Tag Archives: Ossabaw Island pork

Marketing- The Local Farmer’s Market

We have been attending the local Farmer’s Market selling our cuts of Ossabaw Island pork and fresh brown eggs.  We have enjoyed meeting new people, and it gives our back a break from the farm work.( With a big thank you to my parents for their time spent helping set up and tear down.) Our time spent at the market is one way we are marketing and branding our farm in the local community.

There are hundreds of ways to market your farm. But our main goal is  to increase brand recognition, and produce some cash flow.  A Farmers Market in a small community can be a great place to sell your products, but use it to network and generate sales directly from the farm as well.

In our community it seems that meat vendors  have been very spotty at the Farmer’s Market.  And from customer reaction they are not use to the level of care we put into our animals. Customers are pleased to learn that our meat is raised with no antibiotic, no vaccines, and no added hormones, but are not educated on why it makes a difference. We spend time with our customers giving information on why our pork is better. Not every customer is in the market for pork at that time, but hopefully our information will bring them back to us when they are.

Tent at the Farmers Market
Burnin R Farms set up at the Monett Farmer’s Market

I am not the best at decorating, but I am very good at being unique. Our tent is very noticeable among the other vendors. I am also using computer cut vinyl letters wherever possible to make clear, readable signs. No one should have to decipher my handwriting. Our pricing board has vinyl letters on a whiteboard, so we can adjust prices without recreating the whole board.

Burinn R Farms Sign
Burnin R Farms Metal Sign

I made a farm sign out of an old metal sign I had made when I was taking motorcycles to bike shows. I cut the vinyl and applied it to the sign. Recognition is a great way to create credibility, the more someone sees your “look” in a positive atmosphere the more it is perceived as credible.

We are increasing sales every week. We are gaining repeat customers and we have even scheduled a sale of a whole hog in September.  I am surprised at how the egg sales have really taken off, I am needing to add more hens to the coop now.

Marketing is like a marathon, you may sprint occasionally, but a steady gain is the best.

 


 

 

 

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A Brand or Logo- Why Is It Important

Do you have your own brand or unique product? If you don’t, how will anyone pick you or your product over others? How do you set your farm or your product apart from everyone else?

Creating an identity  that people notice is what all businesses strive to do. Your identity is almost as important as your product. Having an identity or brand will go a long way in the eye of the consumer, just like street credibility. The more often a consumer is in contact with your identity, the better your product seems.

Humans are funny creatures, what we see  or hear creates our reality. Our brains collect and store data, some we use immediately, some we use to support later thoughts.  If we shop for a product, a product that we have stored thoughts on,  is immediately in better standing than one that we have nothing to recall. Stored thoughts can be from seeing the product first hand, or from a friend that has told us about it. Branding creates stored thoughts that can be used to validate and support decisions of consumers.

Humans are also herd animals, we strive to belong. A brand can give you opportunities to give someone a sense of being a part of your business or product. If you put on a baseball cap, what is on it?  It will usually have a brand or logo of something that you have an interest in, a sports team, a hunting brand, or a saying of some kind. This is how companies can get placed into your stored data and how they can influence your buying decisions.

Branding is used by companies to represent them. Companies use names, symbols, jingles, styles of writing, and even animals to create their brand. Ranches use a symbol burned into the hide of cattle to represent them and show ownership, these symbols are called brands. Can you see a Clydesdale horse and not think of beer?

As small business owners we should tap into this marketing tool. We should be finding ways to get stored in consumers minds. Product or brand placement is everywhere, stickers on vehicles, t-shirts, coats, hats, signs, billboards, radio spots, commercials, and even tattoos. even with a shoe-string budget, a business should be able to find a way to place their brand in the view or ear of a consumer.

If you are a farmer at a farmer’s market, make sure your tent has your brand or name on it. if you have your meat processed to sell, have the processor put our name on the label. If you drive a vehicle,  have your brand or name on a magnetic sign that you can stick  to it. Get t-shirts made to wear when you  are out shopping, and give them to friends to wear.

