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Well Life On The Farm Is Kinda--BUSY!

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

October 28, 2021

In 1974 John Denver released a song titled "Thank God I'm A Country Boy". Do you remember the lyrics? Here is a sampling-
Well life on the farm is kinda laid back
Ain't much an old country boy like me can't hack
It's early to rise, early in the sack
I thank God I'm a country boy

I was singing this song solo (you know, so low nobody can hear me) earlier this week while doing chores. Not sure what farm he was thinking of, but our farm is not laid back. As a working farm is it darn right busy.

A few of the top task this week included:

Monday I moved the cows to a fresh pasture and took a few minutes to observe and listen to them graze. It's cool to watch the interaction between the cows as well as how they select which forage to wrap their tongue around and tear off. The cow uses her nose to select the best (most nutritious) forages first in the pasture. Unlike most humans who select what they eat mostly on visual and taste - with little regard for the nutritional component.


Tuesday was a "First-Ever" day in Mississippi and for Nature's Gourmet Farm. On Tuesday, September 28, 2021 we harvested our first red meat animals on our farm that will then be fully processed in our plant.

The day started early! Not only were our State Inspectors on-site, but the USDA Regional Director and his deputy (both from the Jackson, MS Regional Office that has about 1800 folks that report into that office) were also on-site. Needless to say the stress level was apparent.

Oh, and Mother Nature showed up in the form of rain.

This was the FIRST time Hugh's team has worked the harvest trailer with real animals. So, they took their time to learn good skills. While we did not get an much accomplished as I had hoped for it was a very productive day - and there were no Non-Conformance reports written.

Currently, the six lamb are in our carcass cooler aging. We will cut and pack next week. Here is a picture of the trailer backed up to my headgate.


Wednesday we harvested 163 broiler chickens. The day actually starts Tuesday about dark when Beth & I catch and crate them as you need to remove them from feed and water about 12 hours prior to harvest. Wednesday morning we start about 6:30 firing up the scalder and making sure everything is ready. Our amazing team arrives about 7:20 and after prayer we get to work until the last chicken is in the carcass cooler and the plant is cleaned up.

Thursday morning we cut and pack the chicken - that Beth had monitored and recorded the temperature on until they reach 40 or below degrees (usually by 9PM Wednesday evening). Afterwards we put the chicken into the freezer and clean up our work area in the plant and wash 20-something crates.

Late Thursday afternoon I caught six pigs and the other four lamb and delivered them to Homestead for harvesting. The plan was for Hugh's team to work with Ethan and get some experience.

Friday is order pack day. The first Saturday is always our largest delivery of the month.

This evening Beth told me she figured we pack on average about 10 orders per hour. Today, we had about 65 orders. I know there are a lot more boxes and fewer bags packed than there use to be.

Plus there are the everyday chores of moving chicken tractors, feeding chickens & pigs, gathering/washing/packing/delivering about 1150 eggs per day!

WOW! I thank God I'm a country boy

September has been a very strong sales month. Our beef & chicken inventory has not been this low for a long time. Please see the Product Availability Section below for a complete update on restock, etc.

As always, we thank you for rewarding our hard work with your trust and support.

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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!

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