Today we had a zimbo family Zoom meeting. It was good to see everyone and lovely to note how little people change. It gives a little bit of consistency to a convoluted world. The sun was shining outside and the air was chilly with its Siberian breeze. Sadly our 17 year old cat Bluey is having a bit of a rough weekend. She is curled up in her box by the door enjoying the rays of sun that have been on her all day. Our first Franklin Farm animal and hunter😻. No longer capable of catching any of the dozens of Blue tits we have outside the house these days. Bird has always been her favourite snack.
As some of you know Brexit has provided some interesting logistical hiccups with the running of our butchery as some ingredients come from the UK. I am lazy I guess, and have not bothered up to now sourcing from within the EU. There are some things that I have been unable to find. so the delivery from the UK is now being cleared through customs, I hope (!), unless I have had a spam caller and I have just signed my life away to some bloke called Gaetan 😰. Those who have seen me during the last few weeks have been busy little tasters on some new sausage recipes and we have had some pleasant feedback, for which I thank you. Some new sausage flavours will be sticking around, along with the ones to which you have become accustomed.
As soon as I can I will be scooting around on deliveries to satisfy my further away people with their requirements. Fear not 😊
Whilst Emily has been house bound with snow in the Netherlands over the past few weeks we have been forced outside in large amounts of rain feeding hungry 4 legged animals. We also had a little helper for a couple of weeks to see what we get up to, and we hope we broadened his experiences for his course at Lycée. I assume, from the amount of sausages eaten, he was properly worn out after every day. Tired adolescents = happy adolescents.
I don't usually discuss abattoirs because I know lots of people like to think of our farm in a light and fluffy way. However, they are an integral part of our business, legislation dictates that we cannot sell or even give meat to anyone outside of our immediate family if it has not been dispatched in a registered abattoir. Ribérac abattoir has been closed due to financial issues. It is one of the last local abattoirs that will kill livestock for anyone who wants an animal dispatched in our area, the others require you to be a shareholder of their enterprise which means you have to have a certain tonnage that you process every year. Others require you to be a registered butcher and/or animal trader. Consequently small producers are pushed out of the equation for access due to lack of numbers or money. Not all abattoirs that are still functioning have facilties to kill all species. So if you have sheep or goats, finding an alternative can be difficult and may require a trip of 100km in each direction to deliver the live animal, and then 100km in each direction to collect the carcasses.
There are 250 abattoirs in France. In 2000 there were 340. In the 1970's there were around a thousand. During this time the tonnage of meat consumed in France has not change considerably. So..... This means the facilities are getting bigger, higher tech, more expensive to run, further apart and less personal. Is that a good thing? I know where I stand on that but I will leave you to make your own judgements.
The producers and parties concerned with Riberac Abattoir are having a second meeting next week to try and find solutions. Abattoirs are a public service, they should be regarded as a hub for a community, they provide employment, families who invest in their community, and they are full of skilled labour. It should be something that people are concerned about. An abattoir should be something that as a community you are proud of, should support and encourage.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area