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

Farm Visitors

Since we started selling via our online store in 2016, the number of visitors to our farm increased. Then, building the on-farm USDA poultry plant in 2019 spurred a lot of interest from folks who were interested in raising pastured poultry and were looking for a way around the MS Department of Ag regulation limiting the number of chickens per farm to only 1,000 per year. Most of the folks visiting were potential customers looking for naturally raised meats to feed their families.

Farmer Musings!

Beth & I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving - and turkey if you purchased one our our pastured turkeys. For our family the turkey did not disappoint. I spatchcocked (removed the backbone) so the turkey would lay flat. Beth then brined it for a day before smoking. It turned out tasty and juicy. Before our Thanksgiving meal each of us shared something we were thankful for. Beth's sister Debra shared the following:

A Day Processing Ground Beef!

Overall rain this week on our farm was about ONE inch! Not a lot in the big scheme of things, but very appreciated. It was enough to make a difference for our winter grass as you can see from this picture. In some areas of other pastures it appears that the seedlings died after germinating back in October. An observation that the heavy dews was not enough to keep them alive.