Monday, May 16, 2016

Buy Our Beef at Mills River Farmers Market on May 21

After many requests from our customers, we decided to try selling some of our beef retail (in the past we have ONLY sold our beef by the quarter). On May 14th, we set up our booth at the Mills River Farmers Market (at its new location in the parking lot of Mills River Elementary School). Our offerings were rather slim because we weren't really prepared for spring market sales. We had ground beef by the pound, Jeanine's Fiber Art Originals, and my book, Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. We had concerns about whether we would be able to sell enough to make it worth our while being there all morning. What a wonderful surprise we had!!!
People really wanted to buy locally grown, pastured-raised ground beef! So much so that Glen had to run back to the farm to bring more to the market. I was impressed that almost every customer asked us to explain how we grew our beef. We told our story over and over again. And I was so pleased at how many young families were able to use their EBT/SNAP funds to buy good quality meat for their families. They got a real sweet deal because right now there is a 2 for 1 special for EBT/SNAP customers. For every EBT dollar they spend, they get two dollars worth of food. That is good for as long as the grant and gifts funding that program last. We also sold a quarter of beef that we delivered to the customer this morning.

So, we will be at the market again on Saturday, May 21 from 8 am to noon selling frozen ground beef in vacuum-sealed one pound packages. The retail prices at the market are 1 lb for $7.50, 5 lb ($7.25/lb) for $36.25, 10 lb ($7.10/lb), and 20 lb ($6.90/lb) for $138.00. Tax is already included in the price. This week we will also bring liver for $2.55 per pound. There are two quarters left for sale, too. They are $8 per pound plus 2% tax, so the average quarter costs a total of $726.

I will also bring a few knitted and crocheted bags, hats, booties, and bowls to sell and my artist daughter might include some of her pottery Shannonmade.com  .

If sales are as brisk as they were last week, May 21st will be our last day to sell beef at the market because our quantities are limited (we only raise a few steers at a time). We will be back later in the season with garlic, honey, and heirloom popcorn.

The 2 for 1 EBT/SNAP program is a wonderful thing. The Mills River Farmers Market is the only farmers market in the county who takes EBT/SNAP. I LOVE that we are able to offer this fresh, locally grown food to these families. It also gives us an opportunity to talk to them about nutrition, food quality, and how to prepare good food quickly and easily. If you are interested in making a donation so we can continue to offer the 2 for 1 deal for the whole growing season, please contact Joe or Linda Brittain at 828-891-3332.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Stock Your Freezer with Locally-Raised Beef for the Summer Grilling Season!

Stock your freezers with juicy, tasty, locally grown, pasture raised Black Angus beef at a great price.

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $8.00 per pound (with tax, that's $726). 20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.75 per pound (with tax, that's $138). Liver for $2.50 per pound (plus 2% sales tax)

These are great prices. The lowest price for grass-fed/pasture-raised ground beef at Ingles this week was $9.28/lb.

The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs). The ground beef is vacuum-sealed in one pound packages.

We are a very small farm and only raise a few steers at a time. These steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility.  The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area. For more information, check our dedicated beef page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pasture-Raised Black Angus Beef: .50 Off Per Pound!

We are getting rave reviews on our beef, so we are offering our customers another opportunity to buy it at a reduced price. Order now, and we will take 50 cents off per pound.

The sale prices are:

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $8.00 per pound

20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.75 per pound

Liver for $2.50 per pound

(plus 2% sales tax)

The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs). The ground beef is vacuum-sealed in one pound packages.
We raise a few Black Angus steers at a time on Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC. They eat the grass on their pastures and locally grown hay in the winter. The steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility. The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility.
For more information or to order email jeaninedavisnc@gmail.com or visit our BEEF PAGE. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Locally Grown Beef: 10% Off Mother Earth News Fair Week Sale!

The Mother Earth News Fair is in Asheville, NC this weekend and seems like everyone is talking about growing their own food or buying locally grown food. Locally grown meat is on the forefront this year. Much of that has to do with the success of the book, The Ethical Meat Handbook, by my friend Meredith Leigh. She will be speaking at the event and I am sure many people will be inspired by her presentation to try a new recipe with locally grown meat.
That inspired Glen and me to offer a Mother Earth News Fair week sale on our pasture-raised, Black Angus beef.

