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All,

Well its been a while since I posted but wanted to make a quick update. While we are out of beef for the year (there is a possibility of a small supply in December) and eggs (due to a quick but extreme predator issue), we have added pigs to the farm as an intrigal part of keeping the farm sustainable, and thus have pasture raised pork available now.

So, a little about the pigs and the how they’re raised:  We use only animals that are born and raised on pasture and are fed from the day they start eating solid food, a non-gmo feed ration . The breed(s) we use is a cross of Tamworth (known as an outstanding “bacon pig”) and Berkshire (an excellent “small farm pig” known as a forager and for its outstanding meat flavor (Berkshires have won a vast majority of tastes test performed by a national pork producers association). As with all of the animals we raise, we take pride in knowing that we raise our pork by placing animal husbandry and their welfare as a priority. The pigs spend their entire lives outside soaking up sunlight and feeding themselves tree-nuts, grasses/legumes and naturally occurring nutrients they can only obtain in a free range environment. As for processing we use only USDA, Animal Welfare Approved processing facilities that ensure any smoking and/or further processing of meats is done without the use nitrates/nitrites.

Our prices are listed under the “products and prices” (https://southchestnutfarmcsa.wordpress.com/pricelist-2/) tab of this page, feel free to contact us (southchestnut_farm@att.net) with any questions or requests.

We presently have 100% grassfed beef for sale as well as non-gmo fed free range chicken. We will also be harvesting our last set of meat chickens in a few weeks. Let us know if we can help you in any way.

 

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the cooler weather. I have to admit, this is my favorite time of the year, even though by normal standards this was a rather mild summer, it was still  hot enough.

We will be harvesting our last steer and our chickens toward the end of October. If interested in either, please let us know soon.

A little back ground on the chickens we’re finishing:  they are of course “free range” and are living on our 1.5 acre vegetable garden area (getting it ready for next spring). The poultry breed we are using is known as “Red Rangers”. These birds have an excellent reputation as meat birds and are very suited for “free range living”. Being very good grazers, they  grow at a slightly slower pace than the Cornish Rocks. While being slightly more active and physically well balanced, these chickens are very robust and are immune to the health problem of some of the other breeds of meat birds.  This set of meat chickens is being finished on non-gmo derived feed. (I won’t feel this space with reasons for using non-gmo feed, but feel free to ask any questions about it).

Our final steer of the year is being finished on the last of the summer forages we have  (perl millet). The steer is in very good shape and I expect the  beef to be of very good quality.

We will be getting our new layer chicks in early November and hope to restart egg production in the March timeframe next year.

Hope everyone has a good autumn,

Roger

All, thanks as always for reading. Here’s some updated info for this spring and some info on chicken feed that I would welcome feedback on:

Beef: We will have fresh beef around the 20th of May. This is the first steer to be processed this spring and it looks to be of really good quality. If interested in special cuts or larger “packages” of beef let me know soon.

A possible switch to non-gmo chicken feed: Presently we are using chicken feed that is composed of 100% plant based ingredients (no animal by-products). However,  two of the main ingredients in chicken feed (and most food animal feeds) are corn and soybeans of which 88% and 94% respectively are GMO (genetically modified organism) derived [http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/28/gmo-questions/1658225/]. While there are strong opinions for and against GMO derived products, I thought it would be nice (and in keeping with our farm philosophy) to offer the option of non-gmo eggs . I have located a source for “non-GMO” feeds … while this feed is not certified organic, it is more “natural” than the GMO  feeds typically sold in stores. It is somewhat more expensive than the feed we are using presently and there are no distributers with in a 75 mile radius. Adding the transportation cost and the increased cost of the feed would probably mean a  25 cent/dozen increase in the cost of eggs.

Pastured raised meat chickens: We are presently considering adding meat chickens to the farm. These would be raised on pasture in much the same way as the layer hens are. As above, the feed would be non-GMO sourced if that is the consensus.

Your thoughts and opinions are greatly valued … please feel free to post or email me at southchestnutfarm_csa@att.net with your opinions and/or feedback.

It’s the time of the year when the farm is fairly quiet. We are hunkered down for the winter and are feeding hay to keep all the animals fit until the pastures can once again provide. We are of course toward the end of the year and obviously grass is in short supply. However, its not the cold weather and short days that are solely responsible for the shortage of forage, it’s as much or more to do with our lack of rain. If we were getting typical amounts of precipitation, coupled with the mild temperatures we’ve been having, the hay would still be stored in the barn … helping to achieve that goal of year-round grazing with little need for hay.

Our layers (chickens) seem to also be taking the winter off as our egg production has fallen way down to about 1/4 of what we have seen at times during the year. This poor egg production is not totally unexpected as chickens typically go through a “molt” at some point during the year where they shed their old feathers and gain new ones. Also, fewer daylight hours contribute to less egg production, although we have added light to their sleeping quarters in order to provide some light before they are released into the pasture each morning … the “artificial light” is supposed increase egg production… we will see.

As for what I am planning for the new year, growing vegetables this spring is still and idea that’s “up in the air” … lots of time and resources go in to making that a success …. I’ll just have to gauge interest. I have some other ideas for possible farm “enterprises” but again, we’ll have to see if resources allow them. And, as always, feel free to make suggestions.

To all who have bought from us during the year we are truly thankful.

Thanks to all for taking the time to read,

Hope you have a peaceful and joyous holiday,

Roger

All,

This week there is only a very limited amount of greens available, that being salad mix, and there are some banana and green bell peppers available. The spinach and kale are done for the season and the squash and zuchinni are at the end of their respective cycles also. Since there are only a few things available this week (salad mix and peppers), unless someone is in particular need for either of those, we will probably take a couple of weeks off until there is more variety to offer (we should have some tomatoes ready in a week or 2).

In the mean time, the chickens are still laying eggs and we have freshly harvested beef if anyone needs either of those,

Thanks to all.

All,

If interested in vegetables this week, we will have the following: 

  • summer crisp lettuce (first harvest of this variety)
  • lettuce mix (green/purple)
  • spinach (this could be the last week of spinach)
  • kale
  • some peppers (mostly sweet banana)
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • maybe some carrots
  • eggs
  • beef

Just let me know if and/or what you need this week … I will be around most of the day this Wednesday and could drop off if you want,

Thanks,

Roger