Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
|Bjork, the mallard hen duck. It's hard to get photos, but here she is with her mallard drake friend.|
|Bjork, the guinea. She is seen here with a chicken I call "Fluffernutter"|
|Bjork, the turkey hen. She didn't want her photo taken.|
|Bjork, the chicken. Someone gave her to me, and she's super friendly, but I have no idea what breed she is.|
Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I wanted to take a moment to honor this holiday for what it really is for - giving thanks. I'm not saying I'm not thankful for the big meal I am about to eat tomorrow, believe me, I am thankful for all food. But I am thankful for a lot of things I'd like to share with you.
- I am thankful for my silly daughter. She reminds me that sometimes you need to slow down and focus on the little things, and that sometimes you need to speed up so that you don't miss anything fun!
- I am thankful for my network of farming and ranching friends, so that when my garden fails, I can find yummy pumpkins, peppers and plums someplace else.
- I am thankful for my husband, who doesn't always want to spend time doing silly things, but when he does, it's fun for all of us.
- I am thankful for my dogs, that help protect our livestock, as well as always giving me something big to hug.
- I am thankful for all the animals we have, that give our lives for us to provide us food. We care for them the best we can, and I always remember to thank them for their sacrifice so that we can eat healthy. I'm thankful that I get reminded on occasion how silly they can be sometimes, and how much I am endeared to them, so that when it comes to mealtime, I am truly thankful for the gift they give us.
- I am thankful for fall, when we are able to say goodbye to our turkey friends, and help other folks have a great Thanksgiving. I am thankful for winter, when we get to take a bit of a break, and plan for the spring. I am thankful for spring, when we get to watch lambs being born, and baby chicks, poults and ducklings hatch. I am thankful for the long days of summer, where we get a lot of projects completed on the farm.
- I am thankful for our supportive friends and family, that are there for us in the good times and the bad, to laugh at the silliness, and feel for us when things don't work out as planned.
- I am thankful for all the wonderful volunteers who have helped us through this year - especially these past two weekends full of bird processing, we couldn't have gotten it done without you.
- I am thankful for our customers who are the reason we get to keep farming every day.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us either through volunteering, purchasing products, or encouraging words. We do appreciate it and we THANK YOU!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
We also have birds to process for other folks, too, since this is the last weekend we use our gear. We have several customers who need their own turkeys processed, as well as chickens and ducks. We are thankful to have some culinary student volunteers with us for Friday and Saturday, to learn about poultry processing and to lend a hand for us. We also know we will have other volunteers who want to come and learn how to butcher their own birds. So the farm will be super busy this weekend!
We look forward to seeing and meeting our volunteers and customers, and are thankful we can be a part of your holiday meal.
Happy Thanksgiving, in advance, and we'll see you this weekend!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Saturday, November 3, 2012
We left for dinner tonight, and Larry had noticed there were turkeys on the roof of the car. I thought he shooed them off, but figured they hopped off once the car started moving. About 5 or 6 miles from home, after we had gone 65mph on 287... we turned a corner and I heard scratching on the roof. I turned back to see grey tail feathers in the back window. We pulled into a neighborhood, with gawkers taking video on their phones...she hopped off, and got to go for a ride in the back of the Volkswagen.
I had already decided that I planned on keeping all my grey turkeys, even so,this one gets saved because she held on to a roof rack at 65mph. We hope she tells the others to stay off the car!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
If you haven't reserved your bird yet, but want to, we still have spaces available. Check out the form on the left <--- right over there. We also have the option of taking a credit card, though I don't have that on the form yet. You can either email the form to me with the following credit card info: Card number, expiration date, CCV number, billing zip code - or you can call me to give me that information over the phone.
But again, if you have sent in a reservation and want to know if we have received it or not, keep your eyes open for an email from us. If you don't get one, contact us right away and I can verify if we received your reservation.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
His latest article in the New York Time's regards California's Proposition 37, which is attempting to make food companies label foods that are genetically modified. I'm not a food scientist, but between my husband and I, we have a degree in science, a degree in engineering and one business degree. We understand science. We understand the risk of unleashing something that you can't control into the environment. We understand that when you put something out into the world - it can evolve and you might have the best intentions, but you don't know what it's going to do.
There are all sorts of examples of how we have impacted our environment by making something that is convenient for people. Entire populations of fish have become all female, because of hormones in our waterways from birth control pills. "Round up" ready crops have caused weeds to evolve into being resistant to Round Up, causing harm to crops, and creating the need for even more chemicals to control crops.
