Home Made Bacon In Stores!


Make Your Own Homemade Bacon!

For the past year I’ve been subjecting my family to the trials and tribulations of having to eat lots of bacon. Not quite tons but 64 different batches of bacon as I tested ingredients, cook times, cutting and more to produce the perfect bacon.
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North East KS Backers, Tours, Energy & Surveys

This June and July we’ve been fulfilling Kickstarter backer packages for people who live outside Vermont but are able to meet us either along our delivery route in Vermont or here at the farm. We contacted people in NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NY and NJ for this round of fulfillment but if you are coming to Vermont and in another state feel free to email me at walterj@sugarmtnfarm.com and we can fulfill your package.

It’s been great meeting people and showing them the butcher shop. I’m, of course, very into the engineering, design and construction aspects but I always worry that I’ll bore people with the details. However the reality is the visitors love seeing the construction, from the still rough unfinished areas like the abattoir to the polished finished zones of the building like the iCutter, bathroom and inspector’s office. iCutter, incase you haven’t heard that name before, is raw meat processing room where we do the butchering, making of sausage, corned pork and our new about to be released pre-spiced pork belly for homemade bacon.

One of the cool things about the butcher shop is most evident in the hot months of summer when it might be 80°F outdoors. We step into the butcher shop where it naturally hovers around 55°F but there is no air conditioning system! For decades I’ve been doing theoretical design work that lead to the construction techniques that make this possible without having to use any artificial cooling. The result is the butcher shop feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter – the building just works. Over the years I tested design features out on small table models, animal shelters and then our family’s cottage before we built the butcher shop. In the process I’ve gathered megabytes of temperature and performance data that let me build mathematical models in the computer cumulating in the butcher shop’s excellent performance.

The key is thermal mass, insulation and controlling the flow of heat on the giant flywheel that uses the seasons to shift the energy from summer to winter and vise-versa. The result is we also have no need to heat the building in the winter even though it gets as low as 45°F below zero. Since energy is the number two cost of processing, behind labor, this savings makes a big difference in both our carbon footprint and our pocket book. Going green saves green backs.

Then there’s the pigs part of the tour. Visitors love to see the pigs, grazing out on pasture, piglets crowding around the sow, huge breeders lolling in the mud wallow and sometimes doing their breeding thing. All this set on our green pastures and verdant mountains with, usually, blue skies. Sugar Mountain is a special place to grow up and to live as commented by virtually everyone who sees the splendid mountain scenery.

Visitors also get a kick out of our dogs. We have a large six generation pack that has worked on our farm for nearly three decades. They guard our livestock, negotiate treaties with surrounding predators and as needed, enforce said treaties with capital punishment to violators who would chow down on our livestock. The dogs are loud, announcing visitors and then eager to say hello and guide people around the driveway tour of the farm.

The big three tasks related to the butcher shop that we’re working on now are:

1) Installing the evaporator, mechanical refrigeration, in the cutting room which will let us drop the temperature from 55°F down to 35°F. Nine months of the year the iCutter floats at very nice refrigerator temperatures but during the warmest months it edges up a little higher. That heat we’ll dump into our water storage which makes the refrigeration system run more efficiently and gives us ‘free’ hot water as well. This will turn our cutting room into a walk-in refrigerator.

2) Speaking of walk-in refrigerators, that is our next big construction task. Currently we’re using chest freezers. These are more efficient than upright freezers used in most homes but definitely slow us down with handling product. When we built the shell of the butcher shop we built areas for a walk-in blast freezer and a walk-in cooler as well as a Brine room and a Cave for charcuterie along the north wall. Each of these rooms are nested one within the other such that the inner most room, the blast freezer, has R-120 insulation to the outdoor environment through the six nested shells of the building – think Russian dolls. Finishing off these rooms is an indoor task which we’ll be doing mostly during the coming winter. The Cave will also be the home to our initial smokehouse for bacon making.

