Whats In Today and Plans For Next Year….

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This week feels much like walking a tight-rope when it comes to ordering. If we order too much we risk waste as Friday is our last trading day for 2013, if we order too little, we will frustrate you.
So I’m going to need to write something quick each day to tell you where we’re at.
Yesterday we had a run on milk, steak and kale so we’ve had to quickly get more in. Fresh milk, pastured and raw now in as well as more boschveldt eggs.
Aloe Dale has literally just walked in with more kale and herbs. You are loving the new types, the curly kale and the ragged Jack kale so that’s been great and we’ll keep with those into next year – stock is limited as we can’t risk over ordering this week, so first orders in, first out and remember that all deliveries are free for the remainder of this week as our Xmas gift to you. 
We’ve just go in some more grass-fed beef rib-eye and rump steaks for you – sold out quickly yesterday – so we had to top up. 
Richard Bosman’s pastured bacon and charcuterie arrived yesterday, last orders for the year for his delectable bacon, prosciutto and mixed selection packs using pork from Glen Oaks farm who free range their pigs on pasture and don’t include growth hormone and antibiotics in their feed. These pigs also feed on acorns. It’s the best we can get our hands on at this point  in time in South Africa.
I’ll be doing a lot more research and work into pork in the first quarter of next year. If my understanding is correct, it appears that pork – sustainably reared and properly pastured, will end up being the most expensive meat. We need to do a 360 degree turn around in our expectations when it comes to pork, it seems.
At this point in time, pastured pork is more expensive than lamb. Truly.
This creates great difficulty when conventionally, the opposite occurs. The efficiency of commercial piggeries has pork being produced cheaply under horrendous conditions for the animals. For more detail, read our previous post on the blog. 
Once pigs are released though, they are costly to raise. They are not herbivores like cows and sheep, they are omnivores which means their nutritional needs aren’t as easily met on pasture.
They root and dig up tracts of land that they are on so require large spaces, they are incredible creatures and in truth what we have been accustomed to thinking is the correct price for pork, is turned on its head when they are pastured.
At the moment, I’m seeing pricing way higher than the best lamb I can find and an almost non existent market prepared to pay the kind of pricing we’re seeing. So there’s much work to do on pork next year.
We need to really understand this animal, what a reasonable price to pay for sustainable pork is and will need as conscious consumers to erase any memory of what we have paid for pork in the past! Seriously.
The price has been a reflection of the efficiency of piggeries which is horrendously abusive to pigs. We have to re-think pork.
So I’ll be on a mission next year to get into this. The stuck part is going to be that, as with anything, to make it sustainable, it needs a large enough market to make the pricing work. Without education, that market doesn’t exist and farmers won’t risk putting their pigs out to pasture.  A tricky balancing act yet a place we must head to next year.
Bedding down a great lamb farm who are farming lamb to the same calibre of environmentalism and sustainability as Keith is doing for the beef, will also be top of my agenda next year.
We haven’t yet found that arrangement and were disappointed this year with what was available. Having said that, I am planning to go and meet with some lamb farmers in the Karoo next year who farm lamb according to the principles of holism, the same as Keith does. I’m looking for that farmer for you, one we can believe in like Keith with cattle and like Mandy with dairy, who can give us the most humanely and sustainably reared lamb we can find.
I want a relationship with one farm only that we know and trust as well as Keith and not to have co-operatives or ‘brands’ represent groups of farmers, traceability is a nightmare in scenarios like that as we’ve learnt this year.
From next year we will increase our commitment to only selling you the most sustainably produced real food from real farmers that we know. We will not put anything up unless we have walked that farm, can connect you to that farmer and have total transparency about how the animals are being farmed and treated.
We also need to track down a broader variety of organic fresh produce, we know this. We don’t have enough supply and the suppliers that have been there just haven’t had enough for us so we know we need to get into that next year.
One of the greatest challenges towards growth and increasing supply has been freeing up my time to take eyes and hands off the admin and to get out of the office and to get the produce more available to you.
This is why we decided to open a small farm direct store last month for those of you who don’t enjoy online shopping. We will focus effort in the first quarter of making it a better place to shop for you with a broader range of the best produce we can find available.
This is also why we brought on Liberty and Cassandra. Over the past 2 months, I have focused on getting them up to speed with taking over the day to day admin so that I can get back to finding the best farms, return to activism and education and keep you abreast with the best quality information about sustainable eating, real food and organic farming in South Africa.
In the last quarter, more attention has been on the logistics of the day to day and supply which has been challenging. We’ve almost turned the corner of that gawky growth spurt and I hope to be able to focus more next year on education, activism and supply, for you and for the most fantastic farmers we meet along the way who dedicate their lives to organic farming.
I will release more of the admin and day to day to Sam, Cassandra and Liberty next year who you all seem to be getting on well with and get back to hitting the road to find the best farmers, writing you more articles on health and real food, doing more cooking demonstrations and recipes and stimulating the Jozi Real Food Revolution.
We will also be taking the Jozi Real Food Revolution into the townships and lower economic areas as we have learnt that a revolution in the way we eat cannot only occur if it only happens in middle to upper class areas. When we include finding ways to help all of us and get great food into previously ignored areas who don’t have access to proper nutrition, we create something more real, more inspiring, more real. The real food revolution must touch every aspect of life. Once real food, farmed sustainably is accessible to all layers of society, then we’re heading in the right direction. It is impossible. There is much work to do. I know you are committed. I’ve felt your support through-out this year, you continually motivate  me to kick on with this, you continually support us even when it’s been inefficient and we haven’t had much to offer you, you’ve been on a this long walk with us and I treasure you, our customers.
This is our revolution. Real food, real farms, real nourishment, real change.
That’s our plans for the first quarter of 2014 in a nutshell…it’s been lovely chatting to you.
I’ll be back before Friday to say a proper goodbye, ’till then…
Still time to place orders in for today and we’ll see you this afternoon.
Warmest Regards, Debbie

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