Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food, Security and Responsibility

Wow, what times we live in now! With an eye on the daily economic and political events, it is easy to feel somewhat awed...even humbled. How will all these events affect me, my family, my country...the world? How can I or the collective "we" make any sense of these events ? How can we affect (or effect) the outcome ? Easy for a simple farmer to say, but take charge of those things you have control of.....gain a greater sense of personal responsibility. How? Educate yourself on the issues that are important to you and get out and vote.....learn about the candidates and the issues. Also, become a prudent and responsible consumer of goods and services. The health of our economy and the course set by politics indisputably affect our lives, so.....become more informed and active NOW.
Thankfully our farm is not weighed down in a lot of debt. We never thought it was a good idea to bow in to the recent frenzy of taking easy money and possibly having to liquify the farm's assets to make good on those debts should we falter. We critically assess our every need and then quantify the risk should we go out on a limb...for every investment. The USDA, the Fed, Treasury or IMF won't bail us out! Thankfully we have such institutions that have a chance to avert a meltdown- if used properly, that is.
Nine meals from a revolution someone once security is pretty darned important!
What will you do? Thanks for reading!
Farmer Dave

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Hello All,

Caledonia Farm is experiencing some technical difficulties. Our farm computer just went to to the fix-it shop, and we may have lost some e-mail addresses.

Please e-mail us at caledoniafarm(at) so we have your information. We don't want any of you to miss out on the exciting new developments at Caledonia farm!

Thank you, and hopefully we will be technologically sound again very soon.

--Caledonia Farm

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Treatise on Pricing & Costs

Why the winter scene ? We're in the thick of readying ourselves for the inevitable onslaught of cold, snow and NO GRASS. During these busy times of haying and putting up grass silage, we're getting hammered by high costs and we've been fielding quite a few questions on how we are managing our costs with the recent spike in prices throughout the economy. For those who are repeat and loyal customers, you noticed our latest price increase, and many thankfully nodded that it was necessary in today's business climate. Others have asked "Aren't pasture based farms supposed to be more efficient, less energy consuming, cheaper ?" The answer is a double edged sword. First, energy is in everything we do. From the fuel to transport our animals and to moving our products as well as day to day operations on the farm, this all takes energy. We can ply some draft horse power to help in some areas, but in others, we're at the mercy of the energy markets. Diesel fuel, a keystone energy source, is now $5/gallon. Electricity to power freezers and water pumps is now $0.15/KwH. Secondly, add to the mix that we are still investing very heavily in the farm's infrastucture of fencing and equipment updates. Many of these investments are quite sizable, and almost economically ruinous if we do too much to embark on because of the shear magnitude of the outlay in money. We harvest surplus grass as baled grass silage and hay to then use in winter or during summer slumps in pasture quality. This takes about $100K worth of machinery. Fencing ? The material is steel....which has doubled in price. Land ? We need 5 acres per mouth to produce beef, about 3 acres to produce your chicken. We are still competing with development. If we are to continue and be able to offer abundant, healthy and clean food, our prices will reflect this reality and the need to stay economically sound. The financial strain is also great since we don't qualify for ANY subsidies. Agricultural infrastructure in New England took a battering in the last half century. Decayed farms, disintegrated fencing, tired and overgrown fields, if you can find them. Now more than ever, we need the continued support of our customers and supporters ! Thank you !

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gearing Up For Broilers !!

The not-so-spring like temperatures are not a deterrent to our spring planning for pastures, grazing and our ever popular broilers ! For the many people clamoring for our beef, we're very sorry if we've had to delay serving you, but never fear, there is a product that we can supply on short notice- the heart-healthy, low fat and efficient chicken ! While beef can take up to 27 months to produce from conception to processing (and take up to 5 acres of prime grass-land per mouth per year !), we can grow a broiler from a 2 oz. chick to a 6 pound broiler in as little as 7 weeks. For our Boston area based customers, we can allow entry into our Boston Area Buying Club when you order broilers. A refundable $2 deposit per bird reserves your custom reared whole broiler, weighing between 5 and 7 1/2 pounds with giblets. We expect delivery of the first lot in late June, therefore we will need your commitment by early April. We will close reservations in early August for the last lot due the end of October. Contact us if this interests you and we'll get you more details! Thanks you for your continuing support of local, sustainable and clean grass based agriculture !

Friday, March 14, 2008

Outlook For 2008

We have secured the lease of another farm for grazing land ! We're now up to managing 4 farms. Our beef herd is expanding, as are the needs for high quality and convenient grassland. We scored at least on the first count, the glitch for the second is that the new farm is nearly 10 miles away. Also, the fencing and other infrastructure is very old and virtually non-existent. Welcome to reviving an industry and infrastructure that our society worked very hard to run out of town! There is frightfully little farm land left around here now ! We've also secured two very local producers to help us out with with supplying high quality, clean, grass fed only youngstock. The vast majority of producers who are left standing now (which is very small indeed) still use confinement methods and lots of starchy corn, so I'm happy to help further support our style of production. We're building a wave of product to come your way, but it takes 27 months from conception to processing to realize the prize of our efforts. Another appeal for patience is in order ! How can you participate if there isn't enough beef to go around you ask ? If they cannot eat beef, let them eat chicken ! A deposit can secure your 5-7 lb whole broiler for delivery by July 1. Raised in spacious open runs that we move often, we can turn around a freshly hatched 2 oz. chick to a table ready low fat, high quality tasty meat in as little as 7 weeks. A comfortable low stress natural life equates into a truly nurturing food source for us all ! Give pastured chicken a try ! I have to admit that the vast amount of resources that we need to devote to beef production gives me reason to pause and ponder if we shouldn't eat more whole foods including fruits and vegetables as well as the dramatically more efficient chicken, sheep or pig for our protein. We do love beef, and grass fed is best if you do eat beef, maybe we need to learn to eat less of it (at least as a society). Hmmmm...