Happy May Day! Compared to this time last year it feels like we are lightyears ahead of schedule. Well, things have escalated quickly already at Alden Hills; we have two batches of meat birds (over 1,700 birds total) in brooders right now, which will be ready for pasture by this coming week. We’re also fully in calving season as we already have had about a third of our calves born with 18 little guys running around right now. Things are a little crazy!
I was asked over the winter about when I fell in love with farming, and I was thinking about that question again recently. For those of our customers that know me then you know that I was not raised on a farm and come from a very different background than most farmers. My family never had animals around growing up so I wouldn’t have even called myself an animal person before coming to work at Alden Hills full time. I have a degree in business, and so I tended to look at the farm mostly through those eyes. That has definitely changed in the last year, and now I find my view of the farm more personal. I don’t have a moment to go to when a switch flipped and I fell in love with farming. I think I fall in love with farming a little bit more every day. I have more moments where I stop what I’m doing, look around, and what I’m surrounded by amazes me. Whether it’s a sunrise, a full green pasture, or a newborn calf – those are the moments that connect me to the farm. My favorite part is still the end product; I love raising pastured meats that you and your family can enjoy, I enjoy working with chefs, and asking you what you did with the brisket you bought last week. But I am also learning to appreciate the process of raising that animal the right way.
A lot has changed with how I view the land and the animals, as you work with each daily you learn to appreciate the subtleties of nature. A younger me rushed around finishing chores as quickly as possible and moving on to the next task, but I’m starting to understand that most chores on the farm are never “done.” There is a mindset change when you find that you aren’t as annoyed as you used to be when you’d have to go out and check on day old chicks at 9pm. They say with farming that the work never ends and that’s true, but I also think that the farmer is the person that enjoys that. At least that’s what I’ve discovered about myself.