Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Holiday Hams - Spring Hill Farms

As the Holiday season draws near I start thinking about ham. Well actually I start getting calls and emails asking about ham so it starts me to thinking about ham!

  I began selling holiday hams in 2004 and it has grown into a big part of what we do at Spring Hill Farms.

  I knew our ham was good, but I think sometimes farmers get used to eating their own products and end up taking it for granted that everyone eats this way.

  A beautiful hickory smoked ham has been part of our dinner table for a long time not only at the holidays, but several other times through out the year when the mood strikes me.

  So...when we started offering them to the public I was surprised at how many people raved about them. I guess maybe I shouldn't have been but hey I try to be modest!

 
So what makes our hickory smoked ham so special? I wish I could take all the credit and say it's all about the pork. And a huge part of it is the product you start with and Spring Hill Farms pork is not to be taken lightly.

 

HOWEVER.....

 
You can have the best product in the world and if it isn't handled properly as in the case of curing and smoking hams, you can end up with a product that is horrible at the worst, and average to good on the other end of ham-o-meter.

You realize we have a ham-o-meter right? Yea it's a very sophisticated feed back system that some people would refer to as a customer.

  Easy....I'm not calling you a ham-o-meter!

The first time we officially took a reading from a ham-o-meter was in 2004 and it was off the chart!

It wasn't just "good" it was "the best ever."

 
"Our Ham was the most delicious ham we have ever eaten. A very fresh taste, full of flavor! Our family loves pork but do not really eat ham very often..." - Randolph and Teresa K Granville, Ohio

Rittberger Meats does all of our processing of pork and beef. The reason we use them....

They are the best of the best when it comes to processing and especially curing and smoking pork. There is something about knowing they have been doing this since 1910 in the same smokehouse that makes me realize we have something special, elite.

Do you know of any other butcher shop that has been in business, and family owned, for 100 years in central Ohio?

 

Here's an excerpt from the Rittberger Story.


"Carl Rittberger Sr., Grandpa was born in Lorch Germany in 1881. He went to meat trade school in Germany, before coming to the United States in the late 1800's.

From a small retail trade acquired at the Zanesville City Market, he expanded into the wholesale business at his farm on Lutz Lane, where he started September 22,1910.

In the early days, Grandpa rode on horseback throughout the county. He purchased livestock along the way and drove the livestock back to the plant on horseback.

As his business grew, he purchased some 800 acres and raised some of his own livestock to stay up with the demand. Today we still raise cattle on over 450 acres.

Quality was always Grandpa's number one goal even through tough times, and is still ours today! We are still family owned and ran by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations. We are even starting to get some input from the 5th generation."

 
The Rittberger family are experts when it comes to producing a ham that stands alone in taste, texture, and quality.

The Christmas ham was really wonderful- very tender, lean and full of flavor. I'm not much of a "ham person" generally, but I loved this. The left over bone helped make an outstanding bean and farro soup as well - Tim & Emily H. Columbus Ohio

 
I invite you to try a holiday ham from Spring Hill Farms complete with the Rittberger touch. You'll be glad you did when all the ham-o-meters start going off around your holiday dinner table... I guarantee it.

 
 David T. Fogle



 
Click Here to see our Holiday Hams.



 


 

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How to Buy Meat at Your Local Farmers Market

Picture Farmers markets are exploding on the scene across the United States. That means more vendors looking for ways to leverage the "eat local" movement even if their meats aren't local or even from a small farm.

A quick look at a listing of farmers markets in my state shows several meat processing plants listed as vendors. I'm not trying to infer that they shouldn't be allowed to participate in farmers markets. I am saying, as with any vendor you purchase from, you should engage in a conversation about where the animals are raised and how they are raised.

For instance the statement of "all our meats are locally raised" could simply mean somewhere in the state.

Some good questions to ask any meat vendor:

Do you raise the livestock yourself?

If not, do you know the farmer who did?

Do you purchase animals from sale barns to slaughter?

How confident are you that your meats are hormone and antibiotic free?

For beef - Is this 100% grass fed and finished or has it been fed grain?


These are the type of questions any farmer who raises livestock will be happy to answer. In fact most welcome these types of questions because it shows that you are looking for a certain style of animal husbandry and methods of production.

My point in all this is not to build a case about dishonest vendors.

My point is don't assume that because you are standing at farmers market every product there is locally raised by a small farmer. Ask questions.

The demand for locally farm raised beef, pork, and chicken as well as other meats such as lamb, goat, rabbits etc is on the rise. That means meat vendors of every stripe are looking for ways to gain access to farmers markets.

Some markets will allow them to sell their products and some won't.

Make sure you know what you're getting.


Until next time...
Spring Hill Farms
 
 

Farmers Market Does Not mean Local or Organic

Picture Farmers Markets are increasingly offering products that are not locally grown. I am seeing more and more produce that is the exact same stuff you can buy at your local grocery store.

