The start of 2017 has been very busy for us on the farm! We are hoping that translates into 2017 being a great year for us.
If you follow the Pettit Pastures Facebook page, then you are aware that we are now supplying The Main Street Farmer Eatery in St. Michael with grass fed beef. It has been a great experience working with their head chef Aaron. He is committed to the farm to table model for the restaurant and is going out of his way to try and source as much food as possible locally. I highly recommend giving the restaurant a try; their food is excellent!
Supplying a restaurant does have its own set of challenges. They need fresh meat, not frozen, and require deliveries up to twice a week. The delivery part isn’t too big of an issue as they are not too far away. The fresh meat part was new to us as we have always sold frozen beef to our retail customers. The first part was to get a set schedule with our butcher. To keep a fresh supply of beef we need to butcher quite often, sometimes several times per month. The second part was really getting our balage to hay ratios and quality set just right so that we would be able to harvest a high quality product even during the cold Minnesota winter months. So far it is working great, they love the beef and we sure appreciate the extra business.
This week we started the process of weaning calves. I have gone through our processes previously, so I will just give a quick summary of it here. Step one is to install temporary nose rings in the calves that eliminate their ability to suck from the cows (This is what we did this week.). After a few weeks, the cows’ milk supply will dry up and we can remove the rings from the calves. Then, at a later date, we separate the calves from the cows. We have found this method to be the least stressful to both the cows and calves. We have never had a calf die or even get sick during weaning like they often do with conventional weaning methods.
I also was invited to speak at a Crossfit gym in St. Paul this month. They were having a kick off for new members and had in a couple of people to speak about nutrition. I spoke about the health and environmental benifits of eating grass fed beef. I also spoke about the importance of knowing where and how your beef was raised. The USDA no longer has a standard for using the term Grass fed Beef, so it is up to the consumer to make sure it really is 100% grass fed. The speech went well and the gym’s members seemed very interested. I was happy to do it and would do it again if asked.
Like I said at the beginning, it was a busy month but we hope that is a sign of a great year ahead! Our best to you!