organic meat

Best of 2018

It's a lot of work for us to write this newsletter on a weekly basis. But despite the time commitment, we love sharing stories and our thoughts from the week here. It's fun, it's cathartic and it's helping our business grow. 

But we had a realization a couple of months ago that another amazing thing about writing this newsletter every week (besides getting to let you in on what it's like to raise organic livestock), is that we're also creating a record of all of the happenings on our farm. These weekly emails are our little legacy and it's kind of amazing to think about what we'll get to remember when we look back at these words and photos 10, 20, 30+ years from now!  

Thinking about this prompted us to go back and look at newsletters from the past year, and there were some doozies.  There was the peculiar story about our pet goose that fell in love with Jenney, the one about the origin of our barn.  There was the time we really put it all out there to share the 3 things we're most embarrassed to admit. There was Jenney's favorite newsletter about how I followed my calling in Greg's Moment of Truth and my most meaningful newsletter of the year when we lost our boar (we said they're cathartic, right?).

I've never had a diary or kept a journal (unlike Jenney who has been journaling since she was 7) but I'm so thrilled that we're building a story book of the life of our farm! 

We would love to hear from you, if you have a few minutes to spare this week. What was the most memorable newsletter for you and why?  What would you like to hear more about and was there anything that you'd like to hear less about?

Here's to finishing up a great year, creating more time for reflection, and moving on to 2019!

Your Farmers, 
Greg & Jenney

Yep, we have a fairy godmother...

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You know what might just be the trickiest part of raising livestock over the winter? Water.  

Imagine us here at our farm with our flock of laying hens and 4 different herds of pigs out in the fields. It's relatively easy for us to bring organic grain to the animals once or twice a day, after we get bundled up and shovel a little snow. But in the wintertime, when the temperatures drop, the portable waterers, water tanks and spigots freeze solid and this means we don't have water where the animals are.

In previous years, we carried buckets of water from our basement to our animals 2-3 times per day. And, if this sounds terribly inefficient to you...it is! It takes a lot of time and it also wears on our hands, and our backs, and our spirits. 

We've always known that if we were going to be able to keep doing what we love most in this world (FARM!), we needed to figure out a better system for water over the winter. But, after our barn renovations this year, it just wasn't in our budget.  

That is, until a customer of ours, who we named our Fairy Godmother, told us this summer that she wanted to help finance a project on the farm!  To be honest, we thought she was joking at first. I mean, who just offers to give money to a farm!? 

We thanked her profusely and then tried to politely refuse, saying that we couldn't accept such a generous gift.  But for months, she shared how our farm was giving her joy and kept asking us when we were going to tell her how she could help. It seems strange to write this, but it was actually really (REALLY!) hard for us to accept her gift. But, after talking with family and doing a lot of soul searching, we eventually realized what was stopping us from saying yes (our pride and fear of being vulnerable) and accepted her offer.  

Greg immediately got busy researching and drawing up plans. We wanted to use her gift wisely and needed to design a structure which is movable (since our winter paddocks move from year to year), economical, and gives us more days with flowing water...while keeping the animals on pasture where they belong.  We wanted it to serve our laying hens first and foremost (since our Fairy Godmother is a vegetarian!), but have some duel purpose for when the temps were super low and the pregnant sows are delivering.

Farmer Greg came up with a grand plan and it is AMAZING! It gives our hens more sunlight and more warmth (which will help mitigate the drop in egg production over the winter) and it will help prevent our water from freezing for most of the winter.  

We are happy to report that as of this week, construction is finally underway!  How amazing is this? 

Your Farmers, 
Greg and Jenney

How the farm has changed our marriage

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This week, we hosted 3 separate tours on the farm (phew, that's a new record for us!). So, it's fair to say that this week, we spent a lot of time sharing about the progress we're making here.  We moved a 200-year old barn from down to the road to our property, we've transformed brush and brambles into beautiful healthy pastures, we've improved our farm systems and grown our business faster than we ever could have expected. We are proud of these accomplishments, for sure. And yet, what is probably more impressive and less obvious to even our closest friends and family is all the ways the farm has changed us. 

Our bodies were probably the first thing to change. Callused hands and body strength came within a few weeks. Aches and pains from the near constant physical exertion came within a few a months. Every now and then, there are the blisters, cracking skin, bruises, or tick bites to attend to. Yoga has become a required activity,  instead of a leisure activity.

The other changes are more subtle. As two world travelers who used to spend their savings on overseas adventures, I thought we would eventually get stir-crazy staying put. The truth is, that we find more joy in being at home with our animals than we ever would have imagined.  

We are natural introverts and usually re-charge by spending time alone. But the farm has brought us out of our skins and given us this incredible opportunity to share, educate and inspire. The farm pushes us to show up and be present in our community, even when our deepest instincts tell us to go it alone.

The farm has affected our marriage in ways that we probably can't fully comprehend just yet. Running a business with the person you love most in this world isn't always easy. But it has brought us closer, helped us understand each other more wholly, and appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses and limitations. It has taught us how to listen to one another and honor those hunches (or gut feelings) we get in the middle of the night that a fence is off or a pig might be farrowing (farm lingo for delivering piglets).

If what Eckert Tolle says is true, and the energy you put out in the world comes back to you, then I think we are in for a pretty spectacular life together here at Stonecrop Farm. Thanks for being on this journey with us. 

Your Farmers, 
Greg & Jenney

PS- We absolutely love hearing from you! What did you think of this newsletter and what would you like to hear more about in future newsletters?