Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feeding the world one small farm at a time.

At the end of the article I mentioned in the previous blog post, there is a little sidebar it says:
"Organic methods can produce almost as much yield per acre as conventional ones but require more human labor. In a time of scarce jobs, a return to the farm can help both the land and the economy."

When we started our working shares in our CSA, people told us we were just creating our own competition by teaching people to garden. I sure hope so. There is room for everyone when we work with the earth not against her.

Nothing would make me happier than having a network of small farmers in our area to feed our community wholesome, sustainable food. We really want to help others realize their dreams of becoming farmers whether it's with a small garden and few hens or 10 acres and a goal of independence.


Last week I was in the dentists office browsing through magazines when I came accoss this title on the cover of Time for August 31, 2009. WOW!

I turned to the article on page 31. The article points out the hidden costs of producing cheap meat and grain: soil degredation and erosion, rising concern over antibiotic resistant bacteria in farm animals, global climate change. It goes on to point out that this style of farming uses up 19% of US fossil fuels. That's a lot!

It points out that the current "a food system - from seed to 7-eleven- that generates cheap , filling also a principal cause of America's obesity epidemic."

The article was accompanied by a little chart with a dollar bill on the left and on the right what that dollar could buy:

1200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda or 250 calories of veggies or 170 calories of fresh fruit

Geez! But would you feel better and be healthier if you ate the veggies or the fresh fruit? Yes.

One of our CSA shareholders explained his family's philosophy on food like this: He said, they would rather pay more for better quality food. This approach means they eat less, but much better. No one in their family is overweight.


You can read the article for yourself by clicking here:

Let me know what you think.

Finding the golden triangle

The farming version of the isosceles triangle.

I used to think about farming in a more linear way. More like a time line. Now I think of farming in more interesting geometric shapes.

Now I think of our farm systems are made up of interlocking/interdependent circles. The circle of the seasons, weather patterns, animal growth and reproduction, plant growth, decomposition, the wildlife on the farm and under the soil. It all fits together in an ever shifting pattern interlinked circles.
3-D circles.
When I imagine it I think of it in space time. 2 dimensions just seems too limiting.

Oh yes... I did start out talking about triangles. Best to get back to that.

The golden triangle of farming. That perfect balance between number of animals, cost of production, return from product that allows the farmer to make a living. Why a golden triangle? Because if one element is out of whack the whole thing falls apart and the farmer has to struggle to put it all back in balance.

For example: We fell into the more must be better way of thinking about our laying flock. We grew to 200 laying hens. We sold our eggs at $2.25/doz. We often had excess eggs which we could not sell and we would feed them to our pregnant sows for the added calcium and protein.
At the end of the day, we were losing money and we were working ourselves to death.

We had lost the golden triangle. So we scaled back with the help of a near miss tornado and some pretty severe culling. Now we have one little hen pen with 45 birds. They are just starting to lay consistently. Our feed costs are in line with our output of eggs. We don't have any surplus eggs now. In fact, we often don't have enough eggs for everyone that wants them. We are taking the advise of several of our egg customers and increasing our per dozen price to $3 in 2010. We won't be wholesaling to the feed mill anymore. Still our triangle is a little lopsided.
We're working on that. We plan to grow our flock of layers slowly. Stopping often to analyze whether we have created the golden triangle. At the point that we have just enough eggs to sell and feed ourselves balanced with the feed costs and housing costs we'll stop.

That will be our golden triangle for egg production. I'll keep you posted on how we're doing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Support heritage pork with your fork!

Do What?

That's right. To save our critically rare Red Wattle hogs from extinction we need to eat them. You see if there is no demand for RW pork then there is no demand for RW's. That would mean the end of RW's forever.

So this month we took 4 of our pasture raised, hormone & antibiotic free RW's to the processor. We got them back today. Every nook and cranny in every freezer we own is full of RW pork!
One ham never even made it to the freezer. I put it right into the slow cooker. Unfortunately, I had to go to work before it was done, but Brian called a bit ago. He said I shouldn't count on there being any leftovers after tomorrow. :)

I can hardly wait to cook up some pork chops and make sausage gravy and biscuits. This is pork the way I remember it. Back when hogs were raised on pasture not on concrete. When pork wasn' t "the other white meat". This is real pork for real people- juicy, flavorful and filling.

We are offering a limited amount of our RW pork for sale by the pound @ $4/lb.
You can check available cuts, reserve your cuts and arrange for pickup at the farm by emailing us at: or call Brian @ 812-521-1063.

We invite you to join us for a walking tour of the farm when you come out to pick up your heritage pork.

Help save the RW's and eat well too!

Monday, September 7, 2009

We have a new cookie!

Double Stuff, the Belted Galloway FINALLY had her calf this evening. Baby Oreo is doing just fine. I'll post pics as soon as I can get some tomorrow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nnot the other white meat - real pork for real people!!

We are taking our first batch of 4 Red Wattle Hogs to the processor on the 16th!

We can hardly wait to have suasage, pork chops and ham again! We won't have any bacon out of this bunch because the bellies have been prepurchased by Chris Ely of Goose The Market in Indy.

If you'd like to try some of our heritage pork there will be some cuts available. Contact Brian at:

Not exactly the Midas touch. . .

This week Brian has had the worst luck. He fell in a hole with his dad's tractor.

The bailer broke. Parts won't get here until Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm starting to wonder if we're ever going to get our hay up.

Then while he was trying to drop the pickup bar out of the bailer so he could figure out what was wrong with it, he ran over his cell phone with the tractor. The phone is terminal. :(

And then the A/C went out on his truck.

I told him please, do not get too close to my CRV. I needed to get to work today! :)