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New Letters> January 2010

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH

Now in early January, amidst what one hopes is the deepest cold of winter, the black coated bodies of our Angus cattle stand out against the deep snow.  They are healthy and content, for as long as they receive their daily ration of hay and have access to good water, the cold does not bother them.  Their digestive systems are the equivalent of furnaces, keeping them healthier out doors than they would be if confined in a barn.  Feeding them is the challenge.  The herd consumes about five tons of hay per day, and moving hay to the various feeding sites is the principal daily chore.

This is the slowest season in the annual cycle.  In February the fall calves will be weaned and the mothers will be pregnancy checked.  In April, if the weather obliges, the grass will start to grow and the cows can begin grazing, rotating from pasture to pasture every few days.  This is also a time to inspect fences and repair any winter damage as well as reseeding pastures that need a boost in productive capacity.  May will be a busy season of calving, checking the mother cows two or three times a day, tagging calves, and helping a few cows with birthing.  Late May also brings the first cutting of hay with raking, baling, and hauling big round bales to the barn filling long days.  That process continues through the summer as putting up our own feed for next winter is a lot less expensive than having to buy it from neighbors if you fall short in early spring.  Mid-summer is the time for putting bulls with the cows for the spring calving group.   When the barns are full of hay in October, and pasture nourishment is diminished, spring born cows are pregnancy checked, calves weaned, and each group is moved to its winter feeding ground.  In December the bulls are placed with the fall calving cows for 60 days, but then our work pace slows as we finish the annual activity pattern for a spring and fall calving beef operation.  

HOME DELIVERY GAINS IN POPULARITY

We are pleased with the development of our home delivery business.  It is important to  have a year round outlet for our beef to sustain our farm operations, and our loyal customers are helping us to do that.  Our holiday sales were very encouraging and orders are continuing apace in the new year.  Being able to offer Springer Mountain Farms Natural Chicken and Walters Country Smokehouse Pork Products along with Lake Country Premium Natural Beef has stimulated interest.  It also helps that we have been able to offer more prompt delivery than last year.  Most beef and chicken orders can be filled within two or three days.  The lag time for pork depends upon the nature of the order.  Ham and bacon are usually available without much delay.  Some of the sausage lines and custom cut fresh pork may take a bit longer.   We are trying hard to offer very high quality meats with convenient service.  We hope that this combination appeals to you.  Simply call us at 716-965-9606 or 965-2249.

SPRINGER MOUNTAIN FARMS CHICKEN IS A HIT!

The initial response to our whole natural chickens has been very positive.  The first order sold out, and a number of people who have already tried them have shared their favorable reactions to their superior taste.  Your enthusiastic acceptance of chickens that are natural, humanely raised, and taste like they should has led us to double our first tentative order.  A good supply is now in our freezer, and we will keep them available as long as they are well received.  Although we will not sell them at farmers markets because we do not raise them ourselves, we will continue to offer them as part of our home delivery service all year round.

We are actively seeking further feedback about Springer Mountain Farms Chickens.  Will you please let us know how you like them?  You can do that by either telephone, 965-9606 or 965-2249, or email: hanovahills@gmail.com.

SPECIAL PRICING ON BEEF RIBS

If you haven’t noticed, it’s winter, not the peak season for barbecued ribs.  But good ribs are still a treat, and we have an ample supply of beef ribs.  So we are offering a real deal, meaty beef ribs at $ 1.95 per pound until the end of March.  To make that even more appealing, we have a simple recipe that does not require access to an out door grill.  Our deck has about three feet of snow on it, so we forego outdoor barbeque preparations until the weather cooperates.   Normally we brown our ribs on the grill, but our winter solution is simply to do the entire preparation in the oven.  The results have been delicious.

Simple Barbecued Beef Ribs
About one pound per serving of Beef Back Ribs
½ cup barbecue rub
1 cup or more of your favorite barbecue sauce depending on size of preparation
Aluminum Foil

Thaw frozen ribs slowly about 24 hours in advance, then cut ribs into manageable pieces (about 4 ribs per serving), and apply rub on all sides.  Let seasoned ribs set an hour or so in the refrigerator.  Preheat oven to 250, place a single layer of ribs in a shallow pan, pour barbecue sauce liberally over the ribs, put 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan, cover tightly with foil and place in oven.  Roast ribs for 2 to 3 hours or until tender.  With the tight foil seal, turning is not necessary.  Cut between bones and serve with additional barbecue sauce on the side.

SPECIAL PRICING ON BRAISING CUTS

As a reward for our loyal customers, we are continuing our reduced pricing on short ribs, cross cut shanks and stew cubes until the end of March.  We will cut $1 off each price tag during this period.  This is soup and stew weather, so you can create a hearty and nutritious base with one or another of these tasty beef cuts for your family’s winter enjoyment.  Many of you like to combine a pound of stew cubes with a cross cut shank for stew preparations.  This gives you some taste from the bone marrow along with the rich flavor of the stew cubes cut from the beef chuck.  Mixed with your own array of vegetables, such a stew or soup will bring balanced nutrition along with the simple enjoyment of these winter dishes.

HAVE YOU TRIED OUR COUNTRY CURED BACON AND HAM?

Take locally raised natural pork, cured to an old family recipe in their own smoke house and the result is a meaty bacon unlike any you have tasted in a long time.  I know I should curb my enthusiasm, but I am genuinely excited about Walters Pork Products.  The superior quality of the bacon is evident just by looking at the package, but the taste is still a pleasant surprise.  Those who have tried it echo our ravings when they reorder.  Walters are the people who process our beef products.  We are now proud to team up with them to offer their fresh and cured pork for home delivery.  Their smoked  ham, bacon, Italian and breakfast sausage are really special. 

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We don’t want to be too schmaltzy, but we are genuinely grateful for our relationship with our customers.  For us it is more than just a buyer/seller connection.  We appreciate the fact that you like our products and that you trust us to provide  consistently superior meat for your table.  We would not be in this business if we were simply raising commodity beef to sell to the big packers.  That would not yield the satisfaction of having a direct link with families to which we feel responsible.  Earning your confidence by striving to do it right for you makes our efforts worthwhile.  And so we say a deeply felt thank you not only for your business, but for our shared values, your continued trust, and for an open relationship in which you can always tell us directly what we can do to better meet your family’s needs.  We also send our best wishes for the New Year.  May 2010 be as rewarding as it is challenging.