Summer Hogs are ready and Larder Days over Labor Day

Summer Hogs are Ready

Ready to learn to butcher your own hog?  Or maybe just fill the freezer with some great tasting pork!  Our summer hogs are ready.  They have been hanging at 150 lbs and look great.  As always with the Egg- there are options.  Click the link above and you will have three options on a half hog:

  1. Select a half hog and have Butcher Boys cut, wrap and cure
  2. Select a half hog- take it home and process and cure like a boss
  3. Select a half hog and meet us at the farm for a butcher class.  We will have the hog chilled and skinned, USDA inspected, the knives sharp, and butcher paper ready.  As always, Taryn leads the class and helps you process your hog into recognizable retail cuts.  We have the following dates available (we can be a little flexible here):
    1. Thursday 8/27 – SOLD
    2. Friday 8/28 – SOLD
    3. Monday 8/31 – 1 Half
    4. Tuesday 9/1- 2 Halves
    5. Thursday  9/3-  2 Halves

Hogs are a on a first click basis, and we will adjust classes accordingly.

Link to Butcher Hogs

September Chicken Larder
Can you believe that the last chicks for the year arrived last week?  We really need to take a moment and thank folks that have taken part in the ‘larder days’ scheme.  We were a bit terrified about dropping farmer’s markets in lieu of larder days- but it has worked.  We have kept a good balance between fresh and frozen birds this year and things have really gone well.  We also need to thank Lillian and Hazel (our daughters)- who are finally of age to really help out.  Hazel is crating and bagging and Lillian has been the ‘cone loader’ all summer.  Also, if you can believe it- Taryn has been putting up with us for four years- yeah, I said it- four.  Although you haven’t seen her on pickup days- she was here during processing and we wouldn’t want to do it without her.  We really feel like we are hitting on all cylinders are really have a great team put together.

One last thing- there has been quite a shake up in Oregon poultry processing this year.  A couple of years ago there were 25 licensed processors in Oregon.  Then came, the mixed bag that was, HB2872 and things changed.  Right now, we are the only poultry processor east of the Cascades and the state is down to only 15.  So thanks again- for your patronage and support over the years.- we would not have survived this turmoil without you!

Now, before this turns into a chapter book.  We will be processing chicken twice over the Labor Day weekend- yes twice.  That means we will have the last of the summer larder available on both Saturday 9/5 and Monday 9/7. Therefore, there will be two dates on the store to choose from- pick either one, we will have plenty of birds.  Fear not- there will be a couple of farm days in the fall.

Link to Labor Day Chickens

Pork Progressions

We just sold a half a pig.  Not big news itself…but the short story behind it- makes our day.

We have a long term farmers market customer that bought lots of pork cuts from us at the booth over the years.   Unfortunately, we don’t carry all the possible cuts for a hog- we try and focus on the ones that sell best (carrying caul fat around for 6 weeks gets old).  This customer wanted more, so took the hog butchering class with Taryn last year.  Now, that half hog mentioned above, is heading straight to this customer’s house for a little home butchering!

Here is the progression- fall in love with pastured pork, learn the skills to butcher one, and then do it!  This is fantastic.  These pork chops went from $7.50 retail to $5.50 with the class to $4.00 at home.  The same chop!!  And guess what we make the same amount on that chop as well.  A happy day around here.

Fresh Chicken at the Bend Farmer’s Market

For the first time this year- we will be bringing fresh chicken to the Bend Farmer’s Market tomorrow (Wednesday the 22nd).  We are still- yes, for 5 years now- selling them for $3.50 a pound.  This is 100% antibiotic free chicken fed only locally grown non-GMO feed.  How do we know that- we have it made just for us at a local mill based on our own recipe.  We serve this food cafeteria style- so you can actually see the grains.  We don’t like the pelleting process as it kill enzymes in the feed that help the birds digest the food.  When you are raising all natural birds it is best to use what nature provides and leave well enough alone.

Anyway- see Taryn at the market tomorrow and have a chicken for dinner!



Sugar begets Cookie

Breeding cows is an art.  Well at least knowing when the cow is in heat is tough without a bull or steer around is.  When the cows are in heat they push noses, lick, and jump on each other- so you are pretty sure one of them is in heat- but knowing which one is the trick.  I am telling you this because we didn’t really want a December birth- but we got one.  Mainly because we could never get the timing right on when to breed her.  Last Sunday morning, with temperatures around 20 below, Sugar gave birth to Cookie.  Anita found her around 6 in the morning covered in a thin sheet of ice where mama’s saliva had frozen to her fur.  Her ears were so frozen we couldn’t bend them.

We spent some time drying her off in the corral that was filled with a couple feet of straw- but her temperature was not coming up.  So we brought her into the house which was a balmy 45 above (another story).  We parked her on Hazel’s lap wrapped with towels, blankets and a heating pad.  Lillian ran back and forth to the dryer to refresh warm towels.  Cookie was calm/frozen during all this.  The good news was she warmed up and was holding her heat.  So back to Sugar, we packed her, to try to get some colostrum in her.  She fumbled around and I shot plenty of milk up her nose but she was doing alright for only being a couple hours old.  We let mama take over for the rest of the day.

