Thursday, September 25, 2014

This Is The Drought






This is what last night's blessed and welcomed rain did to moisture in a piece of ground I'm waiting to drill in winter forage on. 2 inches of moisture, and then dry as a bone. I will photograph the same spot tomorrow, when I expect the moisture left to be 1 inch, and then 2 days later, where I expect it to be gone. I need about 4 inches of consistent soil moisture for a week, to risk the expense of drilling seed in, and timing it all right to drill in just before the next rain. This is what has been done on winter grass ground in CA for a long time, although now there seems to be a fancy word for it - 'dry farming'. This is the drought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sliced Beef Pastrami Now Available!







Grass Fed Grass Finished Sliced Beef Pastrami Is Here!




No Grain, Ever * No Added Hormones
From Animals Fed Certified Organic or Non GM Grass and Forb Forage 
No Sub-Therapeutic Use Of Antibiotics * No Antibiotic Use In Market Animals  
 Our Beef Are Always Free To Range
We take the time to finish our beef for 60 days on a blend of oat grass & alfalfa, 
which produces a lean fat marbling, as well as consistently tender,
and mild flavored grass finished meat.
 All our beef is dry aged according to individual animal needs, and flash frozen in vacuum seal immediately after butchery in order to ensure the highest quality product. 
No Lies, But Plenty of Grass Fed Bull!

Saturday, September 20, 2014






We are very excited to begin introducing our new beef  and mutton products. Say hello to beef bacon, smoked beef sausage with wine & garlic, as well as beef and mutton sticks.


No Grain, Ever * No Added Hormones
From Animals Fed Certified Organic or Non GM Grass and Forb Forage 
No Sub-Therapeutic Use Of Antibiotics * No Antibiotic Use In Market Animals  
 
 Our Beef Are Always Free To Range
 
We take the time to finish our beef for 60 days on a blend of oat grass & alfalfa, 
which produces a consistently lean fat marbling, yet a tender and mild grass finished meat.
 All our beef is dry aged according to individual animal needs, and flash frozen in vacuum seal immediately after butchery in order to ensure the highest quality product.
No Lies, But Plenty of Grass Fed Bull!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More drought news

It's June, and once again, our irrigated pastures look like a little green oasis among all the gold hills. We have our cows on the dry standing grass, supplementing with hay, but the sheep are all on irrigated pasture right now. We are very concerned about wildfires this year. Hoping that anyone who is camping this summer does not light a campfire or drive over tall grass!

Here are some photos we took of our cows right before the grass began to dry up, around June 1st.


Amaranth and her mama






Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Drought

We are doing our best to stay positive about this season's lack of precipitation. While this recent storm was encouraging, it dropped less than an eighth of an inch in the west side of the Sacramento Valley. We doubt that it will do much to grow the native forage as the soil is so depleted and dry on our rangelands. We continue to irrigate our pastures and have already begun grazing paddocks that were not ready as the ability to buy forage that fits the requirements of our grass-based feeding program is now almost impossible to find at any price. We know of producers bringing in truck and trailer from Arizona, and the dealers out of Oregon have become elusive as hay is being tied up by dairies and beef producers in their frantic search for feed. One of the last local stockpiles of last year's alfalfa at the Gnose Farm in Woodland was sold for dairy producers which are also in desperate straits to find feed. Our own family's field of alfalfa is currently being irrigated in January via the well. My father-in-law's three-way blend also had to be irrigated, or he loses $8,000 in seed. These are crops that historically do not receive any winter/spring irrigation.

With that said, we will be culling 20% of our sheep flock. We worked very hard to get up to the numbers we are at and these sheep have been through a lot with us so it is a very hard decision to make. We accepted a lease on 30 acres that could potentially be irrigated, but it does not start until May, which doesn't allow us to get anything planted for this year's demands. We may not be able to raise steers this year, instead sending them direct to auction at 500 weight. We have 4 finished steers remaining, which will be allocated across our three farmer's markets. We also will not be raising any poultry this year. Our focus is to keep our existing pastures irrigated, our tree crops drip irrigated, and there is not much left for growing additional forage as we had planned. We have made some efficiency improvements on our wells this past year, including converting one of our wells and warehouse to solar power. This well irrigates our tree crops. Our larger 5 HP well is functioning very well for its age, but we would like to convert a portion of it's energy use to solar as well. Unfortunately, with all the unforeseen costs to buy hay and the loss of income from loss of production, we will not be able to make any large capital improvements this year.

The changes we must make on the marketing end are:
We can no longer sell any beef or lamb freezer specials.
We also will be terminating our CSA.

Current CSA members, your support has been wonderful. But we feel we cannot offer you a diversity of meats nor can we be reliable in our supply. Because it is so difficult to get into a good farmer's market, we must divert any meats we can produce this year to the markets in order to preserve our space and reputation. We will continue to participate in the Capay Valley FarmShop MeatShare with our beef and lamb. We encourage our current CSA members to sign up for a MeatShare. I think you will be pleased with the diversity and quality of the products on offer. We may also be offering individual cuts through Good Eggs as part of the Capay Valley FarmShop portal, but prices will be much higher than at our markets.

We hope that these setbacks will only be temporary and that we can once again expand our business instead of contract. But for that, we must wait until the hills turn green again. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and buy local as much as you can. In order to compensate for the prospective loss in available domestic beef, the FSIS has allowed Brazilian beef to be imported for the first time in many years. Please don't buy foreign beef. The new farm bill did include the controversial COOL (Country of Origin Labelling) so you soon should be able to tell where your beef product was produced. Thanks for your support and we hope the rain comes.