Don't freak out your customers
Before we start spruiking Cassoulet Kits, paté and other goodies, we're going to break the first rule of marketing which says 'don't freak out your customers'. Here goes...
You might say that talking about death isn't the smartest way to start a weekly newsletter from a butchery, and you'd be dead right there (sorry). And perhaps that means we're not that smart.
But we don't shy away from the truth about what we do and our responsibility to honour the lives given up to feed us.
See the two gorgeous, Allyn River Galloway steers chomping away in the photo above? On Friday, they'll be arriving at Feather and Bone. Not chomping.
Knowing this fact gives the bucolic scene a poignant, confronting twist but, if you know a bit more about these steers, it's also cause for celebration.
The shock of looking your dinner in the eye never fades. It's sobering, humbling and a profound reminder of our collective duty of care to all creatures - from the tiniest microbe or insect through to those we plan to eat.
But, while it's deeply poignant, this photo also fills us with joy.
Because these cattle have been raised by farmers who are working to turn their farm into a thriving ecosystem in which everything has the greatest opportunity to reach its genetic potential. Most beef cattle are left in a paddock for long periods, end up in a feedlot to fatten eating cheap grain augmented with hormones and are slaughtered at between 12 to 18 months old.
But these two slow-growing, three and a half year old Galloways wandered with the herd on the lovely hills above Allyn River, moved frequently to fresh pastures and were free to pick and choose their fodder each day, according to instinct and desire. They are calm and healthy and, while they're very relaxed with Valentyna and Adrian who spend a lot of time with them, they're just a little bit wild.
We think all of this, the slow-growing genetics and mature animals, the focus on ecosystem health and our direct and transparent connection to the farm is cause for celebration and we hope you do too.
By this point, you may be thinking, 'I'd like to see this property and these farmers who sound almost too good to be true.' And so you shall, Ladies and Gentlepersons, because this week's farm report comes from Allyn River Galloways!
Farm report: Allyn River Galloways
In fact, not only did Adrian and Valentyna make a video showing us the farm at the moment, but Adrian also wrote a short report about the past few dry years and the welcome advent of rain this year. You must read it.
Why Farm Reports?
The necessary Covid isolation regime has successfully reduced the infection curve but it's also increased the sense of distance most of us already have from the sources of our food. So, after the rollercoaster of drought, fires, flood and pandemic over the last six months, we felt it was high time for all of us to re-connect with the farmers whose produce we enjoy each week.
We can't go to farms at the moment so we've asked them all to do a show and tell video so we can see what's happening on the ground.
So far, we've received reports from Working With Nature near Guyra, Farmer Brown Eggs near Spicers Creek, Gundooee Organic Wagyu near Leadville, Grassland Poultry near Wellington and Allyn River Galloways near Barrington Tops - all in NSW.
When we visited these farms in August and September last year, after three years of drought, everything was parched and dusty and even the most stalwart characters were clearly very anxious. This year almost everyone has had some rain and it's wonderful to see green pastures and full dams and cheerful, relieved farmers celebrating the reprieve.
We'll keep bringing you these reports as they come to hand.