The love of a loyal customer
If you ordered a whole ham or turkey before 26 November 2018, you should have received an email from us with a $20.00 gift voucher to spend online or at the butchery. This is to thank you very much for ordering early, thereby hugely assisting us and the producers we represent.
It's also to congratulate you for being part of the smug, OCD set who swan around calmly in the last two weeks of December, collecting their pre-purchased goodies in an orderly fashion, daintily picking their way through the howling mob of anguished hordes who left it too late to order and missed out on a ham...
But, most importantly, the Clever Pants vouchers - valid from January to March - are intended to encourage you to come back soon! Some of you only shop with us at Christmas time and we are grateful and proud that you return to us for your annual celebratory tucker - your whole ham, turkey, porchetta and lambchetta.
However, it's only possible for us to offer these products each December because for the rest of the year, week in and out, we continue to do what we've done for the last 12 years and support regeneratively-managed producers by buying whole animals direct from the farm.
For example, each week we buy whole pasture-raised pigs from NSW farms including Extraordinary Pork, Pillar Rock, Saulsbury Pork, Tanglewood and a handful of others. We cure some of the legs to meet regular retail and wholesale demand for sliced ham and the remainder we stockpile for Christmas. Which leaves the rest of the pig that needs to be sold each week as fresh pork cuts to our customers - mince, sausages, cutlets, chops, roasts and so on. It's the customers who buy from us each week or fortnight or month who ensure that we can continue buying pigs from these farms and that, come December, we can give you your Christmas ham.
The American chef, Dan Barber wrote a lovely book about this a few years ago called The Third Plate. As a celebrity chef and an enthusiastic champion of seasonal, local agriculture, Barber clearly felt quite smug about his relationships with local farmers, until the day he went to visit his wheat farmer and was dismayed to find that there wasn't any wheat in the fields. The farmer explained that in order to provide Barber with his special, annual wheat supply, the fields had to cycle through a series of stages which included a fallow, recovery period and the planting and mulching in of other crops specifically designed to replenish the soil and render it healthy and fit for the next crop of wheat.
Barber suddenly understood that the only genuine way to support local, seasonal agriculture was to actually buy everything that the farmer produced throughout the year - whether it was the hero product like the wheat or the utilitarian crops that aren't usually eaten but are essential for restoring nutrients and minerals to the soil. Far from being a burden, this decision launched a fascinating intellectual and creative journey that challenged his thinking and his practice.
In addition, it prompted a much deeper appreciation of the role of the customer in the production cycle of our food. Far from being a passive, powerless consumer at the end of the production line, the reverse is true. It's the decisions that we consumers make about what we buy and what we put on our plates that actually determines what is grown and what is made available.
If consumers want to eat high welfare, good quality meat that is grown on farms that improve soil health, water retention, carbon sequestration and species diversity, then they will need to buy it more than once a year.
Which, of course, brings us back to you, Clever Pants. We hope that our little $20 inducement encourages you to return to Feather and Bone soon and discover that there's more to us than meats the eye.