Latest Newsletter!

Hello Again,
What a difference a passing season can make.  We are starting the 2013 season with renewed confidence after a rough 2012.  We believe in our charter of providing factory-free staples at a price that excludes as few people as possible- but we really had to think about how to do that without going under.  I think we have come up with some great ideas for this year that we are excited to tell you about.
The Hens
Our hens look fantastic!  The girls are producing eggs at the best lay rates that we have ever had!  We are very happy with the rations, the new nest designs, the year-round rotations- but mainly, the condition of the hens.  We are also happy with the shell quality (which had dipped) and the flavor of the eggs themselves.  There is so much to consider when cooking up a ration for these birds and we are really grateful for the patience and dedication from the folks up in Culver for working with us.  Today, I can’t imagine buying feed from a store.  The guys at Round Butte, now Helena, like what we’re trying to do and tolerate my constant tweaking of the recipes.  They could have easily said, “No,  we are a seed company not a feed company,” but they didn’t.  Instead they said,”Neat, let’s give it a try.” And the rest is an unequivocal, closed-loop, local victory for sustainable food.  We are also working on getting this mix into a retail product- a ways off- but maybe someday our layer feed might be available in a retail package.
The Broilers
We plan to butcher twice a week from June 8-9 until Halloween this year.  Expect many more farm days this year.  The feedback last year when I asked if folks like getting their chickens this way was overwhelming.  One person said that coming out to the farm to get chickens was the  highlight of their summer!  We really enjoy these farm days both personally and financially.  Last year it was difficult to know how many birds we’d be processing each week as the growth rates were so random.  To address this,  we ran a new ration late last year that showed some promise, but it was so late in the season we were not confident that we had it right.  So far this year, it looks like we are close as the chickens are vigorous and relatively consistent in weights.  The second change was with our hatchery.  For three years we were getting our birds overnight out of Santa Cruz, however, last year it started taking two, sometimes three, days to get the birds.  This year we have been getting the birds from the valley and we are receiving the birds sometimes within 12 hours of hatching.  Both of these changes seem to be working and we are hopeful for a good 2013 season.
If this ration continues to hold up we will have a truly closed-loop food system with all our offerings.  From seed, to farm, to harvest, to elevator, to mixing, to bagging, to feed, to chicks, to broilers, to butcher, to market and ultimately to table- all under our oversight- all without GMOs – all without corn and soy- all with neighbors paying neighbors.  How cool is that?!!  Give yourself a pat; none of this would be possible without your patronage and support!
Hogs and Butcher Classes
This is really exciting news.  Like I said earlier, we attempt to alienate as few people as possible with our pricing.  One of the best ways to do that is find ways to allow you to do some of the value added work.  This is like buying whole chickens and breaking them down yourself- a little extra work but the savings are worth it.  Well…what about pork?  Light-bulb moment here.  What if we could get the hog slaughtered and delivered to you to cut up.  Perfect; except not everyone knows how to butcher a pig.  What if we were to sell a class along with the pig?  This is where we are at today.  Taryn went off to butcher school, we started compiling gear, and we all started practicing.  Earlier this week we held our first class in downtown Bend.  And. . . It worked!  The process looks like this:
  • We sell you a live pig, or share of pig (a half or a quarter).
  • We arrange for the slaughter and chill.
  • As part of that pig/share you will receive basic butchery instructions.
  • You will process you own animal at a central location with our tools and guidance.
  • Each cut will be wrapped and labeled.
  • You will pack your pork home to your freezer that night.
This process went well. We took over a coffee shop at 5pm one night…brought in stainless steel tables, knives, paper, saws and a couple of halves and went to work. The class took a bit over 3 hours and everyone went home happy! Taryn is a fantastic instructor: calm, understanding, encouraging, and knowledgeable. We hope to set up a page on our website with a few more details but would first like to offer up classes to this group to see if anyone is interested. One quarter will be $200, a half $400. You’ll have at least 100 lbs of meat to work with and take home. We are thrilled with this price! And the class is a lot of fun too! Anita and I joke around that this is the perfect ‘date night’ for foodies.
Sooo, onto the next class. We will have two pigs ready to butcher into tasty packages for your freezer. So if you are interested in taking a class,  let us know We are taking reservations for the week of June 17 OR June 24th. Drop us a line telling which week works better for you.
Remember the pricing: $400 for a half a hog, $200 for a quarter, and $100 to watch and learn. We’ll even give those of you who come to learn a discount if you take a class again and buy the hog/ meat .
The Markets and Where you can find our products
You will still find Anita at the Saturday Salem Market every week and there will be someone at the Salem Public Market (located on 12th and Rural) throughout the year. In addition, the Wednesday Bend Farmers market is now open. Drop in and see Taryn there and ask about butcher classes!
And a quick shout out to Rockin’ Dave’s, 900 Wall, Jackson’s Corner, Devore’s Good Food Store, 10 Below, Agricultural Connections, and Celebrate the Season (Off Reed Market and on America Way).  They carry our products  for resale or turn them into yummy edible creations! Be sure to support those who support your local farm!
I have more to say….but don’t want to have to make a chapter book so I will save some for next time.  We hope you are all well and looking forward to a great season.
Thanks much,
Justice, Anita, Taryn and the Girls