February 12, 2012 Newsletter

Winter Lambs
Winter Lambs

Hello everyone,

Two weeks ago, we had our first winter lambs born. This wasn't the result of planning, but rather following advice blindly and reaping the rewards. We had twin ewe lambs born on that warm January Monday morning and I'd be remiss if I didn't say I was very thankful for them. Needless to say, we were quite unprepared for a winter lambing season, but in the last two weeks we've made a lot of progress preparing for our new lambs. It seems like we finished our preparations just in time, because on Sunday we had a ram lamb born, followed by a mixed pair of twins from another ewe. Tuesday, we were blessed with another set of mixed twins and today another lamb. Needless to say, I'm relatively certain we'll have some grass-fed lambs to sell late this year.

As far as the 3 wethers which were born last summer, we're going to butcher and sell them by the cut later this summer so more people can try our grass-fed lamb before making the greater commitment to purchase a larger quantity up the road, if indeed they want to. Steve, the man who I purchased the Katahdin sheep from, shared many things with me, including that not all breeds of lamb taste the same, as well as the fact that there's a large flavor and texture difference between grass-fed and grain fed lamb. You may have had lamb previously which you enjoyed tremendously for your culinary delights, or the inverse, of course. With that in mind, you may or may not want our grass-fed lamb. I can only tell you truthfully that we tried his grass-fed lamb steaks, and I thought they rivaled any good beef steak I ever had, which is a lot coming from me. Steve also suggests to people that they try some lamb-burger, if they've never had grass-fed lamb, so they can make informed decisions as to whether they want to purchase more grass-fed lamb from him. I don't know how good a barometer that is, although I know he recommends it and it serves his customers well, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Also, Hickory Hills Meats owned by the Bill and Lisa Siegwarth family, near Chilton, have gone through a major expansion this winter and are going to reopen their meat processing facility with a lot of new opportunities for their customers as well as mine. I've been working closely with Lisa so they'll be ready for processing our grass-fed beef and lamb in the upcoming months. I've known the family from the Calumet County Market Animal Committee from a long time ago and I'm really looking forward to supporting them with some of our business. Our customers will have a number of choices as to where their meat will be processed, including Otto's Meats in Luxemburg, Hickory Hills Meats in Chilton, and Becks in Oshkosh/Kaukauna. If you take a split half or half we'll somehow work it out to the best of our ability that you get your meat processed where you want it.

Last November, much to my pleasant surprise, Kevin, one of our loyal customers, asked when we would start taking orders for the 2012 beef harvest, to which I replied that I thought it was as good a time as any. At that point he placed his 2012 order before he even had his 2011 beefer in his freezer. I must say, I'm very thankful to him for his faith in us, that we would continue to have tasty grass-fed beef to offer. FYI, we try our best to make sure each and every customer knows we're soliciting feedback from them and listening to what they say, making changes as circumstances allow. I must add a very heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who has given us their feedback!!! Long story short, 5 beefers are ordered for this fall already and a new customer is coming by later this week to try our beef with the intention of buying a beefer this fall, thank you Lord!!

For those who are ordering Grass-fed beef for the fall harvest, I'm planning on the same prepayment schedule as we had last year. That is three payments of $100.00 per half of beef ordered in May, July and September. We're trying our best to be fair to our customers as well as ourselves, and just like last year, the first $50.00 which people pay on their prepayments is a nonrefundable booking fee which gets applied to the purchase price of your beef order when we calculate the outstanding bill, if any, after harvest. And, conversely, if someone cancels their beef order, then the first $50.00 of their prepayment money intended toward their order is a nonrefundable booking fee. We're not trying to be mean spirited in the least, but rather fair to all parties. If you cancel your order we need to find a new home for the beef you ordered which will likely incur unexpected costs to us. Hopefully, you can appreciate our reasoning surrounding everything with our prepayment schedule as well as the booking fee. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, OK?

All that said, while I haven't definitively decided the price for our fall beefers, I'm looking at about $2.60 per pound hanging weight plus processing costs. I don't really believe I can price it lower and make ends meet, while of course I want to make it as affordable as possible. Before anyone makes an absolute commitment later this spring with prepayment money, I'll have an established fall price. As far as the grass-fed lambs prices go, I haven't had a chance to figure that out, due to being busy managing my farm work. I'll work on that in my spare time in the upcoming months. Free-range chickens will probably be $3.95 per pound this coming year. Honestly, I don't know that I made a dime last year asking $3.25/pound, but I'm trying to be affordable and hopefully profitable. So far, we've had 5 beefers ordered for this coming fall and interest in both our grass-fed sheep and free-range chickens. If you have a relative certainty as to your desire for our products, drop me an email or call me so I know what you want and I can add your name to the list. I'm certain you might say, "Well, Dennis, that depends on the price." Please know that I'm working on things as fast as I can and I'm doing the best I can narrowing in on the prices and I hope this newsletter reflects that.

Well, thank you for your time. I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and that you find the information useful to you. I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you in the near future.

I wouldn't be true to myself or to Jesus, my Lord and Savior, if I didn't share with you how thankful I am to him for each and every blessing he bestows on me. THANK YOU JESUS!!!! Keep in touch and take care of yourself and your family.


Dennis Drzewiecki, President

River of Dreams Inc.
23927 W. Hillcrest Rd.
Brillion, WI 54110

Email: Dennis Drzewiecki