Today is the Winter Solstice, the official start of winter and if you live in northeast Ohio it also mean dealing with cold weather and snow. I have to admit that we have been pretty fortunate around here this year as it just started snowing today. I can remember some years that we had snow on the ground before Thanksgiving. We have also been pretty busy on the farm balancing farm work with getting prepared for Christmas which is only 4 days away! I still have some Christmas shopping to do especially for my wife and my father but I should be able to accomplish that after one of my last customers arrive Sunday to picking up her Christmas turkey.
We are quite please with what our 18 month old cow dressed out at, 388 pounds hanging weight! It might not sound like a lot for a cow but he was just a Jersey steer which is a dairy variety of cow and since he was grass fed, he did not get as large as some other breeds of beef cows on grain.
I was disappointed with a new butcher that I used this year for some of our pigs because I was told by other farmers that he was the best of the best in the area. This is not the same butcher I discussed about in the last posting on here. With the exception of no nitrite added hams and bacon that he offers, which is the reason we went to him this year, I found out that he seriously price gouges for his services and his costs can be twice as much as other butcher shops in our area which I was not prepared for. (I normally also include processing in my price per pound cost so this is a real problem.) One pig cost me as much as $350.00 to be processed by him!!! I know most of you are saying that I should have check out his charges before hand. I did! They are on his website but it is quite difficult to see and I am still going over the invoices to see where all the charges are adding up.
Although I was happy with the way the meat was cut and packaged, I was very disappointed with the way he packaged my pork fat that that I requested back which will be used to make lard. Most butchers I deal with pack this in plastic in small quantities, I found it instead thrown all in a box and frozen like spaghetti all entangled together.
He also did not label my boxes the way I wanted which caused a problem when I got the pork back to the farm and had to rummage through 20 boxes to get one CSA pork order together. This left some of my customers waiting while I figured out what they did and carefully packaging their pork orders. This is a butcher I had high hopes for but I guess not anymore unless my customers want to pay a premium charge for his processing.
We are wrapping up the CSA season this year on the farm and looking for a new and prosperous 2013 year!
Before I leave I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!