Butcher Shop CSA Pre-Buys

CSA Pre-Buy Quarter Pig and Half Pig’s are sold out.

See the CSA Pre-Buy page for current details.
Check out our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop project for more opportunities to support our project and get great pastured pork shipped to your home.

Big Pig with Fall Foliage

Our secret Big Project is revealed – we are building a USDA/State inspected on-farm slaughterhouse and butcher shop here on Sugar Mountain. The other day I discussed how we’re funding the butcher shop out of pocket through bootstrapping and personal loans from other farmers and extended terms with local merchants. I also mentioned that some of our customers are pre-buying next future pork now which gives us cash in hand to pay for concrete and other things. Here are the promised details of how to get free processing, free delivery and save 30% on a pastured pig.

CSA Pre-Buys:
A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a way that consumers help farmers with expenses from planting to operating to capital improvements. There are a number of different models from the risk based share of the harvest typically used for garden crops to simple pre-buys generally used with livestock and for capitalization of major farm projects, construction and equipment. Our on-farm butcher shop fits this latter model. In exchange for paying up front we’re offering free processing which comes out to about a 30% discount off of the price of a whole pig. Since the cost to us of the processing is primarily our labor and we do the cutting ourselves this works. It gives customers a great deal while providing us with funds we need now for construction. We already have some CSA Pre-Buy even before I officially announced this. Here’s how the numbers work:

CSA Pre-Buy Pigs
Package: Whole Half Quarter
Unit Price: $3.50 $4.00 $4.50 $/lb
Hanging Weight: 180 90 45 lbs
—- —- —-
Package Price: $630 $360 $202
Approximate Yields:
Cuts 120 60 30 lbs
Oddments 45 22 10 lbs
Free Processing With CSA Pre-Buys:
Slaughter: $45.00 $22.50 $11.25
Butcher: $135.00 $67.50 $33.75 75¢/lb cut & wrapped
Delivery: $10.00 $10.00 $10.00 At delivery route drops
—- —- —-
Processing: $190.00 $100.00 $55.00
Discount: 30% 28% 27% = Processing / Package Price

Decade of Pork:
The Decade of Pork is an extra discount on the price of the pork itself in addition to free processing for a whole decade. Several people have already purchased these and we appreciate their support. The Decade of Pork consists of ten half pig certificates which may be used at the rate of one per year. Two “Decade of Pork” orders would make up a whole pig a year (two half pig certificates per year). With the two Decades of Pork if you like you can get them delivered periodically over the year to reduce the load on your home freezer, for example getting one of the halves in the spring and one in the fall.

Lifetime of Pork:
Several people have asked about something beyond a decade of pork. With that in mind we have ideas for a lifetime of pork package. If you are interested in that please contact me

Grower Piglets Hanging Out

How to Order:
You can just send a check with a note to:

Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
252 Riddle Pond Road
West Topsham, VT 05086

Either way you choose to pay, we appreciate the assistance with funding the butcher shop! Be sure to let us know who referred you so they can get their bonus referral credit!

Fine Print and definitions:
In order to make this great deal work here are the guidelines:

