Friday, April 5, 2019

Website Improvements Are Coming!

Stay tuned!

One of my big goals for 2019 is a brand new website with more features.

A draft is well under way and I hope to launch it ASAP this spring but it is but one of MANY projects I'm working on, so patience is necessary.

I hope to have the new site able to have our forms downloadable, take online payments, include an email newsletter and more; the possibilities are really exciting and in this day and age, an important way for us to make our farm more convenient for our customers.

Once it's ready, this web address will automatically redirect you to the new site so no need to update bookmarks.

In the meanwhile, check out our facebook page for regular updates and farm photos and/or come visit us in person at our market booths!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

*2017* Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2017!

We hope that you and your loved ones have had a pleasant and joyful holiday season. We're entering the new year in high gear despite the wintery weather making things look sleepy and calm. 2016 was a year of significant growth and change: our poultry's popularity exploded with more orders than we could fill (more than double the previous year!!!) and we added our CSA which was a huge hit. THANK YOU to everyone that supported and encouraged us as we took on two big expansions.

At the end of November, I (Malinda) attended the Women in Sustainable Agriculture conference in Portland. It was 3 full days of intensive classes full of information and motivation and I've been working on implementing some things I learned there over the winter. Naturally, it's a lot of work running a business and instituting change and growth but it's just simply what you do and I'm enthusiastic to meet the new year head on with renewed energy and balance between personal and business activities.

Some current highlights of my planning:

Last year we kept the fledgling program small; a CSA is a very different business model than just taking the best stuff to a market each week and I wanted to be sure we did a good job while we got our systems behind the scenes running smoothly. We received excellent feedback and praise from our members and this year we are ready to open the membership to a much larger number of people. I'm putting the final touches on 2017 paperwork and plan to have it published in the next week.

We were simply blown away with the surge in demand for our broiler chickens and turkeys last year. This year we plan to grow the limit of what we legally can under exemption split between chickens and turkeys. I'm refining the paperwork and assessing pricing and flock scheduling. I expect to have paperwork for preorders ready mid-January and I encourage customers to preorder as early as possible as I expect to sell out.

Check back to see updates posted soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Welcome to 2016!

Wow. So much has transpired over the last year. We are entering 2016 with a newfound enthusiasm thanks to some really great things. I (Malinda) have been working full-time on developing the business for 6 years now and I feel like we're really "coming into our own" now. We had many landmarks in 2015 and over the winter and I'm excited to share some of our highlights with you:

We started raising pastured poultry in 2011 when the small-farm exemption law took effect. Each year it has grown and this year the jump is huge! Last year we raised 425 broiler chickens and this year we've jumped it to at least 600 with 300 already reserved in January. ***THANK YOU!!!*** We may add more to our schedule pending spring reservations. Turkeys are much the same, each year we roughly double production and this year is no exception; last year we raised about 30 and this year we plan for around 60! Again, they've sold out each year with rave reviews. We feel so grateful for the support our customers have given us in this facet of the business. It's an honor to provide your families with meat that was raised with kindness and sunshine. We hope to build a chicken processing shed this summer which will greatly help our efficiency behind the scenes and make harvest days a little easier on us. Did you know? We prefer to harvest our birds on-site, ourselves. It's emotionally draining and hard work but it's important to us that they are treated as kindly as possible and sparing them the trip down a highway and to a foreign place that is stressful is our final gift to them. Our first chicks are already in the brooders so if you're thinking about ordering this year don't delay.

