Open House November 8, 2015

Please Join Us!

Monnett Farms Fall Open House
Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 1pm to 3pm

Come see the farm, hop on a wagon ride and take a guided tour. We’ll have light food and drinks for you to enjoy.

There’s plenty of parking. Dress for the weather. Event will be held in an old tobacco barn.

Some Basic Rules…
Kids are welcome, there is minimal walking and strollers are welcome. Parents must accompany children on the hayride. Because of our farm animals, we cannot accommodate dogs – we apologize.

How to Get Here
Monnett Farms is located off Rt. 231 in Prince Frederick, Calvert County.
4825 Dennis Monnett Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Google maps will give you accurate directions.

From Route 4
Turn West onto Rt. 231. Pass Spider Hall Farms and take a left onto Adelina Road.
Follow Adelina Road for approximately 3 to 4 miles (you’ll cross over Sixes Road and pass a white church).
Turn left onto Dennis Monnett Road.
Follow Dennis Monnett Road to the very end and straight past the first barn. Parking in the field beyond the second barn.

From the Benedict Bridge
Turn right onto Sixes Road (first light after bridge, across from the Industrial Park).
Turn right onto Adelina Road (second stop sign).
Turn left onto Dennis Monnett Road (just past white church).
Follow Dennis Monnett Road to the very end and straight past the first barn. Parking in the field beyond the second barn.

As an alternative (less winding path), you can turn right onto Adelina Road (just up the hill and past Hallowing Point Park) and follow directions “From Route 4″.

RSVP

Please let us know if you can make it! Email jamie@monnettfarms.com.

Monnett Farms Featured at Governor Hogan’s Buy Local Cookout

We were thrilled to be included on the menu at the Governor’s Annual Buy Local Cookout. Chef Mike Archibald of Herrington on the Bay Catering in Anne Arundel county submitted a recipe for London Broil with Corn, Onion and Pepper Relish. Beef for the recipe was sourced from our farm as well as Progressive Farm in Anne Arundel County. The corn, onion and peppers were sourced from Swann Farms in Calvert County.

Jamie & Benson Tiralla
Jamie & Benson Tiralla at the Buy Local Cookout

Herrington on the Bay Catering
Herrington on the Bay Catering had a winning recipe for the 2015 Buy Local Cookout – Owner Anna Chaney & Chef Mike Archibald

Chef Mike’s recipe is featured below as well as a link to the Governor’s 2015 Buy Local Cookbook

London Broil with Corn, Onion & Pepper Relish

Recipe by Mike Archibald of Herrington on the Bay Catering
Featured at Maryland Governor Hogan’s 2015 Buy Local Cookout

London Broil Recipe from 2015 Governor's Buy Local Cookout

Monnett Farms Named CSCD Cooperator of the Year

We are excited to announce that Monnett Farms has been named Cooperator of the Year for 2014 by the Calvert Soil Conservation District. We received the award at the organization’s annual banquet on Thursday, March 12th.

Monnett Farms Named CSCD 2014 Cooperator of the Year

Benson and I have been cooperators of the Calvert Soil Conservation District (CSCD) since 2011. Benson’s parents, Joseph & Marilyn Tiralla have been members since 1987. Benson’s grandfather, Dennis Monnett Jr. was also a cooperator and served as treasurer for the CSCD from 1960 to 1963. Dennis Monnett Jr. was named Cooperator of the Year in 1965.

Monnett Farms Conservation Practices

Since 2007, we have adopted many best management practices – or BMPs. With help from the CSCD, we have fenced in about 30 acres of pasture to keep animals out of streams and sensitive areas. We have also installed automatic waterers, which sit on concrete pads called heavy use areas – that help to prevent watering stations from becoming muddy and control erosion.

We have also replanted some pastures and renovated others by overseeding with clover to assist with our rotational grazing program.

This spring, we will be installing gutters on the barn to control roof run off and subsequent soil erosion.

