Before November 2010, all our meat would go into two freezers in our basement where folks could purchase it through a freindly knock on the back door, but I always imagined 80 year old aunt Rosalinda tumbling down the back steps, so we opened our farm store. It also became inconvenient to crawl out of my evening bath in order to retrieve one pound of liver for a hungry customer.
Now, our meat (after being USDA inspected, labeled and vacuum packed) is sold out of two bartered upright freezers in our little farm store. Considering that meat travels over 1500 miles in the US before it gets to the consumers table we are happy that ours travels only 1/10 that distance. The Eureka locker, the only certified organic locker in Illinois, where we picked up over 1000 pounds of meat yesterday, is just 60 miles from our farm.
So, it goes from us, to them, to us and then to our customers. Farm to Face as we like to say. A really good system, except for the part where we have to put all the meat away in our store.
Frozen meat is how shall I put it?....Cold, yes that's the word I was looking for. It is COLD. It is times like these that we regret allowing our four children the option to grow up and move away. The days of young healthy, free labor were good days indeed.
Meat from our last pickup being stored in the machine shed freezers, is relocated to farm store via the high tech kids wagon. Empty spots are filled. Meat in coolers in the back of the pick up are unloaded and complete the empty shelf filling. Once the freezers are filled, any leftover meat from yesterdays pickup goes in the machine shed freezers.
All meat is hand marked with a lot number so we can track each animal to its own package of burger or bacon. Some of our meat is pre-weighed but some like our beef jerky is not so I had to weigh them and write the lot number on them. Yes, I did try a stamp, but the packages are cold and not flat so writing the lot number by hand works much better. Maybe instead of all the free advice you could show up on meat day and help put some of this stuff away. Hmmmmm?
Meat must be rearranged in the freezer into some sort of order. The method is complex. Beef on the left, pork on the right.
|This is the PORK freezer. On a good day it|
will mostly contain PORK
So meat is readjusted. And readjusted again. Keith is busy doing chores late since he had to leave early for the locker run. I'm just telling you that so you understand why I am doing all the meat adjusting. Someone has to milk and it ain't me.
Finally all 1000 pounds of meat is put away. We decide this would be a great time to sit down in the kitchen and get caught up with each other over pot of coffee number two. I've been up since 0330 and Keith has been up since shortly after that.
And who do you think shows up at that exact moment? Well the Illinois Department of Agriculture's meat inspector that is who. Seems its time for our annual inspection.
No problem, we give him a fresh cup of coffee and a few beef sticks to chew on while he finishes his paperwork at our kitchen table. Funny how he didn't show up until AFTER all the meat was put away