2011 Farmer’s Market Schedule

The winter is over (I won’t comment on spring yet!?!?!) and it is time to start planning for the Farmer’s Markets. Here is our current plan:

    Wednesday – Bend Farmer’s Market, Drake Park, 3-7pm
    Friday – Bend Farmer’s Market, St. Charles, 2-6pm
    Friday – Redmond Greenhouse Farmer’s Market, Redmond Greenhouse, 2-6pm
    Saturday – Salem Saturday Market, near the Capital, 9am-3pm
    Saturday – Silverton Farmer’s Market, downtown Silverton, 9am-1pm

We hope to still have open butcher days at least one Sunday each month for those of you craving fresh chicken! We are excited about the upcoming season, we feel that we are stable in our offerings and production methods, confident in the health and efficacy of our feeds, all that is left to economically connect folks with great food. See you in the booth!

Note: The Sunday Egg Drop in Drake Park will continue until we start running out of eggs….I would guess around the end of May.

Super Egg Drop – We’ll be there

We might be alone in the park this Super Bowl Sunday but Anita will still be there packing lots of eggs. So many in fact that she has come home with a few dozen the last couple of weeks. This weather has been good for the birds! If we knew we were going to be in a heat wave we could have tried some broilers….

A couple of litters of pigs have made their way to the butcher shop and we will have lots of pork (almost a ton of pork!) over the next few weeks. The cures will take a while still as they work their way around the state, but we will soon have plenty of bacon and hams as well. We do have more pigs heading in and would like some feedback from you concerning our offerings. If you can take a minute and look over this survey it would be much appreciated. Please tick the boxes of cuts that you like or might be curious to try. If there are many boxes that are not checked we might be able to shrink the list a bit and bring you just what you were interested in.

So eggs only tomorrow and fresh pork cuts next Sunday. See you tomorrow in the park and thanks in advance for completing the survey!

Notes from the Farm

We are experiencing the storm before the quiet here at the farm.  Last hogs of the season are coming back from the butcher, we have a couple hundred broilers to process, we’re trying to get the last cutting of hay up, and work out the logistics for wintering the old and new flocks.  This is really what we live for- creating a sustainable, mobile, humanely productive farm that produces flavors that cannot be beat!

As the local farmers markets come to a close, we hope these email bulletins will keep you up to date regarding the farm. In addition, we want to invite you out to pick up chickens or pork to stock your freezers this winter. We’ll have just 200 whole chickens so you might want to get yours now (160 Cornish Cross and 40 Label Rouge). Once they are gone we won’t start up with broilers until the spring; raising them in deep bedding brooder boxes and moving them to the pasture as the grass starts to pop in late April. Fresh and frozen birds will then be available again in May- feedback is key here as we are trying to plan out whether the flavor of the Label Rouge is preferred over the mighty breast of the Cornish Cross.

As for eggs, the girls have decided to moult early so egg production is down a bit. They will move into their winter condo in a few weeks time to roost and scratch in the dry lot and start the basis for our spring garden in 2010. We’ve ordered a new flock of Delawares for the 2010 season. These beautiful dual purpose heritage birds (as always- no hybrids) will start laying just in time for market and should allow us to stop saying, “Sorry, we’re out of eggs” to you.  More soon on Winter egg drop locations…

The Broad-Breasted Bronze are growing a bit faster than we anticipated and will need to talk with you about oven door size soon!  The Bourbon Reds and Narragansetts are progressing nicely and should be ready right on time.

Our eight Tamworth cross piggies will be ready for butcher in March. This heritage breed is known for its great temperament, use of pasture as forage, and their long lean frames, hence the nickname, the ‘Bacon Pig’.  We are really hoping you will like these pigs…nothing beats the feeling of when farm pleasure matches plate flavor!

You have the choice of purchasing fresh or frozen chickens on the farm each Sunday from 2-5 pm for the next couple of weeks for $3/lb with a 10% discount for 5 or more birds. Note that picking up chicken at the farm is about 15% cheaper as we don’t have to stress about freezer space and expense.  You could even pick up a dozen eggs while you’re here.

It has been wonderful getting you know you this year, either at the market or through visits at the farm or to our website. We hope you will continue supporting your local farmers and producers because you drive the change in food production, one dollar at a time. Thank you for making local your choice.

One more note…let us know if you are looking for other products- we have a good friend that has an unsold Black Angus steer that has been rotationally grazed and finished out on our hay and minimal grain.  We also have neighbors with goat milk, feed for your chickens, and small wire-bound hay bales.

Hope to see you on Sunday- bring ice and a cooler….we will shrink bag right from the chill tank and hand them over- talk about fresh chicken!!!

2009 Season Offerings

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.

Powerhouse Pork  

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.

Heritage Turkeys    

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.