Jack Forster - 18 August 2011
In June we managed to get all of our silage and haylage in (over 800 bales) without getting a single trailer stuck! We get Wades, a contractor from Eccleston to do all of our mowing and baling as we wouldn’t have time ourselves, but we always cart them in. Regardless of how nice the weather is and how dry the fields are, you always manage to find that bit of land that is still holding onto the last bit of water, or get caught out by a freak torrential down pour on your last load! This year was different, and both my dad and I put it down to the work we put in aerating the fields (as mentioned in previous blogs). So not only has it increased our yields, it has prevented us from creating big ruts across the fields too.
Another good investment was spending some money on branding and marketing the biltong. It has really taken off, and I am struggling to keep up with demand at the minute! It is amazing that by simply changing the bag and setting up a fairly basic website that it has really taken off. It is still the same product that it has been for 10 years, and still made by hand though, which is why people seem to like it so much.
As I have said previously I am back at the farm full time at the minute due to a neck injury, so my dad has started teaching me how to butcher, starting with boning out the bodies of beef. I have a basic knowledge of all the cuts and can do a minimal amount of butchering, but as I have only ever been dipping in and out, I am usually on burger making duties, packing and deliveries. However, because my dad is quite often too busy to bone the beef out we end up paying someone, which all adds money to the ‘cost’ of the carcass. We though that if I learn to bone out I could start to earn my keep!
I am finding it really useful, and luckily my dad and I get on well (most of the time!) and hes a very good teacher. We did 4 fore quarters on Tuesday and 4 hind quarters on Wednesday, and I fell I am starting to pick it up, as well as find it interesting.
With all this going on, I still haven’t had time to start any of my new ventures (chickens, pigs, petting zoo etc etc), but there is plenty of time! I have just about managed to keep on top of my Forster Organic Meats ‘LIKE’ page and OrganicMeatUk twitter page though, so for all you social media enthusiasts check them out! I can’t quite get into social media just yet, but its supposed to be the way forward….discuss below!!
Jack is a professional rugby player with Sale Sharks, but also has an active role in his family's farm in St Helens. The family are fourth generation farmers and and own two Soil Association licensed organic farms. All the cattle and sheep that are reared on the farm are butchered through the on farm butchery, and sold to local people through the farm shop, local deliveries and local farmers' markets. Jack is a keen supporter of British farming and wants to encourage more people to 'buy local and think organic'. He studied agriculture at Hartpury College and aims to go back into farming when he retires from rugby.