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An Interesting Week in Review – Pasture Posts #76

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

It’s been an eventful and productive week! Take a look at some things that have happened at Watson Farms this week!

These pigs have lived their entire lives on pasture with freedom to root and wallow. They truly enjoyed the ultimate standard of living for a pig since they were born about 8 months ago. This cannot be said for their industrial counterparts who spend their entire life on concrete in confinement. We limit their bad experiences to one bad day (processing day) and focus on allowing them to fully express their “pigness” the rest of their days. In preparation for this one bad day, we corral them with our portable pig gates and draw them into a special ground-load trailer. Both the consumer and the farmer can be confident in knowing that our pigs are raised with respect and we are thankful to be able to provide your family with meat raised right.
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Encouraging Signs: A New Generation Stepping Up – Pasture Posts 75

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

As our direct-marketing efforts have expanded over the last couple of years it has required more team members and more from each member of our team.

Now our team is tapping into some new talent in the form of a willing new generation. Our goal at Watson Farms is for our farm to be one that the next generation can be passionate about being a part of. This often does not happen on family farms that rely on industrial methods as these farms operate on the tightest of margins while performing work in the filthiest of conditions. Our farm operated largely in this way before our transition to 100% pasture-based livestock so we have seen firsthand the detriments that the industrial system has.

There are definitely dirty jobs at our farm today, but at least they are usually broken up some from day to day by not-so-dirty chores. Industrial farms appear to be doing a great job of driving away the next generation rather than drawing the best and brightest. You can see some of the stories of this kind of thing in this article from about a year ago.

The fact is that through your direct support of our pasture-based farm, you are making Watson Farms more and more family-friendly. We believe that a farm should be, as our friend, Joel Salatin, puts it, “aromatically and aesthetically pleasing.” Farms should be operated in such a way that draws people to them instead of deliberately keeping people out as many confinement farms do. That includes being able to compensate the kids fairly and well enough to entice them to stay. For more information on this, check out Joel’s book Family Friendly Farming which completely changed my view of what a farm could and should be.

Thanks for your help in making our farm into a business that the younger generation can find a place in!

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Video Update – Pasture Posts #74

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

This week we decided to do a video for you all which shows you what a typical summer day looks like for us here at Watson Farms. Very few farms today are multi-species, as it can require a diverse set of abilities and equipment to keep the different types of animals comfortable and performing to the best of their ability.

When it gets above 90 degrees we run the misters in the layers to help keep them cool. We also use our tractor and spray rig to spray down the broiler chickens. We spray the pigs down on hot afternoons as well. With the cows we strive to make sure that they have shaded areas anytime high temperatures are above 85 degrees. If they are going to be moving to a paddock that doesn’t have shade then we do it later in the evening so that they can have the evening and night to graze.

Watch the video below for some scenes of what a typical day is like tending to several types of livestock on a hot July day!

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Another inflation-busting tip! – Pasture Posts #73

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

COLUMBIA-AREA CUSTOMERS: Be sure to read the special announcement about your delivery day below!

You might have heard lately that inflation is still going strong, and you surely have noticed it when making purchases as everything seems to have gone up in price.

We offered some tips for beating inflation in Pasture Posts #61 and #63. This week I ran across an interesting article by our friend, Joel Salatin, and I thought it would be good to discuss it and pass it along to you as another tip for beating inflation.

Joel’s blog post centers around a Wall Street Journal article about consumers saving money by cutting up whole chickens instead of paying more for the parts off the grocery store shelf. We couldn’t agree more that this is an excellent way to save money, and we have encouraged our customers to buy whole birds for years.

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New Delivery Day for Columbia Customers

We wanted to announce that due to some staffing changes we are shifting Columbia Home Deliveries to Thursdays instead of Tuesdays each week going forward. This change will take effect next week so instead of Columbia deliveries occurring on Tuesday, July 19 they will occur on Thursday, July 21 and subsequent Thursdays going forward. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Our Columbia-area customer base has been growing lately, and we are very excited to be serving so many customers from Lake Murray to Lugoff and everywhere in between!

Thank you so much and we hope to see you soon!

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Answering some FAQ’s – Pasture Posts #72

We wanted to take the opportunity with this newsletter to address a few common questions that we receive from customers or prospective customers from time to time. Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing and will benefit from the answers to these frequently asked questions.

