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

Who Are Our Competitors?

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

July 25, 2023

Good Morning and hello from your farmer,

Last week we shared thoughts on What Is To Big? Meaning, when does a farm become to big that it no longer integrates within the community where it resides. One of the indicators I consider is the number of full time employees. Once a farm (or any business) has more than five FTE employees it adds more government requirements to operate. Which shows up in prices charged to consumers.

From a farm perspective, I think about how resilient is the farm. This was a major point in Joel Salatin's key note address at the American Pastured Poultry Conference last January. On a small family farm much of the work is mostly manual without big investments in automation. For example, with our chicken processing a person handles the chicken between each station - scalder, plucker, eviseration, washdown, etc. On a good day we average about 50 chickens per hour.

Integrators like Tyson, Perdue, etc. have multiple lines in a plant where each can operate at 175 chickens per minute (that's 10,500 per hour). Said another way, they process 210 chickens in the time we process ONE. How can an inspector possible look at chickens moving that fast and pick out a bad one? Definitely not a job I would want. Many moving parts to include mechanical, electrical, computerized, etc.

So, who are our competitors? It certainly is NOT other local family farms - right? There is not enough now to serve the demand from consumers.

Our biggest competitors are the large companies who practice Greenwashing. Wikipedia defines greenwashing, also called "green sheen", is a form of advertising or marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.

A close kin would include companies who deceptively twist words to persuade potential customers to buy their product. For example, in our recent electric cooperative magazine Perdue had a full page ad for a chicken sampler.

Their ad read "Perdue Farm - A Family Of Farmers Since 1920 -. Well, Perdue is just like Tyson - an integrator. Neither company owns a farm because they do not want the risk. Perdue operates the economic principle called vertical integration - which refers to the way companies buy up the outside firms that supply them. When a company becomes vertically integrated, it takes under its control and ownership all the independent business that once supported it. They do not own the farms that supply it with animals, it does control them through the use of restrictive contracts.

They do stagnate the per capita income in the towns where they operate while the company's income sours.

Perdue's ad went on to include Farm to Table and Home Delivery markets. Which means they are now competing with small family farms directly. It is not possible for us to compete with this price wise. Because, there chicken is raised in stationary automated houses with upwards of 50,000 chickens each. Our chickens are in a mobile pin where someone manually moves it to fresh grass, feeds and waters them each day.

Our chickens get a fresh bed of grass every day vs. a bed of layered poop.

Perdue chickens never see the light of day nor breath fresh air. Our chickens receive plenty of fresh air and sunshine (vitamin D) where they sun bath.

Perdue's ad says there chickens are fed an all-vegetarian diet. Our chickens graze our pastures, scratch for bugs and insects, and are supplemented with a NON-GMO feed.

Our chicken is processed in our USDA plant where people clean and inspect each chicken vs. a highly automated plant where nobody could keep up with the speeds the chicken is processed on.

Yep - while we cannot compete with Perdue on price we certainly can provide a much healthier chicken that was raised where the chicken expresses his natural instincts in fresh air & sunshine.

Which chicken would you prefer? One raised at a "want a be farm" or a chicken raised at a local regenerative farm where you know the farm family who is transparent with customers regarding how they raise their animals, etc.?

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.

** Product Availability Update **

Chicken - Restocked June 28th. Next harvest date is July 25th with restock the following day. We will process again August 1st and 15th with restock the following day. By mid August we should be fully stocked on chicken. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year.

Turkey - Some of the first turkey we made into ground turkey did not come out perfect so we held it back. Recently we have had inquiries about turkey and decided to offer the ground for sale at a discounted price. The issue is the grind includes skin from the turkey that did not grind the same and mix into the breast meat very good.

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

Beef - Restocked July 20th. Next restock will be about August 25th..

Pork - Restocked July 13th. We plan to restock pork again in August.

Lamb - Restocked April 28th. Next restock will be July 24th. We have contacted a fellow Regenerative Farm in MO who will deliver Ground Lamb & some Loin Chops this weekend while visiting our farm. They also recently started processing their own animals on farm as well. So, we will fellowship & share best practices to help each other be better.

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