This is the paragraph where I complain about the weather…
There, I feel better already.
I was thinking back to the year 2001 over the weekend, when we (really my dad) first hatched this plan to raise and sell grass-fed beef. I distinctly remember the family discussion on if we should call it Wallace Farm or Wallace Farms. A small letter can mean 2 greatly different things. Without the “s” we would be this one farm, this one family, and it would take a lifetime to accomplish a fraction of what we hoped for. But add the “s” and the whole world looks different, bigger, brighter, and one where possibilities and potential for real change in agriculture can take place. And so Wallace Farm “s” was born. With that bit of history in your back pocket, I want to highlight two of our partners and the great work that they do. Last fall we switched up our roles a bit and decided to move the cows off the farm. Not an easy decision but it felt right for our farm and we had the opportunity to bring another farming family into the grass-fed world….they call that a win-win! The thought was that the cows would calve at Ken and Julie Mclees farm and we would focus on grazing more fat cattle and start developing our breeding program here at the home farm. Ken and Julie have a beautiful farm consisting of 400 acres of rolling pristine pasture ground. With this spring weather, Ken drew a rough hand for the first year of our new partnership but he’s old school and a farmer who smiles in the face of a challenge. If you’ve never heard stories of the struggle, calving season can be a rewardingly stressful time of year. Some calves hit the ground running, some of them struggle but find their legs eventually and a rare few never make it out of the gates. As you might imagine, weather can be energy positive or energy negative, yin and yang as you’ve heard me reference in past blogs. Considering this last “yin” stretch, Ken and the cows are overdue for that warm “yang” ,wrapped up in a blanket of sunshine and blue skies. In spite of the weather, with their diligent eye and constant care, we have 21 calves on the ground. All mamas are very attentive and they seem to be milking well. Nice work Ken and Julie!
My other cattle partner is out in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. He and his brother have about 400 cows and we buy a lot of their sturdy calves each fall. The photo and quote I added above was a post from their mom. If you can’t tell, that is a picture of a herd of cows hunkered down behind a row of hay bales. The Sand Hills don’t offer many trees so ranchers do their best to provide man-made relief from the wind. Can you imagine consistent gusts over 50mph, trying to keep a watchful eye for newborn calves hitting the ground? That rush of adrenaline and stress for these ranches will often carry on for hours, if not days, relentless and unmerciful. How would you like that workplace environment a few days or weeks out of the year? I have nothing but pure admiration for families that can do this. The last I heard, the Brothers had weathered the storm and hadn’t lost any calves…another job well down…I bow my head in utter awe and appreciation!
Here on our farm, we are kicking out the young stock on pasture tomorrow come hell or high water. I bet they don’t mind chewing thru last year’s boring brown grass to get to the young new shoots of this year…call it a ruminant scavenger hunt. The chickens won’t be far behind them…I’m sure they’ll enjoy a little foraging exploration as well.
If you hadn’t noticed, we are in the middle of a pork sale. We have bone-in honey glazed spiral cut hams, half and quartered boneless hams, bbq shredded smoked pork and plain shredded smoked pork. I’m working on a video in my kitchen sharing a few family favorites…hopefully I can conquer both cook and camera duty in the same breath…I always get a little nervous inviting people into my home. I can cook all day long with confidence by myself but it’s something about that stinking camera and spotlight that seems foreign to me. I’ll do my best, hopefully will find my groove the more videos I do…and most importantly bring some value to your cooking life.
Don’t forget to check your current meat supply, plan ahead for what you need, and most importantly what you want…we’ve got you covered!