Fed up does not come close to how I feel this week, as Tinky would say: in true farm yard language:
BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP
This week I feel numb by the way a ‘local’ business, I have tried to support since I left school over 20 years ago, kicks me in the nuts again. I have long given up being shocked, but it still hurts. In a recent meeting they told me that it wasn’t personal, but it is! This is my lively hood, this is what keeps a roof over my family’s head, when they mess up it costs me money, not them.
Originally, I had planned a feel-good festive blog about food and the importance of family time around the table. I was also going to Google ‘Thanks Giving’ and what it was all about. However, my week has been plagued by my dealings with the lovely local company. I am so far from feeling festive Tinky is going to have to work her fairy magic to get me to do a ‘happy’ blog next week!
There have been lots of issues this week but the straw that broke the farmers back was when I started to butcher the 3 lambs I had purchased this week.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Once upon a time there was a happy young farmer, who loved his job……….then
BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP
Sorry I must laugh as otherwise I would cry. A good friend needed 3 lambs on Monday as he had been asked to do a last-minute function. Ideally, he wanted Ballakelly lamb.
So, I contacted the office to see if I could book in 3 of my own lambs as we always try to sell Ballakelly first, however I was too late, they could not help, when asked why, computer said no! I accepted this as I am a very understanding farmer who has learnt not to try to understand why the computer says no.
I spoke to my friend again and he wanted the lamb to at the least be Manx. So, I asked my lovely wife to email and asked could I purchase 3 equivalent lambs to a Ballakelly lamb. At least we could then say it was Manx. You can see from the e-mail chain below that she did as I asked then also followed up with another email on Friday just to check we were singing off the same hymn sheet.
I notice that in Rachel’s email on the Friday she asked for 3 NICE BIG lambs (like discussed in meeting). This is so far from what we got and was not what we discussed in the meeting. We did get BIG (so another note for Rachel BIG is another word not to use)…… we also got FAT lambs, lots of FAT, in fact nearly 6kg of unwanted FATI trimmed off and still if you look at the photos there is still plenty of FAT left to trim.
Just for the none farm readers, I as a farmer do not get paid for the kgs over 21kg, so if you look at the grade sheet I have attached, you will see the first one is 25kg, so 4kg are ‘free’.
I must check what I get charged for these 3 FAT lambs that I foolishly purchased this week. I hope that I only get charged for 21kg. If I do, then the word BIG may come back into play! But must say I need lots of free kg of meat not FAT!
You will see in the photographs that I took today how FATthese lambs were and how much waste there was. I took some of my Ballakelly lamb chops out of the fridge to compare, even Tinky spotted the difference!
As usual I turned to Google but this time I went on the company’s website, these are some of their words:
‘at the heart of meat production in the island for more than 80 years, ticks all of these boxes. Like any business, we’ve had our challenges over the years. Today, with a brand-new business and completely refurbished meat plant, we’re looking forward to supplying the Isle of Man and beyond with the finest meat you’d find anywhere.’
I assume this week that all the ‘Ballakelly Style’ lambs went beyond. If the good quality lambs were already sold, then why would they not let me put my own lambs in or COMMUNICATE and say sorry Al we have not got any lambs of the quality you require we can do you a deal on some FAT ones. Instead they send them and hope that I don’t notice and don’t have the nowise to say anything.
I was not given the choice to refuse them or let my friend decide if they will do or not. My friend probably would have been better going to another butcher for some New Zealand lamb, better quality than the FATones I manager to source and cheaper!!
The ‘heart’ bit on their website is true, unfortunately you need a strong healthy heart to function a body properly, without it we will die but when it is ill, we suffer.
‘we’re proud to offer the finest beef, lamb and pork, working closely with island producers, butchers and retailers to build in quality from pasture to plate.’
BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP
I am not going to go on as my blood pressure is already high. Talking about the stress causing illness, Rachel has been suffering from migraines this last 2 years, we have been trying to work out triggers (food, drink etc), so she can avoid them, this morning she was complaining that she felt one coming on, hard to avoid something that is fundamental to your livelihood!
I am off to sit in front of the fire with my family and be grateful for what I have. Next week I promise to share some festive sprit!
MY E-MAIL CHAIN ANNOTATED IN ANGRY RED ARE MY COMMENTS
From: Rachel Ranson
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2018 7:32 AM
Subject: Ballakelly collect ASAP – Fri 23
Morning please can Icollect:
I just wanted to pull all the calls and emails together:
3 NICE BIG lambs (like discussed in meeting)
NO WHERE DO I SAY FAT, NORE DID I DISCUSS PAYING TOP PRICE FOR A R4H LAMB
Please could you confirm if all OK
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2018 10:16 AM
To: Ballakelly Farm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: Ballakelly collect ASAP
From: Ballakelly Farm [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 19 November 2018 09:43
Subject: Ballakelly collect ASAP
Hope we are well.
Please can we have
3 whole lambs (nice Ballakelly style) please can I have price on those first
PLEASE SEE MY GRADE SHEET NO R4H, THEY ARE NOT BALLAKELLY STYLE
Can someone reply if ok and with answers
Sent from my iPhone
Spot the Difference!
Nothing like a Ballakelly Lamb
Look at the fat I trimmed off!
Still masses of FAT even after removing 6kg