Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

The Lunatic Farmer Musings!

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

June 22, 2023

Folks, I wanted to share Joel Salatin's (Polyface Farm) 5-minute testimony before Congress this week with hopes that you will read not only what Joel had to say but also comments from readers – (especially Ed and Elliott T.).

Unfortunately, in Mississippi we still can only operate at the 1,000 limit vs. the federal limit of 20,000 on chicken like 40 other states operate BECAUSE of associations like poultry and Farm Bureau who through FEAR (not facts) taint peoples mind against farmers selling direct to consumers. Additionally, Farm Bureau, I suspect also lobbies to keep other insurers out of the Mississippi markets that are available in other states for farms that sell direct to consumer.

I believe that Mississippi must move away from financial dependence on the federal handouts and stand on our own two feet!!! Until then we are nothing but welfare recipients who no longer think for ourselves.

I firmly believe Mississippi needs many many more direct to consumer farms. One of the biggest roadblocks consumers have is local access - AND naturally grown vegetables and raw milk would lead the way. However, roadblocks - especially for milk - must be knocked down first. It is sad what the health department does toward raw milk folks!!!

Would everyone switch from buying their meat from Walmart to a local farm? Of course not! In fact, 90% or more of the population would never consider changing their buying habits UNLESS:
1) our eggs were cheaper than the white store eggs (but then they quickly switch back when the white egg prices drop (or are not available then they buy ours) - eggs as an example

2) folks typically need a very compelling reason like health scare to change - even then we have had folks seek us out because their doctor recommended they eat our meat to improve their health. They buy a few times and then disappear.

3) during the Spring of 2020 when covid first hit FEAR drove many folks to our farm because store shelves were empty. Some understood the value of our farm and stayed customers, but most went back to the stores when the fear went away (until the next time) .

Customers tell us regularly that they have shared our farm with their family & friends and how it is almost impossible to get them to switch to a healthier diet. One customer told me this week he has not been able to persuade even one person to make the change to a healthier diet.

First, thank you for sharing our farm. Happy customers are the best advertising money can buy. However, do not be discouraged when folks don't listen or respond. Your only responsibility is to share. The rest is up to them. Let me encourage you to not let doubters influence your health goals. Stay your course. Think for yourself.

On A Different Note-
This week I finally made time to review our product pricing. It has been to long since we made any changes and our cost have continued to increase. For example, chicken feed has increased monthly and is up 30.2%. Baby chicks are up 7% and USPO shipping has doubled this year. I checked the average chicken sale price reported in NC and was surprised it had increased to over $7 per pound. Other local MS farms are selling whole chickens at $6 per pound. I am happy with our new margin at $5.50/lb. for a whole chicken. Other cuts had minor or no adjustments.

Beef - Early May I received an email from White Oak Pastures in GA. who were offering $5 off per boneless ribeye steak. Sale price was $16.50 each. After reading the fine print the steak weight was only 8 ounces. That means the per pound SALE price was $33 and the non-sale price would be $43 per pound. That is $26 per pound higher than our everyday price.

I am concerned about the cost of replacing my herd. Prices at the stockyard are at record highs. A processor told me the other day that some of his customers have cancelled slaughter dates opting to sell at the stockyard instead because beef prices are at record levels right now. Not to worry - NGF is committed to our customers and will not drop you to chase other markets.

Thus, steak prices have increased. Roast have a small increase and most items did not change.

Pork - a few items had a small increase and most items did not change.

Eggs - no changes

If you have tried to order lately you noticed most items are sold out! That is because sales have been very strong - mostly driven by larger order sizes. To complicate matters we have had several inventory issues that kept us from filling orders.

So, after packing the Jackson route orders Thursday afternoon I downed my freezer gear and with pen & paper in hand went into the freezer to take a physical inventory and make the necessary adjustments. I did count more ground beef, boneless ribeye steaks, and skirt steaks than what was listed in our store. Unfortunately, I did not find extra chicken. Ugh!

This week BEEF will be restocked. Please see below for additional product restock updates published every Saturday to help you stay connected. ​

Like many of you, we have had several severe storms this week. Lots of limb damage on our farm and sadly we lost two large oak trees that were blown down. Otherwise, our farm is okay and the soil has soaked up the much need rain. We always appreciate your prayers for our farm.

At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that will evolve around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.

** Product Availability Update **

Chicken - Restocked June 14th. Next harvest date is June 27th with restock the following day. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year.

