About this project
We're in the Final Hours! Thank you to everyone for pushing us to the $25,000 funding goal and helping to make the on-farm butcher shop happen!
Save big with whole pig order shipped directly to your home in four parts as you are ready for each from our on-farm butcher shop. This saves you freezer space while also giving you the best price of just $7.11/lb shipped to your home. Split with a friend! See the $995 whole pig reward. Includes sausage, hot dogs and smoked products like bacon & hams. Also available as quarter pig and half pigs in one and two shipments respectively. See rewards.
$280 & $335 Oven Roaster Pigs including shipping
Butchering & Farm Videos and Book in the $41 to $49 range and combo packs at $79 and $99 levels which can also be added to any other package.
Small tusks, commemorative patch and T-shirt added at $27, $30 and $44 but also available as add on's to all shipping packages over $25 for $5, $10 and $20 respectively. See Update #44
Our family is building a USDA inspected on-farm butcher shop where we'll cut meat here and make sausage from our delicious, naturally raised, pastured pork. With our own butcher shop we will have breeding through creative charcuterie right here on our farm. Our passion and vision is to have the complete circle of life here on Sugar Mountain.
Funds will help us finish the butcher shop construction this summer by purchasing materials and equipment such as a meat saw, grinder and vacuum packager so that we can reward you with our delicious pastured pork!
"What's Next?" We push on to fund the next phase: on-farm slaughter and then the smokehouse. As I write this the ice has receded from Sugar Mountain and we're working on setting the forms for the next concrete pour soon.
Walter, Holly, Ben, Will, Hope Jeffries, Working Dog Kavi & Pigs
We love farming, raising our livestock all naturally and humanely to produce quality meats, sausage and other charcuterie for our own family and customers.
It takes a village to eat a pig, nose-to-tail. Every bit of the pig is good to eat. Each week we work to sell every delicious bite of the pig to our many store, restaurant and individual customers. Having our own on-farm butcher shop will make this happen.
Join us in this grand adventure by backing our project and getting great rewards from goodies like T-shirts to ivory tusks and of course, sausage, bacon and delicious pastured pork shipped to you as listed in the rewards at right.
“With the on-site abattoir that Walter is pursuing I see great opportunities. With every transaction I made with him he has been prompt, professional, and delivered a product of superior quality.”
Former Chef & Owner,
Carpenter & Main Restaurant,
Since 2003 our family has been breeding and raising pastured pigs on our land, rotationally grazing them on mountain pastures with our sheep, chickens, ducks and geese. We have a diverse farm but it is the pigs who bring home the bacon and pay the mortgage. Our whole family is involved in our farm from breeding to caring for the animals to fencing and construction. My wife Holly delivers our pastured pork and succulent sausages fresh year round to stores, restaurants and individual customers on our regular weekly delivery route throughout Vermont. Last year we began shipping nationwide after almost a decade of local deliveries.
Bringing the butchering on-farm will save time, gas and stress as well as giving us more control. This means more humane handling for the animals, top quality meat for customers, a lower carbon footprint and increased sustainability for our farm.
Floor Plan of the Butcher Shop at Sugar Mountain Farm (zoom)
Healthy meat and humane treatment of our animals is critical to us. We raise our pigs on mountain fields eating pasture and hay plus dairy for the vast majority of their diet. Their grazing improves the soil. In turn the land feeds them. They eat grasses, clover, alfalfa, apples, pears, nuts, pumpkins, beets, turnips, kale and sunflowers we grow on our farm plus a variety of other fruits and veggies. They also get whey, excess cheese and trim from a local artisanal cheese maker, boiled barley from a local brew pub and occasional treats of bread from a nearby bakery which are great for leading and loading. We do not feed commercial hog food, antibiotics or hormones nor do we use herbicides, pesticides or the like. The result is delicious wholesome, healthy meat from our farm to your family table.
Pigs on Pasture and Livestock Dog Saturn watching over Herd (zoom)
Culinary experts, chefs, butchers and individuals have vouched their support for our project as can be seen in these letters of recommendation.
“I was so pleased to learn that Sugar Mountain Farm will be developing an on-farm slaughter facility. Sugar Mountain has been an integral part of our annual Pig Roast here at Magic Mountain, and I can only imagine how on-farm slaughter will improve your already excellent product.”
