What We Are Seeing: A Direct Message from Dave Stoltzfus
First of all may I ask, how has the coronavirus affected you in a positive way?
Don't you think we could all find something positive if we would be very still, just think, and listen for the small things. You might be surprised how many things you can think of... Try it! :) One of the most positive things I can think of right now is the motto we have attached to our REAL foods regenerative farm and that is;
"Rebuilding our farm communities with regenerative farming and restoring a vibrant food system, one bite at a time."
How true my friend, because the small farm communities are the most secure food supply right now beings they have full control of their food from start to finish, from seed to harvest to processing to selling direct to the consumer! Very unique indeed, eh?
It's very exciting because it opens up many, many opportunities for small family farms and communities to raise more fresh veggies in REAL live soil, to produce more 100% grass fed and finished beef, to produce more milk-fed SOY FREE, GMO FREE pork, to produce more pastured free range chickens and eggs, to bake more healthy nutritious Spelt baked goods, and the list could go on and on... I am sure you get the point. :)
As for our own food supply we are definitely stepping it up on the farm and farms we work with to secure for you, our loyal customers, a trusted source of REAL food that comes directly from small family farms. Right now is a very good time to increase our livestock numbers because of all the fresh Spring grass. That is one thing that does NOT get cancelled, fresh Spring grass, bright sunshine, and moisturizing rains to keep things growing. :)
One thing in particular is that before this all started we added 20 more acres of grass to the farm here beings it was available for purchase. It was actually part of an 80 acre farm that joins our own farm here but the farmer that bought the farm only wanted 60 acres of it.
It's exciting to be able to heal our land back to the way it used to be, one farm at a time.
The other excitement here is that the 60 acres portion is also going to transition over to organic and put 20-30 more of our "Special" Dutch Belted cows on that farm. This was already in the making for over a half year and the timing could not have been better. Especially with the demand for REAL foods from local farms very high right now. This means we will have a total of over 100 Dutch Belted cows in our dairy herds on 200 + acres of grass that is Organic, no chemicals, no pesticides, and no junk whatsoever!
There are always of course a few extras like lambs, chickens, pigs, and so much more to create a diversified, multi-specie, regenerational, family oriented , farming community that works with Mother Nature farming the way God designed it, naturally
But, remember these things take time and dedication, they don't just grow in warehouses overnight and what not. So please be patient! :)
So you get my point by now right? It's all about capitalizing on these great opportunities for creating a vibrant food system that you can trust in, where you know the farmer, can speak with the farmer, and get REAL answers! I know the feeling of being unable to trust the supermarkets whether it be misleading food labels, unknown food source, insecure supply for demand, and who knows how many miles long of a cold chain to get product into their stores. Know your farmer = know your food.
Tired of me yet? I've got more if you stick with me...
Get Big Or Get Out?
This is the statement that the big meat corporations, CAFO (Concentrated Animal Confinement Operation) farms, and Mega Dairies have been going by. I guess their point was that you either have to GET BIG or GET OUT. Well folks, I've got news for you. Nothing could be farther from the truth! During these times of COVID-19 some of these huge meat packing plants are closing up or cutting down on capacity because thousands of workers work in tight elbow to elbow conditions and are much more vunerable to the spreading the virus.
The big dairies and milk processors are hurting right now because they can't shift production fast enough to accommodate more on the retail side like grocery stores and super markets with gallons of milk for example. A big part of their sales came from restuarants, schools, and other institutions that take milk and products in a form that is not for the grocery shelf.
Why can we small farmers adapt more quickly?
Because we are small enough to either add a piece of equipment, add a few more cows, or transition another farm to organic with regenerative farming, in a very short amount of time. And if we have too much milk one week we can turn it into cheese or butter very quickly because our dairy plants are small enough to easily hand-process small batches with full control of the product. So I think you get the point. It's all about being able to adapt quickly to consumers demands and trends, and even pandemics. :)
That's it for now folks as I should be running along! There's a lot of exciting things happening right now including expansion for more cold storage and packing more efficiently, UPS egg shippers coming, meat inventory restock, and new products on the horizon. Stay tuned for more updates!
Wishing you many blessings in good health,
Dave S., Dutch Meadows