This is our first (real) post. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Mostly we’re recovering from the holidays. But aside from that, we’re making plans.
After a pretty good season last year, the farm’s sort of on dim in these winter months. The birds are in the freezer, the cattle are sold, and the donkeys are on sabbatical in Hillsboro, MO. But that’s not to say we’re not plotting for spring.
For instance, we have plans for the remainder of 2011’s turkey crop. Much of it was enjoyed by St. Louisans this past Thanksgiving, but we’re planning to grind what’s left. We’ve had a few sample batches done now and are extremely pleased with the results. We’ll keep you posted, but hope to have it available later this winter and into the spring and summer.
Also on our plate for poultry next year are possible changes in how we raise and where process them.
So far, we’ve raised chickens on pasture in big moveable pens, which is the way most pastured poultry is done. We even did our turkeys that way in 2010, but last year we tried turkeys in one large fenced in area and (we were worried about predators, but didn’t have any trouble with them!) it was so much simpler, so we’re exploring how that can be applied to chickens this year. We’re thinking electric netting.
And while we really liked our processor from the last couple years, he and his wife are talking about retiring, and they’re over an hour away from us, so it’s time for a change, and we’ve found just the ticket! A local Mennonite fella will be a state inspected processor this year, and he’s just a few miles from our farm, which will make processing days easier on us and on the birds. We’re looking forward to it.
We’re also looking into more efficient packaging and labeling for our birds. Eleanor’s uncle is a professional printer and had some ideas for us, so we’re really excited about improvements on that front. We’ll keep you posted.
Furthermore, we’re expanding again this year. Last year we quadrupled our chickens but ran out again, so to meet the demand, we’re upping the ante. We’ll also raise more cattle and hope to do lots more produce.
Finally, since last year’s cattle project was a success, we’ll get calves again this year. Now that we can look back on our cattle endeavor of 2011, we’ve got some new ideas, and have been checking cattle prices and hope to get calves in the next month or two.