One of the most common misconceptions, in my opinion, about homesteading and farming is that we can succeed in being "self" sufficient. In theory I supposed we could, but what would be the point? Our goal is not to opt out of the community, but out of unsustainable systems that are not serving the community good. Truly, I have never been more aware of our interdependence on other people for meeting our needs. Especially when it comes to big projects such as building our new barn last year.
Since the beginning of our farming journey, we have put a high value on working with others in the community. This has looked like many things and I could never begin to list them all! Recently, my friend Ann from Pork & Plants called to propose a collaboration that I'm super excited to share.
Ann and I met over a dozen years ago as somewhat (ok, much) younger home school moms. I knew Ann and her husband were farmers, raising soy-free heritage red wattle hogs but I didn't know that much about those sorts of things back then and I certainly never imagined we would some day be doing it ourselves (albeit on a smaller scale)! The first whole animal we bought for the freezer was one of their hogs and we have never looked back in all that time. When Tomas (now 6!) was sick with a rare food allergy called FPIES (Food Protein Induced Entercolitis Syndrome), Ann was a huge help in taking me deeper into the world of just what is in the food we eat and encouraging me to keep trying GAPS and Weston A. Price Foundation resources rather than strictly taking the medical formula approach our clinic was encouraging. Since we met many years ago, Ann and her husband Eric (and their 5 kids!) have taken over the greenhouse (plants) aspect of their family business as well. Many people from our area watch for their opening date each year. (Psst....It's April 19th for 2022, in case you missed it.) Like most greenhouses, Pork & Plants carries more than plants and I am excited to announce that this year they will be carrying soaps crafted by us here at Euphrosyne Corner Farm... made with lard from Pork & Plants heritage hogs! Right now I'm looking at forty bars of three varieties on the curing shelves and I know Ann is anxious to get them to the shop as soon as we can. Soap curing can be a little finicky but we hope to have them fully stocked by the first full weekend the greenhouse is open, if not by the opening date on the 19th.
Just like the subtle differences in flavor and nutrition profile between certain species of plants and animals, the difference in Pork & Plants red wattle lard and Euphrosyne Corner Farm berkshire cross lard (in addition to the different diets) creates a subtle difference in the soap itself. I think that the red wattle lard is going to finish with a creamier and softer bar. There are advantages to a harder or softer bar and I am looking forward to comparing the two.
I will definitely be back to share my experience!
***If you are interested in partnering with Euphrosyne Corner Farm on a project, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea. We love small, family-based businesses and want to succeed alongside of you!