Inn on Magic Mountain,
As has been widely discussed, the availability of meat processing options for small farmers are severely limited and continue to diminish. This hurts consumers by reducing choice, threatens the sustainability of local agriculture and is a food security risk for our nation through the consolidation into ever larger factory farms and giant processing facilities. Since the late 1990s a large number of butcher shops and other small meat processors shut their doors. This point was further driven home to us when two regional facilities burned down and three others closed in recent years.
When our butcher announced his retirement in 2008 we realized we must have our own processing facility. We met with the head of Vermont's Meat Quality Inspection Division to discuss our options, go over licensing requirements and plan our course of action. We also met with the USDA's regional director and several local inspectors. We were warned that it was a huge task to take on, that the costs were high. While there was no financial help from the government for constructing small on-farm butcher shops they have been eager to offer technical assistance and feedback on our project - they want us to succeed, they want more slaughter and process options available.
Simultaneously while I educated myself about what it would take to permit, design, build and operate our own facility, my wife, our eldest son and I began a wonderful eighteen month apprenticeship in commercial meat cutting with master butcher Cole Ward. As we did this I completed the USDA's HACCP/PR food safety course on safe meat handling and began working with the state agencies on permitting. By June 2009 I had obtained all our necessary permits, the facility design was ready and we began construction.
Tearing Down the Hay Shed and Building Up the Butcher Shop (zoom)
Our customers offer a great deal of encouragement and support for our on-farm slaughtering and butchering endeavor, citing the added quality and improved humaneness for the animals. Customers look forward to the faster response times that will be possible with processing being in our control and are excited by the added possibilities for specialty cuts, sausages and other charcuterie. Many customers helped financially by backing our project with loans and CSA Pre-Buys of pork that allowed us to buy concrete, insulation, steel and other materials.
By adding our own personal savings to CSA pre-buys and generous loans from friends and customers we completed 90% of the external construction necessary for the butcher shop by the end of 2011. When the snow and ice of the winter of 2011 arrived we had mostly completed our building. We shutdown construction to wait out old man winter and waited for spring when the ice and snow would melt off the mountain.
First we are setting up just for cutting the meat as this is our highest cost. Next we'll add on-farm slaughter to eliminate the long trip. Later, once our smokehouse, brine room and kitchen are up and running we'll be able to do smoked sausages, aged sausages and our premium all natural smoked hot dogs, smoked kielbasa, bacon, ham, prosciutto and other great traditional charcuterie.
Initially we'll just do processing of animals from our own farm due to the complex regulatory and insurance issues around handling animals from other farms. After we get everything working smoothly we will be able to look at processing for other people who buy summer pigs from us and then later additional animals from other farms.
Vaulted Concrete Ceilings Beginning to Cure (zoom)
Benefitting Other Farmers & Community:
Opening our own on-farm facility immediately benefits other local farmers because it frees up 500 to 1,000 processing slots a year at regional butcher shops, easing the strain on the meat processing infrastructure.
We are also sharing with other farmers what we have learned during this process of building our butcher shop so that more people can create efficient, nano-scale, on-farm meat processing facilities to serve their local areas across the country and around the world. Our project has already inspired othe farmers to do similar projects and it has been selected for the Open Ecologies Project Wiki because we are openly sharing how we are innovating and building on an accessible, affordable scale.
On my blog you'll find floor plans, construction details, technological and innovative features for energy efficiency, including the use of winter cold, earth berms, super-insulated high thermal mass, earth-sheltered vaults, using the natural heat of the carcasses and a solar chimney to drive circulation. Just as important are innovative wastewater handling and composting of organic materials to keep the nutrients on the farm.
“I write to thank you for the tremendous inspiration and help that you continue to provide to me and many others in the sustainable family farming kinship. Your Sugar Mountain Farm Blog with its explicit descriptions, pictures and graphics of how and why you manage the farm using deliberate sustainable strategies and techniques has been a treasure of information for me as I prepare to expand my operation from seasonal pastured hogs to year round pastured hogs.”
Humble Haven Farm,
Fort Loudon, PA
“Walter and his family are one of a kind. In today's America where families often grow apart, leaving the family farm, his demonstrates what can be accomplished by sharing a common goal and working towards it non-stop. Our own farm has benefitted tremendously from what we have learned about pastured pork from the Jeffries family.”