Mention Mother Earth News Fair when you order and you will receive 10% off our regular prices. Offer good through April 17.

The sale prices are:

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $7.65 per pound

20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.52 per pound

Liver for $2.70 per pound

(plus 2% sales tax)


The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs).

We raise a few Black Angus steers at a time on Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC. They eat the grass on their pastures and locally grown hay in the winter. The steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility. The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility.

For more information or to order email jeaninedavisnc@gmail.com or visit our beef blog page. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Read the Labels When You Buy Ground Beef!

A woman contacted me today about our ad for pasture-raised, Black Angus ground beef. She said that my prices were too high and that she found the same product in Ingles for much cheaper. I found that hard to believe so I got the details from her and last night I paid a visit to my local Ingles. What I found was a large selection of "high-end" ground beef in one pound vacuum-sealed packages with fancy labels. Prices ranged from $5.48 to $9.98 per pound. Upon closer examination, however, I found there were big differences. The least expensive ground beef for $5.48 was corn-fed Black Angus. The most expensive ground beef for $9.98 was local grass-fed beef; a good product from a well known local name, but the steers are raised on a number of farms so you don't know the breed or which farm the meat actually came from. For some of our customers, those last two points are important. Our beef is all Black Angus. The steers were raised only on our farm. They ate grass in our pasture which was supplemented in the winter with locally grown hay. We say our steers were "pasture raised" not "grass-fed" because once in awhile we gave them a handful of sweet feed to keep them trained to come running to the sound of us shaking a bucket with feed in it (just in case they got out of the pasture somehow; like when the tree fell during a storm and broke down the fence). So, at $7.25 per pound, I think we are offering our ground beef at a very fair price for the customer that allows us to also make a small profit. For information on how you can get Our Tiny Farm beef, visit this page

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Sale on Our Pasture Raised Black Angus Beef!


Our steers were gently raised on Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC. They lived on our pastures for two years eating the fresh grass growing there. In the winter we also fed them locally grown hay, carefully selected to not contain persistent herbicides. The meat was dry-aged for several weeks, butchered, vacuumed packed, and frozen at a USDA inspected facility in Forest City, NC. The beef is boxed and being held in deep freezers at a local commercial packing house.

These steers were harvested late last fall, but because of family health issues, we had to halt our beef sales this past winter, so now we are offering the following spring specials:
Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $8.50 per pound
20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $7.25 per pound
Liver for $3 per pound
(plus 2% sales tax)
New York Strip Steak
We sell our meat as finished, packaged weight; just like you would buy meat in a butcher shop or supermarket. (Many farmers sell their beef as "hanging weight" which includes the bone and excess fat. The way we sell it, you know exactly how much meat you are getting). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs)  (this will, of course, vary slightly from quarter to quarter). We don't sell a front or back quarter but make an even assortment for each. We do not include soup bones or ribs in our quarters, i.e., you get more meat and less bone.

If 89 pounds of beef sounds like a lot, you can always split it with another family, but it also holds in a home freezer for a very long time. We are still eating some of our beef from November 2013 that we store in a chest freezer and it tastes as fresh and juicy as it did over two years ago. The vacuum packaging is what does it. If you plan to store the meat for a long time, to maintain the best quality we recommend you store it in a chest or upright freezer and not in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. We also like the vacuum packaging because you can quickly thaw ground beef, stew beef, and steaks by putting them in a sink full of water for 20 to 30 minutes. We do not recommend thawing pasture raised or grass-fed beef in the microwave.

A quarter of beef takes up about 5 to 6 cubic feet of freezer space.  Our small chest freezer will hold a quarter with room to spare. The meat will be frozen solid and packed in two sturdy boxes. Please come prepared to transport frozen meat. If you don't have far to travel, you can just wrap blankets around the boxes. But if you have to travel for an hour or so, bring some large coolers or something to keep your beef frozen solid.
Why don't we call our beef "grass-fed"?  The term "grass-fed" is a legal term for beef that has ONLY been fed fresh grass and hay. Fresh grass and locally grown hay make up more than 99% of our steers' diet, but we do give them a cupful of sweet feed (grain and molasses) once in awhile to keep them "trained to a bucket". That means if they ever get out of the fenced pasture, they will come running to us when they hear us shake the buckets. So technically, we can't call our steers "grass-fed". We do not feed our steers hormones or antibiotics. We do not fertilize or spray herbicides on our pastures and we use fly predators (tiny wasps) as the basis for our fly control program. We are NC licensed meat handlers and are certified Appalachian Grown by ASAP.

