The Farmer and I have been working on a project the past couple of weeks. It's actually a project that has taken us thirty years. We got our sheep back in 1979. We began with 4 Romney ewes, added a Romney ram and now, 30 years later, way more than a thousand sheep have gone through our farm. We never did think to count - we just compare our mental notes year to year.
Once we got up into the higher numbers of sheep, (for us, I consider higher to mean 70, not 1000 like sheep ranches in the western States), we would have a considerable number of lambs born each year. Because we lamb in January, we are usually ready with finished lambs for the Easter market. For the past few years, we have taken our lambs to a local auction and have sold them there. I have written about that experience here and here and here. Our lambs always look good and sell quickly.
Knowing how much work goes into these animals, it is always mind-boggling that they can be gone in a day. We watch as the buyers load the lambs onto their trailers and off they go, another cycle of the farming season finished. It always makes me feel somewhat sad but I am realistic about farming sheep. You can't keep them all because we can't afford to feed nor care for all of them. Every year we do keep lambs though - for replacing the older sheep who die through the year. I will write about this another day.
But for today, I want to let you in on our new business venture. We're going to be selling our lamb direct to the public. Here's the logo I spent a couple days working on.
Yesterday afternoon, we took a family trip to Adams Farm in nearby Athol where we picked up our first batch of finished lamb - all USDA inspected and ready to sell to the end consumer. We're pretty excited about starting this new "direct to the consumer" business and have many plans to make. We're going to need a website eventually for it but right now we are just going to start by getting the word out locally. Luckily we live in an area of Massachusetts where people are appreciative of farm raised products and are happy to help support local farmers. It's a new adventure for our family and one I'm quite excited to learn about. I'll be sharing the growing business here on this blog which will put a new spin on the blog. My first plan is to check into the Greenfield Farmer's Market.
I want to thank Carolyn and John Wheeler of Wheel-View Farm up in Shelburne, MA for answering our many questions. The Wheelers grow amazing grass fed Belted Galloway cattle on a beautiful piece of farmland high in the hills of western Massachusetts. They are former dairy farmers who have been selling direct to the public for several years now. They will ship throughout New England.
If you live in eastern Massachusetts and are interested in ground lamb, I'll be staying in Dedham at my sister's house the weekend of March 14th and 15th. I would be happy to bring some lamb for you if you want to come to Dedham and pick it up. The price is $6.50/lb. and it comes in one pound packages frozen. Just e-mail me and we can make arrangements.
BOOK PARTY - MAY 5-6
to celebrate the publication of my new book
CRAFTING A PATTERNED HOME.
Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.
This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.
The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.