We're Prepping our Farm to Secure your Food

written by

Edwin Shank

posted on

April 30, 2020

Farmer-Edwin-with-Hens-and-Guard-Dogs-2.jpg

Let's face it. The Great Lockdown has created unknowns and uncertainties that defy comprehension. We're in uncharted waters. No model exists to predict what's ahead.

We could argue whether the lockdown to 'flatten the curve' was wise or if we should have allowed 'herd immunity' to get us past the curve quickly. But I'm not going there.

The point is: No matter what we think should have been done... we're forced to deal with what has been done. What's done is The Great Lockdown has created huge gaps and disruptions in America's food supply and service chain. And what we see is only seeing the beginning.

But we are not afraid. God is in control. We trust Him. God does not give us the Spirit of Fear. God gives us the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of a Sound Mind.  ~taken from 2 Timothy 1:7

But still, it's only wise to prepare. And preparing doesn't have to be frantic, desperate fear. It can be calm, thoughtful wisdom.

So Here's The Family Cow Prepper Promise:  We promise to not surrender to fear, but to do everything to the best of our power to prepare, to love each of you to the best of our hearts, to use every part of our God-given sound minds to plan, grow, secure, and deliver the best of our foods to you.

So help us God. We can do no other.

  

How is the Craziness Hitting our Farm?

1st Crazy - A Shortage of Food Containers and Packing Supplies: Early on we were warned of a milk jug shortage, so we bought extra while we still could... But before we knew it, we ran into trouble securing egg cartons, and then it was jars for bone broth, lard and chocolate milk mix... and then it was lids, and then it was paper towels to line the cartons of UPS shipped eggs.

But the biggest surprise came when we tried to order the ice blankets we use for UPS shipping. The Federal government had confiscated the supply of cloth backing for making masks! So we were out of luck! Whoever would have seen that one coming?

So you see what I mean... We do not know what packing supplies may be the next to be unavailable and for what reason.

So the boys and I and team kicked into high gear and majorly expanded our packing supply storage area. Then we went on a search.

We stocked up on all of the supplies we could find even if they were different than normal. Jugs, jars, lids, paper towels and yes egg cartons. So just a heads-up, folks... you'll be seeing some weird egg cartons soon. :) Hey... even pinkish cartons are better than hauling eggs to you in zip-lock bags!

So with the extra storage areas well stocked, I am at least fairly sure that we will not be shipping your milk in 5 gallon pails! :)

 

2nd Crazy - A Run on All our Foods

It's important to know that we have abundant food production at the farm... and we can rather easily grow even more food. But when stock-up demand surges suddenly, as it did in the last month, it takes a few weeks/months until enough food can grow to meet the new demand.

As you noticed, some foods in the last few weeks have been limited or even sold out. Not all of this is unusual. Our chicken and turkey are always seasonal and usually do sell out just ahead of the new season. We only grow them when the green grass grows. So, since the green grass is growing... guess what! Yes... you got it! That means our 2020 pastured chicken will be here soon. We'll be offering only whole birds the first few weeks... but by the end of May we hope to have parts to offer as well.

And because we butcher the chicken with our own team in our own facilities right here on our own farm and deliver most of them on our own trucks, we should not have any bottlenecks between our farm and your table.

Here are a few things we're doing to ramp up our food growing.

  1. Our crew scrambled to build more pastured shelters to grow more pastured poultry.
  2. We added a 5th chick brooder so we can start more meat bird flocks for 2020. Chicken coming soon!
  3. We've adding more hens to have more soy free pasture eggs.
  4. We've added more cows for more raw milk and more cheese and more yogurt and more butter.
  5. We're growing more beef and pork at Rodrick and Jeanette's Amen Acres Farm
  6. We started a small grist mill to grind cornmeal from our homegrown USDA certified organic corn.
  7. And yes, we've welcomed new folks to our team to butcher more chicken, process more orders, answer more emails and in general serve your food needs better.

So yes... there is and will be food. Because... pandemic or not, there's nothing wrong with God's good Earth and its food production. Spring time is here!

But we do request your patience... We don't manufacture food. We grow food. Growing takes time. We do not "order in a shipment."

Big difference there!

 

3rd (and worst) Crazy: We HAVE Beef and Pork... but we DON'T!

Folks, believe it or not... we DO have plenty of beef in the pasture and pigs in the woods... but we do NOT have full stock of meat in our freezers!  And that's frustrating. I don't need to say it twice.

What's the problem? It's a backlog at the butcher shop. The small local USDA butcher shop where we get our beef and pork done is jammed up because everybody and their brother is also trying to butcher more beef and pork.

If you follow the disastrous news of the industrial giant meat packing plant closures across our nation... you will understand!

So what do we do about this? How do we push through this USDA butcher shop bottleneck so that we can still supply you with the beef and pork that you depend on? How do we solve this frustrating problem?

These are though-provoking questions. We need answers. You need assurance that we are finding answers. Your food security depends on it. Your trust in us as a dependable food source depends on it. We have been pulling our hair out agonizing over this question for the last two months!

And yes, we do have a plan. A dream! We did something similar in 2014 when we ran into a bottleneck with chicken butchering.

But I'm not able to reveal the dream-plan just yet because it's still embryonic and not quite ready to birth.

But I will tell you this... When we are ready to make our move, you might even be able to help us with our dream. We will welcome it. And if we work together and are successful, it will shorten the food chain and strengthen food security for each one of The Family Cow Tribe!

