires much more intensive inputs than that produced on large commercial feedlots. We do not make a profit, but we hope we make a difference.