Fences and gates at Monnett Farms helps us manage a rotational grazing system for cattle, goats and sheep.

Monnett Farms Fence and Gate System

Monnett Farms Fencing System

Frost-free hydrants give animals year round, free choice access to water. Concrete pads around the hydrants help control these heavy use areas.

Monnett Farms Water Hydrants and Heavy Use Areas

What is a Soil Conservation District?

The first soil conservation districts were formed in response to desperate conditions caused by the dust bowl. In 1935, Congress declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Three-quarters of the land in the United States was privately owned, and so it was realized that only through active and voluntary support from landowners could Congress guarantee the success of conservation on private land.

The Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD) was organized on March 29, 1945. The Calvert Soil Conservation District officially organized on June 10, 1948. Today there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts – one in almost every county in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Maryland, there are 24 soil conservation districts.

A soil conservation district is made up of landowners and farmers called cooperators. These members join together voluntarily in planning for and controlling soil erosion, sedimentation, and flooding; as well as managing animal wastes, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals to protect farmland and water quality.

The CSCD provides technical assistance to landowners with installing best management practices as well as cost-share programs. CSCD also has an equipment rental program for farmers and landowners. Learn more about the Calvert Soil Conservation District at calvertsoil.org.

Markets Closed For Winter

It’s obvious that winter is upon us. We see Christmas decorations up everywhere – the air is much cooler…and the farmers markets in the area are mostly closed for winter.

We’re thankful for all the support you showed us this year. The only thing that could have been better was if we had more meat to sell you! This winter, we’re busy breeding animals and catching up on repairs to the barns and equipment. Last weekend, Benson and I went to Virginia to buy a few more sheep for our flock and we’ll have a few new cows on the farm this month as well.

We will have some pasture raised pork available in February – if you’d like to be notified, we suggest you sign up for our newsletter. The hens are still laying eggs, though not as many, now that the days are shorter and the air is cool. If you’re interested in buying eggs, please contact us to arrange a time to pick them up direct from the farm.

If you’re fixing for local meats and produce, don’t forget about all the wonderful farm stands in the area that carry local meats. Our favorites in Calvert County are:

If you need help finding something special, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email or message us through Facebook. We have lots of friends who farm and would love to share their information with you.

Extended Farmers Market Season

Great news everyone! Both of the farmers markets that we participate in will be open through November. Our attendance will be dependent on the availability of our meats. But, we’ll be there until we sell out. This fall, we have Pasture Raised Pork and Grass Fed Lamb, as well as Free Range Eggs.

Our Farmers Markets

You can find Monnett Farms at two farmers markets:

Solomons Farmers Market
Thursdays 4pm to dark (usually we’re there until 7pm)
Last market date: 11/20/2014

California (BAE) Farmers Market
Saturdays 9am to 1pm
Last market date: 11/29/2014

Visit monnettfarms.com/meats-price-list/ for pricing and availability.

Reflections on Raising Meat

Monnett Farms

It’s with some hesitation that I write this post. The ultimate fate of our animals is something that we try not to focus on. Most people would prefer to eat their meat without thinking about the fact that it came from a once living animal. It’s much easier that way.

Today is a day of reflection. Our first lambs are being taken down to the butcher. While we’re so excited to add lamb to our list of products and so proud of the work we’re doing, I would be lying if I said it was easy. There’s a twinge of sadness that I’m not ashamed to share. I think it’s important to know how much Benson and I care about the animals we raise and appreciate the responsibility we have of being stewards of God’s land and creatures.

We are often asked “how can you do it?”. It’s not easy – but I’ve gotten to the point now, where it seems more difficult to buy meat at the store not knowing where it came from – and I don’t just mean geographically. I mean knowing how it was raised, what it was fed, how it was cared for and how it ultimately died.

I think the more important question to ask is why Benson and I farm. Here are just a few of the reasons:

1. To provide people with a choice.
Most people eat meat. Some choose to be vegetarian, vegan, etc. and I think that’s a fine choice. But for those people who do eat meat, they deserve to have a choice. Buying our meat means that you’re supporting a local family farm that raises animals on pasture in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way.

