Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking a Break

You may have noticed a dearth of posts lately. Well, we're taking a break, as much as one can with a farm to run. In the meantime, we've actually been quite busy. Read on to see some of what has been occupying our time these past few months.

There have been several farm tours, some of them quite good-sized groups. That's always fun for us and we often make contacts that keep in touch afterwards. We get quite a few customers that way as well. But the main purpose of the tours is to disseminate information about Natural Farming and tropical feed crops, and to give folks a chance to see it all in action.

We're waiting for Pinky to mature enough for breeding. She is from the third generation born at Hubbell's Hog Heaven. She has just come into heat again, so next time we will try to catch her on time and get her bred.

We've learned how to slaughter and butcher our own pigs so we no longer need to transport them to Hilo for that. There were two main reasons for us taking this step. One, it allows us to be sure we are getting back our own quality meat. And two, we can be sure the animal is not traumatized just before (or during) slaughter. They get to stay in their own familiar surroundings the entire time. Truly, it is more traumatic for us than for them! So, we have been reducing the herd by culling the older mama-sows and turning the remaining meat pigs into some of the most delicious, nutritious pork you have ever tasted.

Another thing that has been taking a lot of our energy and focus lately is the acquisition of a larger piece of land. This is going to allow us to expand into pastured beef, pork, and chickens. The land was once an old homestead and a banana plantation, but has been neglected for many years. We will be using cattle and pigs to help bring the land back into productivity and health. We plan on utilizing the mob grazing technique of Integrated Pasture Management while still incorporating Korean Natural Farming methods, this time in an open space rather than in an enclosed area. In our minds we can see this marriage of ideas working well, and we are willing to test our theories in the real world. It will be a little while yet before we can get the cattle - still working on perimeter fencing... then cross-fencing... then cattle.

Two more meat pigs to go... We'll be doing them in pretty soon. They sell for $5 a pound liveweight, and weigh about 300 pounds. Yes, we know it comes to a lot of money all at once, but for quality organic non-gmo pork, it's a bargain! And they are delicious!

We also sell roasts and stew meat for $7.50/lb, bulk breakfast sausage for $8/lb, cured and smoked bacon (very limited supply) for $9.50/lb. We have some other assorted bits for varying (lower) prices: big meaty soup bones ($3/lb), half heads, pigfeet, fat for rendering lard.

And, there's the other aspect of our farming business that's not usually mentioned here on the "Pig Blog": Liz's Happy Hens and the lovely organic non-gmo eggs they lay.

Honestly, there is never a dull moment on the farm, regardless of whether things get posted here or not!


Su Ba said...

Wow, sounds like you've been busy. I'm very interested in following the story of how you'll be developing your new farm.

chris said...

I see in the photo of your chicken enclosure a rain gutter sticking out...I wonder what material is the rain gutter made from? I have a similar domed-top chicken coop and keeping rain from the interior demands a rain gutter, but I can't find suitable material and it just doesn't seem right to buy "brand new!" Thanks for your help!

Liz said...

Chris~ Good eye! It's a plastic downspout, cut in half - salvaged from our leftovers pile. Yes, some kind of rain gutter is almost a necessity for keeping the coop floor dry. You'll notice we have since gone to using leftover bits corrugated roofing to cover the chicken yard, complete with overhangs that do a much better job of keeping the interior dry.