As I mentioned in “State of the Farm”, we have hit a dry spell starting in the last half of July and extending all the way into this month. It has had an effect on everybody’s production, our beef and pork included, but our egg and chicken farmers too. So we have heard these polite comments from our eaters: “will we ever see chicken again?...our eggs do not seem as strong or flavorful…I got too much osso buco in my last order…”. We hear you and we appreciate knowing what you are thinking. But we hasten to add, in Community Supported Agriculture, you are eating with the seasons. And sometimes those seasons can be harsh. It’s not spring and fall all year. It’s also Texas’ long summers and sometimes rough winters.
Let’s start with the eggs. Coyote Creek and the Schwartz family do everything possible to ensure a fine egg comes to your house. Free range in open pasture but with shade structures and organic grains. This time of year often brings dry pastures and the reduction or elimination of the hoppers and bugs. So the grass and protein sources get rather thin, resulting in milder eggs. It happens every year at one point or another.
Meat chickens: this year has been so bad for raising chickens that our farmer is considering getting out of the business. First, there was too much rain. Now there is too much dry heat. Chickens are much more fragile than say beef or pork. They have been playing an unsuccessful game of catch-up this year. I hope our fellow farmers don’t quit altogether.
Beef and pork: while our animals are hardier than the hen or the chicken, they do not go unaffected by the weather. What we see is a slowing of weight gain which then results in less yield. No mystery there, right? And that means a few misses on the more popular cuts and too much of something else. But we can only bring what the harvest gives us.
So what is the proverbial bottom line? You can get your most popular cut in any quantity you want if you can accept caged animals shot full of drugs, hormones, herbicides and pesticides. But you joined a CSA so you could get real, fresh, unadulterated, locally-grown food, right? There will be a few bumps in the CSA road, but you are on the right road. Let’s navigate it together. It will get smooth again.