Well, the planning is done and we are posting our offerings for 2009. Please click ‘Sign Up for Product Availibility‘ at the top of the page to sign up for notices of dates, prices and quantities available. Comments are always welcome as we cannot be successful without them. Thanks much for taking a look at what we plan to grow this year and we hope to hear from you!
Factory Free Broilers
Broilers are chickens bred for their rapid meat production, tenderness and mild flavor. The Cornish Cross is the industry standard (on both conventional and grass fed farms). We raise ours to 8 weeks as the tenderness drops off rapidly after this point. Our birds are fed corn, soybeans, oats, kelp, oyster shells, and organic minerals and, most importantly, grass. We source feed locally (although it is a bit hard to find kelp in Central Oregon!) and mix it ourselves. All broilers are processed on the farm, out of doors (pending), clean and with caring, competent hands. We plan to process under the USDA exemption PL 90-492. We butcher in the morning and have the birds chilled and bagged and ready for pick up in the afternoon. Our chickens really do ‘taste like chicken’. These are not watered down, gooey factory birds – you will notice great texture, yellow not white fat, distinct white and dark meat flavors, and a completely usable carcass. Best of all you will know everything about the life of the bird that was raised for your family. The chicks are brooded in deep bedding, raised outside on fresh pasture and sunlight, fed only natural ingredients, and processed cleanly and humanely. Factory free broilers are available spring through fall; however, they can be frozen up to 6 months.
Factory Free Eggs
To make the best eggs we need three ingredients- heritage birds, diverse pasture and natural feed, and proper living conditions. Our main flock consists on Black Australorps. We chose this bred due to it’s hardiness, decent egg production, aggressive foraging, usable carcass, and most importantly intelligence. Note the aerial predators around next time you drive through Powell Butte- these hens are smart enough to take cover when hawks are near and are much faster on foot than their pursuers. The birds are given a section of pasture to forage at will, nest boxes available when their internal clock dings and elevated roosts at night. The eggs are radically different than factory organic or otherwise. Our yolks stand tall and proud with a bright orange (not yellow!?!) color. You will also notice a more pronounced chalazae than a conventional egg- a sure sign of freshness. A strong outer membrane holds the whites together so the egg does not spread across the frying pan. Benefits of using our eggs are less broken yokes, higher faster white peaks, full rich flavor, and are nutritionally superior. Can you believe there is so much difference in eggs that doctors will prescribe pastured eggs and prohibit factory eggs for cholesterol patients? Factory free eggs are available year round; however, we have a significant drop in production as the birds naturally (not forced) molt in the winter.
Ready to Lay Pullets
Backyard chickens should be required on all lots! The City of Bend allows 4 hens per lot and are great for lawns. Chickens will pull up the dandelions, fertilize the lawn, eat insects, hang out in your lap, provide endless entertainment and, yes there is more, they will give you eggs! We recommend some sort of chicken tractor set up as predators are an issue (we lost several in Bend due to skunks). Brooding is an expensive process; the little chicks must be pampered in order to make successful layers and there is no return for about 5 1/2 months. Our ready to lay pullets will get you started in chickens without the upfront expenses. The downside is you can’t watch the chicks grow up and that is a very enjoyable journey. The good news is that you can always head out to the Great American Egg and see how they are doing! Ready to Lay Pullets will be ready in the spring as we raise extra each year as we rotate our flock.
Pigs are the work horse of the farm. They spend the winter tearing down a compost mound, rooting up weak soil, mixing in fertilizer and preparing our 1/2 acre garden. In the spring they search for corn deep in winter bedding. It is hard to imagine such a useful animal confined up in a factory – what a waste of talent! Our pigs root for some of their food and are never fed meat or table scraps. So if you like a little pink in your pork you are safe with our pigs. Working pigs are great fun to watch- so please come to the farm and see them in action. We raise pigs fall through spring and for this season we will have pure-bred Durocs and will raise them to 225-250 pounds live. Pigs will need to be slaughtered, cut and wrapped by a custom butcher shop of your choice due to USDA regulations.
We will raise one pen of turkeys this year as an experiment to see if there is a demand for these beautiful birds. We will raise Broad Breasted Bronze on pasture similar to how we raise the broilers. We chose this breed for it’s durability and table manners (looks, cooks, yields well). These turkeys will take 6 months to grow out and will be ready for Thanksgiving dinner. This will be a learning year for us so we will be offering these only in exchange for a comprehensive review.