Hello everyone! It’s been too long and I feel like I must update you all on what the heck we’ve been doing. This is Brooks writing this time, and I hope this finds you well in 2020.
I want to tell you a story first, because I believe it paints a picture of what we’re doing right now. It’s a Native American tale, featuring the trickster god Coyote. Feel free to skip ahead to what’s on the horizon for the farm.
One day, he’s walking across the desert and he runs into a character called Old Woman. She asks where he’s going and he says he’s out for a stroll. She says “don’t go that way,” because there are people dying that way because of the giant. Coyote responds that he can kill giants so not to worry (in truth, he’s never taken down much more than a moose, but he’s the overconfident type). She warns him again, but he continues onward. As he crests the next hill, he sees a raggedy, starving-looking group of people who warn him further, and blame their condition on the giant. But again, Coyote continues. He stops and picks up a stick on the way thinking “this stick will make a nice club. I can smack that giant on the head and drop him like a rock.”
He comes to the mouth of a cave in the side of a large mountain, and seeing no way around, he enters. He continues down the cave until he meets an even worse-looking group of people than the first. “Whoa, did the giant do this to you people also?” he asks. They respond in the affirmative. “Where is this guy, he must be all-powerful..” asks Coyote. The people are stunned and inform him that he’s IN the giant. “When you walked through the mouth of the cave, you were walking into his teeth. He’s so big you couldn’t see his body, we’re in his digestive tract now,” say the people, “we haven’t eaten for weeks.” Coyote responds, “Well, why don’t you just eat the walls? If we’re in the giant, then the walls must be made of his meat!” The people are shocked - they had never thought of that. “Of course you haven’t thought of this,” says Coyote, “I am very tricky and smart.”
So the people begin eating the walls, and they gradually get stronger. They get happier, but not fully happy. “We’re not starving, but how are we going to get out of here?” They ask. Coyote says, “Well, if we’re really in this giant, he must have a heart somewhere.”Everyone looks around and one person says, “maybe it’s that volcano over there.” Sure enough, it’s his heart - so Coyote takes his club and starts hacking at the volcano.
The giant feels what’s happening and he yells “Coyote! Is that you? Let me just open my mouth for a second and you can come out.” Coyote turns to the people and tells them the giant is really getting desperate - he’s going to hack away until the giant dies, “but you must be ready to run out of his mouth when he opens it for his last breath...after that it will close forever.”
So everyone readies themselves, and as Coyote hacks away, the lava begins to flow, earthquakes begin and Coyote yells, “Run!” All the people inside and the animals who have been eaten begin sprinting toward the mouth. There’s rabbit and wolf, and skunk, and last of all, tick. As they’re all diving through the closing jaws of the giant, tick isn’t going to make it, so he grabs onto Coyote’s tail as he dives through, but the giant’s teeth clamp onto him. Coyote is stuck, but everyone pulls and heaves and finally coyote’s tail pops loose and out comes tick.
“Look at me, I’m so flat!” Says the tick.
“Get used to it,” says Coyote. “You’ll always be flat, but you’re alive.”
Now you know why ticks are flat.
My introspective self wants the giant to be the ego, and Coyote is the id - perceiving everything for exactly what it is, not through any lens. And seeing all of life as the grand comedy it truly is - I can meditate and focus on destroying the giant and letting coyote loose.
My practical self thinks the farm is the giant, the way I’ve been running it is the people stuck inside, and Coyote is here to offer me a way out. In truth, I think they’re the same thing. My ego and mind is so connected to the farm that it is an extension of my self. And the landscape it sits upon is the id. Coyote is everywhere - every flat tire on the van driving to market, every baby lamb stuck in netting or abandoned by its mother, every human baby, and definitely every attempt at a productive financial meeting without interruption and with true clarity.
A lot has changed in the last few years - in the world and on the farm. We’ve seen many CSA farms go out of business, and many small market farms go the same way. Several of our friends are now working in fields outside of agriculture. I took a job off the farm for the first time in ten years. It has been a major adjustment running the farm with another job, as everyone knows the hustle is pretty endless! The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last year is that our marketing and our business HAVE to continue to adjust to the times or we won’t be able to farm for a living.