That night she slept in the bathroom….and the next night, too.  Now she is running all over snow covered fields with mama.  All is well with both Sugar and Cookie.  We are also getting plenty of milk out of both Sugar and Maisy (the ladies produce way more than the babies can drink).  So we have a new member on the farm- welcome her!



Brooders are full

We have turkeys and chickens filling the brooders and birds are already out in the field.

So far so good this season.  We have found a hatchery is able to get the young ones to us within 12 hours of hatching!  This has really improved the stock….at 4 weeks the weights are not great but they are consistent and we are optimistic.  We also rebuilt the brooders over the winter and compartmentalized things a bit.  This has helped keep the heat in and allowed better separation between feeding and sleeping.  Downside is the chicks are not as visible.  So far, the good out weights the bad- ah, sweet progress!

Pigs Nest??

Here is a video of Piper preparing her nest during the early morning hours.  She started labor around 9pm later that same evening.   This is all natural behavior, one in which she is able to fully express on pasture.  It was also a great clue to us that labor was imminent.   She did not farrow well this winter so we wanted to keep a close eye on her this time around.  After giving birth to the first wiggling weaner about 9:30 last night….there were no more babies for almost an hour.  This is where Anita and her Vaseline coated arm came in to assist.  She was able to get the process moving again at a normal pace….and she now has six babies to care for.  Anita was amazingly calm and confident as she worked inside an animal at least four times her size.

Sow Nesting

By 2:30 am she was done…..and everyone was ready for  a rest.   When Taryn and I went to check on her in the morning she hopped up and went to the irrigation ditch for some water and a stretch.  We nervously watched as she laid back down next to her babies.   Taryn quickly huddled up the little ones as Piper worked up the hay (we added some fresh bedding while she was getting water) .  Once she was down she called to babies in to nurse.  By evening chores today…all is routine and everyone is doing fine.  Enjoy the video….it really confirms to me that this is the right path to food.


Flush with Pigs

The sows and their litters came home yesterday. This means that we have four litters on the ground right now! Two sets are ready for butcher and will be offered up through winter pork boxes. The new sets – four weeks old right now…will be ready by the spring markets. These pigs will also be the first on the kale/turnip pasture. We are excited to see how this works. In the meantime, enjoy a video of the little guys greeting the morning.
Hamp/Tam Piglets

Newsletter – Spring 2011

The 2011 Season is finally here! What a long, long winter…..but not too bad overall. We are trying out another format for emails – we really hope these reach everyone. Lots of things to talk about today as we have been a bit quiet lately- so here it is the latest and greatest from the Great American Egg.

The End of the Winter Egg Drop!

Thanks so much for supporting us through the winter! Even though the hens produce much less in the winter, they eat much more until the bugs arrive in the spring. This is an expensive time of year and without your support eggs would be a really tough enterprise. Thanks again!

First Butcher Day of 2011 – This Coming Monday!

Lots of things going on at the farm this time of year. The grass is getting ready for haying in about a month, three different sets of pigs are rooting up the fringe areas, and feathers are flying in the butcher shop.
We would like to invite you out to the farm on Memorial Day for fresh chicken straight from the chill tank. This is our first open day of the year and we plan on processing about 80 birds- so let us know if you would like one. We will have plenty of cut-up and frozen wholes as well. We are keeping the same deal as last year, where chicken is .50 cents/lb cheaper when picked up fresh on the farm! Pick up time is after 3pm.

New Products for 2011!

I am sure many of you remember the days before we found a smokehouse that didn’t use nitrites in thier cures. It has been a fun winter trying to discover recipes, and methods that work well with our pork. In addition to belly, cottage and jowl bacon; we are adding British bacon this year for you folks fond of lean bacon (that sounds like an oxymoron!). We have also tweaked the breakfast sausage a bit; however, it is still a classic mild sage flavor. Also, on the tenderloins we are offering medallions for the light meat eaters. We also now have USDA Rendered Lard! Lard is on of those items you never knew you couldn’t live without it! One customer even makes her mayonaise with it! Also, new this year is Lingucia – this is definitly our hottest suasage, heavily spiced with paprika.

A New Face! Meet Tayrn- our summer intern

Taryn will be working with us for the 2011 Season. She will be helping will all aspects of the farm as well as starting some sort of enterprise on her own (sheep, cattle, fish, we are still working out ideas). Taryn comes from the OSU geography department, worked many seasons on the family tuna operation in Astoria and just finished up baking for the winter up at Mt. Bachelor. Please welcome her- you can imagine the learning curve ahead for her.

Markets this Year

Wednesdays -- Bend, Drake Park -- 3-7pm
Fridays -- Redmond, Redmond Greenhouse -- 3-7pm
Fridays -- Bend, St. Charles -- 2-6pm
Saturdays -- Salem, Downtown -- 9am to 3pm

Resturants serving our Products

3456 -- Bend, Airport -- Chicken and Duck Eggs
10 Below -- Bend, Oxford Hotel -- Chicken and Eggs
Lone Pine Coffee -- Bend, Tin Pan Alley -- Ham Trifecta Sandwiches
Jackon's Corner -- Bend, Delaware Avenue -- Eggs, Bacon, occasional Crown Roast
Devore's Good Food -- Bend, Newport Ave -- Eggs all week long
900 Wall -- Bend, Wall Street -- Eggs
Hola! -- Sunriver, Marina -- Eggs and Jowl Bacon