3) Our other big task is upgrading from Vermont State Inspection to USDA so we can begin shipping out of state. Back when I first met with the Vermont state head of meat inspection and then with the USDA regional director they both told me that it would be best to start at the state level inspection program, which follows the exact same rules as USDA, and then later upgrade to USDA once we had everything running smoothly. Their reasoning is that the state level inspection service is closer and better manned for helping small meat processors, a.k.a. butchers, get up and running. Ironically, once we are under USDA inspection it will be exactly the same inspectors who will inspect us, just changing their hats from Vermont state to USDA. This upgrade I hope to do once we get the evaporator installed. The state inspectors say we’re otherwise ready for the step up to USDA. So this may happen between #1 and #2 above.

Surveys? Did I say surveys? Yes! On my blog I have started a series of polls about where do you buy our pork, what types of sausage do you like and there will be more to come. Click through those links or go to the Poll Archive page. There are prizes from drawings of people who fill out the polls and we already have a winner for June. I appreciate all your feedback as we gradually grow into our new britches, er, I mean butcher shop. You can always reach me by email at walterj@sugarmtnfarm.com.

Cheers!

Walter Jeffries

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Poll: Favorite Sausage


Fill out a poll, give us feedback and get a chance for great prizes. See details below poll and vote today!
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June Survey Poll Winner!


Mossy Brick But Not Mick Jagger

We have a winner for the June Poll. A big hand for Walker S. of Burlington, Vermont who has won a delicious box of pork from Sugar Mountain Farm!

I’ll be putting up a new poll soon. You can still do old polls at the Poll Archive Page. Entries get a chance to win great prizes, adulation, fame and contribute to the ever expanding human knowledge base.
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Order Your Roaster Pig Soon!


Sugar Mountain Farm Pig Roast

Now is the time to plan your events and order a roaster pig. Roasters can vary from the intimate ~10 to 35 pounders that can be cooked in an oven up to larger spit roasters up to 200 lbs to feed a village. Be sure to order at least two weeks in advance of your event, further in advance is better in the busy roaster season.
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Greater New England Backers Contacted

After completing† Kickstarter packages to Vermont backers we contacted everyone in the great states of NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NY and NJ – that is to say the greater New England area. If you are in these states but haven’t gotten an email from us yet then please let me know by emailing me at walterj@sugarmtnfarm.com so we can connect.

We’ve also been filling the CSA Pre-Buy packages so if you’re one of the pre-buyers for a quarter, half or whole pig – completely separate from the Kickstarter project – and want to get your pork now let me know.

We are still only Vermont state inspected which means we can only deliver within the borders of Vermont. But if you want to meet us along our weekly delivery route or come to the farm we can fill out of state orders now. That saves shipping costs on Kickstarter packages – we’ll give you a big bonus of extra meat to enjoy!

Cheers,

-Walter

†I say completed with a qualification because there are a couple of people who have scheduled their pickups but not yet actually gotten their meat yet or have gotten partial delivery with more to come.

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Poll: Where You Buy


Fill out a poll, give us feedback and get a chance for great prizes. See details below poll after you vote…
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Vermont Kickstarters Delivered


Butcher Shop in Snow

Fear not! The snows have indeed melted and the butcher shop has emerged from the glacier of Winterfell. Although, just a few days ago we had another snow fall – Winter Is Coming…

But for now it is spring and the fields are greening up again. Pigs are frolicking. Chickens devouring bugs. Along with the warming weather, we’ve delivered to all of the Kickstarter backers in Vermont. Thank you to all of you for all of your support! It was great to meet you and hear all the wonderful feedback.
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Butcher Shop Status Update for 2017 Winter


Water Line Road under last of winter’s snow…
Click for Big Picture

This year we have been getting settled with our Vermont State Inspection license and are almost done filling the Vermont Kickstarter rewards and CSA Pre-Buys. A big thank you to everyone for all your support and patience and it’s been great meeting for meat and then hearing back from all of those of you in Vermont who have already gotten your meat!
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Easter Hams & Bacon

You can find our hams and bacon in stores around Vermont. Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier and City Market in Burlington ordered a lot but they go fast so get them now before they sell out. You can find a full list of the stores who carry our products on the Stores Page.

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