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