Pastured Pork Poster

Now that our pastured pork has been in stores and restaurants for a while I’ve gotten requests for a poster of some sort to hang on the walls to increase awareness of our pigs and tell a little bit about us. At LACE in Barre, Vermont they have a whole bunch of posters for products from different farms they sell. I liked Ariel’s design for her posters so I followed that format to produce the poster above.

The actual poster is 13″ x 19″ mounted on 3/16″ foam core board and spray laminated. Click on the image above to get a closer view. It felt rather odd writing in the third person but that is the style of their posters so I went with it. Here’s the text:

Sugar Mountain Farm

Pastured Pork – Bred, Born & Raised in the Mountains of Vermont

The Jeffries family fulfills a growing market at their farm near Barre-Montpelier – heritage breed pigs naturally and sustainably free-ranging outdoors using rotational grazing. They forgo the typical antibiotic commercial feed for a natural grass & dairy diet using local resources.

Their herd of forty sows plus about 150 other pigs has grown from the family’s goal of providing wholesome, healthy food for their family table. Over the years they discovered they loved pigs and were good at raising them on pasture – highly unusual in a world where most pork comes from confinement operations or small pens. “Our pigs roam freely on pasture, nesting without crating. The herd is mixed ages from 800 lb boars and sows down to little piglets,” says farmer Walter Jeffries. “My goal is to provide them with a happy, stress free life.”

Grass fed in summer, hay in the winter, whey, excess milk, cheese & spent barley – it all adds up to divine tasting meat:

“Whether curing for bacon, roasting the loin or braising the shoulder, I can taste the pasture-fed healthiness of these animals in any preparation.”
-Chef Instructor Bryan Severns
New England Culinary Institute (NECI)

I looked into getting the posters printed locally. The cost at a camera shop, copy center or such ran about $25 each plus the cost of mounting and laminating for a total of about $30 to $35 each. Given that I needed a dozen that was getting a bit expensive. I looked online at custom printer shops and I could get 100 posters printed for $400 plus about $20 mailing. I still would need to mount them.

That’s a one shot cost. When I need more I would be faced with the same cost again. I would much rather spend the money on a printer and be able to produce the posters myself. I checked out a variety of desktop large format printers that would print from 11″x17″ to 24″x60″. Prices ranged from $300 to $1,800. More importantly was the cost of the inks and being able to replace them individually.

On October 31st, after trick-or-treating in Barre we went to an office supply store in Berlin. They had several large format printers including the HP 9800 and the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 which I had been considering. Both were on sale. The HP uses two ink cartridges which means you can’t change just the ink that runs out. The test prints from the HP also didn’t look so hot. The HP inks are also known for not being water proof but the Epson has a good record on that. The Epson printer has six ink cartridges, all of which can be replaced individually, and it was on sale for $224. I bought it and like it. The first print looked awful. The second print was spectacular. I figure that was just break in.

Costs include $1.25 per page for the 13″x19″ premium matte paper, about $0.60 for the ink (estimated), $1.84 for the foam core backing board and about $0.10 for the top coating to protect it from fingers. Total cost about $3.79 per poster in consumables plus $104 for the printer after subtracting the value of the first set of ink that came with the printer (consumables). Amortizing the printer over 100 prints gives a final cost of $4.83 per mounted, laminated poster ready to hang on the wall. In addition to the lower cost it means I can print the posters as I need, even customizing each one.

Some issues:

  1. The Epson ink needs to be used up within six months of opening according to the manual.
  2. Some lamination and spray coatings cause the inks to bleed. Test a small sample.

So now I have:

  • HP 5MP black and white laser printer for low cost printing (had it for a decade and make my owner toner)
  • Xerox 8650 color printer for brochures, cling-ons, magnet signs, business cards, etc
  • Primera LX400 for product packaging labels
  • Epson Stylus Photo 1400 inkjet printer for 13″x19″ posters

In each case the specialized printer more than pays for itself. The quality is superior to what I could get from many outsourced places. The cost of buying and using the printers is less than outsourcing the jobs by a long shot. I have more control so I can customize and produce marketing materials more quickly. The ability to do smaller job runs means less waste and less inventory.

The trick with the Xerox free color printer program is they’ll give you the printer free if you buy their ink – the old razor blade and handle market. In our case it works since we do the printing anyways – We just barely meet their minimum of 2,000 pages per month. Fortunately, a double-sided page counts as two pages – I print a lot of brochures and price sheets that have both sides in use. They have a referral program where if you do it, enter 732517 for the referral code and then both you and I get a $50 credit.

Now the question is: where, in a tiny cottage, will I put four printers… Tune in next time for inter-dimensional space folding on the farm as our intrepid farmer stuffs four round pegs in one square hole. Don’t touch that dial!

Outdoors: 50°F/26°F Snow, Mostly Cloudy
Farm House: 59°F/51°F Whey Driveway work,
Tiny Cottage: 50°F/48°F Exterior Window Sills

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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12 Responses to Pastured Pork Poster

  1. Zach says:

    How did you make your own toner?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great job on the poster. I am looking at getting a printer like this to. Good to read of some one using it.

  3. Jake says:

    Love the poster walter. I look foward to seeing it in full size when I visit lace next. Ive seen your meat there.

  4. Thanks for the tip on the free printer from Xerox. I have my application in. Can you tell me more about the LX 400? I’m considering purchasing one

  5. I do like it very much. It is great both for creating mockups and for printing product labels. The mockups end up being better quality than I get back from the printing company for large runs but it’s close and lets me play with the design, stick it on packages, etc. For making real product labels it is a little slow, about one label a minute but I just set and forget. When I come back in a couple of hours, from dinner or chores, the labels are all printed and waiting for me. The feed mechanism works smoothly and the quality is tops.

  6. David says:

    You make your own toner……! I know some people refill their own cartridges but to actually make the toner. I am very impressed. I was doubtful until I went to the black lighting link and saw the address is the same as your farm. Double wow! So Walter just what can’t you do? I already know you are a rocket scientist. Why raise pigs? Farmings hard work.

    • Raising pigs are more fun and farming is easier than running a manufacturing company and handling the worldwide marketing and sales… So true. Besides, I really do work much less as a farmer than we did before with BlackLightning and Flash Magazine. This is retirement by comparison. Best of all, I like having a product I can eat and the scenery is fantastic. :)

  7. Granny Smidt says:

    That is an excellent poster. Is there any way to get one for my kitchen?

    • At the moment my poster printer is down so I can’t print one for you. After we get the butcher shop office done I’ll have a place to put the printer and can get it up and running again. I look forward to being able to print posters again as they’re part of our marketing for stores and restaurants.

  8. Deborah Carrington says:

    Hello: Your comments on the LX 400 are encouraging but I wonder how well do the labels adhere to freezer products?? Thanks for taking the time to reply. Best, Deborah

    • If the product package is dry I find I can stick on labels. If there is humidity condensing on the package then the label will not stick well. After sticking the label on, press firmly with your hand for a moment. The warmth of your hand helps the adhesive bond but is not enough to melt the product within the package. Better yet, label when the product is fresh, not frozen. Again, keep the product package dry to get good adhesion.

      After years of use and tens of thousands of labels our LX400 is still running well. I highly recommend it.

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