Atlanta Real Food is run by the Atlanta area chapter leaders of The Weston A. Price Foundation. Here you will find the latest news from local farmers, get information on how to properly prepare real foods, and stay up to date on local events.
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Saturday, February 11, 2017
Heritage Farm -- A message from your farmer....Please Read
Hope this letter finds you all healthy, happy and prosperous. As is our custom we are sending out this email to alert you to the start of our weekly online offering for next weeks delivery but we also have an important message we need to share with you.
I was recently asked by a longtime customer, and I quote, "why do your emails sometimes seem to have an almost televangelist like plea for business/support?" To say that I was taken aback would be accurate but the more I thought about it the more I thought it warranted an explanation.(even though I don't agree with the statement).
So here goes….when Lainya and I started the farm as a business a few years ago we could barely produce enough to satisfy the customers we had let alone enough to support our family. What we did have was a commitment to clean, humane, local and organically farmed food. We kept pecking away at it and eventually our effort (and that of many other small farms) were recognized for what we were doing and the sales grew. We were making a pretty good living at it and started expanding our investment in the farm with the hopes of a secure and stable farming future. After a few years farmers like us grew to such large numbers that we actually started drawing the attention of the big box players, the big ag folks and the people with a lot of money to throw at marketing and fancy labels. What has happened over the last couple of years is that the big box guys, with the support of the USDA, as well as the people with lots of money to throw at marketing, have begun to eat away at the trend of farmer to consumer sales with bogus products, marketing, usda subsidized pricing and labeling. The result has been a decided downswing in sales for smaller farms like us. Add to that the upswing of pre-boxed, door to door, ready to eat, so called farm to table meals and you may begin to get a picture of where we are. We NEED your business!
In the last few months we have seen several similar farms of our size close down. We've seen several true farm to table businesses fold and we've watched with an insiders view how some of these other, larger, dishonest enterprises are prospering with the general public's blessings!!! We have had conversations with and personal verification of several of these larger misleading institutions and it is down right shameful. Did you know that……
USDA allows grass fed on animals that are feed lot finished?
One of the larger pre-boxed meal companies in Georgia dropped pasture raised meats (including chicken) in their meals in favor of confined and industrially produced meats because they could be labeled "cage free"
Several of the larger farm to table eateries now get most, if not all, their beef from stockyard based suppliers but they still call it grass fed and farm to table because the cow did eat grass somewhere at some point in time before it was fattened up in a feed lot and sent to the restaurant via the local sale barn? Ditto for the chicken from the confined feeding houses to a table near you.
Most all of the chicken, beef and pork you may be buying at the big box grocer (and I mean ALL of them) is coming from industrial farms with fancy labels to make you believe that there is a pretty farm somewhere actually raising your food.
We had a collegiate institution ask us to provide poultry for their locally sourced farm to table menu with the caveat that they did not care what it was fed with or how it was raised just that it was local and cheap
We point out all of this not to throw stones but to simply show you the current business environment in which we are trying to prosper. We recognize that farm to table does not fit all budgets but the consumer should not be mislead or be gullible. A lot of people point out that farmer to consumer is too expensive, its not uniform enough, the packaging is not like the grocery store, its not convenient etc…etc..While we acknowledge that some (or all) of this may be true for certain farms and certain customers, it does not hold true across the board and the small entrepreneur, like us, if they are worth their salt, never stops trying to improve, be more competitive and retain/please customers. The truth of the matter is we have BIG hurdles we have to jump to keep that happening.
So for our "televangelist" type pleading we apologize if it has offended or alienated any of you…We mean it when we say "we love you and we need you" because we really really do. For us here at Heritage Farm our 2017 CSA, Farm share and winter time sales have been the slowest they've been in 8 years. We have freezers full of product here at the farm and more stored at USDA processors we can't pick up because we have no where to store it. We are working full time both here at the farm and out in the construction industry to make ends meet and we love every minute of it…..We believe whole hardheartedly in what we do…make no mistake about it… but we surely, surely need you and your food dollars to keep our dream a reality..if that seems tel-evangelistic then pass the plate please!
Sincerely, Greg, Lainya and the Hutchins Family
p.s..If you have a suggestion, compliment, complaint or anything you feel may help us or we need to hear please, please, please contact us h4=. firstname.lastname@example.org