2. To know where our food is coming from.
When we started farming about 7 years ago, it was mostly to feed our own family. Raising our own meat meant that we could be deeply connected to the food we were eating and that there was no question about where it came from, how it was raised and how it lived its life. We took the time (and still do) to know the people who butcher our meat to ensure that from the day the animal was born until its final moments, it was well cared for. The butcher we use now, Faquier’s Finest Meat Processing, is a USDA-inspected, Animal Welfare Approved butcher. We have developed a personal relationship with this company and work cooperatively with them to ensure that our meat is of the highest quality.

3. To connect to our roots.
Benson’s family has been in Calvert County since the late 1700s. In some ways, what we do is about carrying on a legacy – preserving a piece of land for our own children, Benson’s brother’s children and hopefully our future great-great-grandchildren. Not many people have the opportunity (or desire) to farm. We feel blessed to preserve agriculture in Southern Maryland and share our experience with so many wonderful and supportive people.

4. To nourish our soul.
Farming is difficult and profound work. We have deepened our connection to God, who gave man dominion over the land, sea and animals. Religion aside, there’s also a deep sense of connection that we have towards the earth and health of our planet. Farming has made us more aware of ways we can improve to keep ourselves and our planet healthier. Benson and I debate almost everyday about different types of farming – being a part of the local farming community has opened our eyes to the need for diversity. We’re proud of the space we fill in this community.

We Are a Grass-Based Farm

The health of our pasture – from the soil to the grass is of the utmost importance. Without healthy pasture, we can’t produce healthy meat. We carefully select animals that will thrive on a pasture based management system. In some cases, as with our sheep, they are rare breeds that face extinction without good stewards to continue their breed. Our cows, sheep and goats are exclusively grass fed. They are born and raised on our farm, loved from the day they are born. Our pigs come from a local farm, bred and raised by farmers we deeply admire. We get them as piglets and raise them on pasture and wooded areas, supplementing with locally sourced feed (St. Mary’s County).

It doesn’t happen often – but it’s harder to deal with a sick animal than one that’s going to the butcher. When an animal dies from sickness, there is an indescribable feeling of loss. We analyze these situations from all sides to understand how we can improve and what we could do differently to prevent similar situations from happening again.

Raising an animal to its full potential is very rewarding. We’re so proud of the quality of meat we produce and appreciate all the positive feedback we’ve gotten. We stand face to face with our customers every week, holding ourselves accountable for the products we sell. And we go to bed every night thankful for the opportunity we have.

Meat is a precious resource. We should all think a little harder about where our food comes from and to support those who work tirelessly to raise it.

The Calvert County Fair is this week – be sure to stop in the Ag Building to learn about Calvert’s farming heritage and to visit the 4-Hers who proudly show their animals and other projects at the fair each year. The future is bright for young farmers.

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Fall Farmers Market Schedule

Monnett Farms is back at the Farmers Markets this fall with grass fed beef and grass fed goat meat starting September 6th. We will have pasture raised pork and grass fed lamb in October.

Monnett Farms Fall Farmers Market Schedule 2014

Where to Buy Monnett Farms Meats

California Farmers Market
Where: BAE Systems Parking Lot, St. Mary’s County (on Rt. 235, across from Walmart)
When: Saturdays, 9am to 1pm

Solomons Farmers Market
Where: Solomons River Walk, Calvert County (north end near Stoney’s Kingfisher)
When: Thursdays, 4pm to 8pm

How to place an order
We accept advance orders for meat purchases. Please email us a day in advance, if possible, to give us enough time to organize your order. The best way to contact us is by email: sales@monnettfarms.com. Visit our Meats Price List for price and details about what cuts are available.

Custom Orders

We also sell custom orders – sides of beef and sides of pork, which are available seasonally.