South Pork Ranch,
“Walter's blog has been one of the most helpful and inspiring resources for us while we increase our pig numbers and build infrastructure. We have been consulting Walter for his experience in building catenary arches over his head in his house, and his shop, with the hopes that we can build our own thin-shell ceiling in our drying room.”
-Brooks & Anna
North Mountain Pastures
Join us in this excellent adventure and enjoy the fruits of our labor shipped to your home!
In exchange for your support we're offering wonderful rewards including great Goodies and best of all, meat from our farm. We normally sell only locally in the New England area. For years we have had requests to ship our meat. As a Kickstarter special offer we are shipping our delectable all natural pastured pork and charcuterie to carnivores across the nation. Shipping in the United States is included in all packages - add $20 for shipping internationally on goodies. Meat can only be shipped within the USA.
Check out all the great rewards and please tell your friends via twitter, facebook, farmville, discussion lists, your blog and word of mouth to come Kickstart the butcher shop at Sugar Mountain Farm! The first 100 backers to sign up at or over the $100 level get an extra bonus surprise reward on project funding! Notice that the mid-level and upper tiers offer real value shipped directly to your home.
FarmImage Goodies: Your choice of either a Set of Ten Fun Farm Stickers, Set of Five Sugar Mountain Farm Picture Postcards, a Pig Pen or an Art Print of life on Sugar Mountain to hang on your wall.
Pig Pen - the only kind we use at Sugar Mountain Farm (zoom)
FarmStuff Goodies: Your choice of either a 2013 Sugar Mountain Farm Calendar, Mug with Big Pig (top photo), T-shirt with Pork Cut Chart or Wall Poster (Big Pig, Pork Cut Chart, Riddle of Counting Pigs, Laughing Dog or Piglets).
T-Shirt, Wall Poster & Postcard: Sugar Mountain Farm Pastured Pork Cut Chart which has appeared on BBC Television and hangs in many stores & restaurants. T-shirt slightly simplified for better presentation. (zoom) (shirt)
CoolPigStuff Goodies: Stone Cube base (like what we use in construction of our vaulted masonry ceilings and floors), Knuckle Dice or Small Pig Teeth Fairy Boxed Collection.† (see photo below.) Roll them bones! Knuckle bones were the dice of ancient times. Great fun and unique conversation pieces.
A-Big Tusks, B-Small Tusks, C-Small Pig Teeth, D-Knuckle Dice, E-Stone Cubes like what we used to build our vaulted masonry ceilings. Farmer's Hand & 12" Ruler for comparison only - not for sale. (zoom 4.5MB) (dice)
Goodie Combo Pack: Your choice of a Goodie item from each of the FarmImages, FarmStuff and CoolPigStuff levels. Want a T-shirt, Art print and Knuckle dice? They're yours! Mix and match.
Mega-CoolPigStuff: Tusks! These are genuine ivory from our pastured pigs. Good luck, fortune, fertility and strength are some of the special attributes of tusks in many cultures. Every tusk is unique and the supply is extremely limited. You won't find these anywhere else. The small tusks are representative samples. The Big Tusks shown are the actual ten tusks currently available, by December we'll have even more. The largest is 10.5" around the outer arc of the tooth tip to tip, 4.875" across the circle and 1" across at the base. Because the tusks are so unique we need some way to determine who gets first pick and I believe that this will work: select the Tusk for your reward, either the tusk or the Tusk plus Pick of the Pig Sampler. Then place the highest amount you feel comfortable pledging. The person pledging the most beyond the tier's basic price at the end gets first pick of the tusks, the person pledging the second most gets second pick and so on. In the event of multiple people pledging the same amount then earlier pick goes to earlier bidder in order. For more details zoom into the higher resolution version of the photo (4.5MB).†
Finally, the Real Meat of the Rewards!
Each of these great packages of meat are also available with bacon and other smoked products at a small additional cost. See rewards list at right and look for the word Bacon in each case. Shipping within the USA is included in all rewards!
Farmer's Basket Mini Sampler: Three pounds of our delicious all natural pork for you to enjoy in your kitchen. You also get a FarmImage item of your choice, or if you prefer, an extra package of sausages. An inexpensive way to get a taste of Sugar Mountain pastured pork and charcuterie while supporting our Big Project! If you're local and can meet us on our delivery route or pickup at the farm we'll throw in an extra package of sausage as our way of saying thanks for not shipping! This great offer holds for all the meat packages.
