Frequently Asked Questions:
WHAT IS A MEAT SHARE AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Small farms and community supported agriculture are under fire from corporate ag lobbyists and lawmakers. In order for us to abide by the law, we must use shares to sell and process livestock for human consumption. The laws are meant to be confusing to deter small farms from doing business.
When you participate in a meat share, you are buying a portion of an animal.
It is illegal for me to process these animals for a customer, but it is not illegal for me to process my own animals.
If I share the animal with you, I can then process the animal on-site for myself and give you your portion back.
There is no limit on the way the animal can be shared, therefore if you purchase a "whole" lamb, you will own 99% and I will own 1%.
I will then process the animal and keep my 1% (like the tail) and you will receive all your cuts of meat back.
WHY IS THE MILK "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION?"
Please understand that milk is one of the most regulated food items in the country. There are many dangers to eating raw and undercooked foods, and the United States Department of Ag (USDA) monitors the production and distribution of raw food from farm to table. Currently, there are only a few ways a farmer can provide milk directly from the farm to the consumer.
They can be a licensed and regulated commercial dairy. This means having expensive buildings for milking, processing, storing, and bottling the milk. Because the expenses are enormous, the operation must be big enough to support the cost. This defeats the purpose of our small farm and is not currently financially possible for us.
- The second option is for a farmer to create a herd-share program. It works like a membership where the consumer buys-in on a share of the herd that allows them access to raw or unregulated processed milk. The farmer is not technically selling milk, but rather you are paying for her services to collect the milk for you.
- The third and final option in Tennessee is to sell milk under a Pet Food License. In the case the farm is licensed and insured to sell milk, but since it is not regulated or inspected, it is deemed "unfit for human consumption" by the USDA, regardless of the quality. There are strict regulations forbidding the farmer from promoting the milk as safe for humans, so please do not ask me if you can drink the milk.
We go with option number three, the pet food license. This way we are licensed and insured, and selling a product that is straight forward in pricing and accessibility. There are no membership fees, contracts, or waivers to sign. We can deliver this milk, go to farmers markets, and let folks have the opportunity to try it before they commit to regular pick ups.
HOW LONG DOES THE MILK AND CHEESE LAST?
First, always use common sense! If there is a bad odor, or discoloration, if you think it's been sitting too long, or been exposed to warmth for extended periods of time, just throw it out. Don't risk it! Generally though, the milk keeps well for at least 10 days, with reports of customers using their dairy products for several weeks with great results. Always handle it with care, keeping your storage space clean and cold, and you should get the best results.
HOW DO I ORDER?
When you are ready to order lamb, pork, milk, cheese, or eggs, you can Order Here. Or, if you don't see what you are looking for, email us at egray@AutumnEarthAcres.com to order. You can mail a check, pay online with a credit card, or come directly to the farm and pay cash.
If you are buying a meat share, you'll pay us for your portion and an appointment will be scheduled for us to process it, Keep in mind, finishing dates are not exact.
- We also offer gift certificates and take pre-orders online
- Eggs can be picked up at the farm, call ahead to make an appointment.
- If you want sheep milk, get in touch with us today to discuss options! Fresh available January- July. Frozen available all other times.