A brief look back at our 2016 here on the farm: red hogs! 2 litters of babies from our sows! Lots of new friends and supporters of our farm! Lots of infrastructure work, thanks, in no small part, to the red pigs! A good butcher, who not only does a good job but who also treats them with dignity! Whee! It was quite a ride, sometimes frustrating (like the day I sat out in the pasture and had a weeping meltdown), but mostly good and fun and growthy. We had our first ever Pig Roast. We got to see piglets born from our own sows, raised here on the farm their entire lives (this was rewarding on a level I cannot adequately relay). All in all, it was a good year..
And I believe we will have a good year this year, too. What's up?
First of all, we have been successful enough that, instead of being considered a "hobby farm", we will become a full fledged business - Farm 2 Fork Pork, LLC. That should be in place within a couple of weeks. I got Quick Books and a tutorial so I can keep better business records and improve invoices for customers. F2FP grows up! And probably quicker than my accountant thought.
Big news - we won't be renting a farm much longer. We found a farm we love, which we call Iris Hill; there is more land, a really good barn, and the house is lovely, spacious enough to entertain and to conduct my crafty hobbies like cheese making, canning, beer brewing, even work on pottery out in the shop. There is a good sized mud room, so my stinky work boots aren't 10 feet away from the dining room table (yeah, whiffy!). It feels like home. We close in about a month and will take a couple months to move everything, and I mean everything. Big Lil. Her babies. The new members of the sow herd, Almond, Belva Jo, and Cardamom. All the hog housing, all the feeders, all the electro fences. All that farm schtuff, in addition to the normal house items. And it will so be worth it. The pigs will have lots of room and more pastures, and an oak grove at the back of the property to supply delicious acorns.
Big Lil, our matriarch, is due to have piglets shortly after Valentine's Day, another bunch of sweeties like her previous litter, above. She's such a wonderful mama, and her babies do so well out on our pastured system, growing fast and strong, and they are so even tempered.
We've added many new customers who support our hogs and our way of farming by buying our pork. We couldn't do it without you! We have pre-sold all the hogs that will be ready in Spring, and have pre-sold a fair number of the Fall hogs as well. Buyers of our pork ensure that more heritage hogs are raised up, live out on pasture like that pictured above, and are treated with kindness and respect. If you are considering investing in a side or a whole hog, act soon; we have only a limited number of Fall hogs available. We will also be raising up some larger roasting hogs for the October/November timeframe, and those have to be reserved by July.
That's one of our roaster hogs, prepared for a farm table dinner at the Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy last fall; it fed a lot of grateful people. We'll be proudly raising up hogs again for Chef Bibi Becklund to prepare with skill and respect. I joke that Bibi even makes the squeal unique and delicious, but it's not far from the truth.
If we're really lucky, Michael and Tenley will again come play music at our farm open house and pig roast this fall in November. We will be feeding lots of folks, celebrating the harvest home, having farm tours, and sharing the joy of this farm with others. We hope you'll plan on joining us!
Merry Schepers lives on a farm with her heritage pigs in Nixa, MO.