We Hate F***book

Intense title? Yeah, probably. Is it needed? Yeah, definitely. We hate Facebook, and unfortunately, we need to use it to run our business. This post is not about farming specifically, but about the marketing behind it. There will likely be some “strong language” but if you know the two of us in person, this language is our normal form of communication.

This is my comment, on my friend Sara’s Facebook post about moving into a home that had a pool table. Her partner Jason commented saying he knew how to re-cover and re-level pool tables. Jason is wicked smart, and immensely skilled at like… a lot of things, including lasers. He is Canadian, as am I. Hence the comment! Sara is also immensely talented, and has written about me previously. Now it’s my turn to write about how absolutely infuriating Facebook is. I am not nearly as skilled a writer as Sara, and I am not following the “rules” of writing. This is off the cuff, unedited, and just being thrown into the ether.

After leaving this comment, I was informed it goes against Facebook Community Standards. Apparently, “fucking Canadians” triggers the bots to put me in jail. Previously, “all except the white dude are sheep” put me in jail. Never mind the fact that I was talking about LITERAL LIVESTOCK, referring to anything as “white” or “sheep” completely fucking breaks Facebook’s bullshit warning system. So now I find myself in Facebook jail for a week, and I have some time on my hands. Hence, this blog post. I have received death threats, been told to un-alive myself because I told someone to Google something, and been told to go back to where I came from. None of those people were ever suspended, or penalized. Does Facebook have it out for me? Seems like it.

So now, what do I do? I need to use Facebook to market the farm. We have over 2500 followers on our Facebook page, and over 2000 on Instagram, which is owned by the Zuckerberg network. Many customers find us on both of those platforms, and now I cannot use the one that drives the most sales. I can post as much as I want here on our blog, on Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube, but that’s not where our customers are.

I Want To Be Where The People Are GIFs | Tenor
I’m like Ariel

Facebook is unfortunately the main place MANY farmers and small business owners do their marketing. Unfortunately, that means we are at their mercy. Some know it all marketing “experts” will say “Use your mailing list.” Which is, to be honest, some of the dumbest fucking advice ever for micro businesses where one or two people are doing all the work. The industry standard email open rate is 18%, and click through is less than 3%. The amount of work involved in writing an email versus the number of people who will see it is just completely not worth it. (This is one of the reasons we send out very few emails). Facebook posts stay there, and can easily be linked back to. I can use a years-old Facebook or Instagram post to illustrate a point, share more information, or provide cute animals as entertainment. Unless I’m in Facebook jail…

So where do we go from here? Who knows. I am frustrated and worn out. We are heading into a season that is normally very busy for us, but we are dialing things back quite a bit this year. (There will be a post about this at some point) While we wait for my Facebook jail sentence to end, I’ll be scrolling through TikTok and sharing cute videos of our animals.

We Have So Many Fluffy Helpers

Our day started with a hay pickup to a farm about a half hour away from us. Fifty-some small squares were loaded up in the truck and trailer, and brought home. The farm we picked up from has some beautiful sheep that I had a chance to say hello to. Once we got home, our critters were happy to tell us what they thought of this new hay!

Hay gets expensive. If you would like to support the farm, purchasing one of these pins covers the cost of one bale. Limerick and all the other sheep and goats appreciate your support!

Freezer Sale! Build Your Own Bundle

Our freezers are still a little full, so we are running the freezer sale for one more week! Purchase 25 or more pounds of our meat, excluding bacon and ground products, and save 10%. If we can sell two more bundles, I think we will finally have space to get a batch of stewing hens processed. We would love if you can help us reach that goal.

If you would like to get one of these bundles, feel free to email us or message us on Facebook, and let us know what you would like in your bundle. We can be sure to have it ready for you this Saturday at the market.

Pre-Order: Limerick Enamel Pin

We have some exciting news! We are big fans of pins and buttons as accessories, and we decided to have our own made! Our handsome Jacob ram Limerick will be made into an enamel pin! Pre-orders are available in our online shop. The pins are currently in production, and will be mailed out as soon as we receive them. This could take a month or so, but I promise they will be worth the wait! They are made of a silvery metal, and four colors of hard enamel. This will give them a smooth professional look.

If these sell well (we are starting with 100) we may get other pins made of some of our other animals. We also have a few other items available in our shop, and we are considering adding my knitted items as well. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to find in the shop!

