Grace Note Farm is sustainably powered

As a Christmas present to ourselves, Grace Note Farm now gets 100% of our electricity from New England-based hydro and solar installations, thanks to the Greenup option from National grid. I sure hope it’s legitimate and not just greenwashing.

We make every attempt to be very strict with our electricity use, but our usage is probably still a little higher than an average household. The electric fence is necessary or the chickens would get taken by predators, and there are times when more than one freezer is placed into service to store frozen meat while it awaits a buyer. That’s one expense we hope to eliminate over time, as we build up a client base and can sell batches of chickens or pigs as soon as they are available.

Knowing what environmental devastation takes place in order to produce electricity from coal has been a burden on my heart for many years. I’m glad we’ve taken this small step to convert to more environmentally friendly inputs. Maybe some year we’ll have a solar panel of our own.

Tamworth pork pre-orders

Happy Tamworth Pigs at Grace Note Farm

In 2010, we sold out of pork by mid-summer, and had so many more requests for this delicious pork than we could fill. We are heartened by the interest expressed by potential customers who want to buy humanely-raised animals, and would like to be able to supply more customers with pork in 2011. So we are polling our readers now to gauge the interest in heritage pork for next year. If you think you might want to order a half or whole pig in 2011, please send me a note in the comments section (there’s no commitment in this option, just a ‘maybe’). If you are ready to place your order now in order to get a pre-order discount, see the instructions below. If you’re hoping to find someone to split a half-pig with, leave me a note in the comments box and I can try to play match-maker. To learn more about the pigs we raise, and why they sell out every year, please read on.

About our Tamworth Pigs

Here at Grace Note Farm, we believe that animals deserve to have a happy life, even if they are destined for your freezer at the end of that happy life. Unlike commercially raised pigs that are raised indoors in tight confinement, the pigs we raise at Grace Note Farm roam in large fenced pastures and get rotated onto fresh ground every few weeks. They eat, nap, romp, play together, and socialize as their natures direct them, outdoors in the fresh air when they want, or lying about indoors on a pile of hay if they prefer that. They also eat a varied diet of plants and animals as they forage on the land (pigs are omnivores), supplemented with free-choice certified organic grain. This is good for the animals and good for our land as well.

We raise Tamworth pigs, a heritage breed that is prized for its tasty meat and good lean-to-fat ratio. Tamworths do well on pasture and are listed as a ‘threatened’ food animal. They are social and smart and we enjoy having them on our farm. We use them as ‘brush hogs’ to clear and prepare areas for future plantings. We buy piglets from breeders who feed only certified organic grain to their breeding stock and to the piglets once weaned. Tamworths have a reputation as the tastiest breed of hog. See this testimonial to the Tamworth on Chow Hound. It is reported on the web that Bristol University carried out taste tests using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment, and the Tamworth was judged as having the best tasting meat.

How much meat is in a whole pig?

A pig includes: bacon, head, 4 trotters, two hams, chops, ribs, fat, two shoulders, about 9 roasts, soup bones, organs (if you want them) and ground pork. You don’t have to take home the ‘exotic’ bits if you don’t want them. Trotters will be made into ground pork if you don’t want them to be kept separate. A half pig is about 2 coolers worth of meat, and a whole pig is 3 or 4. Our pigs have averaged about 175 pounds of meat each.

There is an excellent and detailed writeup on the Sugar Mountain Farm website that shows how much meat is in a half a pig .

How much does it cost?

For orders received by January 31, 2011, we will charge the same price as our 2010 price: $6.50/lb for half pigs or $6.00/lb for whole pigs (price based on the hanging weight). The ham, shoulder, and bacon can be smoked for an additional $3.00/lb. This discount represents our appreciation for helping us with advance planning and providing up-front cash for our 2011 growing season. Orders placed after 1/31/2011 will be subject to 2011 prices, which will likely be slightly higher.

When would I receive my meat?

Pigs will be slaughtered some time in the Fall. Typically September to November timeframe. Smoked meat takes an additional 3 to 4 weeks to process. The meat will be frozen and available for pickup on the farm, or with delivery priced at $0.85/mile ($50 minimum).

How do I order?

To reserve a 1/2 or whole pig, you should first call us to make sure there are still pigs available, then pay the $250 deposit. You can pay the deposit via check or electronically with either your paypal account or a credit or debit card (electronic payments incur a 10% surcharge).

Still have questions? Call us!

Pay deposit electronically

*Hanging weight
is the slaughter weight of the pig ‘on the hook’, before it is butchered into individual cuts. Expect to loose 10 – 20 lbs of weight per half pig between the hanging weight and finished cuts. GNF2009Summary21

Grace Note Farm wish list

If you have any of these items laying around the house, we can put them to good use any time:

  • clean egg cartons
  • white printer paper, in good enough shape to feed through the printer again, with one side printed on
  • Do you have a large glass or plastic (clear) candy jar, like you would get if you bought a gallon of Twizzlers at BJ’s? (I promise not to tell anyone). I need a couple for point-of-display bins for my homemade chapstick.
  • paper handled grocery sacks (like you get at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)
  • a large portable cooler that we could use for meat deliveries
  • cat food for barn cats
  • Ball/Kerr/Mason canning jars (certain store-bought salsa and pasta sauces are packaged in reusable mason jars).
  • clean non-rusted wire-bail top jars
  • canvas tarps or used sails.
  • wire fencing: square grid wire mesh is constantly put to use in the barn. Even small pieces are useful. Large pieces of wire fencing that could be put up to keep chickens out of our gardens are also useful. Wire only needs to be in serviceable, but not brand new, condition.
  • plywood, any thickness: If you have a stash of reusable plywood lying around in your garage, call us. We may be able to come pick it up. Large pieces are particularly appreciated.

Larger items, just in case someone has these things laying around and wants to re-home them (hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right)? We would be interested in bartering meat for these items.

  • wine/beer bottle washing dohicky that goes on the kitchen faucet, and a cork-inserter for wine bottles
  • heated honey uncapping knife