Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You

Two words that seem quite inadequate even when I wrote them over and over. So I'll explain more now. Today our thanks go out to Frontera Farmer Foundation as they have so graciously chosen our farm (along with several others) as a recipient of some of their grant monies for 2010. The following is taken directly from their web site:

The Frontera Farmer Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area by providing them with capital development grants. The Foundation envisions a year-round interchange between sustainable farmers and consumers, including farmers’market patrons and chefs, in which seasonal local agriculture provides the foundation for sustainable regional cuisine.

    "Great food, like all art, enhances and reflects a community’s vitality, growth and solidarity. Yet history bears witness that great cuisines spring only from healthy local agriculture." —Rick Bayless, Proprietor of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo
The Frontera Farmer Foundation was established in 2003 to attract support for small Midwestern farms. Rick and Deann Bayless, founders of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, along with the restaurants’ staff, created the Foundation out of their concern for struggling farmers and the importance of local produce to the vitality of Chicago’s culinary culture. Small local farms promote biodiversity by planting a wide range of produce, are more likely to operate using organic practices, and add immeasurably to the fabric of their communities. By their artisanal approach to agriculture, these farmers insure the highest quality of food.
Nonprofit organizations devoted to the growth of sustainable farming are becoming more prevalent and necessary due to the increasing dominance of large corporations in the agricultural sector. Without small sustainable farmers, great local cuisine is unreachable.

Keith and I are truly humbled and terrifically grateful to have received grant money funding  for our "Save the Red Wattle Project."  Purchasing a livestock trailer was the most capital of our capital expenses approved by the foundation in our grant application. For the past 15 years we have borrowed livestock trailers from two generous friends and neighbors, Ken Kurtenbaugh and Merv Kaeding. What a blessing those two were over the years and I'll bet they are as happy about the trailer purchase as we are !

                                 The trailer was purchased from a local dealer in Piper City, Illinois.
                 The mini-me farm hand  in the Spider Man hat was extra and paid for out of our own private funds.

The grant came in the nick of time as grant money has a tendency to do. We had 15 piglets that needed to be weaned a few yesterdays ago. Once we acquired the trailer we went to work. Keith called the pigs. (Yes, they have cell phones) Spot , a crossbred whose entire litter died due to premature births, responded first. She has been a fantastic step-mom to our Red Wattle and Cross Bred piglets, nursing them when their "real" moms were tired of the critters.

After the babies were in site of the trailer, Keith lured them inside with feed. He made the venture easy with a nice walk up ramp. Bigger mama sows were kept from entering the trailer by a low wire that babies could walk under and sows would not go through.

 The piglets are 8 weeks old and big for their size most probably due to the fact they were nursing THREE mother sows. What a buffet they had !

The babies, each weighing between 30-40 pounds followed each other into the trailer without issue while the sows seemed only mildly interested.

After all 15 were loaded and allowed to wave good bye one more time to their mamas we drove them around the farm a bit, let them settle for about an hour inside the trailer, then Keith unloaded them easily into another large pasture of cross bred feeder pigs about the same size.

So thanks again Frontera Farmer Foundation. If we had not had the trailer we would've had to carry those big porkers across the lawn and into the other pasture. Which would've taken several hours or days or weeks.

For more information about the Foundation please click on this link


  1. Stick a stamp on one of their butts and send me one! We'll be purchasing a couple of porkers soon and like the heritage idea. Just have to check around to see what is available within a couple of hundred miles..

    Congrats on the grant! Good things happen to good people.

  2. Art, When they all got loose the other night I was ready to stamp ALL THEIR LITTLE BUTTS and send you a great big package of little porkers. Now THAT would've been a fun package to open. I would of course have marked the box "Fra-gi-lee"

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