I've been thinking all summer about ways to get our pork onto the tables of more home cooks and families. And while our costs of production seem to go in only one direction, I knew that we had to start being mindful of the price of our product. So I started thinking about a way that we could mimic large volume sales that allow us to offer restaurants a lower price, and apply that to a group of smaller buyers.
After I came up with the skeleton of the program a few weeks ago, I asked my page-likers over on the Facebook if there was any interest in a so called "pork share" program.
There was interest. LOTS of it.
So, I came up with the Rettland Farm Share-a-Swine Program.
Basically, this allows home cooks to buy our pastured, heritage breed pork at prices below retail. I wanted to have an affordable up-front cost that didn't strain household budgets, to keep the commitment short and the burden of pickup/delivery low, and to introduce people to cuts beyond bacon and tenderloin.
I think this is a good start towards all of that.
So here's how the Rettland Farm Share-A-Swine (SAS) Progam will work:
1. By becoming a member of the SAS program, you will receive a monthly share of our heritage, seasonally pastured pork. This share will consist of some combination of pork chops, pork steaks, bacon, ham, minute steaks, and fresh sausage. You will receive these different types of cuts in relative proportion to their weight in the animal. (For example, we all wish that a pig was 99% bacon, but tragically it isn't. It is a disappointing 10% bacon, roughly. So therefore, your share will be about 10% bacon, too.) The meat will be either fresh or frozen, at our discretion, and packaged in cryovac plastic or butcher paper, also at our discretion. It will not include any liver, heart, or other organ meats.
2. The share that you receive will be based on weight, not type of cut or price. Each monthly share will be not less than 7lbs in weight.
3. The SAS Program will run for a 4 month trial run through the winter months of December, January, February, and March. If we find it to be successful for both farmer and members, I will very likely renew the program in the spring.
4. The price for EACH MONTHLY SHARE of the SAS program is $55. This includes your monthly share of meat, plus a really groovy insulated, reusuable cooler bag that you can use to haul your porcine bounty home safely. Please note: The total price for the SAS membership is $220. We are just spreading out the payment over 4 months to make it easier on your monthly budgets. You will need to pay for each monthly installment one month in advance of pickup. (For example, the first payment for the late December share pickup will be due by late November, and so on.)
***Please don't join this program if you aren't going to keep up with it for the full 4 months. If you bail on us, you're kicking us right in the pocketbook, and we'll get irritated by that fact and not want to sell you anything ever again and probably say unkind things about you around the family dinner table, and probably teach our kids some really colorful language that they'll later use in situations that are horribly embarassing to us. So if you commit, stick it out please. It's only four months.***
***On the other hand, if you would like to pay for your membership in one up front payment, we'll offer you a nice discount. Ask me for details.***
5. The SAS shares will be available for pickup one day per month, most likely a Saturday, at Rettland Farm in Gettysburg, PA. In an effort to reach our fans in the big city, we will offer a delivery to Baltimore and Washington DC metro areas. There will be a minimum number of shares required from each area to justify the delivery (tell your friends to sign up), and a delivery surcharge of $10 per share for Baltimore and $20 for Washington DC will be added to the monthly share price.
If you can't make it to pick up your share in a given month, please let us know so we can make other arrangements. We have very limited cold storage space, so any unclaimed shares will have to be donated to the local food bank, unless other arrangements are made in advance.
6. If you are interested, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign yourself up for the inaugural run of the Share-A-Swine program. The deadline to opt in will be Saturday, December 1, 2012.
What do you think? What did I forget? I think I hit on all the basics, but if I missed something or you have any questions, please leave it in the comment section below so everyone can see it, or contact me at email@example.com.
This is gonna be cool! Tell your friends! Get in on it today!