I'm very happy to announce that we have finally caved to your requests: we will offer a CSA in 2016! We've always favored markets as our retail outlets for many reasons but we've heard your voices and have decided to cut back on the number of markets we attend and offer an on-site CSA to take their place. I'll be honest, it's a TON of work packing, hauling, setting up, selling at, tearing down, hauling home, and putting away a market booth and I've usually done it solo. While I do love markets, I found myself with nearly no time to actually work on my farm beyond bare essential tasks. Thank goodness we're a family team effort which kept the product flowing. In my heart, I'm a gardener and farmer. It feeds my soul to have my own hands in the soil but running a business demands that I spend more time elsewhere like market booths or at my desk. The CSA not only answers the requests of our customers but takes a big step to realign my schedule in a way that puts me back on my farm doing the things I love most. Of course it also is a 'win' for our customers as they get to come along on that journey and spend some time on my farm with me in addition to the other many benefits of joining a CSA. The first sprouts of the year are up and I'm so very excited for good things to come.

More Help!
My mom Polly has been an important help to me over the last few years especially since our son Dylan was born in 2102.  She likes to be behind the scenes mostly but she's also helped me at a lot of markets, usually in the role of Grandma chasing my little guy while I sell. When we bought the Adams farm in 2012 she joined us in a much more committed way as co-owner of that property; she lives with us here and enjoys going back to her rural roots growing up on a farm as a kid. This spring she retires and is looking forward to being around a lot more and I'm very much looking forward to having a little more help as well! (She's going to whine about me focusing on her publicly though so... Sorry mom!) She's too important to our business to let her hide in the background all the time!

As always, my mother-in-law Silvia and I are showing little to no self-control with seed orders and we have sprouts popping up like crazy. More and more though, we are leaning towards heirloom seeds that I save myself. Every year we add a couple new varieties that we kept from the previous year. It's a lot of fun and feels good to take control of the entire cycle.

I'm actively working on increasing our drip irrigation and redoing my main garden plot on the Adams farm this spring; we already have a big load of straw for mulch and 10 lovely new peach trees to provide a lovely and delicious windbreak for that plot.

Our young orchard has over 30 new trees & varieties added over the winter and we should have the first grapes off the vineyard this year while I continue to add new varieties to it. I love preserving old varieties and growing novel and heirloom ones in addition to common ones and each year I attend "scion swaps" where I get twigs of all sorts of cool things. I take these home and either root or graft them; this is where most of my new stock comes from. It's a slow process but I really enjoy it.

If you have a favorite variety of something that you've longed to see at markets (or in your new CSA box, *wink, wink*) now is the time to drop me a note!

Work is simply never done on a farm; before you even get your current project finished several more needs present themselves and the backlog is eternal. We are no exception to this rule and there are a couple notable ones I'm excited to tackle this year:

Turkey Tractor: It's not secret that I have a deep love for things on wheels around here. It's important for us to be able to move critters and structures around to rotate field use and provide the best environments for our plants and animals. Our chickens have long had wheeled structures for shelter and protection but the turkeys are very different creatures that always have preferred to sleep on top of the chicken shelters. Not the greatest situation especially as the local coyotes found us last year. We were able to avoid any losses but our "turkey fort" aka dog kennel with a tarp left some things to be desired and doesn't offer room to double our production like we plan to. This coming year we simply must improve our protections for our flock so we procured an old travel trailer frame that we'll be building a mobile turkey trailer for them.

Pantry & Walk-in Cooler: This project is a two-part-er. When we moved onto the Adams farm we combined two estates and there was a lot of stuff to find places for. We've gone through a tremendous amount of it and progress continues but one component we've lacked was a pantry. This isn't some little cupboard I'm talking about, rather it's an entire room to store the 1000+ canning jars and other basic supplies that I amass to support our family both on a daily basis and as preparation for an emergency such as a major earthquake or severe storm aftermath. Since this property didn't have such a room I still have boxes of jars staked in the barn area we call the "retail barn". Our goal for this area is to fix it up with a much needed walk in cooler and nicer displays for folks who would like to shop here onsite. For that to happen the boxes of jars need to leave and an organized space needs to be built. So, two big projects with big payouts are on our horizon.

Breeding Turkeys: This winter we retained 4 turkeys as a breeding group. They are Midget Whites which is a heritage breed that finishes out at around 12-15#. We are anxiously awaiting eggs from them that will hopefully give us lots of babies to raise for customers that prefer smaller, heritage birds. While we much prefer our birds to be out on grass and roaming this group is currently hanging out in a large stall because they were naughty and free-ranged right off the property!

