Everyone we meet has something to teach us if we just listen!
I wrote last week a little about the Winter Green-up grazing conference that I attended two weeks ago. At the conference I had the opportunity to meet several new professionals who were speaking, as well as in the audience. The speakers included Neil Dennis, Chip Hines a Colorado rancher and author, Bill Roberts of 12 Stones Grassland Beef, John Moody from Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Brian Alberg Executive Chef at the Red Lion Inn, and Jeremy Stanton of Fire Roasted Catering and The Meat Market.
Each speaker had a wealth of information and experience to learn from.
Neil Dennis runs 800-1000 stocker cattle each year mainly by himself, I hope some day to make it up to Canada to see his operation, his herd is moved to fresh paddocks as often as every 2 hours throughout the day. It’s got to be a real sight to see especially in person, you can check out a few videos of his herd on Youtube.
Bill Roberts is an expert on vitamins, minerals, and cattle nutrition, he taught us how some minerals can become bound and un-useable when other minerals aren’t present. Bill sells a cafeteria mineral system similar to the one that we use, I am learning more about the differences in the two products, and might be inclined to switch to his in the future.
John Moody runs a food coop, and is now also the Executive Director at Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
Brian Alberg and Jeremy Stanton are both Chefs that source most of their ingredients locally, purchasing Grass fed and pasture raised animals from local farmers. They taught us about their operations, and answered many questions from the audience.
At the conference I was lucky enough to eat lunch and dinner with Jeremy Stanton, he is a down to earth guy, has amazing stories, and knows more about meat and food than I could ever hope to.
Wednesday I had the opportunity to take a trip out the The Meat Market where Jeremy showed me around his butcher shop. They produce amazing charcuterie, just peering into his meat cases, and curing coolers had my mouth watering. I didn’t get a chance to sample any of his meats, but we did a little taste testing of some other charcuterie. I learned a little about what to look for in different cured meats, I hope to learn more on the subject soon. Jeremy introduced me to many of his staff members and even took me to his brothers farm, where I got to meet some Ossabaw Island pigs. They are pretty cool creatures, I could see a herd of them ending up at West Wind Acres in the near future.
This weekend Jeremy is competing in the Charcuterie Masters, if you have time and are near NYC you should check it out. You can purchase tickets here.
It appears that spring is just around the corner, and mud season is definitely here. I am excited for the growing season to start, I can’t wait to see the animals all out on green grass. New life will be abundant starting in 4-6 weeks.
Last week I picked up pasture raised pork from our butcher, and our freezers are full, pork chops, hams, bacon sausage and much more.
Farm Store and Deliveries:
The farm store is open Saturday 10-2 and Sunday 1-4 we have lots of meat in stock, and some great specials
March 1st we delivery meat to drop points throughout the Capital District from Athens, up to Saratoga Springs with convenient drop points very close to I-87. Place your orders through our website or via email josh@westwindacres. Please place your orders by noon on Monday.
Best Question: Last weeks best question was asked by Michelle G. H. What do you like most and least about being a farmer?
What I like most about farming is watching our meats change the lives of our customers. Many of our customers have switched to pasture raised meat to improve their health, loose weight, and to feed their families more nutritious foods. It is great to watch their lives change and watch their children grow.
What do I like least? That is a hard question, most parts of farming I really like. I least like that it is difficult to find land locally to expand our farm onto. I know that we can do so much more, and look forward to continuing to grow the size of our farm so that we can raise nutritionally dense meats for more people.