Farm Trips and Herding Tips
As spring melts away and the summer flirts her way into our hearts we feel an imminent return to the new normal. Every day, we’re having more and more conversations with our food community. It feels like everyone is coming out of hibernation, talking about openings and new ideas that they are excited to see through. Refreshing doesn’t cover the feeling, it's absolutely uplifting and contagious!
In today’s Hot Beef, we’d love to tell you what we’ve been up to, what we want to do, and share some of what we learned this month. And as always, send us your thoughts. We love love love hearing from you.
Things we’re doing
Recently, we had a lot to celebrate and some to shake our fist at. We’ve been making strong pushes in our fully cooked items (meatballs and mushroom sliders), but a big snafu in the plant led to some delays in getting our meat to hungry bellies (We’re sorry!!).We made it through the delay and are now restocked with some favorites (phew!).
On the celebration side of the equation, we are officially approved vendors for Sage Dining and Bon Appétit Management Company. This is absolutely huge news for us. For those of you in the know… you know; but for everyone else, this is a massive step that we are crazy proud of. In order to work with universities and schools, we need to be approved vendors of the management companies (enter Sage & Bon Appétit!!) which control all things dining. We had to do all kinds of hoop jumping to prove we’re worthy and we won’t goof up a big order for a school, so you can see why we’re so jazzed. There’s nothing like a bit of validation to boost spirits! If you’re a Sage or a BAMCo chef, reach out and say hi!
Also on the win side, we’ve been bringing pigs back! You’ll notice we have ground pork dry aged pork chops and bacon on our website. Dan Shook, our pork farmer, is ecstatic and we love his pigs, hopefully, we’ll keep the trend growing.
We’ve also had the opportunity to connect two farms in our network to make farming a little easier. Egg Hill Farm and Masonic Village are both farms we’ve worked and love, and now they’re trying to build a relationship where Egg Hill Farm sends calves to Masonic Village to finish to our standards. The next steps are to get Egg Hill Welfare Certified and then let the cows come on home.
Things We Want To Do
Looking ahead, we want to make more videos! It’s nice weather, we’re vaccinated and it’s time to hit the road again. I know you all want some more cattle vids to keep you going through the week, and we hope to oblige. Aside from just cute cows, we want to follow meat from farm to plate, specifically, we want to tell the story of our Beef and Mushroom Sliders. We consider it our job to paint a picture for meat-eaters of where they fit into the wider food system. And what better way than a video? Though, videos aren’t as easy as the tik-tok kids would have you believe, so you’ll have to bear with us as we learn how to do it (as you always have before, for everything we do).
While getting into Sage and Bon Appétit is a huge step, we need to lever those relationships to find more school partners. So look out, if you’re a Sage or Bon Appétit location, we’re coming your way! And why stop there!? We’re proud to partner with (and actively seeking) anybody who wants to support local food systems.
Finally, we’re still working on our farm idea! After completing the Cornell Beef management course, the next step is to get some hands-on experience. More cow pics will obviously be a consequence to the next phase :)
What We Learned This Month
While we try to constantly learn new and valuable things, we want to highlight one thing that we thought stuck out this month- how to move cattle using their natural flight zone. The natural inclination of a cow is to keep something dangerous at a safe distance (unlike 14-year-old boys, who have the opposite instinct). You can and should use that instinct to safely move cattle. Cows will try to keep you at a safe distance and if you learn their reaction to you and more importantly, where you put pressure, you can move them calmly and safely with ease (so I’ve been told). What you shouldn’t do is what you’ve seen in every cowboy movie, yipping and yelling, whacking and smacking, that will scare the animals and frustrate you.
If you’re interested in learning more about this concept, check out the article on Dr. Temple Grandin’s website on moving cattle. Below is a diagram taken from Dr. Grandin’s site showing the cattle pressure zone and how to move them using those pressure zones.
Also, just for your weekly zen, here is an amazing aerial video of a dog working sheep, you’re welcome.