Sides of Grass Fed Beef
Our custom beef orders open January 2015. There is a limited supply. Please email sales@monnettfarms.com to be put on our notification list. Orders will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Sides of Pasture Raised Pork
We have a buying cycle open for sides/whole pork orders. These hogs will be processed and meat delivered in January 2015.

Whole Hog: $4.50 per pound*
Side of Pork: $4.75 per pound*

*Price is based on the hanging weight of the pork. Hanging weight is the weight of the hog hanging in a meat cooler before being butchered into the usable cuts. We are estimating that a side of our pork will be 75-90 lb. The yield after butchering the hog is usually around 70-80% of the hanging weight, depending on the cuts you select.

**There is an additional cost for cured and smoked meats. Please add $2.50 per lb. for bacon and/or ham that you want cured and smoked.

To place your custom pork order, please download and complete our Pork Order Form, which can be mailed or emailed to us, or we can take your order by phone. For whole pork orders, we require a $250 deposit; for sides of pork, $150 deposit – within 5 days of your order.

If you have questions about how to complete your order form, check out our Buyers Guide to Sides of Pork or call us at 410.535.4357.

Where’s the Beef? Supply vs. Demand at Monnett Farms

We’re more than half way through our first farmers market season and whew! what a time we’ve had. Being at the farmers markets is a wonderful and very rewarding experience. Benson and I have been producing grass fed beef since 2007. Before we started selling at the market, the only way you could buy our meat was to commit to a half or quarter of beef and have it custom cut.

This worked really well for us for a long time. But it was almost like a VIP club. We couldn’t sell to many people selling our beef this way. And while we LOVE all of our loyal custom order customers – we did want to share our product (which we think is wonderful) with more people. So, last year, we went through the process of getting several licenses and certifications through the state of Maryland. Under these umbrellas, we are permitted to have our animals butchered at a USDA inspected facility, transport the frozen meat back to our farm, store the frozen meat on our farm and sell the frozen meat at the farmers markets.

The markets have been tremendously successful for us. The popularity of our meats has created a problem that we didn’t think we’d have – not enough supply. Raising grass fed beef takes about three years – that’s time to breed the cow, a 9 month gestation period and then two years to finish the cow/steer on pasture/hay until it’s ready to market.

Pigs don’t take quite as long to finish. We don’t breed our own pigs here on the farm. Instead, we purchase “feeder pigs” (weaned piglets) from a local St. Mary’s County farm and we raise them here until they reach their finished weight, which is about 250lbs. It takes us about 6 months to finish our hogs.

The goat and sheep take about 18 months. Similar to the cows, we breed them here on the farm. The goat and sheep have a 5 month gestation period and typically you don’t want the lamb or goat to be more than a year old when it comes time to market them.

Custom orders (sides of beef and pork) are something that we continue to offer. This is what we started the farm with and an option we still want to provide people with. If you have the freezer space and your family eats beef/pork on a regular basis – this is the option we recommend. We also introduced a meat CSA this year, which was an option for people who don’t have the freezer space, but still want to “guarantee” their local meat supply. We reserve the rest for the markets so “everyone” can try our meats if they want to.

Anticipating what we need one, two or three years in advance is difficult – and we’ve outpaced our own expectations. We are scaling as quickly as possible, but with the type of farm we’ve chosen to have, that path is a little bit slower. Here’s what the rest of 2014 will look like for us…

Beef – Limited Supply Until September
We’ve just about sold out of our beef for the summer. There is one steer we reserved to take down to the butcher in mid-August, which we will have back in the early part of September.

We are sold out of sides of beef until 2015. If this is something you are interested in, we strongly recommend that you email us at sales@monnettfarms.com to be placed on our waiting list for first notification when we start taking reservations in January.

Pork – Sold Out Until mid-September
Wow do you guys like your pork! The pork we had at the market earlier this summer went very fast. We have several hogs to take to the butcher in late September and we’ll have those back in first weeks of October.

