Thursday, March 05, 2009

A New Venture for Our Family Farm

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.

10 comments:

Leslie said...

Isn't the Adams Farm new facility just "da bomb"?? I get such a chuckle that the health authorities (local/state/federal) insisted the slaughterhouse be on the "view" side of the road.

Marie said...

Kristin,

Congratulations on your new venture! We are VERY interested in obtaining our meat sustainably raised and locally grown. And we're all about supporting local farmers, so...I would LOVE to arrange a pick-up of some lamb from you when you're out this way on the 14th and 15th. Sorry to leave this comment on your blog, but I don't know how to find your e-mail address. Let me know what works best for you and we'll work out details. Thanks for the opportunity.

alce said...

I'm happy to hear about your new venture, even though I'm in California and can't benefit from it. I bought half a pasture-raised lamb last year from a woman who's starting a cheesemalking operation, and it was some of the tastiest lamb I've ever had. Plus, I could be confident that it was raised well.

Mo said...

Selling direct to the consumer is very rewarding, for both you and them! My husband and I have been doing this for a number of years with grassfed beef, pasture pork, chickens, and goats. If you need any advice about communication and marketing, let me know and I would be happy to help! :)

Stephanie said...

Congrats! It sounds like a very exciting time.

mb. said...

congrats on your decision! It will be some more work, but it is 'good work, well done' . Who said that? I don't remember. Anyway, congratulations!

marit said...

Well done on an exellent decision, and good luck! I think this is a very good idea, and hope it works out for you. Looking forward to following the progress.

Deborah Robson said...

Love the logo. I'll tell friends in the area who are not vegetarians and love good food.

I used to work in Athol. Now, how many people do you run into who can say that?

coffeechris said...

Congratulations on your new family venture. How exciting for all of you. I love hearing all the lambaventures. The logo is so great. Wish I was closer to be able to purchase. I will let my New England friends, know.

Cary at Serenity Farms said...

Kristen, I love your colorful knitting so was very happy to find your blog and read about your family farm ventures ;D

Good luck with the direct marketing - nice job on the logo! (From another sheep farmer and knitter with slow dial up internet access!)