We started harvesting last week. Well, harvesting our soybeans. Corn harvest will be happening in the weeks to come. And of course our sweet corn harvest is long gone.
This picture is from a few years back now. But it was where my son would live for the days when we would be harvesting. Now school and swimming and football tends to reduce his combine time. The thing about our corn and soybeans is it isn't sold in the grocery store. Well, except for our one acre of sweet corn, and our sweet corn isn't sold in the grocery store because we would need A LOT more than one acre to pay for the regulation requirements to sell in a grocery store.
BTW, not all corn is created equal....
Recently, Angie and her son came for a farm visit. We showed them the pigs and the calf and the chickens. But what we talked most about was our corn. Right is field corn aka not to be eaten as corn on the cob. Left is sweet corn. Meant to be eaten on or off the cob in it's whole state. We sent Angie and her son home with sweet corn and tomatoes and more goodies from our farm. But, we didn't send her home with any field corn.
We grow one acre of sweet corn, the corn on the left. We grow acres and acres of the field corn, corn on the right. So, if we don't eat it or sell it to be purchased at the grocery store, where do we sell it?
We sell it farmers. Livestock farmers specifically. To feed these:
And of course our own pigs. We only raise a few pigs a year. And every year we lose money raising our own pigs. However, our children learn how to scoop manure and the reality of the work it takes to raise an animal.
And we only raised four pigs this year. One pig was sold to be bred and become a sow aka a mom. The three other pigs have been sold for meat. Show me the BACON. So, no pork for you from our farm.
Let's talk about dairy...
Of all days to be talking about where you can grown your food is the day after I was up all night listening to our cute little Jersey heifer bawl all night. Because she has entered the phase of being a "woman." Yep, she was in heat and miserable. And so was I since she let me know all night long she was miserable.
And the Jersey heifer AKA girl cow who hasn't had a baby will go into milk production when she has her first calf in about 18 months. We will breed her in about 9 months and then she will be a milking cow. If I had to bet she will end up at a dairy farm like Liz's farm since we no longer milk cows on our farm. So, if you buy Dean's Food milk or milk that was bottled by Dean's Foods in about two years, then you might be drinking our milk.
Meanwhile, this girl has no milk for you. Or me.
The one thing it looks like to me you could get today off our farm, besides some soybeans, is eggs. Yep, eggs.
We even have a spiffy egg license that allows us to sell them. Well, as long as we sell less than 1,000 dozen per year. Which is not a problem since our girls are trying to go into a molt. You know, when the eggs don't lay eggs for a bit to get all worked up to produce eggs more efficiently once they start laying again. Anyway, we have eggs.
Since it is going to be pretty hard to buy food directly from our farm since we raise so few items that we can sell directly to you because of either supply or type of crop, what is one to do who wants to support their local farmer? Go to the grocery store. Seriously. Where do you think the meat in the grocery store comes from?
When one of our pigs was sold for meat during the counter fair, that meat ended up on the shelves of a grocery store most likely here in Indiana. So, it could have been the ground pork I bought at Kroger a few weeks back. More to come on why I bought meat that I already had in my freezer. But, I have no problem buying meat in the grocery store. The key is understanding the grade of meat. The grade of meat is the quality. To me, quality based on meat grade speaks more to me than what type of farm it came off.
The other place you can potentially buy are products is through ethanol, food grade or fuel grade. Yep, the song is true. Rain makes corn and corn makes whisky. Or vodka. In Indiana we several fuel ethanol plants as well as one food grade ethanol plant that makes vodka. YAY! Get lots of vodka recipes over on Farmwife Drinks.
Regardless of size, farmers are people who work at their jobs the same as you work at your job. Farmers want to do good work, help make their communities a better place to live, and make a difference in the lives of people who are impacted by their work. It doesn't matter the size or type, the farms are the people. Larger farms don't mean corporate and smaller farms don't mean family. Feel good about the food you buy and know you are most like buying local food and supporting farmers in your community even if you shop at a large national chain grocery store.