Our Meat CSA is going live

Our meat CSA is going live next month! Yep, for the very first time ever, Barbarosa Ranchers is providing monthly deliveries of select samples of our scrumptious meats.  We have long known that there are more people interested in our meats than we can find at the farmer’s markets that we attend. People always tell us “try to sell at this store” or “talk to this restaurant, they would love your meat” and we do follow up on these tips, but they almost never pan out. The reality is that we aren’t big enough to sell to these places. They would eat us out of house and home in about two weeks.  Yet that is where many of our potential customers go to buy meats like we the ones we produce. So how do we connect with these customers?

We believe that our meat CSA (btw, CSA stands for community supported agriculture) is the best way to connect with them. Many people may have heard of veggie CSA, where you sign up at the beginning of a growing season and then receive weekly boxes containing your share of the week’s harvest. Usually, these boxes are delivered to a central location near the customer, most often a work place.  People love these CSAs because they get good, fresh, and random veggies delivered to a convenient location every week.

Well, we are translating that last sentence to read “People love the Barbarosa Rancher’s meat CSA because they get a semi-random meat selection that is sustainably and locally raised, tastes fantastic, and delivered to a convenient location every month.”

Here is how we are going to run our meat CSA:

The general idea:

Our meat CSA is designed to fill your freezer with enough meat goodness to feed you and your family for a month. When you start to get nervous about not having any more meat, along we come to deliver another month’s supply of meat. Every month is going to bring you a few meat surprises because we want to you “eat your way around the animal.” The cuts that you might not buy regularly are sometimes the most flavorful cuts on the animal. And since you are buying them at the CSA price, this is the cheapest way to try them out.

How it Works (Nutshell version):

Sign up — You sign up for a 6 or 12 month membership share and pay 50% upfront.

Deliveries — We meet once a month at a pre-determined location and exchange meat for cash. We will deliver meat from Redding south to Sacramento and over to the Bay Area.

Details —That’s about it except of course for the details, for which you need to read our CSA page.

How it Works (Full version):

Check out our CSA page.

How to Sign Up:

Just send me an email and we will get you going.

Our meat CSA is going live next month! Yep, for the very first time ever, Barbarosa Ranchers is providing monthly deliveries of select samples of our scrumptious meats.  We have long known that there are more people interested in our meats than we can find at the farmer’s markets that we attend. People always tell us “try to sell at this store” or “talk to this restaurant, they would love your meat” and we do follow up on these tips, but they almost never pan out. The reality is that we aren’t big enough to sell to these places. They would eat us out of house and home in about two weeks.  Yet that is where many of our potential customers go to buy meats like we the ones we produce. So how do we connect with these customers?

We believe that our meat CSA (btw, CSA stands for community supported agriculture) is the best way to connect with them. Many people may have heard of veggie CSA, where you sign up at the beginning of a growing season and then receive weekly boxes containing your share of the week’s harvest. Usually, these boxes are delivered to a central location near the customer, most often a work place.  People love these CSAs because they get good, fresh, and random veggies delivered to a convenient location every week.

Well, we are translating that last sentence to read “People love the Barbarosa Rancher’s meat CSA because they get a semi-random meat selection that is sustainably and locally raised, tastes fantastic, and delivered to a convenient location every month.”

Here is how we are going to run our meat CSA:

The general idea: Our meat CSA is designed to fill your freezer with enough meat goodness to feed you and your family for a month. When you start to get nervous about not having any more meat, along we come to deliver another month’s supply of meat. Every month is going to bring you a few meat surprises because we want to you “eat your way around the animal.” The cuts that you might not buy regularly are sometimes the most flavorful cuts on the animal. And since you are buying them at the CSA price, this is the cheapest way to try them out.

How it Works (Nutshell version):

Sign up — You sign up for a 6 or 12 month membership share and pay 50% upfront.

Deliveries — We meet once a month at a pre-determined location and exchange meat for cash

Details —That’s about it except of course for the details, can be found on our CSA page.

