Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eat our ground beef!

For those who follow our blog, the following plea is not new. We need to have you buy our ground beef! Sure our steaks are quite the treat; but one cannot live on steak alone! We cannot process more beef until we move our low-end cuts that is overwhelmingly our ground beef.

Ok, ok you say. You've talked about this already in previous posts- what's different this time?

Well, LOTS of things are different. Previously, our sales and promotions worked pretty well. But not now. Its not news that we are in extraordinary times! Not only are we in a persistently soft economy, but the collateral damage from this translates into a change in demographics and buying habits. There are lots of people who simply cannot afford our products. We know that. Then there are those who will only buy steak- as a result of only having enough money to buy that occasional "treat" of a steak or those who simply have more money these days. The widening class divide promotes a lot of steak eating for those who have more money now while at the same time we see a weakening of purchasing power for those who are falling down the economic ladder- no doubt these folks won't be able to buy even our value priced ground beef. We see this a LOT now. These two factors collude to keep ground beef in our inventory. A ground beef mountain has always been a problem for us, but more so now. So.........

If you buy our steaks, we thank you for your business and support! When you buy a steak, buy ground beef for your everyday eating! While it seems counter-intuitive, we'll sink out of sight if we can't sell our ground. We cannot process animals only to store ground. We cannot sell more steaks unless we process more animals. We cannot stay in business by sitting on inventory. Solution= buy ground beef (or patties or sausages). We have recipes and ideas at the ready to help!

Questions? Comments? Let us know!
Bon appetit!

Monday, June 6, 2011

News On Pricing And New Markets

We have lots of news to talk about- from our new price list to our presence on Facebook (many thanks to my family and marketing team at Scanlon Web Design and Sound the Bugle Studio!), new farmers' markets and a recall on my latest rant on credit cards......we now take them!

First, as we previously warned on an earlier post, we have a new price list. Yes, unfortunately many prices had to go up. From spiking fuel prices for operating our machinery and to the pervasive effect this has on many things! From replacement calves priced historic highs (we've watched with great wonder how prices could have remained steady for over 30 years, but they did NOT until late 2010!). And when we speak of fueling machinery, it must be said...OLD machinery. These need care, time, expensive parts and eventually need to be traded in.

An important note on our new price structure is that it reflects a unique logistics problem here. It appears that our high end cuts are moving at a brisk pace that is leaving our lower priced items to sit in inventory for too long. Not only is a small mountain forming, but if it doesn't sell, cash doesn't flow to cover costs. If some of our costs are not fully covered, then we have to re-price those items that do sell so we can cover our costs. You'll see our steaks have a higher per pound price to reflect this issue. How can you help? Bring our low cost "everyday" cuts more into your meal planning routine. Not only are they a healthy and clean food for your family, your purchases can help us stabilize prices across our whole product range. If more ground beef and lower cost cuts move more quickly, then we'd be happy to LOWER the prices on our legendary steaks!

Due to the urging and help from my marketing guru and sister, we're now on Facebook! Check us out at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caledonia-Farm/217381011617402
We hope to use this very popular social media outlet to stay in better touch with you- and since a quarter of the civilized world is using social media, we should use it, too. Many of customers say they religiously use Facebook......and that probably includes you!

We ranted earlier about the rampant mis-deeds of our banks and bankers to include a rant against credit cards. Well, it appears that there is still some common sense, low cost ways to beat the "common wisdom" of high fees and catches in merchant banking. We found one through our local bank- WITH personal service, WITH much lower fees, WITH great support! So, if you re shy on cash at the markets, pull out your plastic- we'll take it!

Join us at the Waltham Market starting June 11 and now at Wayland on June 22!

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Oh, boy here it comes AGAIN! Another energy price surge like we saw back in 2008! We just bought $4+/gal. fuel for the farm, machinery spare parts, oils and other supplies and chicken feed. Our fuel bill just increased by THOU$AND$ overnight. Can you say OUCH?

We maintain a pretty steady pulse on our financials to make sure we are pricing our products fairly and such that we can keep afloat. Price volatility on our supplies really reverberates through the whole farm!

We have to raise our prices on many of our products this May- but by how much is still being tweaked now. We are giving all of our customers as much notice as we can.....and we'll be back with a newsletter soon detailing our new price list. We will do this by May 15.

While grazing animals are cheaper to keep in the grass season, our fleet of iron swings into high gear putting up nearly half a year's worth of forage. And, we need to move last winter's barnyard gold onto the fields, too. The serene look of grazing animals belies the flurry of activity going on everywhere else on the farm!

Thank you for your understanding and patience!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just When Things Look Up.......

Well, that didn't take long for the unrest in the middle east for oil to shoot over the $100/bbl mark! And then it almost overnight translated into price increases across the board! Our vendors won't quote on future orders for our supplies and fuel, but one thing is for sure....we're paying more for things we need now. So unless things calm down soon, we're going to have to raise our prices. We'll do our best to hold costs in check and we'll announce our price increase in enough time should you wish to avail yourselves to product at a lower price. But.....being forewarned means being prepared.

Also, we're about to get our broiler program rolling for the year. We don't need reservations and deposits, but if you think you'll be looking to load up and want to make sure we have you covered, give us a "heads-up" as soon as possible. While the old program of reservations was hard to manage for us, it did give us a powerful management tool- how many birds do we need to raise?

