Farm Update, Fall Festival, Customer Profile, Turkeys and more...
Its been too long since my last farm update, with an extremely busy summer almost behind us and lots of news to share. Fortunately we started getting some good rains in early July which got our pastures greening up, and those rains continued into August. For the first time in at least two years we have plenty of soil moisture to keep everything growing well into fall. We've even been able to bale enough hay this year to feed our beef herd through the winter and almost enough for the dairy cows. Its a great feeling having two barns full of hay heading into the colder months.
We have moved the entire beef herd (almost 100 head) up to our Wisconsin farm to graze on the plentiful pastures there, and are now grazing the dairy herd on the more robust east pastures at the Brunner Farm location in Dundee. This will give our main dairy pasture a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
The first batch of Thanksgiving Turkeys are out free-ranging in the front pastures and growing fast. We are still taking reservations for FRESH turkeys but they are filling up fast. Reserve yours now in our online store.
We are also looking to hire a great new team member for our busy Farm Store. If you are dedicated to supporting ethical farming practices and offering the best quality locally-produced food, we’d love to talk to you! For the full job description please visit the employment page of our website.
NEW HEIFERS BRING MORE MILK
We had six Guernsey heifers (young female cows that have not had a calf yet) due in September so we have been a little anxious with all those new moms. Heifers are more likely to have problems during calving as their bodies may not be fully developed. And once they have their calves we have to train them how to come into the parlor for milking and learn the whole process. New heifers are always a challenge, six in a few weeks can be major trouble! So far five have had their calves and we had to call the vet to assist with two of them. One more to go in the next week or so.
The good news is those heifers are providing more milk for us so the production is ramping up again and we have more raw milk to sell on most days.
FALL FARM FESTIVAL - SATURDAY OCTOBER 15
After a very popular event last year, we are bringing back the fall farm festival again this year, on Saturday, October 15th from 12 Noon to 4 PM. Fun events will include hay wagon tours of the farm to see the animals, a visit to the pumpkin patch to harvest your own pumpkin, and the round hay bale obstacle course. We will also have the volleyball net setup, corn hole, and badminton games to play.
Food will be provided by the La Adelita Taco Truck. They will be coming out from Chicago to serve up their famous street tacos - Carne Asada, Beef Birria, Chicken Tinga, Al Pastor and Mojo Mushrooms. All made with our own grass fed beef and pasture-raised pork and chicken. Side dishes will include elotes, chips and salsa, roasted tomato rice, refried black beans, and guacamole. All you can eat including soft drinks and water will be provided.
We have a limited number of tickets available, reserve your space now. $30 for adults, $20 for kids 5 - 12, $15 for little tykes that don't eat much. Ticket includes all you can eat tacos, plus drinks and a pumpkin. Pickup your wrist bands at the farm store before the event. Reserve Fall Festival Tickets here.
FUN EVENTS COMING UP SOON
We have a few fun events coming up soon that we wanted to share with our community of local food and farm enthusiasts:
Sunday, September 25th - McHenry County Farm Stroll 10 AM - 4 PM
We are participating in this again for the second year in a row, one of 12 farms that are part of the event. Stop in anytime from 10 AM - 4 PM (yes thats tomorrow!). We will be offering hay ride mini-tours of the farm during that time as well as a walking tour of our historic dairy barn. Spend the day visiting other nearby farms including our friends at Broadview Farms, Terra Vitae Farm, and Alden Hills Organic Farm. This event is free to participants. Find a farm stroll brochure and map of participating farms HERE.
Saturday, October 1st - Gather and Grow Farm Social 5 PM - 9 PM
This dinner and social event at Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia will feature local food expertly prepared by the chefs at Abreo, including cheese made from the milk of our cows. Anna and I will be there supporting the good work of AOLC in helping build our local food system. Learn more and purchase tickets to the event HERE.
Sunday, October 2nd - FACT 40th Annual Farm-to-Table Celebration 5 PM
Please come out and join our good friends from The Food Animal Concerns Trust as they celebrate 40 years of helping farms raise animals humanely and reduce antibiotic use in farm animals. This event will be held at Duke's Alehouse in Crystal Lake with locally raised foods. Anna and I won't be able to attend as we will be on our annual fall vacation (more about that when we return), but please come out and support this great organization. Learn more and purchase tickets to the event HERE.
FARM STORE UPDATE
With the summer growing season coming to end we still have a great selection of fruits and veggies in the farm store, plus we are starting to get some fall squash and fresh organic Michigan apples.
We have FRESH No Corn/No Soy chickens available this weekend. Last batch of the year.
We just received a shipment of fresh organic apples and apple cider from Michigan this week, as well as other apple products including apple cider vinegar, apple chips, and apple sauce.
Other local produce in the store includes plums, pears, melons, zuchini, peppers, kohlrabi, and carrots.
FARM CUSTOMER PROFILE - THE JUFFERNBRUCH FAMILY
For some time Anna and I have talked about featuring the stories of our very interesting customers in the farm newsletter. We decided to start with the Juffernbruch family, one of our first customers.
We have know Dan and Dale for many years, as our children attended the same elementary school, and we lived near each other back when we started the farm in our backyard. Their family had been consuming raw milk for quite some time before they learned that we had purchased two dairy cows and also had raw milk. They were among our first customers back in the spring of 2012 when we started our herdshare program!
The Juffernbruch Family
Recently, Dan and Dale attended a farm food and health freedom conference in Viroqua, Wisconsin. One of the speakers was Joel Salatin, a regenerative farmer at the front of the grass farming movement. Joel encouraged attendees to become patron saints of their local farmers.
Here are Joel’s five ways to become your farmers’ patron saints:
(1) Really buy food, don’t just nibble. Sure, farmers are glad for every sale, but a patron saint spends a notable portion of the food budget at the farm (not just an apple here and a carrot there).
(2) Help to problem solve inventory issues. A patron saint is willing to ask the farmer, “what do you have excess of?” Perhaps a customer is able to buy those extra tomatoes and can them.
(3) Think of your farmers’ offerings as medicine. Invest in healing foods.
(4) Embrace seasonality. Instead of grumbling about no asparagus in October, think about all the delicious soups, stews and breads that can be made with pumpkin.
(5) Be excited about the domestic culinary arts – i.e., cooking and baking. Real food doesn’t come prepared. Folks have to cook and bake to eat truly healthily.
When Dale emailed me her profile information she finished with this wondeful note:
"Our family decided quite a while ago that supporting local farmers like Cliff was good for the local economy, the environment, and ultimately us. We are so very thankful to have Cliff and the All Grass Farms team farming here in Dundee. Keep up the fantastic job of providing real food to the local economy – you make a difference."
And we are very thankful to have such wonderful customers supporting our work for many years! We could not do this without you.
Thats it for now. Please follow us on our Instagram Page where Anna posts photos and farm updates a few times per week. Hope to see everyone at one of the upcoming events soon.
Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team