Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Price Increase, ROUND 2

Grain prices are skyrocketing right now. With the drought this summer decimating corn crops, the prices of all grains are going up. Most other grains and crops tend to follow the corn pricing, so wheat prices are going up, soy bean prices are going up - essentially, all the parts that go into our poultry feed are getting expensive, and getting there fast.

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

Next Processing Day

September 30

We 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

Barn Kitties

We hadn't seen our barn kitties in a while. And sometimes that means they have gotten adventurous, and have wandered off. Often, when they start to roam far, they don't come back. If they end up in an open field at night, maybe hunting mice, if they don't have a tree to climb, they are easily surrounded by coyotes and killed. So we were worried.
But then we saw them, and I think since it's too warm above the tack room in the barn, they are now sleeping under the front porch (that's a great place to catch mice, too!)
Here's Murphy. He's actually quite friendly. You need to approach him slowly, and low to the ground, and call him. He'll come to you if you don't move too fast. He really does like to be petted.

 Here is Two Three Six. Yup, just eyes in the distance. He's a black and white kitty, and he's not mean, but keeps his distance. It was hard to get a shot at night, since the flash didn't go too far. I'll try to find him in the morning, with a camera in hand..  But he's still around. Good kitties!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Price Increase

We recently had to refill our grain bins, about a month sooner than expected (we forgot how much turkeys eat!) Due to increases in grain prices, our feed prices have increased a LOT. Hay prices have also doubled again this year. It's looking like our prices are going to have to go up, too.

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

Holiday Turkeys

It's September - and already people are thinking about their holidays. Of course, my mind is on Halloween! But others are contemplating other fabulous holidays, like Thanksgiving! So, to kick off your Thanksgiving planning, here is the deposit form for Turkeys.  Like always, we can promise an exact size, but we really do out best. For reference, they generally state that you need 1 pound per person eating. Realizing that some of the weight of the bird is going to be bones and such, so that doesn't mean each person is eating a pound of meat, though I know a lot of folks could! You can round that up or down based on how many leftovers you would like to have.

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