Consumers want to feel a greater connection to their food. This isn’t anything new or earth shattering, in fact it’s almost been discussed to death. It’s hard to read anything these days without coming across someone’s opinion on how to better link up consumers to the people who raise their food. While I do agree this is important I think we’ve largely been ignoring the flip side of this coin. Primary producers of the food want to connect with consumers too.
Our surprising honey experience
In the spring of 2016 our farm got two hives of honeybees. With some study and some help from a friend who raises bees we fumbled our way through our first season. We came out the other end with hundreds of pounds of honey more than our family could possibly eat.
So with no clearly defined plan as to what we wanted, we simply bottled it and started selling the honey to our friends family and anyone else who seemed interested. And that’s when something completely foreign happened, the people that we sold the honey to came back to us and told us how much they loved it. People were not only ecstatic with they taste but wanted to hear how it was raised, from start to finish. I’ve been selling calves for over 20 years, I’ve sold grain and hay, but I have never once experienced the satisfaction that I got from listening to people talk about the honey that we had produced.
For all the times that I’ve heard people talk about how much people crave an understanding of where their food comes from it never once crossed my mind that I might enjoy people’s feedback and interest in my part in it.
2017 will be the first year that our ranch will market grass finished beef directly to the people who will consume it. We will still be marketing most of our calves to auction marts and order buyers, as a commodity. However; this will also be the first year that we have raised and sold beef as food. It may not seem like a big difference, but it has changed the way we look at things on our farm. I believe for the better.