Sausage Sampler: Your choice of five pounds of our delicious all natural pork hot dogs and sausages. Includes Goodie Combo Pack so you won't miss out on all the fun toys!
Pick of the Pig: Your choice of five pounds of cuts from our pastured pork. Choose from tenderloin, sirloin cutlets, country ribs, pork loin chops, hot dogs, sausage, ground, and hocks. All delicious - you pick what you want! Also includes Goodie Combo Pack, of course!
Supreme: The sampler package isn't big enough? Well, step right up to the Supreme! Four times as much meat at 20 lbs plus a volume discount means that you don't want to miss out on these hot opportunities. Includes multiple Goodie Combo Packs!
Subscriptions: Once is never enough! We can ship regular packages of our wholesome products to you across a year and even for a full decade. Includes multiple Goodie Combo Packs, of course. All meat subscribers are welcome to pickup at the farm or can get free delivery along our weekly route. If you do come to the farm you can see the pigs out in our fields.
Patrons: For the serious, deeply dedicated pork connoisseur, a decade of Pick of the Pig and other high levels. As we come out with new products, you'll get the opportunity to try them out in sneak previews. You get to name a breeding boar and will receive an autographed limited edition art print of said gentleman of the fields. You also get to have a room in the facility named after you complete with engraved Vermont granite plaque. And of course, you get the personal tour and will be outfitted with lots of Goodies and a tusk too!†
"What Cuts of Pork Are Available?" This question has been asked by quite a few people. The simple answer is just about everything your heart desires. Check out the new article "What Good is a Pig: Cuts of Pork, Nose-to-Tail" on my blog that details all the cuts on the pig with charts and diagrams to illustrate it all. When the time comes to ship orders we'll send out order forms for each of the meat packages so that you can let us know what cuts you would like to receive in your rewards.
To maintain quality, shipments of meat are not made during months with a 'u' as the second letter. i.e., June, July and August. Meat rewards will begin in Vermont after we achieve our state inspection license. Shipments of meat outside of Vermont will begin after we achieve our USDA inspection license.
Also note that actual rewards may differ a little from those pictured, especially for natural items like the knuckle bone dice, tusks, stone cubes, etc. Rest assured they will be fantastic!
†No pigs were harmed in the harvesting of these tusks and teeth. Cutting teeth, tusks and tails while the animal is alive as is done in some places is painful and can cause infection. We do not cut teeth or tusks on live animals nor do we dock tails.
Wall Poster & Postcard: Riddle of Counting Pigs Poster (zoom)
“As the Meat Fabrication Instructor at New England Culinary Institute, I had several opportunities to use Sugar Mountain Farm pork. I was always impressed with the quality of product and the professional manner in which it was handled. My dealings with Walter and his wife were also very professional, while passion for their endeavor was always evident. The expansion of their operation to include an inspected slaughter and processing facility is a welcome move for small agriculture in Vermont.”
-Chef Bryan Severns,
New England Culinary Institute,
How Does Kickstarter Work?
Until the funding drive ends you can make pledges to help support our project. Pledges can range from $1 to $10,000. Keep it to something you can afford without your spouse, significant other, parent or financial advisor grounding you. For your pledge, you may select one of the wonderful reward packages (listed at right) of equal or lesser value to your pledge. You can pledge more than the minimum to get a reward. For international shipments of Goodies you'll need to add extra to cover the added shipping costs. (Sorry, but we can't ship meat internationally.)
You can change your mind right up to the final deadline. Your account will not actually be charged until the project successfully funds. When the final deadline comes, if we have reached our goal, everyone gets charged the amount they pledged. Two weeks later Amazon transfers the money to our bank account and we get to work sending out thank you postcards, making Goodies and whatnot in addition to farming and doing construction.
If we don't meet our goal then no one gets charged, no fees are applied, everyone just keeps their money. Of course, if we fail to meet the goal, then no one gets any rewards either and some of those rewards are mega-cool!
Anything you can do to spread the word is greatly appreciated from pressing the Like button at the top to tweeting to telling your friends to come Kickstart the butcher shop at Sugar Mountain Farm! Here's short link: smf.me/ks which is easy to pass out.
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