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        Over the years I have heard the appreciation our customers have for Janette’s News From the Farm updates. With Duane and Janette working to be fully retired, the task falls to me. While my teachers can attest that writing was never my strong suit, I hope my brand of chicken scratch will suffice. If you happen to see Duane or Janette, make sure to ask them about their trip to Europe last summer. It has been a life long dream for Duane to get back to Germany where he was stationed during Vietnam. They even got to ride bikes down the streets of Amsterdam, which gave Janette a whole new appreciation for the wide open roads and views of Montana.


        We are pleased to announce another successful year on the farm. Logan and I continue to settle into the day to day routines without Dad and Mom’s constant reassurance. The theme for this year is to become more efficient. We started by implementing new software for our sow heard to better track performance (litter size) and genetics. We plan on expanding the software this upcoming winter into our cattle operation and the cutting room to better understand how decisions made on the farm affect the quality of the meat we produce.

        In the meat shop we are increasing our retail beef availability. Over the summer we started offering a selection of fresh, never frozen steaks. It was a big success and we look to build on it next year by offering a wider variety of cuts. Part of the fun of cutting meat is discovering new unusual cuts. We love talking to customers about new butcher cuts (hard to find steaks & roasts). Some of our favorites from the past year are Beef Picanha (queen of steaks), Merlot Steak (lean and flavorful), Beef Hammer (whole shank, great for smoking), Dino Ribs (long meaty beef ribs), and Beef Tomahawk Steaks (thick cut rib steaks with long rib bone). We may not always have these on the shelf but we are happy to save them for you the next time we cut. Also don’t be afraid to ask us about a cut you are interested in, maybe it is something we can add to our lineup. We also added to our selection of snack sticks this summer with a 100% Beef Pepperstick (Not to be confused with our Original Pork Pepperoni Stick you all love so much). We also added a Spicy Beef Pepperoni, great on pizza or sandwiches.


         Perhaps the biggest addition to the operation this year is a new delivery truck (aka The Bacon Bus). After failing to find a suitable truck on the used market we broke down and had one built for us. Our hope is the truck will be versatile enough to use not only for deliveries to our wholesale accounts but eventually for farmers markets as well.


         Customers might have noticed a few landscaping changes at the farm. We didn’t imagine when we planted the pine trees in front of the shop 30 years ago, that we would one day be cutting them down. The poor health of the trees and the necessity for a bigger parking lot made a tough decision a no-brainer. It also made room for our new 40 foot shipping container freezer (it is still hard to imagine how something from Barbados can end up in Montana). It has proven to be an efficient and greatly needed addition to the operation.


        Seeing our cattle grazing on green grass in November is a welcome sight given the dry summer. Beef prices remain volatile as the market continues to find a happy medium. Our supply of pork is strong and there should be plenty to go around for all your holiday needs, but, it is always best to order early. From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays!

Ken Braaten


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