True costs of pasture raised meats since the Pandemic
We value you - our customer, neighbor, and friend. So we want to be as transparent as possible about some changes you may notice regarding our product prices.
Your support means so much to us. And we believe you have the right to know more about the business decisions we make.
This past year has changed a lot for the farm finances. The pandemic has impacted our operation and increased the cost of raising high-quality, pasture-raised animals.
When the 2020 public health crisis began, it affected more than the health of our family and team members. Business as usual was no more. Over time, we began to feel the effect of local and global economies right here on our farm.
Unanticipated shifts of supply and demand have presented several new challenges. We’ve seen the price of grain rise eight percent, dramatically increasing the cost of feeding our chickens, turkeys, and pigs. The prices of daily materials on the farm have also increased in the past year. Everything from baby chicks to fuel to processing supplies and personal protective equipment have gotten more expensive.
We also decided to increase our employee wages despite these other expenses because it’s important to us. We want to support a qualified workforce and be a good employer for our community. Especially during this period of economic crisis and widespread unemployment.
The pandemic may be starting to subside here in Vermont, but we know that its effects will continue for years to come. The current year has its own set of challenges. In 2021 we're adapting to new sales trends and buyer habits while continuing to manage increased labor and operations costs.
This is all why you will notice a change in the pricing of our products this month.
We’ve adjusted our pricing this year for more than just the typical inflation. We’ve also factored in our new business costs as a result of the many changes this past year. And it’s all to support the integrity of the food we produce.
We hope you’ll continue to see the value in our pasture-raised products. Because when you invest in better quality meat, you’re paying for more than what’s on your plate.
What You Pay for When You Buy Pasture-Raised
High-quality, humanely raised beef, pork, and poultry come at a higher cost than the cheap meat you can buy at the supermarket.
That’s because the costs are higher to treat animals well. And doing so is worth it.
The money you spend on pasture-raised meats supports multiple components of our land and livestock.
Space to roam
We have 260 acres of open land where our animals graze on fresh grass and soak up the sunshine. This spacious land is the cornerstone of everything we do. It allows our animals to have the healthy lifestyles they deserve (and that you enjoy in the end). But this vast land costs more to maintain than the cramped spaces used by large industrial meat operations.
Along with fresh green grass, we also feed our grain-eating animals only the best non-GMO grain. We could have decided to switch this when the cost of non-GMO grain rose this year, but it wasn’t aligned with our values. We want our animals to be well-fed with high-quality grain and grass. We only rely on a nutritious food supply for our animals. While others use growth-boosting hormones to make livestock big and strong, we will never feed our animals anything but a natural diet.
A longer, happy life
Industrial meat producers slaughter their animals at a young age to turn a profit more quickly. But we want our animals to mature properly. We don't use hormones, antibiotics, or fattening feeds. On our farm, the animals live to the proper maturity. But supporting their longer lifespan means extended costs of land and diet mentioned above.
Ethical treatment of land and animals
Overall, what you pay for when you buy pasture-raised meat is respect for both the land and the animal. This makes your natural environment a more healthy place and ensures that the meat you consume is of the best quality and flavor. You can taste the difference in an animal that has been treated well during its lifetime. This is also a healthier product to fuel the lives of you and your family.
Finally, the money you invest in our pasture-raised meats supports a talented team of farmers committed to the best quality work.
We want to pay a liveable wage for our team members. It’s the right thing to do as an employer and it helps us attract and retain the best talent. As a USDA plant, we are held to the highest standards for processing and cutting meat. So we seek the best leaders.
Our team’s talent makes us stronger and translates into the product you enjoy. Our recently hired butcher, Tyler, is the perfect example of this. Since joining us he has already added value with many new products for you and your family, including some delicious porchetta.
Your Support Means the World to Us
We are so grateful for your continued support of Maple Wind Farm. Especially given the challenges we have all been facing as a community this past year.
The reality is that high-quality meat always comes at a price. But the costs of doing business as a farmer have risen more than we could have anticipated since the pandemic.
We know you’ll appreciate the difference. Pasture-raised may be more expensive in the short term. But it’s worth it for the long-term health of our bodies, land, and animals.
We can never express how much your continued business means to us.
If you have any questions about the pricing changes you see, feel free to contact us or chat with us when you visit the market or at a pickup at the farm. We’d be happy to discuss it with you. You can also see how we farm if you’d like to learn more about our pasture-raised practices.
The best way to get through this tough time is to do so together.
All the best,
Beth & Bruce