There are other folks out there, smart enough to know that healthy soil breeds healthy crops, and dousing everything with chemicals or messing with their DNA strands isn't required. Elliot Coleman and Joel Salatin (2 other reasons why Long Shadow Farm is here today) understand how to raise crops and animals without having to mess with their genetics, or use costly and risky chemicals to grow healthy food at good yields.
Anyhow, I may understand science, but I don't write about it as eloquently as others. California is a big state, and they sometimes can pave the way for political movements that other states might follow. I agree with them on this one. Consumers should know their risks and be able to make a choice. Label GMOs so that folks who disagree with it can choose to buy another product (which is why Big Ag is putting so much money into trying to shut this proposition down, it risks their profits!). Let's see what Michael Pollan has to say about it, as he is a better expert than I am, and a good writer:
Why California's Proposition 37 Should Matter to Anyone Who Cares About Food
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I spend all summer waiting for "sweater weather", and it seems we have skipped over fall completely and have jumped into cold winter weather. One day, we were looking for the sun screen, the next we were lighting fires and coiling up hoses to put away for the winter. It's such a shame!
Fall on the farm brings lots of work. There is harvesting to be done (of course, that's only a problem when your sheep DON'T eat your garden, first!), there are projects to flush out irrigation lines and get them ready for winter, putting away hoses and mobile fencing, and making sure barn doors seal up tight for the winter.
As the opposite to Spring, where we start airing out our laundry and letting everything back out into the warm sun, Fall is where we start packing things away. It's also where we start looking at that long winter break that's ahead of us with a kid of awe. Instead of a time of birth and renewal, Fall brings about the end of the cycle. We finish our last batch of meat birds, we start looking to saying goodbye to most of our turkeys, and the work load starts to wane.
It's an interesting time of year, but usually I enjoy the cool weather, and spending days making pumpkin bread with my daughter. It got cold a bit too quick for me this year, but as a northern girl, I'll stop my complaints there. Anything is better than triple digit temperatures!
Our freezer is full of meat, which we hope to share with folks who also want to stock their freezer's for the winter. I'm making batches of pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin butter, and enjoying every minute of it. It might be a bit chilly outside, but it's a great time to spend in the kitchen baking and canning. Only about a month to go before we say goodbye to our turkeys, and before we start to slow things down around the farm for our winter planning season.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We have to raise prices. We just raised the prices on our egg products, and that took effect already. But we have to raise prices on our meat products, too. That means chicken, turkey and duck prices must go up. Click on the "Prices" tab to see what the current prices are. I hope this doesn't scare anyone away, but we can't do what we do without being able to make a small margin on it. As it is, farming is a difficult practice. Big Ag and the government subsidies they get drag food prices down so low, that when small farms like us try to get a fair price for the food we create, people balk. We hope that we bring value to the table to make that price worth it. Some of that value is in our food being local, fresh, from happy animals that are treated humanely, from animals that aren't given unnecessary medication or medicated feed, from food that is exactly what we say it is - food. No fillers, no injected solutions, nothing but sunshine, water, good feed and living together in harmony. We also hope you understand that we put all the inputs in up front - the feed, the water, the brooder pens, the incubating - all these things cost money and time, and we don't get that back until we sell the product. I hate to raise prices, but the reality is if we don't, we shut the farm down.
For some more info on grain prices, and how significant this is right now, check these out:
World Wheat Prices
World Corn Prices
World Soybean Prices
When we started this farm in 2007, we could buy a 50 pound bag of chicken feed for $11.00. Those same bags are now $25.00. We bought grain bins so we could buy in bulk and save money (and waste from all those empty bags!) and it has brought our prices down. But not enough to make up for prices in feed more than doubling in 5 years. We hope you'll still find value in a small, family farm in your community, that raises happy, pasture raised animals, and offers fresh food for you and your family.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
September 30We will be processing chickens the weekend of September 30. We will be processing our LAST BATCH of meat chickens for the year, as well as a large batch of stew birds. We will have one more processing day in October - for someone else's birds, that will give us a chance to handle a few extra roosters and such. But this is our LAST chicken processing weekend for items for us to sell.
Turkeys will be processed November 16-17.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
We will need to increase our egg prices to $3.50 per dozen starting in October. We will hold chicken and turkey prices until next year. We'll review in late winter when we see what the grain prices are going to be going into next year's meat bird season.
Also, our summer lamb sale will end at the end of september, and mixed cut/whole/half packages will go back to $8.00 per pound. Due to hay prices, and the cost of keeping ewes year round, our lamb prices will likely increase for 2013 as well.
Unlike the big guys, we don't get any subsidies or assistance in any way. The cost of raising food has to trickle into the prices. We don't like to raise prices, but we also need to attempt to break even on this farm.