There are a thousand ways to get noticed. Even the cheapest ideas can give your business a boost. Get creative and get seen or heard by your future customer.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Fattening up the hogs!

Fat Hogs
Ossabaw Island and Duroc cross fat hogs

We are fattening up some more hogs. We have some very nice looking Ossabaw Island Hogs. If you have never tried Ossabaw Island Pork, I suggest you do if you ever get the chance.

Almost all of our Ossabaw Island pork has sold itself. We get orders by customers that were given a sample from a friend, or had been given testimony of their great meat. Although still very rare, they can be found throughout the U.S. It is harder to get started raising Ossabaw Island Hogs for profit because they take longer to grow and have smaller litters. But, if you can stick it out, it is well worth the effort in the long run.

 


 

 

 

Makin’ Bacon Trial #1

Curintg Pork Bellies
Pork Belly in bag with cure mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I started making bacon last night. I separated out 5 lbs. of pork belly to cure. I have 2 packages that are about 2.5lbs. each in the fridge curing. I am  already excited to taste the final product.

I did some reading and compiled the information that I found into one recipe and process for making my own bacon. I went with a brown sugar and salt cure mix with some additions.

The working part of the cure is the salt. Salt removes moisture and prevents spoiling. Sugar is added for flavor and to smooth out the roughness of the salt.  Other spices and flavorings can be added to suit your individual taste. I added some of my favorite pork spices like garlic, pepper, cloves, and some liquid smoke.

It is important to measure out the correct amount of Curing Salt #1 for the weight of the pork. Curing salt ( Pink Salt) is used to retain the red meat color and to prevent botulism. There are recipes that do not include pink salt, but to obtain the  true flavor for bacon it is needed.

I decided to add the curing salt to my mix last. I mixed all the ingredients in one bowl for the entire batch of pork. And of course, I tasted the mix to get a feel for what the flavors would be. (One of the reasons to add the Pink salt last, don’t taste test after the pink salt is added.)  I then weighed the separate portions of meat that went into each seal-able  bag and figured the amount of Cure #1 for each bag. I separated out the amount of mix I wanted in each bag and then mixed in the curing salt at that time. This way my flavor profile for the mix was consistent, and I knew that the correct amount of Cure #1 was added to each portion of meat.

I rubbed down the pork belies with the cure mix while they were sealed in the bag. the cure mix will draw out the moisture from the meat and infuse some of the flavor from the spices. A brine will form in the bag over the next few days. I will turn the bags over each day and rub the mixture into the meat. As the meat cures and the moisture is removed the meat will shrink slightly and start to firm up a bit.

Before the weekend, I will check the meat and see if it is uniformly firmed up, or if some areas feel like they need more salt. I can always add a little  more salt (not pink salt) to draw out more moisture, or I can allow a bit more time for the process to complete.

Once the curing is complete my next step will be to rinse off the cure.  I will then work on getting our bacon smoked. I can’t wait until next weekend when I fire up the smoker. I will let you know how t goes.

 


 

 

Fall Butcher season

Fat Hogs
Ossabaw Island and Duroc cross fat hogs

 

 

 

 

 

Fall has always been the time to start thinking about putting up some pork. The days of hanging pork in the smokehouse for the winter have long been gone, and the art of processing a hog by the family has almost been lost. I have the hogs fattened up and wondering what I can do with them.

During my journey with the hogs, I have not been fully content with getting our hogs processed at a locker.  It seems that no processor I use is without fault, and each one has their own way of processing and presenting a final product. My journey has lead me to experiment with processing our own hogs.

I saved back some pork bellies  from a hog I butchered a month ago for a hog roast. This weekend I am going to practice making my own bacon for the first time.  I have purchased some curing salt and have researched some recipes.  This is also research into another ” Stream of Income” for the farm. I will keep you updated.

 


 

Meat Processing Dilemma Rant

We are in a bad part of Missouri to be able to find a butcher that will process under USDA Inspection. We have tried 3 different processors and I am not satisfied with any of them. Unfortunately the closest processor is an hour and a half drive away. It usually takes 2 trips for each batch, but when they make mistakes it takes 3, and that really eats at the profits.

