As this year comes to an end and we look forward to another year of providing you with regenerative food, we wanted to notify you of a few changes with the livestock, primarily with the poultry.
We are always striving to increase our quality and service to you and with that in mind here are some of the changes we will be making starting next year.
Until now we have been using "spent hens" from local Amish Mennonite farms. These are birds that have passed their egg laying prime and are on the downswing of production. While cheap and certified organic, they just have not been able to maintain a high enough level of production for our needs. So we will be buying pullets (birds that are just about to start laying eggs) and this brings along a major increased cost, from 75 cents/bird to ~$8/bird. Another improvement we are beginning to implement now is feeding fermented feed with apple cider vinegar mixed in. The birds prefer this AND it gives them an overall health boost. Of course we will continue pasturing the flock year round, feeding 100% organic feed from our local mill and moving them daily in the growing season. As sales continue to grow and egg production increases that means it is time to invest in an egg washing machine, more cold storage, and likely a guardian dog to protect the flock from predators. With all of that being said, we will be increasing the price per dozen from $5.50 to $7.50. The pastured egg CSA will still enjoy a 50 cent discount per dozen ($7/doz). To be completely transparent, our current egg operation has yet to financially break even, so we had to make some changes. We hope you will be able to see a change in the quality of eggs as these changes are implemented.
No major changes on the beef side of things, but thought we'd share a few small changes we are introducing. After doing some research on the benefits of apple cider vinegar being added to the water or grass/hay, we have decided to begin giving the herd a small amount every day. As many of you likely know, ACV has a myriad of health benefits for humans, and that goes the same with animals. Sleeker hair coats, better digestion, healthier gut, flora, and better parasite resistance are just a few of the benefits. I began giving ACV about a month ago and so far haven't noticed a major difference, but overall the cattle do appear more content. I have also been adding some iodine to the drinking water to help boost overall health, especially glandular function. Pricing will remain the same on all beef products.
The sheep amaze me at how simple and contented they are most of the time. Just give them some good hay or grass and they are happy. Still amazed at how little water they drink! Similar changes as the cattle, just adding ACV and iodine as a supplement. There have been some lambing issues (you may have noticed our lamb supply has been low for a while, this is why) that I am still puzzling over. A goal for 2021 is to finally get the sheep integrated into the cattle herd so we can finally say we officially have a "flerd". Again, no pricing changes here.
This year we got back into pastured chicken and overall things went quite well. Two more chicken tractors were added to the fleet and we hope to add a couple more this next year. It's so exciting to see the pasture regrow with a deeper, more lush green in the wake of the chickens. The manure they leave behind gives the plants a big boost. The biggest change coming in 2021 will be a switch back to processing birds on the farm. This will significantly lower the stress on the birds during processing and allow us to have 100% control over how the birds are processed. We are blessed to have a USDA poultry processor nearby, but have not been happy with the level of quality and some of the practices they use. Fermented feed with ACV will likely get implemented with the broiler fee- as well for many of the benefits discussed above. Non-GMO and organic fed options will both be available again in 2021. Current pricing will largely stay the same for 2021 barring any major cost changes to feed and processing. Right now the only change will be our Non GMO whole chicken going from $4/lb to $4.50/lb. We are still learning a lot and working on pricing that works for everyone.
If you have taken the time to read all of this we thank you and appreciate how committed you are to working with us as we continue serving you with the highest quality food. The year 2020 has brought many challenges for us all, but that also means we are pushed to become more creative and cohesive. We would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have been supporting us, without it we aren't able to do this.
Thank you and let's continue regenerating our mind, body, and land together.
Hey everyone again,
This is Danielle, and I thought I would tag along to give an update on the produce side of things. This year was our first year of doing a market garden, and I worked with the help of Isaiah and volunteers when available on 12 multi-sized full CSA subscriptions. It was fun, albeit a wild ride starting in 2020. I love the community we created, and that's always what has been important to us - the community and education that is created.
We extended the summer CSA with five weeks of a fall CSA, and a winter CSA to fill the time between the fall and main summer CSA. Next year, we will double the size of the summer CSA (and we will see on the fall and winter CSA, but we are also enjoying the break that the colder months provide). Some changes, or rather focus areas for next year include sourcing non-hybrid, heritage seeds, more colorful produce high in antioxidants, seed saving to create and lessen cost to subscribers, native varieties and local tribal seeds, and more engagement/education.
We also welcome produce for trade shares and "imperfect" shares. You can sign up for a share now if you haven't done so already.
I mimic Isaiah in THANKING YOU for being a part of this. Especially this year, this endeavor has brought hope to our family in a dreary time - and many of you have said the same. This land is magical, and is the answer to our time's problems, I truly believe.
I cannot wait for that sun to come back around, and to see those pastures green again.
Much love and light,
Danielle (and all of us!)