So take advantage of our current prices on eggs and lamb before October.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Some info about our birds - we raise 2 types of birds. One is called "Heritage" which means they come from a long line of registered breeds that can breed on their own, and have some traceability back to wild turkeys. There are 6 recognized breeds by the American Poultry Association, and we have a few of those on the farm - Bourbon Reds, Black Spanish, White Holland, Narragansett, Blue Slate and Royal Palm. We have bred our own birds this year, from a few small hens and toms we kept last year. I don't segregate my breeds, so mine are mostly mixed breeds from those few. But they are the same size and quality as a registered breed. Since we also have a resident wild tom that I am sure has been successful in breeding, many of our hatches might have him as their father. If a heritage bird is what you want, keep in mind that the hens are usually 8-12 pounds in size, and the toms are typically 15-18 pounds. And no, we will not catch the wild one to sell, he doesn't belong to us, and he stays here by choice.
The other breed of bird is called a broad-breasted, or double breasted turkey. These guys are genetic hybrids, just like our chickens, bred specifically to grow an extra breast muscle. These are the big turkeys that have that big round chest and look great on your holiday table. I struggle with getting the size just right on these guys. Two years ago, they grew way too big, and no one wanted 30 pound turkeys! Last year I overcompensated and got them way too late, and most never topped 20 pounds. I got them a bit earlier this year, and am hoping the toms will come in around that perfect 25 pound size that a lot of people want. It's too early to tell, as they are still quite small, but they grow so much faster than their heritage cousins. We don't have as many double breasteds as I often get, so the large ones are going to be at a minimum. If you want a bird betwee 9-15 pounds, I will have plenty of them. And what we don't sell, we keep as next year's breeding stock!
If you want a holiday turkey - we process them the weekend before Thanksgiving, so you can pick them up fresh, and not have to defrost it! If you want one for a subsequent holiday, we can freeze them for you, and you can make arrangements to pick them up. If you are interested, the sign up form is HERE
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
So these are the words we are talking about....
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
We also reuse egg cartons, and we hope our customers don't mind that our eggs come in clean, but reused containers. Most of our customers bring us egg cartons, and many non-customers bring us their egg cartons. I keep an eye on them for sturdiness and cleanliness, and when they aren't fit for use, we recycle them, or use them for fire starters in our fireplace in winter. It's another nice way to reduce our impact on the environment and keep the cost of our eggs down (egg cartons are not cheap!).
There's another re-usable product that no one does ever bring back to us. These last a lot longer than an egg carton, and if they get damaged, are also recyclable. Jars from our canned products! These, too, are not cheap, though I do seek them out in thrift shops to reuse, instead of buying new. But I'd love it if customers brought them back to me. So we are offering to give back $0.25 per pint jar, and $0.50 per quart jar that anyone brings back, with a purchase. I am hoping this encourages folks to bring us jars back. I know to buy them new, they cost much more than that, but I can often find them at thrift stores and garage sales. I do, however, use them up faster than I buy them. It also upsets me to think that when I sell a canned item, that the jar ends up in a recycling bin - when it's perfectly good to use again! Empty jars make me think of creative ways to fill them, so I'd love for those (and the metal rings) to come back to me to be filled up with yumminess again! Think about it!
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
We have lots of flavors, and I really mean it when I ask you what you want. I'll make it. This week, I made Basil Ice Cream, at the request of a customer. Of course, it's made from basil from our garden.
I've also made a few flavors with goat's milk, perfect for anyone that is lactose intolerant. One is vanilla, the other is made with wildflower honey from a local vendor.
We also have fresh Peach, Mint Chocolate Chip and Strawberry. I'll be making some more mint from the mint in our garden, soon. I am trying to let my mint plant go crazy, to ensure it comes back next year, but I think I can spare some for some more ice cream.
So what's your favorite flavor? What can I make for you?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
When something changes, there is an obvious step change in egg production. There is a magic daylight length in spring that changes their production up a notch. It gets us into full production, sometimes faster than our customers come to buy them. And months before the farmer's market begins. We typically end up donating eggs to the food bank, because they start to stack up.
OF course, the step change goes in both directions, and one just happened. Our egg production dropped by about 30 eggs per day. That's big. I try to mitigate the winter slow down by bringing in spring birds that start to lay in the fall. They are driven by daylight length, as well as other factors. But I checked our data from last year, and the step change happened at the exact same time - end of July. Days are getting shorter, but not that short, but it's HOT. They won't recover from this, unless my spring birds that start laying in September kick in.
Their production will continue to slow, sometimes due to loss to predators, and age. And they will hit another step change in November - this one is big. They almost shut down. Our highest production this spring was 170 eggs a day. By November, it will be 20 or less.