  • Limited Number: We, Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC and the Jeffries family may limit of the number of CSA Pre-Buys with free processing to 250 pigs.
  • Fulfillment begins after we get our facility certificate of inspection and are able to slaughter and butcher under inspection. Any shipped orders will need to begin after we get our USDA certificate of inspection in order to cross state lines if that is necessary. Choice of dates is done by order of pre-buys based on the date we receive payments. That is to say, people who pre-buy early get first choice of when to get their pork. Of course, the exact opening date depends on how quickly we can get our grant of inspection. We are shooting for the February 2010June 2011. At our option we may limit CSA Pre-Buys fulfillment to half of our production per week so we can continue to supply fresh pork to our existing restaurant and store customers who have been patiently waiting for this for a year and a half now. For example, if all the CSA Pre-Buy pigs were sold and we did two CSA Pre-Buy pigs a week it would take a little over two years to fulfill all the pre-buys. Spreading the fulfillment out like this makes it work for us so that we can afford to give away the processing free while also continuing to support our existing customers.
  • Processing will initially just be slaughter and cut & wrap. We won’t be doing cured, smoked, linking or sausage in the beginning. We do want to add these additional processes soon but first we need to get the on-farm slaughter and butchering running smoothly. When those value added processes become available they will be included free in the CSA Pre-Buys for customers who choose to wait to schedule their delivery that long rather than scheduling early. They must buy now with the CSA Pre-Buy to get the free processing. This means that early processing includes slaughter with cut and wrap to typical cuts like pork chops, shoulder roasts, belly, ribs, fresh pork ham, oddments, etc. When we get to that point I’ll have a cut sheet ready. Check out our Pork Cut Chart to see the cuts of pork in a pig.
  • Transfer your CSA Pre-Buys as gifts, donations to local food banks or other organizations in your name. A great way to leverage your charitable and gift giving this holiday season by 30% extra through free processing. Do note the limit about shipping.
  • Cash Out: At the buyer’s option unused CSA Pre-Buys certificates may be cashed out after ten years for their original cash value with 90 days notice to us. Should more than five whole pigs worth of cash outs be submitted in one 90 day period we reserve the right to serve them on a first-come, first-serve basis at the rate of five per quarter year in order to maintain our cash flow.
  • Pre-buy multiple pigs for delivery in the future over time and the processing is free since you pre-bought now. This lets you lock in the price of the pig as well as getting extended free processing for years to come.
  • Quarter pig is not a literal front or back quarter of a pig but rather a mix of commercial cuts representing a quarter pig of weight. This gives you a variety of pork cuts. Upon request we will also include the oddments for the adventurous chef. By the way, a quarter pig fits in about one cubic foot of space.
  • Weights are not exact. These are real animals, not assembly line plastic pink pigs. To keep the pre-buy simple we are using an average pig market size for weight and we will make sure that all of the CSA Pre-Buy pigs are at least that big so you get your money’s worth. As is the norm with whole animals sales the price per pound is based on what is termed hot hanging weight also called simply the hanging weight. That is the carcass weight after it has been slaughtered, gutted, cleaned, inspected and is ready to enter the chiller for hanging. There is a small amount of loss to evaporation during hanging time and some loss to trimming during meat cutting. Actual commercial style cuts are generally about 67% of hanging weight plus oddments bringing it to about 90% of hanging weight. Be an adventurous cook – Eat like a farmer chef!
  • Oddments? What are oddments you ask? Those are the cuts the farmer’s family eats a lot of, the parts that are not typical commercial cuts, not the prime cuts of the pig. Oddments include good food like hock, jowl, tail, bones, back fat, heart, liver, kidney, trotters (feet), head, etc. These are excellent fare and can be used for soups, stews, stir fry and many other dishes. If you do not want the oddments of your pig, just let us know. The oddments generally amount to about 25% of the hanging weight and are generally tossed at many butchers – a sad waste. The commercial cuts generally account for about 67% of the hanging weight and what you see in the meat case in the super market: pork chops, shoulder, ham, etc.
  • Legal thingy: Our farm is not a charitable organization so donations are not tax deductable and this is not an investment or stock purchase. This is a purchase of product. if you ever want a refund of your original purchase amount prior to your taking delivery of your pork, just ask per the cash out above – we appreciate the help. In the hopefully never to occur event of litigation regarding this, any disagreement is to be resolved by binding arbitration in Orange county, Vermont under Vermont law with each party responsible for their own expenses and half the arbitration costs. Lets keep everything friendly and personal.

Wow! That was a lot of fine print for something I’m trying to keep simple. Hopefully that makes everything clear and straight forward. The CSA is a win-win for everyone. Customers get a great deal on pork and we have the funds to move forward with construction. If you have any questions, please ask, make suggestions, etc.

Sugar Mountain Farm Delivery Route
Pickup & Delivery: Customers often pickup here at the farm gate. We also offer delivery along our route for $10. For CSA Pre-Buys we will include the delivery free if you meet us at one of our regular delivery points along our route. An extra bonus that will save you time and driving! Our delivery route in Vermont covers:

  • Barre
  • Montpelier
  • Plainfield
  • Waterbury
  • Burlington
  • Essex
  • Bradford
  • Norwich
  • White River Junction
  • South Royalton

Towns between these locations are possible drop off points too. We occasionally deliver to Stowe, Waitesfield, Danville, Marshfield, St. Johnsbury, Newbury and other towns in northern central Vermont.

Several people have asked about shipping meat. I have no actual experience in shipping meat but have been reading about this. It looks prohibitively expensive. The meat is heavy and would have to go Next Day or 2nd Day delivery to arrive
safely. Looking at the rates from the USPS, UPS and FedEx it appears that the cost of shipping a pig worth of pork would cost as much or more than the cost of the pig itself! Basically, depending on the distance it appears to be about $2 to $4.50 per pound for shipping including special packaging. If anyone knows otherwise, please write me. I’m open to this as an option but it seems very expensive. Thus all CSA Pre-Buys are at our farm gate unless you arrange otherwise for shipping. Of course, any pork shipped across state lines must wait for when we have the appropriate licensing, that is to say the USDA certificate of inspection. If you do ask for shipped pork you might want to skip the oddments to save on the cost of shipping those cuts. Just let us know either way.

