This is an email from a members expressing concerns over the meat share.
I am sharing this with you as I am sure others are having similar feelings. I have also included my response so you can possibly get some resolve to the meat challenges.
Thanks so much!
A few comments regarding the meat share…..
Thanks for the pricing breakdown – it varies somewhat from the pricing sheet we received from Longspell Point Farm. eg. your chicken price is $4.19 whereas Longspell’s are 3.75….not a big deal but just comparing.
As a Tuesday shareholder I did not receive any pork as indicated in your email, however, I did receive my overall dollar value.
Whole chicken sizes are fine for me – there is always something to do with leftover chicken. These chickens have been tasty.
Third meat share I was disappointed with. I received 1 T-Bone steak and 1 really small round steak….a bit difficult to plan a meal around! I was happy to see a nice cut of meat in the T-bone but only having one portion was not great. The chicken legs and wings were from October 2010 and August 2010. I really do not want to be cleaning out someone else’s year old product from their freezer.
As for roasts I have not received a beef one to date. I have received one pork roast (shoulder, very thin, small and tough as well). A good quality pork or beef roast would be nice.
Overall I am mixed as to the meat share after four deliveries. I realize this is the first year for this venture but aside from the ground beef and whole chickens I am not sold. I feel I am receiving the lower end products. I am also wondering when can we expect to see some of the other items…..lamb, rabbit, duck, sausages?
Do you have an option to purchase a whole lamb? (Looking for this years butchering, not last year)
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I have a pile of emails that require a thoughtful response and it has taken me a couple of weeks to get sorted out.
So – how about if I tackle this point by point??
In terms of the price per lb for chicken – Jeff’s price changes over time depending on the price of grain and other production factors. The chickens that we have been raising and that we are getting from the free range farmer in Windsor are costing us and then I put a small markup on the value of all the meat so that we have something for our space, time and energy. I have talked with Jeff about his price and he has noticed that it might be a bit low compared to some of the people around him at the market, be he cautioned me that we might be a bit high too – it also depends on where one is located to. He also has more of a market for chicken parts – like breasts, etc. The prices fluctuate greatly each month – I am astonished as I try to make sense of this all.
I am finding it hard to share out the meat evenly and so that the value of the share is around $50.00 based on the prices I pay for it. This is an experimental year and so we will see how it all works out. Maybe we should have had the monthly value a bit higher to accommodate sharing of the whole animal as there are roasts and things that are heavier. I am working to keep close track of comments and ideas.
The chickens are hard because for some people they can’t eat a whole chicken. I have suggested that people can freeze cooked meat to have a fast meal later on.
In terms of your third meat share – I am trying hard to provide people with a reasonable amount of meat for a family – and I know that sometimes I don’t accomplish this. That month Jeff indicated he had lots of legs and wings and I thought it would work fine as I knew we were a few short in chickens. I was not aware, nor did I look or ask, that they were from last year. By no means, AT ALL, was I intending to ‘empty a freezer’ on you. That is not at all how we think of our members or of our product – I want you to get fresh, high quality product. Sometimes we have issues – like with raspberries or with a bad apple that gets missed, but overall – we want to provide you with great food to feed your family. This was not my intention or understanding at the time and I will be more cautious moving forward. In terms of more roasts – they will come. I don’t have enough roasts to provide everyone with one per month, and they are all different shapes and sizes and from different areas of the body. I am trusting my friend Wayne is providing us with good pork. This month we will have one of our own Berkshires so we will see how that goes.
Overall I am mixed about the meat share too as it is a lot of work for me and we are not producing all of the meat yet and have very little control. My vision was that we’d build up our animal base on the farm to improve our diversity and fertility on the farm and also round out the offering members can get from us, but so far I am not sure how I feel about it. I am not able to keep everyone happy sharing the whole animal and that stress is maybe a bit more than I can manage.
In terms of feeling that you are receiving lower end product – honestly I can’t do anything to solve this feeling you are having except to say that if you are not happy maybe you’d like to stop. And I am not meaning to sound short about it. I don’t want you to feel that I am not providing you quality and if that is how you feel then it isn’t working for you or me. I can assure you that there is no intent on providing you with lower end products – my hand goes into the freezer and pulls out a combination of meat that I feel is around the right weight, we weigh it, record it and send it off to members.
In terms of duck, lamb and rabbit – we are not able to find enough rabbits. We are working on setting up a rabbit raising space right now so that we can supply our own rabbits. Ducks will come this month. Sausages – are coming too.
Yes you can purchase a whole lamb – we carry Ruth Mathesons lamb as an add on and it will be ready in December. Also our neighbours Jackie and Steven Rand raise and sell lamb. They are who we are hoping to purchase from. I have been hesitant as many people indicated they would not like to have lamb – and now that I see the challenge of sharing the whole animal, I am sorting out how to do this so it makes sense for everyone. I have also been hesitant because the price of lamb is so high and I don’t know how people will manage with such a small amount of meat.
So – that is pretty much my honest response to your comments. I am sorry to be causing you upset around the meat. If I can assure you at all, I am working hard to provide members with a fair allocation of meat and I know that it isn’t perfect – I really hope that we can find a way to perfect it so that it is easier for everyone.
Patricia @ Taproot
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