FARMING PRACTICES

We have been inspired by Joel Salatin, Justin Rhodes, and others that have rediscovered the healthy benefit of having animals live more natural lives, before they become more naturally delicious food. It is important to farm in a way that respects how God created the world. God made chickens to be chickens, and cows to be cows. We, as farmers and consumers, need to respect that and use that instead of fight it. Using artificial chemicals to try to short-circuit this and take short cuts ends up getting us lost in a maze of multinational conglomerate produced food-like products.  We use sustainable and natural practices on our land.

It is interesting to note that simply buying “organic” products does not guarantee the best food practices. Although we raise our food with “organic” farming practices, our products are more than just organic; they are more nutritious and more naturally raised. “Organic” milk and eggs often come from chickens and cows that never see the sun, cramped inside production plants.

All of our food is produced for our family first.  We all are very grateful for the fresh products that a homesteading lifestyle allows.  We pass on to you what we find the best, most naturally nutrient-dense way to grow food for our own children.

Farming Practices: Laying Hens

Our farm has a flock of 80 pastured laying hens. We raise a variety of heritage breeds including: Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps, Brahma, Rhode Island Reds, Araucana, and Bantam. These breeds are hardier than commercial hens and are naturally better equipped at thriving in our cold winters.

In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, our hens live on pasture, on an approximately 3-day rotation following our cow. They roost at night in a 72′ x 84 ‘ movable coop placed on fresh timothy, Brome, Orchard, Rye, and other grasses, along with Red and White Clover and herbs. We use our chickens as an organic, natural, mobile, pasture-cleansing solution. This means that in the process of following our cow, by their natural scratching behavior, they devour all insects they can find. Insects are the natural source of protein for chickens, not soy beans and ground-up dead chickens like confinement industrial chicken facilities use. We also supplement their grass diet with an organic, soy-free ration.  Even in the winter, our chickens always have access to pasture and sunlight.

Our chickens eggs pass on all the benefits of their clean living to you. Crack our eggs and some store bought eggs next to each other, and you will notice some differences right away. Our chickens lay eggs with stronger shells with yolk is noticeably richer golden orange. When you are separating yolks from whites, this is much easier with our eggs than store-bought eggs due to the stronger membranes. Pastured eggs contain more vitamins and minerals than traditionally produced eggs because the plants and insects the chickens consume contain more vitamins and minerals. The following Penn state article is a very interesting comparison of the two starkly different practices:

http://news.psu.edu/story/166143/2010/07/20/research-shows-eggs-pastured-chickens-may-be-more-nutritious

The chickens usually lay eggs in the early afternoon, and we collect the eggs around 2:00 PM and place the fresh eggs directly into cartons in the refrigerator where they are stored. We do not wash the eggs to maintain the anti-bacterial properties of the cuticle. We recommend customers do not wash the eggs until just before using them.

Farming Practices: Milk cow

Grace is a healthy 3-year old registered purebred Brown Swiss.  “Perhaps the oldest of all dairy breeds, Brown Swiss originated in the valleys and mountain slopes of Switzerland around 4000 B.C.”

http://www.brownswissusa.com/Breed/History/tabid/89/Default.aspx

This breed is also known to be very gentle.  We think Grace has a particularly sweet disposition, and is halter-led.  Grace currently yields 4 gallons of milk a day high in fat and protein components; this is an ideal fat to protein ratio for cheese-making, and makes very rich milk for drinking.

The University of California, Davis has tested her milk and confirmed that she produces A2 beta casein, and is A2/A2.  A2 milk has a more easily digested version of beta casein protein.  A1 beta casein is the more recently emerging genotype in cow genetics, and is found more often in the Holsteins; the breed primarily used in grocery store milk.

She is on rotating pasture daily; and even in the winter when she has the option to come in the barn, she chooses to spend most of her time out in the fresh air and sunshine.  In the spring, summer, and fall, she converts  fresh Timothy, Brome, Orchard, Rye, and other grasses, along with Red and White Clover and other herbs into nutrient dense food.  She is supplemented in the winter with organically-raised Timothy/Alfalfa hay.  At milking time she is given a small ration of fresh, locally milled, soy-free, organic, non-GMO feed from Cashton Farm Supply just over the border in Wisconsin.

The vitamins found in her milk are acquired the old-fashioned way by letting her graze on pasture in the sunshine; not by adding factory produced chemicals.  Her milk will become most golden in the late spring and summer because of additional vitamin A from the forage.  Products made from her milk are naturally yellow in color.  Grocery store butter and cheese add color to mimic this natural process.

We are all-natural, with organic farming practices- no drugs, or chemicals.  We do use a little apple cider vinegar in her water, and cedar oil spray for flies in the summer.

We have cowshares available for $100 per share (refunded to you when
you no longer get milk). Each share entitles you to 1 gallon of milk per
week that you help yourself to from our bulk tank. Monthly boarding
fee is $52, due when you pick up your first milk of the month. (This works out to $12/gallon over the course of the year.

Customers provide their own container.   We sell 1/2 gallon glass mason jars for $4 each.