I don't offer my products at farmers markets but I do make my rounds to them occasionally and talk to many farmers who sell at them.

The number one complaint I'm hearing is the amount of vendors who buy produce from wholesale houses or produce auctions and then sell it at the market.

In fairness, not all of them are saying it's local but many rely on the fact that people assume it is local or homegrown because they are buying at a farmers market.

If you are buying tomatoes or cantaloupe at a farmers market around these parts in mid May....it ain't local by any stretch of the imagination.

This is a classic case of markets need vendors and vendors need an outlet.

My message isn't these types of products should not be sold at a farmers market. That is up to the folks who run the market. I am all for a free enterprise system.

However, I think full disclosure is a good place to start.

But by far the best way to get what you pay for is still "Buyer beware"

Ask vendors if they grew the product themselves. Sometimes they buy from other farmers which in that case it may be local farm raised product.

But if it came from a wholesale house many times you can get the same conventionally grown stuff at your local supermarket.

Until next time...


 

 

 

 
 

Buy Local - The Fast Track to Change

Picture I have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.

Vote with your dollars.

According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public a few weeks ago.

This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.

It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.

I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.

My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.

This could happen to any company, good or bad.

The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.

We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.

You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.

You will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."

Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can. 

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms

PS - Help force the issue on labeling genetically modified organisms in our foods. How? Go to the Institute for Responsible Technology and learn how you can vote with your dollars.



 
 

What 2011 Holds and Five Steps You Should Take

Buckeye Rooster 

 

What does 2011 hold for you? What does it hold for the United States? It would be really nice if we could answer those questions definitively. However, we all know that's impossible. No one can tell the future with certain accuracy. We can tell the season though [more]

 


 
 

A Story of Holiday Hams and Nice People

Holiday Hams 

 

A couple of days ago I was out delivering holiday hams to customers. Little did I know that someone was watching me [more]

 
 

A Great Way to See/Share Why to buy from a Local Farm

I love this little video! It really brings home what's going on in the industrial farming sector.

When I go through the grocery store I see so many pretty, pastoral labels all designed to make me think my food is actually coming from a real farm somewhere...

Opt out of that system buy from a local farmer!

 

See it here

 
 

Why Eat Local?

Eating food that was sustainably raised is like eating a tomato out of your garden verses buying a tomato at your local mega grocery. It looks like a tomato, well sort of, but the taste is more like cardboard. There is plenty of crunch, plenty of texture, but almost no taste. No taste usually means very little nutritional value.

How can you take something like a tomato and ruin it? The same way you can take a pig and raise it in a way that isn't sustainable or natural and end up with something that looks like pork but tastes like, you guessed it, cardboard! Most factory farm "premium pork" tastes like the brine and chemicals used to enhance the flavor.

According to ATTRA, sustainable agriculture follows the principles of nature to develop systems for raising crops and livestock that are, like nature, self-sustaining. I agree.

If you come to my farm I'm not going to give you my long passionate talk about the evils of big business agriculture and how we need to return to a more sustainable model. I'm going to give you a pork chop, unless you'd rather try our pasture raised chicken.

I've learned that once you taste and see that sustainably-raised food is superior to factory-farmed products, you will ask me where to get food that tastes so good. And I'll gladly tell you.

Find a sustainable farm practice in your area and see what they offer. You will be convinced that food produced according to nature tastes better because it is better . It's healthier, environmentally friendly, and it stimulates the local economy. As the old saying goes, "The proof of the pork is in the eating."

 If you're around our neck of the woods, we hope you'll try us at Spring Hill Farms

 

Until next time...

 
 

Educating Potential Customers

I find a large part of my work as a small farmer is educating folks as to why they should buy local off the farm whenever possible.

 Sure, there is a segment of soceity that is already convinced of that and some of them shop here at local harvest or the local farmers market.

 I find a much larger portion of Americans have only had some form of exposure to these thoughts. They aren't always convinced yet. I'm always on the look out for evidence supporting my belief in local food and/or sustainable farming.

 One of the most prevalent stories right now is one of food safety. Almost daily we see something on the news or Interent about food safety issues. All these things help our cause. Americans are starting to pull all the bits and pieces togther of the whole local farm freash thing thanks to the media.

 I checked my mail today and viola it seemed as though Consumer Reports is seeing that it is a hot topic now too!

 I got a mailer from them trying to sell me the 2010 buying guide. On the front cover in large letters:

 "How safe is that chicken? We'll tell you..." see page 4

 

On page 4 they inform you that they compared 525 chickens from 27 brands and found only 17% were free from salmonella and campylobacter.

 

Thanks Consumer Reports for doing such a study! I'll use it to sell my pastured poultry!

 

Until next time...

 
 
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