The Barry Farm

Pastured Heritage Breed Hogs, Grassfed Lamb, Raw Honey and Citrus.


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Thanksgiving turkey

IMG_4709.JPGRenee and I knew that when we shared these events that there would be mixed opinions.   We talk about these things as a family before we share them on social media as it very much opens our families choices up for scrutiny.  The Barry Farm is moving away from the standard grab bag of marketing terms that farms are encouraged to use as we have found some of those terms to be counter productive.  In fact we what we have found to be most effective is to speak less and and act more, letting our actions be a better reflection than our explanation of those actions.  Thus our tag line of ” The Barry Farm….acting naturally” .

We were given a turkey for thanksgiving by a great friend and partner of The Barry farm, but it came live and in all his beautiful strutting tom glory.  Yesterday evening the whole family took part in the process of killing, plucking, scalding, and gutting the turkey that will be our thanksgiving meal.  We did this with respect for the whole situation and I very much took on a teachers heart with the kids as I instructed them on the process and what to expect.  The past few thanksgivings have had turkeys on the table that were raised and processed by ourselves here on the farm.  What is not evident to the casual observer but that our family sees is that this time of year we get a truck load of emails that ask us to sell them turkeys that were raised on pasture.   On the flip side we do get the response from time to time of “I just don’t know how you could eat a turkey that you killed yourself”.   The smith family has lived in the tension between those sentiments since we began to farm some 4 years ago.  Never would we intentionally want to offend people who object to consuming animal protein and we don’t make choices haphazardly and understand that this can be a sensitive subject to some.   A phase was coined to bridge the gap in this conversation that goes something like this ” you shouldn’t eat it unless you are willing to kill it”.    Implying that we should not be eating meat unless we are capable of thinking through the entire cost of an animals last moments.   In my most humble opinion these are my thoughts on the subject:   First when it comes to emotional decisions we should be the instigator of grace.  Let people have the opinions they want to have.  They come from places formed from their own experience, reading, research, marketing and goals.   Secondly.  I have adopted the previous position from an acknowledgement of an underlying principal that applies to my family.  We have learned that all living things have value and to order some as important and some not is a dangerous game.  Our process of learning to work very closely with nature and our farm has taught us not to separate things into individual silos of thought or action.  My generation and culture is very good at this and are very quick to try to reduce things to the least common denominator.   The farmer that thinks we can separate people from pastures, grasses from ruminants, soil from insects, and farm from community is a very naive farmer indeed.   And in that context I address the eating of animals.   We kill and eat animals in this family because we also nurture the soil that builds the grass and forage they eat.  We manage the grazing of those grasses and monitor the farms health and balance daily.  The Smith family is comfortable known that we are all sacrificing together on this farm.  The plants that are eaten by the animals and us sometimes die.  The soil will change in response to this action too.  And sometimes animals die so that we may also be nourished.  The mantra of “you should’t eat it if you won’t kill it” is a baby step to appreciating animals relationship to ours because one can still recognize the intricate balance and observe the relationship all living things have to each other without having to “kill” something to prove it.  This farmer for one believes you can be conscientious without desiring to cut a turkeys throat.  That you can be empathetic but let others do it for you.  That ending life only acknowledges a portion of the process, and ignores the big picture.  The big picture is that life that was taken has reciprocal effects on people, farms and communities and that the effects should be taken more seriously than the action itself.  We would all be wise to see our choices when it comes to food and family to see a bigger picture that recognize our interdependence and to nurture those relationships.


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Welcome the new nine to the Barry farm

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Even after a rough morning on the farm. I still managed to take a solo road trip to Shiner,Tx for the newest piglets to come to the farm. We have a great friend and partner of the farm in mike Ohlhausen of OhL farms in Shiner. He is our breeder of red wattles and does an excellent job of it. These nine will yield approximately 2000 lbs of pork for Houston area families. Farms have always been a staple of economic stimulus for the immediate surroundings. I buy fuel in Needville, feed in Needville, sell clean wholesome food in ft bend county and support other farms and farmers in the process. Your support of the Barry farm actually is broader reaching than just the smith family. It props up a community and a way of life that is worth preserving.


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How eating brunch changes things

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Yesterday afternoon a beautiful collision happened at the farm. When these events come together it transcends more than just good food. Which itself feels badly to even flirt with diminishing the food because it was truly wonderful. The food is the initial reason we gather but it never ends up the reason why we linger and chat.
The power of these events happen at an intersection and that intersection is where responsible businesses see their presence in their community as invaluable and the community agrees and responds in kind.

The food:
What you can’t see from a diners perspective is just what the process did for us The Farm as we planned and executed the meal. What was served was a combination of a years worth of work in raising animals, birthing lambs, caring for pigs and managing gardens and citrus. Then given over to chef Chris to interpret what we have labored for into stunning dishes that create a journey. I could see, knowing him so well, him on a plate. His culture, his likes, his stretching, his experiments, his respect for the farm and us farmers. The food is a perfect intersection.
The farmers:
For weeks before today we double our efforts into making the farm as user friendly and easy to navigate as possible. Extra mulch in the flower beds, straightening up the barn, mowing walkways through the pasture , trimming hedges the list goes on and on. It’s a labor of love really. As I work harder on the farm the bulk of the administration falls to renee. She is the architect of these events that responds to your emails goes to SPECS and stops at Arnes on delivery day. All this leads to a very insecure place. This farm is not just our place of employment or a place for entertainment, it is our home. We are inviting people into a very intimate place and exposing ourselves our methods and dreams for inspection.

You:
And now the collision. All the labor, the insecurity, the animal husbandry and party cup shopping doesn’t matter one bit unless people care. Not just care but care enough to engage. And not just engage but to begin to see what’s beyond the plate. We know that it is easier to see beyond the plate when the farm is all around you and the chef is next to you. That’s when the lightbulb comes on. And for me it’s this. We can’t do this alone. If any piece is missing and we retreat to our own island it all goes to crap. Real food becomes a hobby farm. Real food gives way for Sunday afternoon convenience while watching football. Real food leaves a chefs craft and art without an audience. This doesn’t work with you. Come
Judge for yourself. We’ve dedicated our farm and ourselves to being transparent even when it uncomfortable and we are validated when you find it beautiful and worth while.


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It’s citrus time!

The cool weather has really aided in ripening of the citrus especially the satsumas.
Come on down to the farm and load up on a delicious sweet treat that the whole family will love. Never sprayed with chemicals. Email us at thebarryfarm@yahoo.com for more details or to arrange for a time to come to the farm.
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Generation to generation

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The kids and I began some seeding in the back pasture tonight. All 3 of us worked together while mommy was away at an HMI gathering. While we seeded I remembered that last fall during this time my father in law was here. I got very lucky when I married Renee that I was blessed with a mother and father in law that truly loves and care for me. They are very willing to mentor and nurture our marriage and my family is all the better for it. Last fall as we seeded fall pasture my father in law relayed 3 generations of advice when it comes to seeding technique and lore. He doesn’t know it but I soak that stuff up like a sponge. I can recall the entire afternoon of story instruction and theory. This year I got to encourage Seamus to learn what I had learned. I told him the stories the reasons and the hope that new seed can bring. We had completed most of the pasture when Layla came to join us. She wanted to take over the hand seeder and rather than jump in and tell her what to do I just waited to see what would happen. And to melt my butter the young man told her almost verbatim just what I had told him. This is the way farming and life is best lived with perspective and instruction given by mentors and young men who are open to mentorship. Now that’s enough before I miss my father in law any more. Happy farming

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