  • Do you deliver to my home?
    • The answer is most likely yes, but the real question is do we do so with UPS or with our own Home Delivery service. The most desirable method for most customers is our own service because we can deliver any product that we offer, and we do so in our own refrigerated vans. This includes everything from our frozen meats to milk and eggs and more.
    • The quickest way to find out if you are in one of our zip codes that we deliver to with our vans is to simply type in your zip code in the Help Widget at the bottom right corner of any page on our site. When you do this you will likely see a help article titled something like “Home Delivery Zip Codes for…” Click on the article to see the list of zip codes near you and if yours is in the list then you will be able to select Home Delivery as you place your order!
    • If you can’t find your zip code, and you’re east of the Mississippi River, then we can serve you via our UPS Eligible bundles.
  • How long will the meat last in my freezer?
    • The short answer is a long time assuming the packages remain sealed well. We have consumed product that was well over a year old (because it got buried in a back corner of a walk in freezer…oops 🤦‍♂️) and we couldn’t tell a difference from the new product.
    • Our policy is not to sell anything over 1 year old, but we really don’t have any product that gets close to that old anyway.
    • We have trained our order fulfillment team in the proper ways to handle meat packages in order to preserve the integrity of the seal, and provide feedback to the processor if we see an unacceptable number of broken seals at any time.
  • Can we have a tour when we come to pick up our order?
    • We wish we could take the time to give tours to everyone anytime they wished, but the reality is we are stretched thin and tours take a lot of time.
    • We offer about 3 tour opportunities per year right now: the Spring Farm Day, The Ag+Art Tour (usually in June each year), and the Fall Farm Day (scheduled for October 22). Please take advantage of these as we have moved to free hay ride tours for each of these farm days. We try to cram as many tours as possible into these days and cover as much as possible during each tour. We also have vendors and food trucks many times.
    • We love that our customers are so interested in learning about our operation, and we hope to see you at a future Farm Day!
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Photo Update – Pasture Posts #71

Watson Farms wishes you a Happy 4th of July! Our Farm Store will be closed on Monday, July 4.

We had a great month in June and we hope you did as well. Furthermore, it was actually the best month in sales that we’ve ever had. We’ve had a ton of new customers so we want to welcome you all. Our existing customers have really come through as well. We’re seeing sales increase each month on average.

We say all this in order to thank you all and to say that this is what we need to be able to continue in all the efforts that we are undertaking. There aren’t a lot of farms that take on feed grinding, chicken processing, and home delivery on top of tending to 4 different types of livestock. Nevertheless, that’s what we’re trying to do and it doesn’t come without a long list of challenges, but it also comes with great reward in knowing that we’re helping support your family with products you can have confidence in consuming.

So here’s a look back at some recent photos from the farm!

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A Great Ag+Art Tour – Pasture Posts #70

We were once again astounded at the number of visitors for the annual Ag+Art Tour that we participated in yesterday. It truly was a great success, but more than that it was a time of encouragement for us and our team.

With people streaming through non stop from 10am to about 4pm it was truly great to see new faces and familiar faces alike that were all interested in connecting with a local farm. We received so many kind words from things like “We’re so glad you guys are in business!” to “Be sure to not sell your farm, because we need local family farms to make sure that we have good food!”

So thank you all so much for supporting our farm!

Here’s a couple of questions that came up on some of the tours:

What is your favorite job on the farm?

  • I answered with how rewarding it is to see the progress that each steer or heifer makes from month to month. This is evident when we sort cattle each month to decide which ones to send to the processor. Some might think that sorting these finished animals out can be a little sad, but the truth is that when we work as hard as we do to provide them with a good life in their natural environment it actually has a way of being rewarding knowing that we did our job in giving them a good life and only letting them have one bad day.

Do you think you’ll run out of product?

  • We have been working hard this year to procure product from like-minded producers with the thought that our farm will continue to be found by more and more customers each month. We have established some good relationships that we feel will allow us to grow with our customer base. There are definitely some challenges ahead such as chicken processing, labor, enough delivery vans, and finances, but we feel like we have made good progress in several of these areas and are looking forward to scaling even more to continue to serve you to the standards you expect.

    Speaking of finances, we have a good relationship with our bank and they have done a great job for us over the decades, but it has occurred to us that partnering with a like-minded investor could be beneficial in scaling the meat business as our customer base grows. If you or someone you know might be interested in investing in a regenerative farm, feel free to reach out. We don’t have a good idea of how this might look in the end, but it never hurts to have a conversation.
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Join The Herd! – Pasture Posts #69

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We appreciate all you do for your family. And thanks to all those who gave the gift of Watson Farms today. We’re honored to be a part of saying thanks to Dad.

If Father’s Day happened to slip up on you this year and you need something last minute let us bring your attention to our Herd Membership opportunities.

One of the best reasons to “run with the Herd” is for the special discounts that we are able to offer this distinguished group. Many times we’re able to offer some small discounts on things like ground beef and whole chickens, but at certain times when we are heavy on a particular product we can offer things like 50% off Brisket and Leg Quarters! You read that right – 50% off our Leg Quarters (including the bundle) and Beef Brisket!

Another huge reason to sign up for a Premium Herd Membership is the Free Shipping that you receive on all of your orders while your subscription is active.

Finally, if that doesn’t win you over then maybe the free Watson Farms T-shirt will. When you sign up for a Premium Membership we give you a free T-shirt with our logo on the front. After signing up for a Premium Membership, just contact us to request a size and color and we’ll get that in the works. We have several colors to choose from so we’ll try to get you something close to what you prefer. (The software integration is currently not functional for this to be self-service.)

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Examining Stockpiles – Pasture Posts #68

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Be sure to check out the Father’s Day Bundle below! Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

Our cattle herd has just started grazing our stockpile.  When discussing cattle production, the term stockpile is used to describe a supply of standing grass that has been reserved for grazing at a later time.  Usually fescue is used for stockpiling as it has the ability to stay green and palatable when other grasses become undesirable to cattle.  

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