Recipe: Aunt Bea’s Baked Beans

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links means we earn a little money, which we use to help the farm grow!

Any time I start writing about a recipe, I convince myself I need to keep it short and to the point. I hate scrolling through pages of a back story to get to the recipe. I will be brief with this. Aunt Bea was my mom’s aunt, and she passed away in 2004. I don’t remember a lot about Aunt Bea, other than her kindness. One additional thing I remember is the baked beans that were on the hot plate at every family gathering. My Aunt Jan gave me the recipe for the delicious baked beans a couple years ago, so we could make them at an event, where they were very well received. I decided it was time to make them with our own pork today.

I did modify the recipe ever so slightly, and I hope my family can forgive me. I reduced the sugar, and used apple cider vinegar instead of plain white vinegar. I also modified the cooking method to account for how fatty our bacon is sometimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound smoked bacon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cans (15.5 oz each) white beans, we used Cannellini
  • 1 quart canned tomato sauce, we used home canned, but store bought is fine
  • ​1⁄2 cup loosely packed brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Obviously this isn’t all of the ingredients. But it’s a start!

To begin, open up that pack of pasture raised bacon you got from us (hopefully!) and enjoy that smoky smell. If you got bacon from elsewhere, you may find you need a little more of the seasonings to get enough flavor. Pre-heat your oven to 325F.

Notice that our bacon is not a weird, unnatural pink.

Chop the slices of bacon, and throw them in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for a couple minutes. If you got a particularly fatty pack of bacon, you can scoop out some of the fat and use it to cook something else in. This is totally optional. Add the chopped onions, and cook until softened slightly, just a few minutes.

Add in beans, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and some salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly so everything is distributed evenly. Put it in the oven, uncovered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove and allow to cool. Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. If your bacon is not flavorful enough, your beans may benefit from the addition of a little bit of liquid smoke, or Worcestershire sauce.

Serve it in a bowl. Or portion it out and freeze it. These beans are incredibly easy to put together, and can feed a crowd. If you are on a budget, double the amount of beans, and it will still be just as good. Enjoy.

Frontière Farm House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you click on one of our affiliate links, we earn a small commission, which we use to help the farm grow!

Farming is a Never Ending Cycle

Just a couple days ago, I posted on Instagram saying we are officially “On Vacation” until the new year. What I meant was that we don’t have any farmers markets until January 9. There is nothing even close to resembling a vacation happening in our lives right now, however, I didn’t expect to get right back into it the next day!

We placed our first order for meat birds yesterday. The plan right now is 600 chickens on pasture this year, and we didn’t want to leave things to chance with getting all the birds we need. We are hammering out the details with our brooding and tractor setups, so we don’t have to scramble to find them toasty places to grow. We will also be ordering 150 turkeys for meat, and at least 50 ducks. In addition, we will be adding 50 ducks to our laying flock, and 100 to 150 laying hens. Who knows, some little goslings might find themselves joining the farm as well.

Limerick is probably done his job with his girlfriends. Initially, I thought we would put him back with the boys this past weekend, but that wasn’t a high priority. So that will happen this upcoming weekend. Lamb Watch starts April 7! We also have to contact our shearer to get everyone their haircuts before then. And then this summer, we will be adding at least one more sheep to the flock. More on that later on. There are so many fun things with the sheep happening in 2021.

We haven’t made any concrete plans as far as pork is concerned. Our only decision made so far is that we absolutely will be raising them again. We have heard tons of positive feedback from our friends and customers who have tried the pork, and that is always nice to hear. As soon as we make that decision, we will update everyone.

In 2021, we are going to make a greater effort to keep in touch with y’all. This may include more email newsletters, and will definitely include more blog posts. If you would like to stay up to date, sign up for our mailing list here. I promise we won’t send out a million emails, and annoy you! We hope you enjoy these last few days of 2020, and we look forward to feeding you and your family in 2021!

From Bacon Bits to The Whole Hog: Our First Experience Raising Pastured Pigs

Giving the pigs some scritches in their final week on the pasture.

It’s taken some time for me to figure out what I wanted to cover with this blog post, but I finally decided I should just start writing and see where it takes me. Many of our friends, family members, and customers have asked us how it feels to have raised our own pork. The question isn’t always phrased in that way, but that’s the information most folks are seeking when they ask. This blog post will hopefully answer that question, and a whole lot more.

