Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Marketing

The danger of Super-Sizing…

It’s been some years now since Michael Pollin set the beef industry on its ear with his article in the New York Times expanded into the book The Omnivores Dilemna. Speaking  in England…Pollin pulls back the curtain on the real story behind McDonalds French fries…or as they’re called over there…chips! David

Mama…don’t let your kids grow up….

….to be farmers. It’s still a no-win game despite all the publicity about the Locavore movement, farm-to-fork, food hubs, CSAs.  “blah-blah” stuff.  The dirty little secret is the Big Guys are killing us….and they’re the ones getting the subsidies and grants that enable them to further squash the idealists. The New York Times had the story […]

US cattle herd shrinks still more…

The number of cattle in the United States has plunged to the lowest it’s been since 1951.  That’s more than 60 years that the beef supply has been this low. For cattlemen that have been able to stick it out through high feed and energy costs—and droughts—this is good news in the short run.  It […]

The processing conundrum….

….the largest single cost in producing local meat, whether beef or pork, is the processing.  Butchering your meat is just about half the total cost. We reported awhile back that the bill for processing a steer into beef is very close to $500.  That compares to the $50 the Giants pay at the huge, factory […]

Slow food a “hot” investment?

Apparently some folks like to think so.  And there’s a group looking for investors to invest in sustainable agriculture. Most of the people who have developed small scale, but profitable companies specializing in healthier foods find they can’t compete against the “big guys” who move in and threaten to crush them.  So far, those small […]

Roundtable: Can I make money selling grass fed beef (continued)….

We could call this Exhibit A in our discussion.  Someone who is making money with a small grass fed beef farm. If you want to begin at the beginning, scroll down to the roundtable that featured four men with wide experience in all phases of grass fed beef marketing….local to national…operating solely or in combination […]

Still more on marketing grass fed beef….

….my recent post on the price disadvantage American producers face when competing against foreign grass fed beef (see below “Roundtable:  Can I make money selling grass fed beef) needs some fine tuning.  My point was that I pay almost four times as much for butchering as my competitor in Tasmania.  And so foreign beef can absorb […]

Are food hubs part of the answer….

….we recently hosted a roundtable on the problems smaller producers face in marketing their grass fed beef.  (see below, “Roundtable: Can I make money selling grass fed beef”) We were a bit surprised that farmers markets didn’t come up.  Several cattlemen we know have tried them and generally found them useful in building a customer base.  Eventually, […]

The “low cost” of beef….

….well, if you import it from Tasmania anyway. Our recent round-table discussion opened up a number of avenues that the “old reporter” in me couldn’t resist. One was the discovery that US Wellness, the largest marketer of grass fed beef on the Internet, was importing some of its meat from Tasmania.  (Yes, I had to […]

Roundtable: Can I make money selling grass fed beef?

It’s a question that comes up whenever a new Devon breeder recognizes the gourmet quality of the meat in his pasture:  can I sell this animal at a reasonable profit or do I have to settle for the price dictated by the auction barn?  That same new Devon breeder also quickly becomes discouraged when he […]