2013 -- SO FAR
If 2012 was eventful, 2013 has already eclipsed
Late one cold Friday evening in early March, a 60 foot multi-level
stock trailer-truck pulled onto the farm with 47 steers (mostly) and young cows of various age and size.
However, one may argue a turning point in farm business, there is no
question that the reappearance of this "beef herd" established the final milestone in the transition of a once substantial
dairy farm into a serious contender in the all natural, grass-fed / grass finished beef market. And, an additional
number of larger steer were trucked in a week later. The goal for 2013 is to grow this number three fold to 160 head,
a number which the farm can nutritionally and economically accommodate as was proven with the previous dairy herd.
The various ages and sizes of cattle were selected to schedule
and service the growing list of retail-direct and wholesale-direct customers which the farm continues to develop. As
the health and taste benefits of all natural grass-fed-and-finished beef become known, the demand increases. Of course increased demand is a mixed blessing: Prime cuts (top center) represent less than 25% of
the dressed meat. Since these cuts are desired, their demand is highest.
To accommodate increasing demand for Elmartin Beef, the farm has
already developed "package pricing" which mixes various cuts. (Visit Store) The packages range in size and variety.
Further, Elmartin Farm Ground Beef (tm) is
not your supermarket's ground beef. Cuts that normally are called "roasts," such as top or bottom round roast, briskets,
and flank comprise Elmartin Farm Ground Beef. Were it not for our blending of various muscles,
we could legally call it Ground Round, Ground Brisket, etc. While our fat to lean mixture is not by weight, based on
the cuts and look, it is estimated to be 87% lean. Here's the scoop: By USDA regulations, there is
a difference between hamburg and ground beef. While hamburg cannot have more than 30% fat (that's why one sees
the 70% lean as the lowest percentage in markets), the various meats (indeed they are various) that go into a hamburg can
have fat added to the grind to make up the percentage. This is not the case with ground beef. No fat can be added,
just the lean grind. The following lean percentages are specific cut guidelines:
Ground chuck -- 80 to 85 percent lean / 15 to 20 percent fat.
Ground round -- 85 to 90 percent lean / 10 to 15 percent fat.
Ground sirloin -- 90 to 92 percent lean / 8 to 10 percent
ADDITIONALLY, the farm is about inaugurate a Valued Customer
Program which will benefit frequent buyers of our beef and pork. Whether Elmartin Farm has 50 , 100, or 150 steers,
our all natural grass-fed / grass - finished supply will always be less than demand. The
Valued Customer Program is a hand-in-glove relationship which rewards retail buyers who help to improve our farm. It
is the way business should be. We understand that for people who desire specific cuts of our beef (and pork) they want
to have reasonable assurance that supply will be available. Moreover, we understand that some buyers desire specific
cuts which we currently do not offer such as tenderloin roast, prime rib roast, etc. Valued Customers will have the
ability to pre-order specific cuts. Details are being reviewed. The program will be launched in May.
Regarding equipment, the farm acquired an excellent "experienced"
New Holland tractor with front loader and a brand new roll hay bailer. Mechanically, there is much to
talk about the tractor, but at the end of the conversation it is a workhorse with a loader. There is one exception:
The operator is now in an enclosed cab with heat and a/c, which is a huge improvement.
For most readers, the hay bailer is of little news. Except, this
is not so for the farm. The decision to produce rolled bails represents a departure from not just the manner in
which the farm bailed hay, but how the farm stored it in the barn's loft, which as an aside had the first conveyor system
in Cheshire MA to move bails through the 200' length of the barn. The purpose in doing so was to insulate
the lower barn. Notwithstanding, the efficiency of rolled bails won over tradition... and a lot of work. The farm
anticipates with relief bailing this Spring and Summer.
There are many more activities underway. We encourage you revisit
the site often to read this page as well as view the Farm Store offerings.
Before closing, we would be remiss for not mentioning Common
Capital of Holyoke, which has been working with Elmartin Farm in our business development. Common Capital
has been an invaluable ally. People at Common Capital understand farms / farmers and are committed to supporting local farming.
We offer our sincerest "Thank You."
For the Martin Families,
Gus Kim Shawn
Common Capital, formerally called Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund, located in Holyoke,
MA, was formed in 1989 as a nonprofit 501c(3) and became certified as a Community Development Financial Institution by
the U.S. Treasury Department in 1997. The organization’s role is to bring financial and business resources to Western
and Central Massachusetts. The money that is available to be loaned comes from the state and federal governments
as well as bank lines of credit.
Common Capital is committed to a thriving local economy in order to create positive social and
community impacts. It reaches into the business community and finds places that need to grow;
then provides the required financial support and business advice. Common Capital places an
emphasis on education, both of businesses and for workers to staff those businesses.