Back in March, we decided pigs were something we needed on the farm. Bob installed a hot wire around the perimeter of what would become the pig pasture, and we started picking up the supplies we’d need.

At the end of April, Christian, Kate, and Luca from Ham Sweet Farm delivered our first three American Guinea Hog bacon bits, with the intention of us picking up two more from another litter once they were ready. As we thought about it, we decided to get some pink pigs to raise alongside the heritage breed, so that we could have pork ready sooner. We also wanted some pigs that weren’t as lardy for the customers who would not be interested in a super thick fat cap.

The pink pigs struggled at first. Going from being raised in a barn to being out on pasture was definitely an adjustment. They all ended up with “dippity pig”, despite our best efforts to avoid it (shade, mud wallows, and lots of fresh cool water to drink). Dippity pig is a weird thing that happens when pigs get sun burnt. Generally, the darker breeds don’t deal with it as often or as severely. It took a little while for them to heal up, but they got better and their skin got tougher. Once they got through that, they didn’t have any other issues being raised outdoors. We did learn that we want to stick with pigs that were born outside, as opposed to pigs that were destined for life in a barn. Some individual lines of pigs just end up doing better raised outdoors.

Shortly after bringing them home, we built them a nipple drinker to make watering them a little easier. Many people have issues with water barrels, but we were quite lucky that the pigs chose not to destroy it. They did however really enjoy carting around their feed pans, and hiding them from us. This is one BIG change we are going to make for next year. No feed pans, and instead we will use a feed trough, or a more standard style hog feeder.

In addition to their regular feed ration, we picked up extra food for them on an almost weekly basis. Bread, apples, pears, sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, and walnuts made up a big part of their diet. We are so grateful to our friends and farm customers for helping us acquire all these snackies! Several market vendors were giving us bags and boxes of food after the market, and none of it went to waste. We are hoping that with our next batch of pigs, we can actually manage to decrease our overall feed costs per hog with all this food. Some of the items are very seasonal, but some can be stored for a few weeks before being fed out, so we are going to figure out how to make the most of the abundance we get.

Our farm vet took a look at them on the few farm visits she made for other animals. We are very lucky to have an awesome working relationship with our vets, and they have become good friends of ours. Any time any of our animals has an issue, I can text her pictures and whatever questions I have, and she is always so helpful. The hogs stayed healthy the entire time they were here, other than the four that got dippity pig. We made sure they got extra care while they weren’t feeling their best, but overall, they did very well. We know that this isn’t always the case, and some people have not so good luck with pigs, and we know that will probably happen to us one day as well.

Leading into the final weeks of raising the pigs, I was sure to give some extra scritches and extra snacks to all of them. We wanted them to have a happy life until the last possible moment. We borrowed a stock trailer from our friends Rita and Tess, and got up dark and early on a Friday morning for the pigs final day. Since we spent time with them daily, it was really easy to get them to follow us where we wanted them. Until they realized it was somewhere completely new. Once they got past the small fence we took down, all bets were off. They wanted nothing to do with us. Except for the first two who loaded up, ready for anything! After some cussing, and sweating, and having to lift little fatty Warthog onto the trailer by hand (she had short legs…), we got them all loaded up with a little time to spare.

We got changed into less sweaty clothes, and hit the road, with Gunthorp Farms as our final destination. We were VERY lucky to get in with them for processing. They are just over an hour from us, USDA certified, and just generally pleasant, helpful folks. We chatted with Greg in the road before Evan came with the trailer to move our pigs into. The pigs gave us just as much of a fight to unload them as they did to load them up. We’ve learned… And we know how to do it better next time.

A week after dropping them off, it was time to pick them back up. In a slightly different shape. We loaded up over 1200 pounds of meat and brought it home. Then a week after that, we brought home another few hundred pounds of bacon, ham, and other smoked parts. Let me tell you, their smoked products are incredible. Many of our customers have already made a second trip to pick up more bacon, ham, and hocks. We have already sold a ton of pork, and we are so excited to share it with everyone.

Overall, raising pigs was relatively uneventful, and simple. In the end, we decided to get all nine pigs processed at the same time, just to simplify our lives a little. When we do this next year, I think we might stagger our processing dates, and get two batches of pigs done. This may make our precariously over-full freezer situation slightly less scary. We both thoroughly enjoyed raising hogs. Our customers have been enjoying the meat. And our soil will see the benefit from their natural rooting and tilling action. We are looking forward to raising more next year!

