Free Farm Tour!!!

Free farm tour on Saturday July 30th at 10 am sharp. No reservation needed, just show up with your friends and family. Pet the goats, feed the chickens and learn how we produce healthy, humane and delicious eggs. rose

The Hidden Costs of Corn & Soy Free Grain

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It’s been about 10 months now using this new grain, and there are some major problems. The corn and soy free grain is of the highest quality, but with no soy it lacks some essential amino acids which the chickens need to produce eggs of size and quantity for a farmer to be financially sustainable. Their production is down 15-20%. And the worst part is how many small eggs I collect. Most people don’t like small eggs, so I have to sell them cheap if I don’t want them sitting around. I was also loosing money with my wholesale accounts who couldn’t afford to pay more money when I switched over to corn and soy free. They were already paying top dollar and like most customers surveyed they didn’t care enough about the new feed to pay more.

To break it down, I’m loosing $1,000 a month in revenue with the smaller eggs and lower production, while at the same time paying almost $2,000 more a month on grain. Until a better alternative can be used, I will be switching back to the regular organic grain with corn and soy. I’m still a long way off from growing enough insects for the chickens to provide the amino acids they need when no soy is used.

I decided to try the corn and soy free grain last August after the farm became landlocked. With no access for a bulk grain delivery by truck, I had to start purchasing it by the bag. This cost 30% more for the same grain. After some research, I discovered I could purchase the corn and soy free grain from a different mill by the pallet for the same price as the old feed by the bag. I took the opportunity to try it out. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out, and with only 5% of my customers asking for a soy free product, it’s just not time to go that route. Most customers surveyed want humanely raised, transparent, organic and local eggs. I will still be providing that, and someday down the road I will have developed the skills and set up the infrastructure to grow insects to scale for the chickens to go soy free again.

It’s In My Blood

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When I started farming over five years ago, I had no idea how much of it was in my family history. It turns out that my grandpa and great grandpa used to raise chickens as well. Pictured is my great grandpa standing in front of his chicken coop, taken in 1940. He had over 2,000 leghorns and sold the eggs to a local co-op in Washington state. My grandpa Larry would help him as a kid clean out the coops and half way through the process would have to come out running to wipe off all the mites that jumped on him. That is one of the big problems when chickens don’t have the ability to take dirt baths. The fine dirt they cover their skin with, suffocates small insects like mites. Later my grandpa would raise 500 hens of his own and sell to his local co-op as well, until the price of eggs plummeted and he went out of business. This was an important lesson I learned from, which is to diversify your customer base. If your reliant on one co-op to buy your eggs and they don’t need them any more, it could put you out of business.

Summer Garden Treats

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In limited amounts, you can purchase organically grown heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and blackberries from the vending machine. They sell fast, so next year we will grow more.