Custom pork orders for September are officially closed. We aren’t selling any more from this crop – however, we are adding a third buying cycle. These pigs will be ready in January. We’ll accept orders on a first come first serve basis through September 30th.

Lamb & Goat Meat – Available mid-September
We are very excited to start marketing our lamb and goat meat this year. This is our first year marketing the lamb and until now, we’ve only reserved the goat meat for ourselves or custom orders (whole goats). This will be at the market in mid-September. It’s unlikely that we’ll open up custom orders for the lamb/goat because of the limited supply, but you can still ask if you’re interested. Email sales@monnettfarms.com and we can discuss options.

Summer Farmers Market Schedule

We’ve been trying to stretch our meat supply out as long as we could, but we’ve reached the point where we’re just about sold out. That means we’ll have to take a break from the market until we have more meat in stock. This is a tough decision for us on a number of levels. First, we really like seeing you all every week. Second, we made a commitment to the market and the other vendors to be there. But, without much meat to sell at the market, it doesn’t make sense for us to be there.

Here’s the plan:

* 7/23 (wed.) – Prince Frederick Courthouse Farmers Market 11:30am – 3:30pm
* Vacation 7/25 – 8/1
* 8/2 (sat.) – California Farmers Market 9am – 1pm & CSA Pick Up
* 8/7 (thurs.) – Solomons Farmers Market 4pm – 8pm & CSA Pick Up
* Summer Break through end of August
* 9/6 (sat.) tentative date of return to the California Farmers Market
* Resume farmers market schedule:
- Solomons Farmers Market • Thursdays 4pm to 8pm
September 11th through close of market in November
- California Farmers Market • Saturdays 9am to 1pm
September 6th through close of market in October

July Farmers Market Schedule

Monnett Farms July Farmers Market Schedule

Thank you to everyone who has come out to support us at the Solomons and California Farmers Markets week after week this Spring and Summer. We have an update to our July schedule:

Monnett Farms July Farmers Market Schedule Southern Maryland

New Market – July Only – Prince Frederick Courthouse

To celebrate Buy Local Month, Calvert County is hosting a special farmers market at the courthouse on Main Street in Prince Frederick. Monnett Farms is excited to be participating. We’ll have grass fed beef to sell at this market.

Prince Frederick Courthouse Farmers Market
Wednesdays • 11:30am to 3:30pm • 175 Main Street

Monnett Farms will be there on 7/9, 7/16 and 7/23

Solomons Farmers Market

We are taking a break from the Solomons Market for the month of July only, so we can participate in the Prince Frederick market. We will return to Solomons on August 7th. If you are a Solomons customer and want to place an order for delivery, you can email us at sales@monnettfarms.com to make arrangements.

Solomons Island Farmers Market
Thursdays • 4pm to 8pm • North end of the boardwalk

California Farmers Market

We will continue to be at the California (BAE) Farmers Market through the summer and fall, except for a vacation day on July 26th.

California (BAE) Farmers Market
Saturdays • 9am to 1pm • BAE Systems parking lot

Monnett Farms Joins New Farmers Market

Hello Friends! We’re excited to announce that Monnett Farms will be joining a second farmers market this season. Starting Saturday, Benson and I will be selling our meats at the California Farmers Market, aka BAE Farmers Market. We’ll join several local farmers there each week from 9am to 1pm.

The market is located in the BAE building parking lot, which is at Rt. 235 and Town Creek Drive. That’s on the north side of 235, across from the Walmart.

Right now, we still only accept cash and check at the market, though we have plans underway to add a card reader soon. In the meantime, we accept PayPal payment for advance orders.

Order by 12pm on Thursday to pick up meats at the Solomons Farmers Market

Order by 9pm on Friday to pick up meats at the California Farmers Market

We still have subscriptions available for our Meat CSA, deliveries begin next week. We are also accepting order for sides of beef. Check out our recent blog post to find out what you’ll get and how much it costs.

Thanks to everyone for all your support. We hope to see you soon.