I wanted to take a few minutes to speak to you about why we have added in offerings from other farmers like J&L Green Farm in Edinburg, VA. I'm sure that it might be confusing to you, and I want to take a few moments to be transparent and clarify.
As you know, we have only been farming since 2015 - we are SO VERY grateful for the response that we have seen over the past 3 years - our customers have become our friends, and each of you means so much to us. It is very clear that this region of Virginia is hungry (literally and figuratively!) for local, sustainably and compassionately raised meats.
To meet this demand, we have doubled or tripled our capacity each year, and yet we still sell out of products. We want to be your source for ethical meat, and we want to have the products in stock whenever you need them. We do not see other farmers as competition - we see them as potential collaborators, who can provide products for our customers that we either don't have the time or land for. It is important to us that these collaborations be in the spirit of what we're trying to do at Bees Knees - they grow and manage their animals in a manner that is kind to the land and the animal, and with minimal or no medications, dewormers, or chemical inputs.
If you have visited the farm, you also know that we have 25 acres that are in transition from pine forest to pasture. Since we are pasture-based, and not feedlot raising our animals, we are careful with the number and locations of each set of animals. When we put pigs, goats or chickens on a particular spot, we time the pasturing very precisely to effect a positive change. Our goal is that the land will be better next month or next season because the animals visited there for a short time. Each year, the land improves and can handle more grazing, and more pigs or chickens.
Because of the current land transition, we are not able to support beef cows on our land. I personally want grass-fed beef to be part of my diet, and I have met Jordan and Laura Green several times over the past 5 years. I have followed their farm online as well, and I know that like us, they naturally raise their animals. They do not use pesticides or herbicides on their land. Their cows are grass-fed, and their forest-raised pigs and pastured chickens eat non-GMO feed (from the same feed mill) that ours do.
I purchased the first beef cow from them this summer as a gamble. I figured that if our customers were upset that they were buying from another local Virginia farmer through us, that we would hear about it. The worst-case scenario would be that our family would eat it all (which also isn't so bad!). What we have seen though is an overwhelmingly positive response, the orders keep coming, and we're thrilled.
Our future plan is to keep the J&L Green Farm beef as a staple in our farm store and online. We will also be offering a few other items that J&L Green Farm has that we do not - grass-fed beef sticks for snacking and hot dogs from forest-raised pigs, without fillers or nitrates. We hope that you enjoy the abundance and new offerings as much as we are excited to provide them to you! Sarah & Dennis