Guest Blogger, Patrick Finney of Finney Farm
Posted on February 15 2014
I started Finney Farm in the fall of 2010 with the hopes of making it a local and sustainable farm. I had been interested in farming from an early age, but I wasn't exposed to it growing up in Saint Louis. I always wanted to own a farm, a place where I could hunt, fish and raise livestock. My grandfather had bought the farm I now own in 1980. My family and I spent a lot of time there during my childhood. In 2010, the farm was offered for sale, and I bought it. It had never been a working farm, and it needed quite a bit of work. I was running a landscaping business at the time, so I wasn't able to jump into it right away. By 2013, I had saved up enough money and learned enough (at least that's what I thought) to attempt to make the farm my full-time income. I sold the landscaping business in 2013 so I could focus completely on the farm. I realized that farming is my true passion, and I am committed to making it a success.
At Finney Farm, we produce pasture-raised beef, chicken and eggs. This means that the animals spend the vast majority of their life on grass, not in barns or a feedlot. They are never given any antibiotics or hormones. The whole pasture-raised system is centered around the idea that farming, when done correctly in tune with nature, can be sustainable, healthy and wholesome for the animals and the consumer. I learned most of this from Joel Salatin. His farm, Polyface, is the preeminent sustainable farm in the United States. He was featured in the documentary Food, Inc. Although I have modified some of his methods to make them work for my farm, I would still consider him my biggest influence.
By far, the most important aspect of what I do is providing customers with a transparent and honest approach to food production. They know exactly how the beef, chicken or eggs that is on their plate was raised from birth to harvest. I can't stress how important it is for the consumer to look beyond the labeling on a food product. It really is the Wild West out there with labeling in the sustainable food market. Labels can mean whatever the producer wants them to mean, and there is very little oversight or regulation. Even CERTIFIED ORGANIC labeling has loopholes and ambiguity. Ask ten producers for a definition of "all natural" and you will get ten different answers. That's why I encourage my customers to take ownership of their food choices and really question the producer whether that is me or someone else. At the end of the day, what one producer is doing may be different from another, and that doesn't necessarily mean that one is "bad" or "good." It's really about the individual consumer being able to make an educated and informed choice in deciding what they want to put on their family's table.
So, in the final analysis, the farm has given me an opportunity to work with animals and nature through a quality, hard-working, and traditional approach to food production. I really believe that once a consumer tastes true pasture-raised meats, they will never want to eat anything else.
Customers can contact me by calling me (573-885-4549. This is a landline number.) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Customers can also contact me through the "Contact Us" tab on my website (www.finneyfarm.net). It will go directly to my email account.