Ben & Hope’s Next Cartoon Info Graphic (Click to Zoom)
I am a Farmie. There, now you know. I confess.
Skip to the bottom for details on the book and videos
if you don’t want the build up.
So why do I mention this? Well, we were talking around the dinner table about how the Kickstarter project is going. (We’re over 114%!!! Now any extra we get can go to the next step, building the abattoir.) Our son Will pointed out we don’t have any rewards that are right for Farmies. Our rewards are really focused on what we produce, all natural pastured pork. There’s nothing for people who raise their own meat. Oops!
We realized our Kickstarter project was very Foodie oriented. Foodies think about food, how to prepare it, now to serve it, using it as a social center piece, etc. We’re a little bit Foodie but I’m not sure if I can make a claim to being a real, bonafide Foodie. First and foremost I eat to power my body so I can work another day. We do eat together all the time, every single meal, three times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. But are we Foodies?
The chefs we work with are certainly Foodies. They’re intense, creative people who revolve around food and food revolves around them. They’re professional Foodies. A lot of people we work with, sell to and know are Foodies outside of their professional lives. They know all sorts of fascinating and interesting things to do with food, how to cook exquisite dishes, how to turn the meal into a social event, how to make food beautiful.
So I’m a little bit of a Foodie, I like good food, but I’m more of a Farmie. I spend time thinking about how to raise food, how to make it more humane, easier, reliable, sustainable, secure, efficient using the resources I have. It is the production of the raw ingredients that is my focus. I cook but I am no Michael Rulhman or Michael Kloeti – they are several leagues beyond me. My focus is more along the lines of resource management in a natural setting, shepherding, dog training, biology, husbandry, forestry, engineering and construction. I’m a Farmie. I produce the food.
Farmies can be professionals like ourselves or homesteaders like we were for years. In fact we have elements of both and I suspect most Farmies do. Just like Foodies can be chefs at a restaurant or at home. It is the attitude. A line cook at McDonalds is less likely to be a Foodie. A CAFO Factory Farm owner is unlikely to be a Farmie. Of course, there is cross over all over the place. Many people are both Farmie and Foodie to varying degrees. No purists are we.
Hole in the Rewards
Several blog readers, Kickstarter backers and potential backers, all Farmies, had mentioned they would love to do internships as their reward. This is a Farmie type reward that would fill in the hole in our Kickstarter rewards tiers. Unfortunately, we don’t do internships.
Why No Internships or Touring
There are a whole bunch of reasons that internships and tours don’t work for us. For one thing we have a pack of big livestock guardian dogs. They don’t appreciate strangers being around their animals. Our work tends to be very non-routine. I can’t say what for sure we’ll be doing next week. We adjust with the weather. We’ve carefully engineered our farm to not have a lot of the standard intern abuse tasks like mucking out stalls, shoveling shit, pulling weeds, etc. You could harvest rocks out of the field but that gets old fast and it isn’t going to teach you much.
There are also insurance issues. It would cost us about a thousand dollars a year extra to do the touring and internships, maybe more. That means I would have to charge for internships. I was informed by our beloved government that if I did paid public tours or internships then our farm and butcher shop would be considered a public space and subject to a whole new level of regulation and inspection. Yuck.
There is also an issue of the butcher shop and food health. There are all the reasons above plus imagine if your meat is being cut and a tour of strangers is walking through. They’re contaminating your food. Do you want that? On top of that, I’m actually doing the cutting of the meat so I can’t be giving a tour at the same time. I must focus so I do the job right and don’t cut off body parts from the wrong species.
The butcher shop really is very tiny. Our family knows how to dance together. But strangers would be in the way of big sharp knives and saws. Not good. There just isn’t room for a tour guide and a flock of tourists even if someone else was giving the tours. I know some places are setup with glass walls and all that but it isn’t possible in such a small space as we have. So aside from the issue of public buildings, tours and internships just wouldn’t work.
My blog has been how I share what we’ve learned. That works for us and lets us reach tens of thousands of people a month. I often write at night – it’s relaxing. The blog has the benefit of getting the information out to everyone rather than just the people on the tour or in the internship. It is archived and allows comments and questions that get shared. You can see many years across the season back to 2005. There are literally tens of thousands of comments on thousands of articles with many, many thousands of photos. Admittedly, the blog is mostly static, not much in the way of moving pictures as someone pointed out.
Filling the Hole in Rewards for Farmies
There has been some discussion that perhaps I could do a video that would show the farm over the entire year (far better than a one day tour). Then there is the forth coming book. (“Book!?!” they yelled, “What book!?!”) So, after much discussion it was resolved that these are some rewards that would be interesting to Farmies. Additionally there is Cole Ward‘s excellent butchering DVD video series on how to cut pork, lamb and beef – I highly recommend it. Several Foodies said they wanted these too.
So, yes, I’m writing a book. When it will come out is not set. The exact content is not set but stay tuned and watch this space.
I’ll also do a video farm tour which will cover all the seasons of the year. It will show us herding pigs, the dogs working, sows farrowing, piglets, shoats, growers, roasters, finishers, huge sows, big boars, pastures, fencing and all sorts of other great things. We’ll pack a little hay in the package (for padding of course) to make for the full farm experience. Say thanks to Oliver for that idea. This won’t be any James Cameron Titanic epic but it will show our farm, our animals and how we do things across the seasons of the year.
There will also be a video tour of the butcher shop, slaughterhouse and smokehouse as they are completed. This will include a full walking tour as well as video of actual processing from humane animal handling to slaughter to meat cutting and beyond. That will give you more information than any one time tour would. Then I urge you to please build your own on-farm butcher shop too – We need more small facilities serving small farms and giving consumers more choice! Let 10,000 butcher shops bloom across the land!
- $41 Pledge = Video: Master Butcher Cole Ward 2 DVD Set of instructional videos on meat cutting for Pork, Lamb & Beef. This is the top butcher with whom our family apprenticed with for 18 months to learn the art of meat cutting. He is a master butcher and extraordinary teacher. Estimated Start of Deliveries: Jul 2012
- $42 Pledge = Video: Sugar Mountain Farm DVD Autographed 2 hour tour of the Butcher Shop and Sugar Mountain Farm covering all the seasons of the year. Estimated Start of Deliveries: Aug 2013
- $43 Pledge = Book: Sugar Mountain Farm Book Autographed. Estimated Start of Deliveries: Aug 2013
- $49 Pledge = Video: Autographed Cole Ward Butchering 2 DVD Set – Pork, Lamb & Beef. Limited Edition: 10 Estimated Start of Deliveries: Aug 2012
- $79 Pledge = Video Set: Sugar Mountain Farm DVD + Cole Ward Butchering DVDs Autographed Package. Cole Ward DVD ships early. Estimated Start of Deliveries: Aug 2013
- $99 Pledge = Video Book Set: Sugar Mountain Farm DVD + Cole Ward Butchering DVDs + Sugar Mountain Farm Book Autographed Package. Cole Ward DVD ships early. Includes 1 Goodies Combo Pack. $175 value! Estimated Start of Deliveries: Aug 2013
All of these include shipping in the USA. Any of these can be added to any other rewards package for the price shown – just let us know you would like it. This way one can get videos, book and meat. The complete video/book combo set includes a Goodies Combo Pack so one can also get the T-shirt, mug or other items.
Go to our Kickstarter page and check out the new rewards. Tell your Farmie and your Foodie friends. Now is the time. Just a bit over a week left. What more we raise beyond our goal will help build the abattoir and then perhaps the smokehouse after that!
Outdoors: 61°F/45°F Cloudy, Drizzle
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/65°F
Daily Spark: Make change.