Why does energy cost impact a grass based farm so hard? Our beef animals eat grass, grown right there, right? Yes, they eat grass and not energy intensive corn, but our long winters pushes us to put up their forage for nearly half a year. Supplies such as plastic wrap for silage bales to anything related to the machinery needed to make this all work is hit by high steel prices, shipping and we do use fuel- both biodiesel and petroleum diesel. The prices on all those supplies are way up NOW and we have to buy them now to be ready for harvest that comes as early as May/June.

For chicken, they are not ruminants and we must buy feed for them. This item is up over 10% already. Lots of transport/machinery/energy goes into making this feed. We have even less control over this item!

There appears to be little elasticity in many of the major markets that affect us. This fact makes us think that we are "skating on thinner ice" with regard to price volatility on everything we use. Are we are peeking into a new era? A goal here is to use less energy and iron for what we do.....and to use what we do use with utmost care and efficiency.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Important Inventory News!

Hopefully you all are feeling an "uptick" in the overall economy, as we've felt just that in our winter's worth of sales! We've gone through expansion after expansion and optimizations to make sure we have enough beef to supply our ever expanding customer base. Well, an interesting thing has taken us by surprise........we have noted that sales of all our lower end cuts such as ground beef and our roasts are lagging historical trends. It seems our clientele would rather order our top end steaks and pass over our value priced products. As a result, we are out of most of our steaks and are sitting atop a sizable stash of ground beef, suasages and roasts. Maybe people bought our steaks for gifts this past season or they are seeking to spoil themselves with some pretty fine grilling steaks after the 2+ year recession? Suffices to say, we are in momentous times! Historical trends cannot help us plan from this point forward........

We will be processing more beef in April, so hang on if you are looking for our ever popular steaks. And we do have a good supply of ground beef, sausage, stew beef and roasts and they are priced competitively with comparable beef. Have you spied conventional beef prices in the store lately? We do, as a curiosity. Wow! For a welcome change, we aren't too far off what the supermarket will charge for beef and ours is so much better to boot! Consider us more for everyday value priced beef for you and your family!

We are out of stock on SIRLOIN, PORTERHOUSE, T-BONE AND RIB-EYES/DELMONICO. However we do have Strip steaks if you desire a loin steak suitable for grilling!

Most sorry to deliver this news, please accept our apologies for the stock outage!

Peace and good eating to you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a winter!

Now, this is a real winter!! Snow galore, cold and more! From this farmer's viewpoint, not an altogether bad thing! Too many of the previous springs have we had too little sub-soil moisture to get the grass up and rockin' and we've had to deal with way too many pests that ordinarily get knocked back by a good cold winter. We've had to pick ticks off the dogs in February and deal with red flag fire warnings in April too many years! Of course the downsides are all too obvious- life is harder when we spent our precious little time in traffic and endlessly moving snow, fearing for our structures, but with all things considered I'll take this over some years in the past!

Has anyone NOT noticed inflation in many of our purchasing venues? Fuel, food, durable goods, services? The stock market is up, and so is Brent crude as it heads up toward triple digit territory again! Instability in those areas of the world where we get a lot of our energy and with some terrible conflicts of interest, too! We promote democratic ideals, but have to support autocracies that further our interests in countering terrorism in a volatile region of the planet. In essence, we don't like what we see over there but cannot rest so staunchly on principles so we have to hold our noses and do business with corrupt, abusive entities anyway! Very tough corner to be backed into....

A caboose to this train of thought? We'd better get our collective will and wits about us to become more self sufficient in some vital areas such as energy, food, fiber and many durable goods. Personal responsibility and political will are needed in heavy dollops..........from very simple things such as energy conservation all the way up to activism in D.C. and at the ballot box. What will we do? Starting simply......

Reduce our energy use and rely more on our locally sourced biodiesel. Finish our solar collector projects to heat water. Simplify operations to use less oil and iron, and get more active politically to level the playing field for local business, agriculture, education and health. What will you do?

We have no where to go but up........

Here's to a healthy 2011! Peace!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Farewell to a good bud!

The continuum of life swirls all around us......births, celebrations and the necessary difficult good-byes. My trusty, great all-around horse Cavan left us Thursday January 13, 2011. He was a smallish Trakaener cross horse, barely 1000 lbs but tough and strong as nails and was arguably the best horse I had the privilege to work with. Put a beginner astride him......no problem, safe and kind. Many youngsters got their start into the equestrian arts with him. Field work- no problem! Supremely "forward" and attentive, straight as an arrow and snappy, too! No need for the driving lines- he knew the routine. Get to the end of the row "gee" over two rows and do it again back to the next headland.
Cavan was already 20 when he came to us 11 years ago, from a riding academy in Willington, CT- Woodcock Hill, very close to where my wife and I went to college (University of CT), but aside from some stiff hocks, he had gumption enough to go strong another 11 years! There are countless students from Woodcock Hill who remember him well- ears back attitude, kind of grumpy. He turned out to be an honest mush for a good bum-scratch and absolutely loved his 24/7 turn out on our many pastures that also see our chickens and cattle in rotation. Life afterall was pretty laid back here for the horses. Sure they got used and worked, but had (and still have) the very best that we can provide and they certainly had way more down time than work time.
We raise a toast to his memory and celebrate some foal just born somewhere to replace him in this world.
Remember that life is short...too short.....live it well and give thanks to all you meet and truly cherish those in your life now. You never know what tomorrow holds!
Three cheers for Cavan!