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Expanding the Herd

We've been wanting to expand the grass-fed beef aspect of our farm for some time. Recently we found out that Marc and Mary Ann Bellizzini of Campo di Bella Winery and Farm to Table were wanting to downsize their herd so we struck a deal.

Over the weekend Bill fixed up an old gooseneck trailer. With Aidan's help he reinforced the rusted sides by adding boards. When I wandered over to check on his progress, I found Bill surrounded by tools trying to puzzle out the wiring of the not-working lights.

Full of frustration he said, "The white wire is normally the ground, but it looks like whoever wired this made the blue wire the ground. And the green wire should be for the tail light, but somewhere inside the pipe it changes to white. The red wire is . . . "

It all sounded like mumble jumble to me so I left, hoping he'd figure it out. I should have had more faith because of course he did.

The trailer now possessing working lights, we drove to Campo di Bella by Blue Mounds to pick up three Jersey cows and a calf. We worked with Mary Ann and her sons to load the cows and then spent a few minutes over the tailgate discussing our common interests while the cows got used to their travel accommodations.

Comparing ways we have each tailored our farms to suit our different interests and strengths, Bill and I shared information on our Meat, Eggs, and Sweet Shares and our commitment to growing vegetables year round. Mary Ann explained how their vineyard, vegetables, and meat supply their on-property restaurant featuring the Italian food of their heritage.

We instantly recognized in each other the common challenges and joys experienced in sustaining a family farm-based business. The trials of reconciling finances, and managing time obviously balanced for us and them by the opportunity to direct the path of our farms, the satisfaction of growing food for others, the power of being part of increasing local food movement, and the importance of passing these experiences on to our children.

Bill and I promised to come back to eat at Campo di Bella's restaurant this winter before pulling out the driveway. Heading west along Highway 18 trailer full of precious cargo, we dreamed of all the extra omega-3-filled grass-fed beef we will soon be selling and eating!

Once home we unloaded the newest members of the farm and made plans for acquainting them with our other cows. Now, days later, they are all together in the same pasture, seemingly enjoying each other's company.

And we are another step closer to adjusting our focus on the pastured beef side of our business.

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