At the Bar Five Ranch, the house, the farm and all its inhabitants can breath a deep sigh of relief, for Friday marks the first Friday off since April. For new readers, allow me to explain; Bar Five is a family-owned business with deep roots in value, tradition and customer satisfaction. We (meaning the family and I) bring farm-fresh products to the Farmers Market in Downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis every Saturday and Sunday throughout Spring, Summer and late Fall (and even WINTER!) Working as a farmer is easier said than done! Alone with the changing weather, harsh temperatures, spiking electric and gas prices makes sustainable farming in the 21st Century un-ideal for a small business.
On top of growing crops and animals, there is also a growing family; with 4 kids all ages spread out through college to junior high school the parents and owners at Bar Five have learned to juggle their dynamic lifestyle for 11 years!
The busy season for Bar Five runs from April 1st to October 31st, hitting all three seasons Spring, Summer and Fall, they can be found at 7 markets a week on average! They specialize in fresh poultry, pork and beef products along with hand-made chicken sausages in a variety of flavors not found anywhere else. Their name, family, surrounding vendors and customers are all unique, which is reflected in the meat. The dynamic and large offering of meat varieties within the brat category alone is astonishing!
But to relate why this Friday, November 25, 2011 was called “Golden Friday” instead of Black Friday is really quite simple: it marks the end of the busy season and the beginning of relaxation and rest. By the time I have eaten my share of turkey on Thanksgiving and have come out of my “turkey coma” I feel the exhaustion of the past 5 days. In 5 days my family’s business processes, cleans, packages, labels and delivers turkeys to our dedicated customers at the farmers markets either a day or two before Thanksgiving. Along with most of the family being in school and some at college 70 miles away the production seemed much harder this year. But not to fear, having worked with family in tighter situations has brought on manageable teamwork and great experiences for all at Bar Five.
While some families decide to brave the crowds and shop early Friday or other families decide to enjoy their relatives company, Bar Five is outside tidying up the far-too-long neglected house. Friday allowed for John and Jake to work on the cattle drinker. One of the most important and necessary elements animals need to survive in the winter is: water (clean water). John and Jake fixed the float and small heater that keeps the water from freezing in our Minne-Snowta weather! Jess and Liz hauled in small square bales for the chicken, duck/goose, turkey and sheep pens and insulated the inside corners and floors for the coming cold. Later Jake hauled in the rest of the large round bales from the fields; Jess and Liz worked to remove posts from the temporary fences that were put up earlier in spring, summer and fall. The night ended on a good note as Jess and Liz found a surprise in the cattle’s hay this evening: 3 large goose eggs!