CSA Shares

A “whole share” is our basic share. We figure it is enough meat to feed a family for a month. If you aren’t a family, then you can look at our half or quarter share.  Which every share works for you, you can look forward to months of great meat and great meals.

Whole Share

Half

Share

Quarter Share

Total Lbs per month

40lbs

20lbs

12lbs

Price/lb

$7.00

$7.50

$8.00

Included in the Share

%

Lbs/Month

Lbs/Month

Lbs/Month

Whole Items:

For the most part, this will be our chickens, but eventually might include other poultry as well.

25%

10

5

3

Steaks:

Cuts that can be grilled, broiled or pan fried, like rib eyes, lamb chops or pork chops

15%

6

3

2

Roasts:

These are cuts that need some love to bring out their amazing flavor. Our roasts can be turned into carnitas, pot roasts, vindaloos, and so much more.

25%

10

5

3

Ground:

Who doesn’t love a good hamburger? But have you ever tried a lamb burger? Or made meatloaf out of pork and beef? This is your chance to explore the culinary possibilities of ground meats.

35%

14

7

4

Total $ per month

$280

$150

$96

Total:

6 month membership

$1,680 for 240 lbs

$900 for  125 lbs

$576 for 72lbs

Total:

12 month membership

$3,360 for 480 lbs

$1,800 for 240lbs

$1,152 for 144lbs

Share

The new piggies are here

I spent most of Wednesday on the road driving down to Tomales, outside out of Petaluma to pick up these Gloucester Old Spots (GOS) weaners from Liz at Clark Summit Farms. The GOS is a heritage breed from England where it is known for its tasty pork. After having raised a number of more conventional breeds, I have been using the GOS and am really liking them. They do better on pasture, they can handle weather shifts with more equanimity and plus they just look cool.

After 5 hours in the bed of the pickup coming home, I thought that they would be a little nervous about being put into the new pasture, but as you can see below, they were just fine and ready to chow down. I feed a mixture of organic hog feed from Modesto Milling and a high protein chicken scratch that I soak over night. Soaking the grains makes them more digestable, plus the hogs love the swill.

I am going to keep them in this temporary pen for the next week or so until they figure out where home is, or rather where the feed comes from, then I will turn them out into the larger 10 acre pasture to roam around in. I am also contemplating bringing them into the yard to hog down some of the acorns that are falling like crazy this year. It would be nice to get rid of the acorns without having to rake them, but the risk of the weaners rooting up the lawn is pretty high, so I will just see how I feel about this whole idea in a week or so.

Speaking of pork, I am heading off in a couple of minutes to pick up some GOS pork from the butcher. Anyone want to fill their freezer?

Chow Time, right off the truck

chow time

Don’t think that camera is going to scare me from my food.

What's with the camera, bub?

Just enough room at the trough for everyone.

Get outghta my way

Not a bad day to move into a new home.

What a new home to discover

What a rain can do

I talk about the weather, especially rain, quite a bit. Here are two pictures, each worth a thousand words, why I find rain to be such a fabulous thing.

Pre-rain

PreRain

Post-rain

AfterRain

If you look at the dates on the photos, you will notice that they were taken only 8 days apart! Yes, just one short week of decent soil moisture and sunny skies can turn our summer long drought into a fall green season. It is like spring all over again, at least for the next couple of weeks or so. Just a teaser for both the lurking winter and far off spring, but one that I like.

Hey, I am married

happycouple

That’s me and the happy bride. We were married on Oct 3rd here at the ranch. This wonderful moment in my life is partly to blame for my disappearance from Barbarosa Rancher matters. It turns out that getting ready for 200+ people to come party on your ranch takes a lot of work.  We spent many hours in the yard and on fixing up various buildings to party standards. There were times when I thought “why the heck are we bothering with this” but when the day came all of the work was well worth it.

The whole event was pretty special. It was a destination wedding for everyone but us. We had about 25 RV full of friends and family camping out near the corrals. Judging by the rowdy late night noises, it was a tail gating success. We also had a fishing tournament going the day before. My cousin Chris (13 years old) was the big winner and completely out fished all of the other die hard older fisher folk.  Well, the wedding itself was fantastic; tons of friends and family, perfect weather, a live band, and the most important part of all, a lovely woman that I now get to call wife!

