With my friend Larry’s help, I had indeed pre-sold most of my beef and pork and was able to deliver it on my way home from the slaughterhouse. However I had not pre-sold all my lambs and two of my pork customers discovered they did not have room in their freezers for giant boxes of meat cuts. My own chest freezer at our apartment is full to the brim.
Hundreds of dollars’ worth of rapidly thawing perishable product and nowhere to put it! Panic! What to do?
What I’ve done for the past four years is to beg the school where I live for temporary space in their walk-in freezer. They’ve been very gracious but having to request permission, ask for keys whenever I make a sale, and generally impose on their patience has troubled me.
I have been watching freezer prices at Lowe’s for months, but I could never justify spending $800 on a freezer big enough to do the job.
This weekend I scored two freezers. The first was a 21.9-cu. ft. chest model on Craigslist for $100. A contractor had removed it from a house he was remodeling. I was the lucky first to respond to his ad and beat out a host of others, one of whom who was preparing to drive five hours round-trip to get it. The freezer is older but appears to be in fine condition. It is so big we could put a couple of people in it. I picked it up on Saturday in my truck and yesterday Joanne’s sixteen-year-old son Alex helped me grunt it into the heated garage down at the farm.
Shortly after I made arrangements to pick up the first freezer, Larry called to ask if I wanted a second. He knew someone going out of a candy business who was selling four uprights for $75 each. They were only five years old. I decided to buy one of those too, and naturally Larry dickered and got it for me for $50.
So if my luck holds — knock wood! — and both machines work, for $150 I will have covered all my future freezer needs for meat sales. I am aware that older freezers are not as energy efficient, but I only plan to use them in the fall months, when meat rushes in from the butcher in a storm tide and then ebbs out again more slowly.
Today I will once again be lifting heavy frozen boxes as I move the last of my pork and lamb out of the school’s walk-in. My lower back already aches a little in anticipation.
However I am always cheered when I am able to set up a new system, defray panic, and gain another modicum of independence for my fledgling farm.