2020 Pork Price List

There is more information about pork coming soon, but this is just our quick price list so folks know what they’re getting into! Keep in mind, this is the 2020 pork price list, and may change in the future. Future price lists will make this one invalid. So, here goes!

ItemPrice per pound
Bacon (uncured, smoked)$12.00
Bone$4.50
Bratwurst (four per pack)$8.50
Breakfast Sausage (bulk ground)$7.50
Chops (regular or T-bone)$10.00
Fat$6.00
Feet$4.50
Ground (plain, bulk)$7.50
Ham (~2lb, uncured, smoked)$10.00
Ham Steak (not smoked)$10.00
Hock (uncured, smoked)$6.00
Jowl Bacon (whole, uncured, smoked)$10.00
Loin Rack$8.00
Offal$4.50
Rib Tips$7.00
Skin$4.50
Steak$7.00

Must-Haves for Making Sauerkraut

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links means we earn a little money, which we use to help the farm grow!

Sauerkraut is one of our favorite condiments for so many of our meals, and we love making it ourselves. It’s really easy, less expensive than store-bought, tastes so much better, and can be made in any flavor combo. Here are some tools that make our lives easier when we make our kraut!

Kai Wasabi Black Nakiri Knife
This is our most used knife in the kitchen. The handle style fits both of us, and the shape of the knife works well with our cutting style. We can get through an entire head of cabbage in no time, and this is our tool of choice for making small amounts of kraut. It’s also the first knife we both reach for if we are chopping onions, carrots, or any other kind of veggie. Before buying any knives, we definitely suggest you hold them in your hand and make sure they work for you.

Cuisinart 8 Cup Food Processor
A food processor is easily the FASTEST way to chop up a bunch of veggies quickly. When making large quantities of kraut, we quarter and core our cabbage with the Nakiri knife, and then drop it through the feeder tube. (Occasionally, we have to trim down those quarters if we have massive heads of cabbage.) There is a specific plate included with this processor that is designed to slice the veggies, and it works so well. We also use a food processor to slice cucumbers for pickles, and blending our spice mixes. If this one ever dies on us, we are splurging for a 14 cup version!

GreaterGoods Digital Food Kitchen Scale
One of the important parts of making kraut is having the correct ratio of salt to vegetables. You can only accomplish this with a food scale. Guessing will get you nothing but sadness and rotten cabbage. (Please note that rotten cabbage smells terrible, and we want to avoid that at all costs. Unless you like the smell of farts and dead vegetables.) Weigh the cabbage, being sure to remove the weight of the vessel it’s in, and add 1.5%-2% of that weight in sea salt.

SaltWorks Pure Ocean Sea Salt, Medium Grain, 5 Pound Bulk Bag
Which brings us to the salt! The second most important part of kraut making, after the veggies! It’s important to choose a salt that does not contain iodine, or other additives. They can mess with the fermentation, and you’ll end up with sad cabbage. We like the medium grain because they dissolve in the cabbage juices faster than the large grain, but they are a good size for using in the kitchen. This brand also has a nice crisp taste.

Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit
Now we get into the fermentation. If you are doing small batches, or you want to make several different varieties at once, we suggest the Easy Fermenter from Nourished Essentials. It’s super easy to use, easy to clean, and comes with lots of information on making fermented food. It’s a great way to get started and not be forced to make a massive amount like a crock would hold. You just pop these airlock lids onto a clean, wide mouth canning jar, and you’re ready to go!

Crazy Korean Cooking Premium Sauerkraut Fermentation and Storage Container
If you DO want to make a massive amount of kraut, this is what you need in your life. We have two crocks from Crazy Korean Cooking, and they’re both super easy to use. (This is the smaller one we have)
The 5.8 gallon crock is not the largest size they offer, but it fits on the shelf we have designated for it. It’s dishwasher safe, which is super nice, and makes cleanup much quicker!

This are our personal must-haves for anything fermented. Eating sauerkraut is so good for your health, and home made is just so so good. Let us know what your favorite type of sauerkraut is!

Frontière Farm House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you click on one of our affiliate links, we earn a small commission, which we use to help the farm grow!