If you are interested in buying or want to learn more, use the contact form on the right sidebar (if you are on a smartphone or tablet and don't see a sidebar, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on "View Web Version" and it will show up). You can make an appointment to pick up the beef at our farm in Etowah or we can arrange to meet you near the Asheville airport. We accept cash and credit cards or you can pay through Paypal.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wild-simulated ginseng: sowing your seeds and applying gypsum

stratified ginseng seed
Picking up from my last post, let's assume you have your wild-simulated ginseng site all prepared. You are now ready to plant the high-quality, stratified seed that you have purchased or stratified yourself. But how much should you sow? Let's refer to what Scott Persons says in our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals:

"From my own experience and that of other growers, I am convinced that at least one, but no more than two, mature plants per square foot is best. Anything denser courts disaster by facilitating the spread of disease. Anything thinner does not optimize the financial potential of the operation, though I'd certainly recommend erring on the side of caution."

To get this density, you need to plant four to eight seeds per square foot. Why so many? Because even with the best of seeds, you can expect to lose a large percentage of your seeds to birds, insects, rodents, poor soil contact, drying out, being washed away, etc. During the first few years of growth you will lose even more to the same causes and to winter kill, being crushed underfoot, being covered too deeply with leaves and branches, and to other causes I can't even think of right now. By the time the plants are three to four years old, you should have just about the right density.

Scott estimates that there are 6,400 to 8,000 seeds per pound, or between 400 and 500 in an ounce. So, according to Scott's calculations "if you sow one ounce of seed on 100 square feet of land or, as I prefer, two ounces (between 800 and 1,000 seeds) on 200 square feet, you can achieve an average planting density of between four and five seeds per square feet, or about 25 pounds of seed to the acre."

Scott is a very practical and well-organized person. He plans his seeding trips out carefully so he can be quick and efficient when he reaches his planting site.
wild-simulated ginseng seed sowing
"Just before going into the woods to plant, weigh out your seeds into multiple plastic bags and place them in a small cooler, or at least a covered bucket."  If you prepared 200 square foot sections, weigh out 2 ounces per bag. Using one bag per section, you will have a final sowing rate of one ounce of seed per 100 square feet. Scatter the seeds to the left and right of you as you walk slowly over your section. After the first few times, you will get a good feel for how to get the seed spread evenly over the section.
gypsum on ginseng seed bed area
In another post, we will talk about gypsum (or you can read about it for yourself on pages 64-65 in the book), but for now let's assume that you have decided to apply 10 lbs of gypsum on your 200 square foot section of planting area. Scatter it evenly over the planted area. I just put the weighed out gypsum in a small bucket and scatter it by hand. Some people use a small hand cranked fertilizer spreader.
replacing leaves on wild-simulated ginseng planted area
Then, and this is the slick part of this method, "stand on the strip that you've just sown, reach straight uphill with your rake, and, again using the five-foot mark on the rake handle as a guide, rake down the next five feet of leaf litter directly onto the stip you've just seeded." In this way you are mulching (covering up) the area you just planted while at the same time, uncovering the next area to be planted. Sow seed and gypsum on that new section, and then pull down another five foot swath of leaves to mulch that area and expose a new planting area.  "Note that you have not moved any leaves more than once, and with the exceptions of the bottom and top sections, every rake stroke has accomplished two tasks." On steep slopes, you might want to lay limbs and small branches on top of the leaves to hold the mulch in place.

To get all the details about planting and growing wild-simulated ginseng, order our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. Details about the book can be found on the book tab HERE. Ordering an author signed copy is easy. Just use your credit card and the appropriate Paypal button to the right (if you do not see any Paypal buttons, you are probably on your smartphone or tablet. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "View web version". The Paypal buttons will magically appear).