Eggs - Eggs are in stock. Will add eggs each Wednesday at 6pm along with any other items processed (like chicken)

Beef - Restocked May 19th. Next restock will be about June 23rd. Tallow (rendered) will be added 6/19

Pork - Restocked April 28th. Bacon was added Monday, May 8th. We plan to restock pork again in July

Lamb - Restocked April 28th. Next restock will not be until July timeframe.

More from the blog

Website Changes Coming

About two months ago Seven Sons announced they had SOLD Grazecart to POS Nation in Charlotte, NC. Our farm was in the top 5 to signup to use Grazecart back in December 2015. Back then it was very hard to set up... you had to work with the IT guy to program your site. Basically, flying by the seat of your pants. I had learned about Seven Sons and Grazecart during my time on the Board of the Grassfed Exchange Conference where Blaine was also on the Board. Additionally, you may remember that when we decided to add hens to our farm Beth & I visited Seven Sons to check out their operation. But, they (and we) perservered and today Grazecart is very functional and easy to "program" using widgets. So, the sale really saddened me because one of the compelling reasons we chose GC was that it was developed by farmers for farmers who market and sell direct to consumers. A little statistic - last year Grazecart supported about 450 farms. Our farm was in the top 25 largest users of Grazecart coming in around 22 or 23 if I remember correctly. There was no reason(s) given for the sale! The next communication came about a month ago stating POS Nation would transition Grazecart Stripe credit card process to POS Nation Stripe - again, no reason given. Farms were instructed to create an account on the new site and be ready for the migration to happen. All of this we have done. We are prepared, but have not yet been migrated. Then, this week several farms who had been migrated expressed disappointing results and lack of visibility on payments, payouts, reporting, etc. on the POS Nation site. I know when I checked my account status I could not log in. It took 4 email conversations over a 12-hour period AND then a couple of phone calls Friday morning before the issue was resolved. Late Friday afternoon the VP of Grazecart (POS Nation) emailed customers that the migration was put on hold until complaints were resolved. Additionally, this week - DRIP that powers our email marketing function communicated that Google & Yahoo email were cracking down on emails like our newsletters that are not delivered into inboxes. There are many reasons for this, but mostly folks are searching the internet and come across our website. They sign up to "check us out", and after awhile, decide to move on. Most never make a purchase. Some will make only one purchase and probably decide this is not what they are used to and fall away. Instead of using the "Unsubscribe" feature found at the bottom of our newsletter, they "Block" our email delivery. These are the ones that Google & Yahoo are after because these go into Spam folders and not inboxes. I am sure this is a big deal for email providers that cost them big money considering the shear volume of emails sent on a daily basis. That said, next week we will "Deactivate" about 288 DRIP accounts from ever receiving any of our emails. Well, enough of that for now! Remember, we showed pictures of the 23 registered Red Angus cows purchased from a ranch in WY? Well, they have started calving. Two of them this week. Here is a picture of the FIRST one. So glad we can celebrate this birth with our customers. At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems. If you are new to our farm then maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability are listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple! ** Product Availability Update ** NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below! Chicken - Restocked May 8th. next restock will be May 23rd. . Turkey - Only have ground turkey and turkey wings available. Eggs - Restocked each Wednesday. We are well stocked on eggs - especially large at this time. Beef - Restocked April 19th. Next restock will be May 17th. Pork - Restocked fresh cuts Wednesday, May 8th followed by cured items (bacon) about 12 days later. Lamb - April 17th lamb did not work out. They were only 50 lb live weight or about half the weight needed for slaughter.

Updates & Musings From Farmer Ben

Last week I announced that we continue to have strong demand for our half beef custom orders, and that we have scheduled a harvest date for 6 "custom" beef with Homestead Farm & Packing in Lucedale, MS. Here are the key dates: April 27th 6 beef (12 halves) added to our website for orders. First-come, First-served. Customer pays deposit to reserve order. June 1st Cut-sheet due not later than this date. Best practice is to complete within a week of placing order. Cut sheet can be found at this link - scroll to the bottom of the page June 3rd I will deliver the cows to the plant.

Do You Need A Half Beef? Must Read

Before I get into the main topic, let me share that our new mama cows are going great. They are settling in and now curious when we come around. For example, last Monday Jared picked up a load of chips for our chick brooder bedding and while unloading they eased up to see what we were doing. Very cool! Next, we want everyone to know that we are mostly FULLY STOCKED on beef, pork, eggs, and chicken. Its been a long time since we were last able to communicate that. Exceptions are filet, flank, and hanger steaks. Who bought all of those filets?