Cross-Fencing & Pasture Replanting: When we bought the Adams farm it was a horse boarding facility and virtually everything had been severely overgrazed. We are working on cross-fencing pastures and each year we completely plow, reseed, and rest one field. It's a slow process but last year's field is looking nice. Of course with grass being the foundation of a pastured meat operation we are actively working to increase the health of the forages. I look forward to having lots of smaller fields that we can allow animals access to one at a time while grazed areas can recover and the chickens and turkeys move through fertilizing as they go. We now own everything we need to cut our own hay which is very exciting and the higher quality fields have even more importance for future hay crops.

Until Next Time!
PHEW! There's so much more I could ramble on about but if I don't quit, this will be a book and not a blog! Besides, it's much to gorgeous outside to stay stuck at a computer. Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Growing (even bigger) for you!

Wow, it seems like I blinked and *poof* a whole year evaporated! I guess that's what having a baby turn into a toddler AND buying a farm can do to you. Yup- you read it right, we bought a farm! In case that sounds confusing, let me clarify: since 1996 we've been operating as a collective family effort on my in-laws' 10 acres just south of Independence. Carlos and I (Malinda) always lived in town with the dream of living on our own land. Well, patience, planning, and perseverence have finally paid off: 5 days before Christmas 2012 we got the keys to our new place which is 26.5 acres just north of Monmouth. We've been crazy-busy but on cloud nine this year as we've hustled to move two households and a business but the dust is starting to settle and we are starting to feel like this whole whole thing might actually be real. My mother bought the new place jointly and also lives here which is wonderful to have live-in Grandma for Dylan who's growing like a little weed. I couldn't be happier that he gets to grow up in the country, his first word was "Hi Dad" followed by "Mama" then came "Bok Bok" for the chickens which he's completely infatuated with.

My in-laws are still going strong on the original farm and our new place lets us expand into even more types of products which should prove to be very interesting. Already, we've stepped up the pastured poultry operations with two flocks already in and out and two more to come this season. Come fall we should have a handful of Christmas geese and turkeys available. We're also seriously looking at adding some grass-fed beef to the mix to broaden our local, sustainable meat production. It's hard not to go crazy planting things everywhere but I'm trying hard to be patient so I can really get the feel for the land to use it the best ways possible. This year my new gardens are modest and I'm slowly getting flowerbeds and a greenhouse in. Next spring will be very exciting since I'll be coming into the season prepared with the basics instead of being sidetracked by moving and up against a veritable "blank slate".

Our markets are up and going strong, I'm at the Polk County Bounty market in Dallas every Thursday from 10-3 at the Academy Building and at the Independence Riverview Market every Saturday from 9-2 in dowtown Independence. These markets are a real joy to be a part of and it's been great fun to be present to see and help them grow, especially the new Independence Riverview Market that started in August of last year and has grown by leaps and bounds into a real downtown attraction with live music, hot foods, and a wide variety of exceptional artisan wares in addition to top-notch, local produce. The strawberries are early and fabulous this year and produce is starting to make a real presence with beets, peas, broccoli and more already in and more coming ready each week. So far it's shaping up to be a very nice growing season and our fingers are crossed that it continues.

At any rate, great things have been happening in our little world and I hope to start making more frequent blog updates. I seem to have many farming mini-misadventures as I begin building up our new little farm and I might as well share them with the world. One of my most motivating factors in choosing to do all that we do is that I really believe there's value in knowing the farmer that produces your food. Like Joel Salatin who I gain a lot of inspiriation from I really believe in an "open-farm" policy and I feel so privaledged to have stories to share. I look forward to seeing our customers at market and hope to have the time to sit and post some entertaining updates very soon. If I don't get to it please be patient, I'm likely outside covered in mud, whacking at the weeds, and chasing a toddler who just recently discovered the joys of running!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Exciting news!

