I just returned from a work trip to the family farm in Kansas. It was a wonderful, whirlwind trip filled with kids, cows, chickens, pigs, parents, good meat and good people. So much happened that I’ve decided to chronicle the trip in three blog posts, starting with my fabulous sojourn to the Roberts’ Farm in Kidder, Missouri.
The Roberts family is one of the three legs of the Farmer Girl stool, and they are fabulously good people. Their specialty is very yummy, very premium, and very hard-to-raise heritage pork. The Roberts raise their animals without the use of any yucky stuff, on the wide-open spaces of their small farm in burgeoning Amish country. The Roberts farm is a real working small farm, and it is gorgeous.
Here’s a recap of my time spent with the Roberts:
- The Roberts are chatty Kathy’s, so obviously we are two peas in a pod and perfect partners! Love that.
- Chris, the matriarch, has turned into a bona fide pig midwife. Yes, that’s right. She is getting darn good at predicting just when the new little ones are going to arrive. My advice to Kevin, just let her make the call!
- Fabio, a boar that lived on the premises, earned his name just the way you think he might have… if you know what I mean. And P.J. just had his litter (or was it Ned’s??)
- Heritage Large Black hogs are big, really big, and very amiable.
- Thirteen-year-old Jake Roberts, the pig caretaker, is shy, sweet, and very gentle with his wards. As a mother, I just want to scoop him up and bake him a pie. He is that lovely.
- Kevin Roberts, better known as Dad, is one of the most open-minded, caring farmers I have ever met. Everyone time we talk, I am reminded of that.
- Small farm means small farm – the animals at the Roberts farm are tended to by hand. No piggeries, no weird hog confinement buildings. Just Kevin, Chris, and Jake taking the time to raise their animals with lots of TLC.
The Roberts LOVE their animals, and are very passionate about proving to Jake that a small farm can make a profit, treat its animals humanely, and produce a premium product. These are good, honest people, who are passionate about farming and crafting delicious, mouth-watering pork. And it works! If you’ve tried our bacon, you can attest they are on the right track I even had one client take Farmer Girl bacon on vacation. (You know who you are!).
Farmer Girl meat is hand crafted on three small farms, by people with very high animal husbandry standards and a dedication to quality over quantity.
Without these three traits, it’s easy to wind up on the industrialized, yucky meat path. And so, really, the Roberts family epitomizes the Farmer Girl mantra: Producing clean, flavorful, out-of-this-world meat requires lots of personal touch and a painstaking commitment to quality.
Trust me, this is a new paradigm for the meat industry. I am practically laughed out of the old-boys-meat locker when I repeat my spiel. And that’s OK. As we become better artisans our meat is getting more succulent and tender, our herds are becoming more refined and sought after, and our customers (including myself) feel great feeding their kiddos Farmer Girl meat… I call that success.
Want to find out more about the Roberts’ impressive farming techniques first hand?? Try our bacon!