Chicks Have Landed!
That’s right. We have birds! Our first batch of chickens, ever. Needless to say we are excited. The arrival has been met with a long and intense thread of conversations, critical analysis of financial statements, and as always, learning. It is fair to say that we are now farmers; experienced builders of brooding hoods, invested in the research and development of pasture pens, and expert chick wranglers. With the kids’ help, wrangling is much less comedic…why does Mickey yelling, “Get the chicken, Rock!” come to mind?
Our friend, Kyle Witham is in the trenches with us to have pastured broilers ready in time for Fourth of July BBQs. We are operating 2 pens, designed in the Joel Salatin Model, holding 80-90 birds each. It is a model with over 30 years of tempered experience in its form and function. The 10’X12’X2′ design is perfect to offer approximately 80 birds enough fresh grass (when moved a full length, daily), space to get plenty of exercise, and security from lurking predators. This article unpacks how Grass-Fed and Pastured Poultry get to eat all the green plant food they desire, as well as myriad bugs and other living things. Tests show great health benefits to the consumer, not to mention superlative taste and tenderness of the meat. Birds live in a way that makes them happy, and taste in a way that makes us happy.
In addition to broilers, we are raising 50 laying hens this year; a combination of Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock. Each breed lays big, brown eggs with delicious, bright yolks. It typically takes several months for a layer to mature to production. It is our expectation that by the time they are mature enough to lay, the colder weather will be setting in which will temproarily reduce production. So for those of you who are interested in farm-fresh eggs, next spring is the projected time for us to start stocking your refrigerators with nature’s perfect food. We will keep you posted.
In the mean time, if you and your family are interested in receiving any of our pastured broilers, please let us know so we can plan to get birds into your hands when we butcher at the end of June. We will be giving away birds from our first batch in exchange for your feedback; of course if you care to drop us a few buck to cover costs we won’t turn it down. We will be eager to hear your reviews on pastured poultry, and how we can make this experience something your family wants to repeat.
Beef Is Still On The Menu
In general, the response from people wanting local, grass-raised beef is a bit overwhelming. Recognizing the benefits of eating animals raised naturally, with grass as a substantial part of their diet, is getting easier to do. Responding to the truths being uncovered is another story. It is amazing how quickly our beef is making its way to your families! Thank you for jumping on board, taking control of healthy eating for you and your family, and supporting local providers of naturally raised food. For some interesting reading, check out this article written by Nicolette Hahn Niman titled Defending Grass-Fed Beef: A Rancher Weighs in.
With this said, our friend whom we are working with to provide the best beef in the Willamette Valley has two Angus Steers ready to butcher. Buying a beeve, or half a beeve is the most economical way to purchase your beef. Our recommendation is to get one for your family, or connect with another family to purchase one half, each. If this interests you, simply email us with your request, or any questions about purchasing this way at OurFamilyFarm.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, there are still a few pounds of ground, grass-fed Angus available at $2 a pound, and many more roasts at $3 a pound. Our friends, Nels and Amanda recently cooked up a roast and sent me a picture of the finished product. Nels said, “We seared it in a pan first, then BBQd it at a low temperature for about an hour…it was tender and delicious.” I don’t know about you, but Amanda makes Angus roast look delicious!
Garden Fresh Produce
This is an exciting development we are eager to share with you. Over the past several weeks, Amanda and I have engaged the good people at North Eugene Faith Center in conversation. You see, next to NEFC, off of River Avenue near North Eugene High School rests a very large, humble field. This nearly 2 acre space has sat under-used for over a decade, and if you are familiar with soil in the Eugene area you know that the soil up River Road is good stuff. The conversation with Pastor Mike Lawrence started like this, “Why don’t we start a community garden?” He entertained that first question with a big, Mike Lawrence smile and has been an avid fan of the idea ever since. Amanda and I are working, along with Mike, and Joel Skinner of another church named New Day, to spread the vision of transforming this field into a cornucopia, burgeoning with fresh produce for people and families in need in the North Eugene community.
This is a project that is in its infancy, and the perfect time for anyone who is interested in growing and giving, to get involved. We will be hosting a general meeting at North Eugene Faith Center on May 13th at 7PM to discuss the next steps in establishing a community garden space. If you are interested in playing with us, or just observing, please join us at the meeting. We would love your presence. RSVP by emailing us at OurFamilyFarm.email@example.com