Hey ya'll! I promise to write a regular post with fun pictures just as soon as I get through my last Bee Keeping class tomorrow! Until then, here is my latest newsletter!
I hop everyone is having lovely spring weather! Lots going on here and I promise to catch ya'll up!
Spring Newsletter 2013
My Barefoot FarmDear Friends and Customers,
Although it has taken its sweet time getting here, spring has finally arrived! We have been very busy putting up more fencing and making splits with the beehives. We have also built a shed roof for the storage building and have plans to build walls around the milking area this summer.
There are a few other happenings I wanted to share with everyone. First, we will be getting some new animals within the next few weeks. We have purchased three more sheep from the same breeder as before in North Carolina. These new sheep will all be ewes and will help get us established breeding wool sheep. Two of the new ones will be black, and I am excited to have some colored fleece in addition to the white fleece. I expect that I will have fleece for sale later this year and then again next year.
Next, we have purchased two more dairy cows(Jersey). These two additions will arrive next week sometime and so we will be increasing our milk supply. One of the new cows is actually a heifer calf and will not be bred or in milk for another 18 months. The older cow, however, is a second time mother and is in milk. She is a gentle cow, although it will take her a week or so get used to our routine and surroundings. We felt like it was time to meet the demand of fresh, healthy milk.
Even though our cows only get about 1 pound of grain during milking time, we have also decided to switch them to being totally grassfed. Instead of the usual grain at milking, they will receive certified organic barley, wheat and alfalfa that has been sprouted. I will sprout the grains and then they will also continue to eat grass throughout the day and night. For winter we will build a fodder system so that they can get fresh grass all winter through again the certified organic barley and wheat. We have always felt our cows and their milk were of top quality but this new change will ensure that they are free of all GMO foods.
We are accepting some new customers at this time and plan to make it easier for pick up by placing a refrigerator outside at some point this spring. This will allow customers to pick up milk orders at their convenience. If you refer a friend to us we will give you a credit for one free gallon of milk. We also have been working on monthly milk purchase plans that offer a slight discount. Contact me if you are interested.
Back to the GMO issue at hand. Our pastured poultry is raised using the Joel Salatin model of pastured chicken. Our birds are healthy and are not treated with any drugs or hormones. Although the birds are on pasture they do still require a food source as well. I have always used a top of the line food but this year I do feel compelled to switch to a certified organic feed that is free of GMOs. This has been a difficult task with much research to weigh the benefits with the cost. It costs almost three times more to buy GMO free food.
I have already sold more than half my birds for this first batch and do not feel I can raise the rates after the fact. I am going to offer my customers a choice. I will divide my birds and feed half of them my usual top quality grain and still charge $15 each for the birds.
I will also have birds in seperate tractors and feed them certified organic grain (GMO free) from Countryside Organics. These birds will cost $18 each to make up for the price difference in the feed.
I will notify all my customers of this change. If any of them want to pay the extra $3 for the GMO free food, then I will certainly mark them down for that chicken.
This will allow us to offer GMO free chicken while still upholding our original prices and offerings. If it happens that all of the pre-order customers want GMO free chicken then I will raise all the birds this way.
The issue of health risks with GMO foods is certainly gaining attention and I want to show my support for the organic movement and remove my support of the GMO model. As always there is a financial cost to raise a farm organically but I think we can do it!
We had a fabulous Bee Keeping workshop this weekend and I am excited to see more people gain an interest in keeping bees. They are truly a valuable species and they need our protecting!
As the weather starts to warm I have been starting to harden off my vegetable plants. I will offer some plants for sale to those who are interested. All of the plants were heirloom seeds purchased from Baker Creek. I will have three types of tomatoes and two types of peppers for sale once they are hardened off and ready to be planted outside.
Thank you for your continued support! Feel free to stop by for a visit! Please keep up with our latest adventures
and contact me if you are interested in milk, eggs, chickens, or anything else!!!!
Blessings and Happy Spring,
Sam and Devin