Last Sunday we took advantage of a special weekend where Murray’s Cheese opened their cheese caves for hour-long tours and tastings. Each session included a tasting of six cheeses, a glass of champagne and a guided tour of the aging facilities beneath the cheese shop on Bleecker St in Manhattan’s West Village. For $15 it was a steal. We also ran into the intern (Nora) who organized the Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival at Shelburne Farms, where we volunteered this past summer. She’s now a cheesemonger at Murray’s, so catching up with her was fun.
Deconstructing the USDA’s Hog Report
The USDA released a report last month titled “Trends and Developments in Hog Manure Management: 1998-2009”. While trends in manure management are important and interesting, I found the industry’s production stats to be much more intriguing.
If you're a facebook fan you'll know that I started chiseling away at my six-pack a couple weeks ago. I’m not talking about a Mike “The Situation” six-pack, I’m talking about beer. About a year ago I started home-brewing on an ultra-micro scale. In fact, it would be difficult to brew at a smaller scale. I brew one gallon at time, which equates to about 6-8 beers per batch. It’s not that I don’t want brew more beer, it’s that we live in a 600 sq ft apartment and don’t have room. My closet is already full of canning equipment, preserved jars of everything, sacks of espresso beans, liquores of who knows what, and oh yeah, my clothes. A 2 sq. ft. corner holds a case of aging beers, two one gallon carboys (one fermenting, one dry-hopping) and a little space for the blow-off tube. In that amount of space I get a six-pack every week.
I always thought of myself as a good planner and goal-setter. I’d set a goal, develop a plan for how to get there and every once in a while I’d actually achieve it. Sweetbreads and I have run two (very) small, but profitable, businesses in the past and that required a fair amount of forethought and also taught us a lot. However, I will tell you one thing for certain, no amount of experience in my prior life prepared me for the type of planning required to start a farm business.
As would-be farmers we love to read other farmer’s blogs. Not only is it a great way for us to learn through other people’s experiences (for free), but it also goes a long way in helping us visualize our future. We may not agree with everything (or anything) certain farmers do, but learning what we agree with and disagree with is all part of the process. We’re starting with a clean slate, so it pays to see, assess and digest as much of everything as possible.