That said, we feel we’re missing the boat in a couple major areas - the size of our market, and the convenience of pickup.
We believe we can solve both of these issues, and reduce our carbon footprint by shipping directly to your door.
I believe the changes we’re making now are no longer the choices of people stuck in the belly of the beast. They are no longer by default. I think we have gained information on how we want to live our life in harmony with the land and in harmony with the universe - in the form of a business that works for us, with us, and for the world. We know the type of life and community we are inspired to create, and we’ve been lucky that most of those things have been here all along.
What’s on the horizon at North Mountain Pastures
This is an introduction to saying: we’re changing the way we do things here.
We will continue producing your pastured meats.
We also want to expand our market and sell to other people at higher prices, without having to drive more.
We’re going to begin shipping our products and focusing on sausage, bacon and ground meats.
Feeding you local Meat CSA members is important to us. You have supported sustainable farming and local food, we’ve gotten to know you, and we want you to have the option to continue buying your meats from North Mountain Pastures.
For Current Friends of NMP
Current CSA members as well as any who join “on the ground floor” by March 31 will be offered to have the Meat CSA shipped to your door at the current price (plus shipping). Your share will be locked in at that price indefinitely, unless farm production costs increase.
We'll keep the CSA going and add this additional shipping component of the business. All products will be shipped from the farm and delivered by UPS. We’re also continuing to supply Troegs with both whole pigs for their charcuterie, and bones and heads for ramen (on their new menu!).
My day job this year has been serving as the marketing director for my brother’s small whey protein business, Earth Fed Muscle. We transitioned to Grass Fed Whey last year, and got some really cool artwork done (think Troegs for muscles :), and it’s helped me realize how much we’ve neglected marketing and customer care at North Mountain Pastures! I’m forever grateful for those of you who stuck through the last couple years of our business! Not hand delivering every item ourselves will allow us the time and focus for a different kind of connection with you. We are passionate about connecting people with the food they eat and how it is grown. We’ll tell more farm stories in the coming years.
We will switch the entire CSA over to a shipping model in April, and we want everyone to receive at least one shipment before deciding whether or not to switch to the home delivery model. You will always be able to cancel or re-join later, but this will be the only time to be grandfathered in to the current price as a special local member.
Here’s the schedule and the changes you’ll see over the next few months, with more details forthcoming:
1. First trial shipments are going out this week at no extra cost to Gold's Gym Camp Hill, Carlisle Crossfit, and Crossfit 717.
2. A portion of the CSA shipped to your door in February at no extra cost. No action necessary. Deliveries to be included:
Gold’s Gym Camp Hill
3. All CSA shares delivered to the door in March - at no additional cost.
4. If you like the way it’s going, we’ll switch to a new system in April and you will be given the chance to renew your Meat CSA subscription at the current price, plus shipping every month. at the current price, plus shipping. We are not sure what shipping fees will be yet. This may cost up to $5 - $10 per month extra.
5. Our new online store will be geared towards sausage, bacon, turkey, and ground beef, as these items are fairly uniform, commonly used by most people, and easily shippable.
6. We will increase the price of the CSA on the website for anyone new who begins to order after April. View April as the early bird special - our long-time customers will be given the priority to remain at the current price. New signups after April will have to pay a higher price.
7. We will continue to have open farm days every year, and deliver you a weekly newsletter with news from the farm
8. We will continue to steward the land we grow your food on with the next generation in mind - always building topsoil, planting trees, and grazing animals on fresh, living pasture. As a CSA member you are welcome to visit anytime, just give us a heads up!
All of this depends on you - we feel like this is the right move in the age of convenience. We have to shift with the tides or we will not be able to farm for a living. If you feel like this is something you want to support, thank you! Over the next year, we will be doing our best to transition to a new model of direct sales of sustainably produced food.
Whatever happens, we are committed forever to good food, healthy communities, and above all, healthy soil so that our children may have a healthy future. Thanks for your continued support!
Thanks for supporting local food,
~Brooks and Anna
P.S. As always, if you have any questions, PLEASE reply and ask - our business and farm have been founded on transparency and we will always be free with information.
Learn more about The Meat CSA