First up, I need to grab my spoon and dive into a piece of humble pie. We have been making a real effort to connect you to better, fresher, healthier meat sources. And quite honestly, we have done a good job for the most part. The real issue that I have seen has been running short on meat orders after a member places the order. I could bore you with all of the logistical issues why this happens, but I would rather focus on how we will fix it.
We have been allowing members to place meat orders up 4 weeks out. That is great but that is not how we are structuring the meat market so it is a classic example of an over-promise, under-deliver situation. The goal of the expanded meat selection is to bring in fresh meats and get them out to your kitchen as soon as they come in. Fresher product for you, less freezer storage needs for us. So we are going to be changing the ordering system to meet the needs of the system and hopefully cut way down on any product shortages.
So you will not be able to order meats 4 weeks in advance of your delivery date. You can still order broccoli that way, but the meats have to be handled differently. So every Friday when we post the boxes for the upcoming week, we will be putting up for sale only the meats that we have available. No guessing or wondering what we might get in the future. What we have on-hand is what we will offer you for that week. I think by doing this it will accomplish the goal of cutting down on the dreaded “Out of Stocks” as well keep freshness as our main goal. Thanks for your understanding on this and I give you my sincerest apology if you have ordered meats and not received them.
Moving on to a poster I saw this past weekend reminding folks about the rights of farm workers. Seeing the poster actually made me think that I take for granted the rights of our farmers. But maybe not in the way you would think.
All of our farmers earn at minimum a living wage, get a free Harvest Box a week, pay wholesale prices for all other food (and cider), have access to health benefits, get 2 weeks paid time off a year and overall get to work with amazing people. This is what farmers’ rights mean to us around here. And we would have it no other way.
But like I said, I do take this for granted sometimes and this poster was a good reminder for me to remind you about the type of labor practices that you support every week with your food choices. We are able to offer our farmers all of these benefits for one reason—because you support us. The farm, like any other business, is under intense budget demands. So making our employees a priority has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is your support. So I want to take this moment to let you know that I appreciate you supporting our model and that it goes to good people who keep (and spend) the money in our communities. Which is great for our local economy.
That is our philosophical outlook on paying farmers well. But, selfishly, I have another reason we do—to attract more farmers to the fields. If the high school kid mowing lawns during the summer makes more money than a farmer, you will be hard-pressed to get new farmers in the fields. We have to design and implement systems into our local food landscape that is enticing to potential new farmers. Sure this may never be huge stock options or jaw dropping salaries, but they are livelihoods. Honest salaries for honest work. Something everyone can feel good about.
And I think that we are on to something here as we see more and more of our interns becoming professional farmers and calling a patch of soil their office. The food system will not change with one voice or one farm. It will change only as a movement with every new farmer bringing more momentum to the drive. This is an exciting time to see all of this unfolding in New Mexico. I am glad to be a part of it and you should too. Enjoy a beautiful spring and all the bounty coming our way, Farmer Monte