I don't know about you guys but for me March and April have definitely been a test, in more ways than one. March started out as busy as can be. I was in Washington D.C. as things with the coronavirus started to heat up. The day we left, D.C. pretty much closed up shop and the state of MI started cancelling things left and right. I was out with a group of Michigan Farm Bureau members as well as the Michigan Farm Bureau ProFILE class. Several of my friends were watching the Chicago Board of Trade and the ag futures markets as they began to plummet. The worry started to set in for everyone. That was March 12. March 13 the White House proclaimed a National Emergency concerning the coronavirus. That was a Friday the 13th. That same day, I had someone come and completely buy me out of chickens. The stores went insane, no meat to be found, no toilet paper, paper products, baby wipes... the insanity and hoarding started to set in.
A little perspective of what we've been working through in this house
I am not one to be stuck in our house. My daughter is quickly showing she is in fact a mini me which can be both good and bad. Matt has for the most part been working from home. Yes, he is a doctor. Yes, coronavirus is in the area. However, resident clinic has for the most part been limited to the must see patients. His rotations have for the most part been cancelled or minimized. Telemedicine as well as Zoom/WebEx calls have been "the" thing. Graduation? Well we hope that it is still in June, I can tell you I will cry if it is cancelled. This road has been too long for Matt to not have the recognition I feel he deserves. As far as post graduation? His board exam was cancelled, that was rough since he had been studying for almost 2 months. That was supposed to be the beginning of April, now it will be this fall. His big kid job? At this time still slated to start in July! Crossing my fingers that still happens. He should be starting at Metro Health- Hudsonville the middle of July.
Between Matt being home, Felicity wanting to be outside, and the lack of sunshine and warm days...I am really looking forward to warm weather and some leaves on the trees. Yes, you read that right. Leaves would be a huge step in the right direction for spring. We have started calving which helps get me out of my own funk. We're at 3 bull calves on the ground currently with 30+ more calves to come yet. My favorite time of year!
So what's this change I speak of?
Well I can tell you aside from the change of pace in homelife, the business has seen its own bit of change. We went from a new-ish operation to one that was doing deliveries in the evenings around the county (and some beyond!) so that people could have meat on their table. Deliveries was something that I talked about at the beginning, but never felt the push to do it until this "stay home, stay safe" order happened. We decided to fill the void as best we could. We have felt the push to try and supply the community with local meats. However, the longer things are closed down the more the meat/food industry will be affected and therefore the consumers. We've been asked a few times when we will have "x" beef product back in stock. The short answer? Not until June. Processors in the area that we are able to do our USDA inspected meats are backed up. That's almost unheard of for this time of year. Fall? Yes that's normal as people want to clear out their barns for the long Michigan winter. When I called to schedule steers and she said June, I was taken aback and thought I had misheard. So, beef is in very short supply. What we have, which isn't a whole lot, is all we will have until June. Our hands are tied and we are so sorry about that.
But wait, there's more!
It has been crazy and I am more than thankful that we have been able to stay open as an essential business to serve the area. We have gone through a tremendous amount of product in the last month and a half. Way more than I ever anticipated. We practically sold of of bacon and breakfast sausage in 2 days last week. 2 pigs worth of pork flew out of here so fast, I couldn't believe it. So here, comes the change... after much thought and number crunching, we have decided that we cannot raise pigs fast enough on our farm to fulfill the demand for pork that our customers have shown is there.
What's that mean exactly? That means that we have decided to not sell pork... JUST KIDDING!
Instead we will be partnering with another family farm in the area to supply all of us with pork! That means a more steady supply of BACON. I know how you all love the bacon. Who is this farm? Maple Lane Ag, LLC, that's who. Owned and operated by the Carl Helder family in the little berg of Oakland, about 10 minutes from our house. I 100% stand by the pork that they are raising, why? Because I worked for them. These people are basically family. Quality people bringing us quality pork. I know the people, the pigs, the feed program, you name it. If you have a question about the pigs or the process I can 99% of the time answer the question, if not I can go right to the top and ask Carl myself. You've already experienced pork from them, but on different feed in our barn instead. We bought a bunch of feeder pigs to raise for our freezers from them in the past. Not much change, but in reality its a big change for me. Long story short? We will have steady supply of pork as long as I can get it processed. We will also have the ability to offer whole/half freezer pigs through Helders as well. more info to come on that family in the near future!
Is there anything that we don't carry in our freezers that you would like to see? I'm considering canadian bacon, baby back ribs, link breakfast sausage... Let us know what we can get to you! Chicken is in the works too! They are busy growing! I am looking at doing smaller batches throughout the year.
How is everyone else faring? What a crazy time we live in...
I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for sticking with me on this wild ride.
~Until Next Time