Outdoors: 49°F/19°F Mostly Cloudy
Tiny Cottage: 61°F/51°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Butcher Shop CSA Pre-Buys

  1. Walter,

    I have had several requests lately to ship meat. Philosophically, I am against it, but in some areas (especially in the West) there are a lack of sustainable, natural farmers, in which case I want to try and accomodate the customer's desire for clean, healthy food. I have found that if you keep your packages under 40 lbs and under 20" in any dimension that you aren't charged premiums. USPS Priority seems to be the most reasonable and will deliver it to most areas within your region in two days.

    If you line a box with aluminum bubble insulation, you can save on packaging costs. Also, if you add a hunk of dry ice in the center of the package you can help ensure that everything stays frozen. I have found that packaging and shipping only amount to $1.00 -$1.50/lb actual weight for most requests. This usually covers a little for my efforts as well. It also keeps it affordable as it only adds $75-$100 for a half pork. I hope that helps a little.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love the top photo of the pig coming up the hill. Gorgeous pig. Is that the model for your label? It looks like it. I will contact you directly about doing a prebuy.

  3. Diane N. says:

    Walter, just an FYI: for 2 weeks or so, I was unable to view either this blog or http://www.nonais.org. Then today, both are back. I had thought some terrible thing happened with your Internet, but looks like you were posting as normal. I thought you should know – perhaps it's not just me?

  4. Christian, Thanks for the keys on the shipping. I'll try the shipping calculators again using those parameters. I had been using 45 lbs per package which must be hitting that premium shipping cost and making it so expensive.

    Diane, I have had a couple of other people say the same thing but I have not been able to reproduce the outage myself locally or using a remote server. I think it has to do with hiccups in the internet or maybe local ISPs who hare having issues. Another person said it just started working for her too.

    Anonymous, That photo is of of Big Pig, one of our original sows. She was a very fine lady of excellent temperament who has many descendants now on our farm. Holly used a photo, that one perhaps, to draw the illustration of a pig that graces our label.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That is one good pig!
    Love all you are doing.
    Saw you over on GRIST.
    I'll be back to see more!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Walter let me give you a tip. The banks and other lenders do not really intend to lend you money. You see, I worked in a "lender's" office for 16 years. They have a cover-their-ass-mentality of never take any risks and they charge you fees to cover their time. This is how they get such exhorbinant salaries. These people have a job spec that they must review a certain number of loan applications every week and that they must NOT approve more than 3%. If they approve too many they are penalized at the quarterly review and end of the year. If they take any risk, which is what the interest rates are supposed to pay for, then they get penalized. The whole system is setup for them to not lend out money to the likes of you who don't have a regular pay check they can garnish.

  7. I did a bit more looking through the UPS web site. I found that shipping for a 39 lb 14"x14"x14" package to be for:

    Los Angeles, California was about $170 per box for 2nd day delivery. With the cost of the box that comes to about $4.75 per pound for the shipping.

    Richmond, Virginia was about $70 per box for 2nd day delivery ($2.17/lb) although it appears that the UPS Ground for $25 also delivers in 2 days ($1.02/lb).

    Not too surprisingly the shipping varies greatly with distance. Either FedEx, UPS or USPS might be the best deal for different locations. Shipping also changes over time so although we can make a guess as to what the shipping might be the final shipping would depend on the shipping rates at the time we ship the pig.

    We would do $15 flat per box, the cost of the special packaging, plus actual shipping.

    • irma says:

      I used to work in a shipping dept. There are bulk discounts on shipping if you negotiate. I don’t know more details as my boss did the negotiating. Also if you have several ppl in one city buying pork and one of them wants to accept delivery and divide it like a coop type thing. Shipping skid loads could be cheaper. (it was for what I shipped but then batteries dont need refridgeration.) I seem to remember (oh gosh this was 5 yrs ago) that a pallet 48x40x20 in and a couple hundred pounds was only maybe $150-200.

      disclaimer this was a while ago, prices change, batteries have different regulations than meat, etc yada yada. basically this is just to give an idea of different possibilities to look at if interested.

      • Unfortunately, or fortunately, our volume is too low to qualify for their volume shipper discounts. Some groups of families and friends do save by doing the combined order – that can make a big difference.

  8. Sam says:

    What a fabulous job you and your family are doing. Not only are you securing your own future but you help other local businesses because of all the construction materials you buy, the product you provide to stores and all that. Your kids have a truely unique perspective on hands on learning!

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