Butcher Classes , Hog Shares, and Fresh Chicken- July 2016

Just a quick note that we will have a fresh chicken day on the farm this Sunday (7/24/16).  The store is updated so please reserve online or give us a call (54I-323-IO65) if you would like some chicken straight from the abattoir.
Alright, we have lots of hogs ready this time of year- so now is a good time to stock up on Vitamin P!  These are great looking hogs that are hanging around 225lbs each.  Some are ready right now and can be picked up from the butcher to cut up at home, have them cut it up for you….or…..join us at the farm for a butcher class where we teach/help you cut up your own hog just the way you like it!  There is lots more information on these classes HERE.

We have a fancy new brochure posted that has all our goodies listed.  We do try to accommodate special cuts; however, our standard fare is noted.  You might see that Thanksgiving turkeys are listed.  The poults are on site and we should post something in the store soon- we will let you know in an upcoming email.

That’s it for now- we really appreciate your support especially now that we are doing less farmers markets.  This email group is where the bulk of our sales now come from!!  Please help spread the word as we do some pretty unique things in Central Oregon that most folks have no idea about!

The Store is open for Fresh Chicken this weekend 6/26

Fresh Chicken Time

Time to fill your freezer with chickens just the way you like them.  Here are some cut-up ideas:

  • Home-Style 6 piece (2 breasts, 2 quarters, 2 wings),
  • The 8 piece fryer (2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 legs. 2 thighs)
  • The 10 piece french cut (2 breasts, 2 tenders, 2 wings w/ breasts, 2 legs, 2 thighs)
  • How about butterfly or spatchcock (we used to do this for you- any interest?)
  • Or, and this is what I imagine you do- cut them all up the same way and then store the parts separately- so then you’ll have leg night, then wings, then….
  • Or- maybe you just toss them in the freezer as is and just enjoy the savings!!

Regardless, we hope to see you this weekend.  I did a bit of work on the site so hopefully things will flow a bit better for you.  I think the main complaint was finding the shopping cart- that is fixed!

Hog Shares and Classes

Also, of note is that pig shares will be available through out July.  Taryn, for the third year now, will be teaching butchering class for those thirsting for porcine pedagogy.  Half shares are $3.75/lb/hanging weight which includes the slaughter and hang.

Online Store Updates

Okay, more on that later!!  Right now it is fresh chicken season- so sign up for some birds for this weekend.  Remember, you just reserve the birds with out paying the deposit by signing up for the birds and then selecting ‘Manual’ check out and just bring a check with you to the farm!


Anita at work

Raised and butchered by the same hands!

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