I can try to time it better next year to have birds laying in July, which means baby chicks in February. I try not to have baby chicks in winter, since it is so hard to keep the brooder warm enough for them at night. But I might need to time my new layers by their natural production shut offs. We're feeding a lot of birds out there for the number of eggs we are now getting. It's likely, after we sell to our restaurant, that we won't have anything left for the market.
I forgot that their first big production drop was right in the heart and heat of the summertime. Live and learn and we'll try to mitigate next year. The only problem being - I can't control when a chicken wants to lay!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
That reminds me, that I have been very lax at taking pictures lately... pictures of the farm, animals, baby chicks, baby ducks, and everything going on. So I'll get some pictures of these fun new birds and share them with everyone. Hooray! Baby birds!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Anyhow, we will part out a few more birds so that we can sell breasts, leg&thigh, and wings as separate packages. Most of the birds will be frozen whole. If you want a fresh bird or have special requests, come on out on Sunday before noon and we can process some special for you. Hopefully, I'll catch a few roosters so we can put a few stewing birds in the freezer, too.
So if you want fresh chicken, we'll have some the next few weekends. Don't forget that we still have plenty of lamb in our freezer and are hoping to make some space to put some more in! The fresh ones just arrived last week, so you can get some fresh lamb, too.
See you on the weekend!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Well, here are some answers for you. I'll let you read it from the experts yourselves, but the short answer is:
They have a slightly higher fat content, they have more albumen in the whites (this is why it's great for baking, it makes things fluffier!), their shells are thicker so they can store longer, and of course, some folks have an allergy to chicken eggs, and can eat duck eggs instead.
You can get more details at the New Agrarian
As well as full, nutritional break down of duck eggs versus chicken eggs, at duckeggs.com.
So yes, we do sell duck eggs. Ours are from Khaki Campbell and Welsh Harlequin ducks. The eggs are slightly larger than chicken eggs. We are raising more, as we don't have many eggs now, but can sell a dozen or two a week. Let us know if you want to try them, and we'll sell you a half dozen to compare. If you like them, especially if you whip up a lot of egg whites, come back for more! In the meantime, our ducks are also beneficial in eating mosquito larvae off our pond, which is a nice benefit for us - no mosquito bites! Now, if someone would just start eating those horse flies...
Friday, June 22, 2012
What am I trying to say? We're likely not going to be selling fruits and veggies this year. Who knows, I might be overrun with cucumbers in the green house and will sell them, but otherwise, what little we may reap will likely end up in our tummies (or our daughter's!) and the rest of our resources are going to point towards the animals. It's going to be a long, hot, dry summer. This is one of those situations that farmer's dread!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Our next batch of broilers is coming this week, so they should be ready to go by mid-late July! So if you don't grab some now, more will be coming.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Below is his female counterpart, Brown. She's super skittish! Here's to hoping they control the mouse situation in the barn!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
We also decided to do our next bird processing on APRIL1. No joke. :) We have some turkey toms we will process, if anyone is interested for easter, or just want to have some turkey! They will be heritage breeds, and likely to be within the 10-18 pound range, and no bigger than that. If you have a few birds you might need processed, you can bring them to us the morning of April 1, and we'll process them for or with you. Just contact us and let us know you are coming, and we'll take care of the birds for you!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
This is Alice's Yakky Doodle. Alice has a habit of having lambs with "knee pads". Which is nice, it helps me identify them.
On the back of Vixen is little Snaggletooth. They are struggling right now. Vixen thinks that Yakky Doodle is her lamb, and follows him everywhere. Snaggletooth then follows Vixen all around, just trying to stay with his mommy. We have been supplementing him with bottles, in case they figure it out.
Finally, today, Peppermint Patty had her two lambs, Scooby and Scrappy. Again, I'll spend some time with them tomorrow and figure out which is which! We are up to 20 lambs right now.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Just a few pictures from the other day. Caught a shot of two turkeys goofing around in the front yard. The little hen on the left is just adorable. The one standing on the bench is actually a turkey I hatched last year. Hoorah!
We had some more lambs born on Valentine's day to Velma. She's one of my favorite sheep, mainly because she lets me pet her. She had two little ewe lambs. The one below is Judy, she's so adorable, I think I must absolutely keep her.
Being so close in age, Jane and Judy spend a lot of time with Clarice's Josie. They look very similar, but Jane is on the left, and Josie is on the right.
We just had 2 more little ewe lambs born today, but my camera batteries need replacing. So I didn't get enough pictures to post. Just happy that Pebbles finally gave birth! She's three, and missed her first season, so it's good to know she's not sterile - just taking her time!