I could list all of the cools things that happened on the day and show hundreds of photos from friends (we don’t even have the official photos back yet and we already have hundreds of photos – gotta love digital cameras), but I will spare you the most of the details.

What I won’t spare you from was the food. We figured that there were two important parts to a wedding besides the bride and groom, the photos and the food/booze. The photos would be a bit much for you but the food is right up your alley. Barbarosa Ranchers has some pretty close ties to some awesome Chico caterers who really came through for us.  We had them do all of these side dishes:

AUTUMN CHEESE AND FRUIT DISPLAY

Locally grown fruits and cheese from Pedrozzo, Rumiano, Northern Valley Chevre, Sierra Nevada Cheese Co. and local cured organic olives.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH QUESADILLAS

Made to order and served with pico de gallo

HEARTY GREENS SALAD

Walnut, Pears, and Sherry Wine Vinaigrette

SPICY BLACK BEAN SALAD

With Chiles & Lime

ROASTED RED POTATOES

With Indian Spices

ASSORTED LOCAL BREADS

Sierra Nevada Cheese Co. Butter

But the true piece de resitance of the wedding was the meats, grown by yours truly. We went all out with the proteins and as you read down you will get a quick visual tour of what we did. First the menu, 2 pit roasted free range hogs and 2 pit roasted grassfed lambs as well as 15 BBQ butterflied pastured chickens. The pigs were dry rubbed with a hand crafted mix of fresh chiles, garlic, pepper and some secret loving by Dave, one of our caterers. The lambs got the same rub as well as some additional rosemary and garlic, because there never was and never will be a lamb that won’t be better with some rosemary added. The chickens were prepped by my dad (with help from Aunt Wendy and Uncle Eric) and his semi-secret marinade of mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, and olive oil.

Second, the cooking methods. Our chickens were grilled on a regular but large BBQ, tasty as always and didn’t require a huge whole in the ground. Pit roasting is the easiest way to cook large hunks of meat for large crowds of folks.  Luckily it is both simple and tasty. The steps are

  1. Dig a hole
    1. Our 8’x5’x3′ roasting pit was hand dug by friends and family (the backhoe broke with perfect timing). In case you can’t mentally see a pit that big just know that it took about 15 man hours to dig.
  2. Build a fire (or in our case a giant bonfire)
  3. Place meat on coals and quickly cover with dirt
  4. Let roast for many hours
    1. Our pigs were roasted for about 15 hours
  5. Dig out
  6. Cut up
  7. Consume

Below is a quick pictorial sketch of how the whole process worked out.

chickenpile15 pasture raised butterflied chickens waiting for the marinade. You don’t see a pile of chicken like that very often.

pigprepThe meat to be roasted for the wedding dinner had to be prepped the night before. So here is  shot of me prepping the carcasses toward the tail end of the rehearsal dinner. To me, this was no big deal, but to the crowd at hand, it was fascinating. I guess people don’t see many carcass of meat. I was able to talk some of the crowd into helping. Thanks Larry and Lino.

pitofdespairHere is the pit with the bonfire going. You need about 12″ of coals in the bottom of the pit to have enough heat to sustain 15 hours of cooking. Also, if you plan to eat at 5pm and you need to cook for 15 hours, the math tells you that the meat needs to go in the pit at 2am. Yep, I had some friends who were willing to stay up and bury the meat for me. (I couldn’t because I was too busy getting my beauty sleep for my big day.)

pigunearthingThose same buddies who buried the pigs were also on hand to unbury them. This time in their wedding finery.  You can see me in the background supervising. Once again, not allowed to play because it was my special day. Oh well another time.

Well, that was my wedding in nutshell. It was a lovely event that makes me happy to think about but it also lovely to be done with. Soon I will be writing more about what is going out here on the ranch.

Tyler