We are thrilled to announce that we will be joining the brand new Independence Riverview Market. Come join us on the grand opening day: August 11th from 9-2. We will be at the top of the beautiful riverview park in the pavillion area around the fountian.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Availability for the week of May 1st, 2012
The Independence Farmers Market is in full swing and the Polk County Bounty Market is opening this week! Come see us Thursday from 2 to 6 at the Courthouse in Dallas to celebrate the kickoff of the market season!

We have a very nice selection of plant starts for your garden that hare hardened off and ready to plant outside. Most will have no problem with a late frost should we have one and we always let you know which plants would be a gamble if the weather turns cold again.

Produce is slowly coming available. The crazy spring weather put us behind where we were hoping to be but we have a few things available. Shop early for the best selection as many things sell out fast. If there is something that you know you want or need we are happy to set aside special orders for pickup at the markets, just let us know what you need ahead of time and we’ll let you know if we can supply it. We have lots of fabulous eggs- this year we have more hens who are working hard to produce those wonderful farm-fresh eggs that put supermarket eggs to shame.

Handmade Ceramic Hummingbird Feeders
Available in a variety of colors, these are as durable as they are beautiful since there are no plastic parts to break or wear out and they’re dishwasher safe. No two are alike and they each come with a tag that explains how they’re made and has a recipe for making your own hummingbird nectar. Ranging in price from $20 to $30, these make wonderful gifts!

Ceramic Garden Markers

These markers are both fun and functional. They are glazed ceramic that can be left outside all year long without worry. Two styles are available: Diamond marker stakes for labeling your vegetables and herbs, and larger, Leaf or Chicken stakes that have various garden-related sayings on them. Special requests for sayings or plants can usually be accommodated with a two-week production time.
Diamond Marker Stakes are $2.00 each.
Leaf and/or Chicken Stakes are $3.50 each.

(This is a partial list to give you an idea of what we have, there are always surprises and things I bring on impulse so if you don’t see something that you want please ask as it may well be in the greenhouse or coming very soon!)
Beautiful lettuce in 6-packs (several varieties).
Swiss Chard
Artichokes (Imperial Star- produces its first year!)
Cabbage- red and green
Tomatoes- more than 12 varieties which include the extremely popular Sungold, Chocolate Cherry, Tumbling Tom and several cold-tolerant varieties in addition to tried and true favorites such as Early Girl and Better Boy.
Good variety ready including Rosemary, Chives, Mint, Parsley (Curled and Italian), Lavender, and Basil
Raspberries: We have big, beautiful everbearing raspberry plants in gallon contianers for just $3.50 each. These are prolific and tasty and will fruit in both summer and fall. Mention you saw this post and we'll give you a 6th plant FREE when you buy 5.
Lots of wonderful perennials to make a border that will stop traffic! Some new selections we have for this year are a stunning variegated Columbine called “Leprechaun” and a dwarf Lupine. The forget-me-nots are starting to bloom and are so sweet when planted with daffodils and tulips.  

WE HAVE EGGS! Lots of beautiful fresh eggs from happy hens.
Rhubarb is in season- one of my favorite spring treats!
Leeks: just a few so get them before they’re gone!
Cut Herbs: Rosemary, Cilantro, Chives
Oyster Mushrooms!!! New! Fresh mushrooms, very limited supply as they are a new crop but we’re very excited about them.
Cutflowers: arranged in a vase that’s included with the bouquet, they’re ready to make someone’s day! The lilacs are blooming so our arrangements are as fragrant as can be right now!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frozen Chickens Available

Did you miss out on our chicken processing days? If so, not to worry. We have frozen birds from our last flock of the season available. We are planning on starting the process anew next spring but it will be June before the next flock is ready. If you'd like to have a really exceptional meal, feel free to contact us to arrange a time to get a bird. The price is $4.00 per pound and they are whole, just like you'd get at the grocery store. Birds generally finish out between 3.5 and 6 pounds.