7 Important Grilling Tips Big John and I have 7 very important grilling tips to
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Yesterday I was talking to a client on the phone, and they had assumed Marina and I had lived in Missouri forever! While I’m glad that we have adapted to our new home, and that we’re incredibly happy here, that’s actually not quite our story. So I went back into our archives and found the story about our very unconventional move from urban New Jersey, to south west Missouri.
Our move felt like a return to what NJ used to be many years ago. The area from which we moved, was at one time, considered rural. We always maintained a 6 acre “hobby farm” with chickens, ducks, horses etc. and learned basic lessons of good water supply, food and proper fencing for animals. In the 26 years we lived there it turned solid suburban, inhabited by urban transplants who cared little for the outdoors .In other words, the population changed from an appreciation of farming and outdoor sporting of all kinds, to one of little concern for what the area had to offer. Little if any interest was shown for the tradition, preservation, or restoration of New Jersey agriculture.
Marina and I saw the change from a rural setting to an urban one occurring right before our eyes and it became our goal to see our children move away from the area. This was accomplished first by my daughter being educated at Syracuse University and then my son at Iowa State University. Both were granted scholarships, my son through wrestling and my daughter through the Army.
It was after following my son’s wrestling career throughout the Midwest that I decided to relocate to Missouri. It was T- shirt weather in St. Louis in late March that convinced me! I also always wanted to live near my children, especially after my grandchildren arrived. After our move in 2014, it was unclear if that would happen but my son Kurt is married and lives in Ankeny, IA with his wife Amanda and son Jackson. My daughter Erin and granddaughter Sonja live near us in Lebanon, Missouri. Mission accomplished – our entire family had relocated to the Midwest!
We settled in Douglas County, Missouri for its traditional rural setting, reasonable real estate prices, bearable taxation and more personal freedom’s. Our proximity to Springfield, MO. gives us a reminder of city life with its traffic and malls!
Initially we were undecided as to what line of business to engage in, so I continued my business activities in NJ while Marina directed the construction of our house and shop buildings in Missouri. We made the sacrifice of being apart for many weeks during the year in order to build something for the future in an area with more potential opportunities.
Our land was a bare 90 acres 5 years ago. Today we have a thriving pasture raised hog farm dissected by fencing into woodlots and grass pastures.
Some thought this was a drastic change from family tradition! We went from an industrial construction business involved in the petrochemical and energy industry to farming in rural Missouri. But perhaps we only returned to our roots.
My grandfather, Heinrich , left the family farm in Rheinhausen Germany at barely 13 years old for what he thought were riches in coal and asbestos mining…little did he know! In 1915, at 15 years old just before WW1, he accepted an apprenticeship at the Krup Locomotive Works in Dusseldorf. Not long after the war he made his “Journeyman” grade and with Germany in a severe economic depression and political turmoil, my great grandfather “Peter” put his three sons, Heinrich, Wilhelm and Peter on a ship bound for America. After a few years of odd jobs, Heinrich started his own welding fabrication business in New Jersey. Ironically his company was awarded the Army/ Navy “E” for excellence in quality and delivery of contract fabrication during WWII. Less than 5% of defense contractors received this award.
My exposure to the mechanical trades and business later inspired me to strike off on my own soon after college at 25 years old. 35 years later here we are in SW Missouri full circle. The second, third and fourth generations are back on the farm !
My background in the construction trades has enabled me to install thousands of feet of water lines and waterers as well as complete a challenging fencing project in steep hollows and wood lots. Our hog and pig housing are substantial structures fabricated here on the farm. Over 40 years of construction experience are well suited to farm management.
2008 – 2009 we all saw a weakened economy and in spite of an extensive resume in business and management Marina, my wife, found employment prospects to be scarce in the Springfield area. At that point, she took what she knew and struck off on her own to market her family’s marinara sauce recipe. During this time and after much research and study, we also decided to begin a natural pasture raised hog farm, with the intent of marketing our own fresh cuts and “value added” products such as sausage, cured pork and Marina’s Italian meatballs.
The business has its challenges, primarily in the cost of production and staying competitive in the marketplace. Over the next few months, Marina and I will be posting blogs with the intention of informing and educating our customers and other consumers concerning farming practices.
We will try to explain how to ask questions and read labels as well as give you methods to employ while shopping for food at farmers markets and natural food stores. Did you know that it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for a farm visit before you buy food from a farmer at a farmer’s market? Or that natural-raising can have multiple meanings?
We have always placed a high value on wholesome “clean” food and want our customers to enjoy the same produced by our farm. It is my intent to assist you in obtaining the best and most wholesome food for your families.
“Know Your Farmer and Know Your Food!”
– John and Marina