How to find a Farmer
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Texas Trip 086When talking about this post to some of the farm chicks, they said, “Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea. I’m sure there are lots of folks out there looking for a farmer.”

It was said with grins and winks.

“Am I missing something?”

It took me a minute, but I suddenly realized that they were talking about folks looking for a “Single Farmer”, not a farmer to purchase food from. 🙂 Ha!

So, although, I could probably write this post about how to find a farmer to marry, my intention is to share how to find a farmer to buy food from. But don’t blame me if I get side-tracked. The farm chicks are known to do that from time to time 😉 Perhaps one day, we can all put our head’s together and come up with some tips on how to catch and keep those elusive farmers 🙂

In the meantime…

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Texas to visit family. I was there for one week and in that time, I was able to find raw milk, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, wild pork, pastured eggs, local vegetables, raw-milk cow cheeses and homemade breads.

How?

Okay, so here’s how I did it and I would love to hear about your stories of success in your area.

1. I went to www.eatwild.com and clicked on Texas. From there I visited websites and called every single farmer within a 50 mile radius of where I was located.

2. Then I visited www.localharvest.com and did the same thing.

3. I should mention that I only found 5 close to where I was, but I was pleased that all 5 called me back. I had to leave messages on answering machines.

4. When the farmers called me back, I asked these questions:

How do you raise your animals?

Are your cow grass-fed? Do you practice rotational grazing? How often do they get moved?

What do you feed your animals? Is all your feed gmo-free?

Milk – Do you pasteurize? Do you give the cows any grains?

Are your egg-layers free range? Are they in a portable house on pasture, or a stationary house? What do you feed them? How often do you move the portable house?

Are your broilers on pasture? Do you process them yourself or take them somewhere? What do you feed them? How often do you move them?

And the biggest question:

Can I come visit your farm?

Anyone who said “No” to this question, I automatically scratched them off the list. I needed a farm that I could go see. They can “Say” that they pasture or move their animals all they want, but if I can’t “See” the results, I can’t be 100% sure.

5. I scheduled times to go pick up product and check things out.

6. I visited the closest farmers market and started over at #4 asking each farmer at the market those questions. If I was in the area longer, I would have gone and visited more of them until I’d found the best source of each meat for my family.

All this was done in one week. It’s possible. You just have to start somewhere.

The hardest thing to find was the raw milk since the laws aren’t always in favor, but I started with folks who raised animals and got into the circle of farmers from there.

And no, I didn’t tell them who I was, nor what farm I was from. 😉

Texas Trip 097

So what’s your story? How have you found farmers in your area?

 

 

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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12 Responses to How to find a Farmer

  1. Sheri, you really “called every “single” farmer?” Really? 😉 Great post, I love the title! 🙂

  2. Tasha says:

    Thanks for the info Sheri! We are in Texas (born and raised), but have recently moved to another area. And have been trying to figure out how to find local farms. I am going to use your links to see what we can find.
    If ever in the Forth Worth/Keller area (that is where we moved from) check out Homestead Farms. Super sweet couple trying to do their best in farming and fighting the city through it all.
    Happy Friday ladies!

  3. Anne says:

    What a great resource detailing what we need to ask! I went down the line at our farmers’ market asking if their chickens ate bugs since I figured the answer to that would address most of my other chicken questions. I got lots of weird looks but when I found a farmer who smiled knowingly and proudly said “yes,” I was happy. I’m going to post a link to this on my food blog’s facebook page. Thanks 🙂

  4. Pingback: Farmer’s Wife Quilt | Spider Web & Single Wedding Star | Sheri Salatin

  5. Great info! I luckily found our meat through a good milk farmer connection. I found the milk farmer through asking friends and family who were able to get fresh milk. I love that you did that even though you were there for a short time. It really shows it can be done when you are eager to do so. It is a great example for all of us to remember when we travel!

  6. Cyndi Lewis says:

    Great info, Sheri! Thank you! I will be using it.

  7. ali says:

    I have dairy goats and egg chickens, but in the southern California desert…sadly I can’t afford a pasture. My chickens have to settle for feed store lay mash, and kitchen scraps. They have a covered pen – otherwise I am feeding chickens so the local ravens can have chicken eggs for breakfast. They have fresh air, sunshine, clean water and protection. My goats eat feed store hay or if we are able sometimes we can borrow a trailer and pick it up from the hay growers direct. If the girls are on the milk stand they get a bit of grain and alfalfa pellets. But all of our critters are well loved and cared for. I wish I had rolling meadows of GMO-free pasture available…Many people want food raised without GMO’s but very few people understand how difficult it is to get your hands on GMO free animal feed and if you can find it is about twice the cost.

  8. Leilani says:

    We have a locally grown only farmers market about 45mins away. It is the best place to start the connection process, other than online. The other great find is an area locavore, they have already done a lot of the work for you 🙂

  9. The farmers in the pic’s are single! ha!

  10. Erin Herner says:

    Ha ha! I wouldn’t mind a post about “how to find a farmer” 😉

  11. dep31 says:

    When I went to find a farmer (for food! I’m married!), I went to the market and looked for the stand that had all the first-generation immigrants clustered around it . In our area, we have a lot of people who have immigrated from Russia, India and China… and let me tell you, they know their produce! Back in the old country, they often grew their own or were in some way connected with the land. Sure enough, the busiest farmer had the best variety, raised his crops without nasty chemicals, and had the best quality, hands down, of everyone else in the market. Plus, he knew how to cook it all and could sell in bulk for canning. (It cracked me up when, in Joel’s latest book, he mentions that farmers would have heart attacks if their customers asked for bulk quantities. This would be me!)

    My farmer started having me pick things up from him directly, rather than at market, because I was hauling cases and cases away, and the nearest parking was two blocks away! This has been going on for six years now.

  12. dabeegguy says:

    I’m also one of those small scale farmers but your suggestion of needing to actually verify that the farmer you are checking out is doing what he or she is saying is somewhat of a problem. I am committed to very high levels of bio-security and this person who wants to check out my place won’t know diddly about that. I would rather that they just don’t bring me some unwanted ‘presents’ because they checked out 2 (or 3 or 10) others and weren’t careful (and someone else wasn’t doing that good a job). I don’t really want people who know little just wandering through my place because they think they have to. The idea is good but it carries too much risk for me to be comfortable with it.