Stay tuned... more soon. Better days ahead!

Your Farmer ~ Edwin

P.S. Please do not ask questions about the dream plan yet... We'll tell you as soon as we can. Until then... sit on your questions! :)

More from the blog

Rodrick & Jeanette are moving to Colombia, South America

Good morning Family Cow friends, Today I have some news that's a bit personal, but it only seems right that you should know. Our oldest son, Rodrick, with his wife, Jeanette, and family are planning to move to Colombia, South America next month. Yes, you heard right. Colombia South America. Just above the equator. We still can hardly believe it either :) Our church conference is starting a new congregation there at the request of local Colombians asking for a Biblical church and faith community. But it's also located on the border with Venezuela, so a big part of their work will be to help relieve the ongoing Venezuelan refugees crisis. This new congregation, "Amigos del Prójimo" (Friends of the Neighbor), is located near the border town of Cúcuta, Colombia. Jeanette grew up in Guatemala, and Rodrick has spent time there so both of them are fluent in Spanish and understand the Latin American culture. For this reason, Dawn and I were really not totally surprised that the mission board thought of them when looking for families to establish the new church plant. Their combination of skills and cross cultural experiences made them seem a natural fit. But that did not exactly make giving them up any easier! We are still working on that process! Here are a few pictures from the area near Cúcuta. Distributing meals to the homeless...   Música, anyone? 😉 I'm not sure what the point of this car was, but Rodrick said they heard it coming from several blocks away...   Checking out the countryside...   Sofia with a new little friend  Exploring a mountain road (part of the Andes mountain range)  After months of prayer and consideration and several visits to Colombia, Rodrick and Jeanette made the tough decision to answer the call to move there for an indefinite length of time. Though it is hard for us to let them go, we do give them our blessing.One comfort is that Rodrick is not abandoning The Family Cow. With today's technology, he'll still be able to do much of the management work and accounting work that he has done before... so this change shouldn't necessarily impact you, but it will represent some definite changes for our family and team.Rodrick plans to work remotely, doing many of the same business administration duties, but he will turn over the General Manager role to his younger brother Wesley. Rodrick also plans to continue giving management support to the Olde Tyme Meats butcher shop team.The other four brothers tell Dawn and I not to worry about the farm and business management, but I know there will be changes. We'll just need to find our way one step at a time.Dawn and I are not sure who's making the greatest sacrifice—the ones staying or the ones moving. :) I guess it is all of us. And that's ok.As far as Rodrick and Jeanette's Amen Acres farm, if all goes as planned, we'll have one of the other brothers live on that farm to manage the care of the grass-fed beef and pastured pork.There is no doubt about it... we will greatly miss having Rodrick and Jeanette, Andre, Clara, Sofia and Leo nearby. But they remind us that airplanes fly both ways, that they will return a few times a year for visits, and that we of course can come down to visit them too.Who knows—maybe someday Rodrick and Jeanette can grow cacao beans and make single origin organic specialty chocolate for our Family Cow tribe. How neat would that be? Don't think it's impossible. Just last week we introduced single origin organic coffee straight from Jeanette's family in Guatemala. :)In spite of unknowns, some things never change. We do know that "all things work together for good to those who love God." (Romans 8:28) So... we'll just focus on loving God and we'll trust Him to work out the good that only He knows! Faith, Hope and Love,Your farmer - Edwin for Dawn too

NEW: Organic Coffee direct from family in Guatemala!

Good morning Family Cow tribe! I have exciting news: Organic Coffee direct from Rodrick & Jeanette's family in Guatemala! Yes, this dream is finally happening. 😊 Know your farmer, know your food... taken to a whole new level! This single origin coffee is Chemical-Free, Shade-Grown, Hand Picked, and Small Batch Roasted to create a premium brew. It is a Medium-Dark roast to highlight the delicate coffee notes without the strong "burnt" flavor of many cheap brands. Coffee is often dark roasted to burn away undesirable flavors of low-grade coffee... Definitely not the case with these specialty beans! :) Taste the difference and enjoy with confidence. It's fresh organic coffee direct from a single source you can trace and trust. This specialty organic coffee is always: Single Origin from family in Guatemala (pictured below)Shade-Grown and Bird FriendlyRegeneratively FarmedSmall Batch RoastedChemical-FreeHand PickedSun Dried100% Arabic2,200 foot ElevationRetalhuleu RegionMedium / Dark RoastWhole Bean so you can fresh grind for optimum flavor! :) Meet your coffee farmers: Virgil & Jolene along with Sheldon & Dianna carefully manage each step of the process to bring you the best coffee possible without any chemical contamination. Know your coffee source and enjoy fresh brew with confidence. Coffee farmers: Virgil & Jolene with Sheldon & Dianna   Stay tuned for coffee updates in the future!We plan to share more photos of their regenerative farm along with details of how they use "good bugs to fight off the coffee pests" instead of relying on harsh chemicals the way most coffee is raised.I'll do my best to show the Hand Picking, Sun Drying and Small Batch Roasting in action! :) Blessings on your day,Wesley~5th generation on the farm P.S. If our coffee is sold out when you are ready to purchase, please check back in a few days. We fresh roast a small batch every week or two coffee so it won't be sold out long! :)

Pastured Chicken is here!

Soy & Corn-FREE chicken parts & whole birds in stock! :) All limits have been removed... stock up as much as you want! If we do sell out of whole birds it will only be briefly between our weekly harvesting throughout this summer and fall pasture season.