Upcoming Farm School!

If you’ve made it this far on this blog, you deserve a pat on the back… it took real patience and perseverance to make that happen! The reality is that I don’t blog anymore, I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to it these days. Maybe I will again someday… But hey, while you’re here I wanted to take the opportunity to personally invite you to consider attending our upcoming Farm School on April 29-30. You are obviously dedicated to sustainable, pasture-based, humane livestock farming… exactly the kind of people we hope to draw to our phenomenal (if I don’t say so myself) event! Click here to be lifted from the world of “what once was” to the the world of “what could be”!

DIY – Rendering Lard

Despite the crazy looks we get sometimes, we remain committed to the concept of using the entire animal after its life on earth comes to an end. Call it sentimental, humane, or just plain efficient, we whole-heartedly endorse the idea of minimizing what goes in the rendering barrel by utilizing minor cuts of meat, fat, organs, etc. As with all things, there is a wide array of commitment levels in this regard, from the discerning eater who still can’t stand the sight/smell/texture of liver and onions, to some customers who encouraged us to package and sell chicken feet to make an unbelievably rich and hearty broth! By the way, we still have a package of chicken feet left in the freezer if anyone is interested. Wherever you find yourself on that scale, I’m here to encourage you to get on board with one underutilized portion of our animals: their fat. Once … Continue reading

Old-Fashioned Barn Raising

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning colors, and fall is officially here. And with it comes the realization that I am WAY behind in addressing the main issue we faced last winter: the lack of proper infrastructure to deal with cold, wind, and freezing precipitation. I spent entirely too much time and energy last year keeping my animals warm and dry, and in some cases failed in that most important of jobs, and it was the animals who ultimately suffered. At the time I promised myself “never again”, but with the warmer weather came a litany of additional tasks that served as a distraction and pushed our winter woes lower and lower on the list of priorities. But now, with another winter impending, those considerations have percolated back to the top of the list, but now there are only 60 days or so to get things taken care of! … Continue reading

I’m Back!

Back when I had time to read other farmer’s blogs, I distinctly remember a common theme appearing. After cranking out regular posts with great content, there was always a point at which they sort of dropped off the map. After a while, they would re-appear, apologizing for losing focus and telling some sob story about how the farm got ahead of them and required their full attention. Some would apply themselves with renewed vigor and make up lost ground, others switched gears or formats to accommodate their new reality, and others just sort of fizzled away. While I definitely fit the first half of that theme, I’m honestly not sure where this story ends. I took some good-natured kidding from one of our customers about “not having blogged in a while”, and after looking at the date on my last post I realized that that is a massive understatement! It’s … Continue reading

Newsletter Website Tab

We’ve added a new page to our website, which contains links to our quarterly newsletter. The newsletters contain more insight into our farm decisions, direction and details, as well as unique opportunities like our current “Buy 2, Get 1 FREE” deal on chicken (check out Pasture Talk #002 for more info). You can click on the “Newsletter” tab on our main page, or follow this link: Pasture Talk Newsletters We hope you enjoy reading the newsletters, and find them informative!              

Choosing A Chicken Breed

The decision on which chicken to raise for meat was almost as hard as the decision to raise meat chickens at all! For whatever reason, there wasn’t a clear favorite that matched our requirements, values, and vision. Instead, we found ourselves mired in the multitude of breeds, trying to sort through the fluff (and feathers) to find a chicken that we could really get behind and support. Our difficulty stemmed from the lack of specialization in the non-industrial breeds, an abundance of fancy show breeds, and the presence of hybrid varieties targeting the alternative market. From a homesteading perspective, a “dual purpose” chicken would be a good thing, a relatively good egg layer that was somewhat edible when that time came. The problem with that concept from a business perspective, and ultimately the reason why breeds like the Cornish Cross (meat) and the White Leghorn (eggs) are so prolific in the … Continue reading

Price List Is Released!

For those of you who don’t follow us on Facebook or receive emails from our mailing list, I would like to call your attention to the links at the top of our webpage. While all of them have valuable content that you might enjoy, I’m specifically referring to the “Prices/Availability” tab. There you will find our newly released 2014 Price List and Order Form, as well as additional information on product availability, the ordering process, and our local processor. As you can imagine, this is a VERY big deal for us, and marks the transition from ridiculously expensive hobby farm to (hopefully) profitable business enterprise! I hope you find the information useful, and that you print yourself off an order form and send it in right away! If any questions arise while you are checking out the web page, feel free to email, call, or comment, and I’ll get back … Continue reading

Why We Almost Didn’t Raise Chickens

As we’ve planned out our various enterprises, there has always been a lingering thought in the back of my brain: “Is there a reason why so few people raise meat chickens”? As we followed Nature’s Harmony Farm from their inception, one of the first things they shed as unprofitable was broilers. Digging through farms listed on Eatwild, few of them offered chicken. And this trend flies in the face of customer requests, as we’ve heard time and time again… “Will you have chicken, we’d love to buy some”. There must be a reason, I wondered. Well the wondering is over, and the answer is clear: Chickens promise to be the least profitable enterprise we offer, in fact it took some financial gymnastics to get them to the point of even being in consideration! But before we got to that point, we struggled to find a breed of chicken that fit … Continue reading

DIY: Apple Cidering

Apple cider has a special place in my heart thanks to fond childhood memories of pressing apples, and I haven’t done a DIY post in a while, so I thought it would be the perfect subject to dive into. Let’s start by defining what we’re discussing, since many people are confused with the subtle difference between apple cider and apple juice. Cider is made by crushing apples and squeezing the fluid out, juice is made by taking cider and clarifying/filtering it to make it clear, as well as sweetening it. Cider contains a fair amount of sediment and is cloudy, juice usually is not. Juice is made from cider, and cider is the original juice… got it? Great! Making apple cider is incredibly easy, gratifying, and delicious. The biggest investment is in the press, of course, but there are plenty of DIY options to get around buying a full-up press. … Continue reading

The Day To Day Life Of A Rancher: Fencing

Until yesterday, our cows and sheep have been living their lives in a feed lot-style paddock, eating bales of hay that we had cut when we first arrived on the farm. I’m grateful to have these paddocks available because we wouldn’t have been able to buy livestock without them, but I was also extremely cognizant of the fact that they weren’t living the way I wanted them to. The ground got very mucky around the bale feeders (especially when the snow thawed), the animals were dirty, and the ground was treacherous walking with all the pock marks made by the cows’ hooves. Overall the situation was ok, but not great. That has all changed now that I’ve recently finished my permanent fencing project for our south fields, a 17 acre portion of our property that is divided roughly in half by a hedge row. I’ve been concentrating on getting this … Continue reading