The first processor we used is over capacity and can’t keep up the pace without making mistakes on orders. They forgot to season the sausage, couldn’t find our customers order so they could pay over the phone, completely misinformed one of my customers of their order, and forgot to give us all of our order when we picked it up.

On to processor #2.  We sell Ossabaw Island Pigs for custom slaughter, not the usual pig that they see around here. I get that, but please be professional about it. They called my customer and told him he probably wouldn’t get any bacon because the pig was too small,  all without even looking at the carcass. When I called to figure out what was going on the person told me no bacon as well, eventually I ended up being scolded by the owner. The short of it,  I was told that my pigs were pot bellies( 3 times) and that it was not their fault that they misinformed my customer. No customer relations at all, I was not impressed. I ended up cancelling 2 other pigs I was going to take there the next week.  Oops, I forgot to call and tell them I cancelled.  I am sure that they didn’t miss some measly old “pot bellies” or any future pigs that I may have taken there.

Processor #3. I really like this processor other than the drive. They are really nice to work with, but they have also made some mistakes. They didn’t process my bacon under inspection on one order so it was all labeled “not for sale”. Another order had all jalapeno cheddar brats instead of mostly original brats with a few jalapeno. Plus this last time it has taken a month and a half to get my bacon back.

I am running out of options. I believe I have exhausted my choices for processors without traveling 2 plus hours in each direction. I would just like to be able to get my pork processed without drama and in a timely manner.

I hate having to rely on outside vendors when quality control is of importance. It seems that every aspect of quality is out of my control, being timely is out of my control, and I am tired of apologizing to my customers for my vendors faults. The only option I see to regain control, is to look into what parts of the processing can we feasibly take on ourselves.

Getting into meat processing is a costly undertaking. Plus the regulatory aspects of processing meat to be sold are daunting. I have been racking my brain, I know it can be done, but more research is needed. It looks like with my current situation I will need to have them killed under inspection at the very least, then find a way to cut and wrap under a retail exemption.

Why must I do this?

Because others can’t seem to handle their jobs!! — At least not to the standards that I want for my customers.

It may take a few headaches and some spilled blood ( from hard work), but I will find a way!!


 

The Ossabaw Island Pork Difference

You go into the grocery store and shop for pork and think that their pork represents all pork. No!!!! Just because the big box grocery stores only sell bland, colorless, tough, tasteless, antibiotic and hormone filled pork, it does not mean that there is not something out there that is better. There definitely is better pork.

Grocery store pork is from pigs that have been bred over the years to adapt to large confinement production.  They have been bred to have large number litters, and grow at a fast rate. Why? Because that is what makes large producers money. large numbers and quick turns equal more profit. Do you know why they push for lean pork? because it takes longer and costs more to produce a meat with some fat in it. Fat is directly proportional to better taste. No fat equals no taste.

Any “small farm” raised pork will be better than the grocery store pork. But to find the best pork available, you will have to find Ossabaw Island pork. One of the first and original breeds brought to America.

Ossabaw Island pigs have not been genetically engineered to put money in somebody else’s pocket.  They are not an economical pig to raise so no large confinement operation will even remotely consider them. They haven’t been bred to have super large litters, or grow super fast. They are still basically the same pig that they were in the 1400’s.

Ossabaw Island pork is red-meaty-pork with a fat marbling. If finished out correctly they have a very sweet, easy to cook meat comparable to a fine beef. You can have a domestic breed of pig and an Ossabaw Island pig raised the same way, on the same farm, and a taste test will still show a remarkable difference in the meat.

I have sold and eaten a lot of Ossabaw Island pork. Everybody that I know that has had the opportunity to try Ossabaw Island pork, has noticed the difference. The Ossabaw Island Pork Difference.  A difference that makes you want more, a difference that makes you fight over the meat left on the bone.

Thank you,

Burnin R Farms