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Published on December 17, 2013, by in Farm Update.

I had the embarrassing moment the other day when I was checking in on the farm blog and realized that I had not updated the blog since earlier in the fall. Saying a lot has happened since then is quite the understatement. I have been doing a good job of keeping people up to date via my Facebook page and with my e-mail newsletter, but it is definitely time I put up some new photos on the blog here.

I’ll give you the “in a nutshell version” and then I’ll move on to some photos to help tell the story.

First and foremost our daughter, Mabel, is 5 months old, and quite amazing. I am very much enjoying fatherhood, and that little girl has changed my life in ways I never dreamed possible.

Kate and I moved from our apartment in New Milford, CT to Camps Road Farm in Kent, CT. I had been working with Camps Road Farm alongside FoodCyclist Farm this summer. FoodCyclist being my own operation an Camps Road a farm that hired me to work the land.

I fell even further in love with farming (who knew it was possible?) and for the 2014 season I will be operating solely out of Camps Road Farm. Long story short I became the head farmer here in Kent and will be running the show. I am combining FoodCyclist Farm and Camps Road so that I do not have to split my mental energy into two places. I plan on bringing the same dedication to sustainability and quality to Camps Road as I had with FoodCyclist Farm.

I am spending my time now taking care of our egg laying chickens and our greenhouses. As Camps Road is a relatively new operation there are a lot of loose ends to tie up and a lot of planning to make sure it has a bright and beautiful future.

A lot of my photos are from this fall. I’ll do a winter post very soon with some photos of the farm in its dormant phase. It’s snowing right now and it’s fun to remember that it’s not always this cold.

camps road farm

During the summer and into the fall we would sell our veggies and eggs at my chicken CSA pick-ups. Thanks to Kate for the artwork on our sign.

pastured poultry

Just like my broiler chickens, our egg-laying chickens live life out on pasture. They eat grass, find bugs, and enjoy the sunshire. They get lots of fresh air, and do their best to avoid predators.

pastured eggs

With the different breeds of chickens we have comes different color eggs. There is no nutritional difference in the different color eggs. A white egg is as healthy as a brown egg. The added health benefits come from how the chicken was raised.

baby chicks

Old laying chickens don’t stick around forever. To replace old layers and to increase the size of our flock we brought in 100 new baby chicks. Definitely different than the little yellow fluff balls I was used to getting, but definitely just as cute.

dog and chicks

Chicks on the farm catch everyone’s attention. Sadie looks on with curiosity as the little chicks learn to drink and instinctively start to scratch around. These babies are much more grown now and will start to lay eggs in the coming weeks.

organic lettuce

Egg and meat aren’t our only specialties. We grow diversified vegetables in a small scale on farm. We’re not certified organic yet, but we’re working on it. It’s no small feat, and tough to do right out of the gate.

planting lettuce

With seeds started in trays and winter approaching we needed a place where we could transplant all these veggies so they would be happy during the cold winter months. Of course we got to work in our greenhouses.

raised beds

We built a couple of large raised beds as well as planted veggies in pots. Our greenhouses have gravel floors which allows us to decide where and how we bring dirt in for planting.

farmers market vegetables

Vegetables were for sale through the fall months. As the days grew shorter so did the crops. We won’t have much until next spring, but that gives us ample time to plan.

pastoral farm

The property is beautiful all times of year. There are a little over 40 acres of farm here with an 8 acre pond. The land is very wet however as the surrounding hills drain into our property. There is still plenty of usable farm land.

grass whisperer

I was visited by a good friend Troy “The Grass Whisperer”. He took a look around the farm and gave me some great advice on pasture management.

eating grass

We take our pasture management very seriously. Every one in a while you have to put yourself in the chicken’s shoes and see what’s on the menu. That, and you can’t take yourself too seriously.

praying mantis

A healthy pasture is home to all sorts of wildlife. This praying mantis is perched on top of one of my chicken tractors, safe out of the reach of my birds. Always good to see a diversity of wildlife. That means you’re doing it right.

leaves change in new england near chicken tractors

The leaves change with the seasons and that marks the beginning of the end of the meat chicken season. Soon enough it’s time to retire the chicken tractors for the year.

chicken tractor

As the chicken tractors emptied out I moved them into the hop yard for the winter.

chicken tractor plans 3dI self-published a book detailing the designs and materials for my chicken tractors. It is for sale as a downloadable PDF through this website. So far it is doing pretty well and I have received only positive feedback.

The real pay-off will be next year when more photos start popping up online of people building my design. That means more chickens are being raised happy and healthy, which means more people are happy and healthy as well. After all, that’s my end goal with all of this.

Believe it or not there are a lot of things to consider when building a chicken tractor. I have spent countless hours pouring over and researching every detail. By the time I was done I had a design that not only made me happy, the chickens love it, and it constantly impresses my customers and fellow farmers.

Click HERE to hear more and to purchase your copy:

camps road farm crew

The farm crew at Camps Road Farm at the market this summer. Right to left: Noah, Yoni, Dan, David, Barry, Brian, John, Mabel, and Ralph from White Silo Winery

mabel suscovich farm baby

This little bundle of farm baby awesomeness is my inspiration for just about everything I do now. Like I said, she has changed my life in so many ways. I am happy that she’s going to grow up a farm kid.

farm baby

Seriously, this is a cute kid!

farm house

It is winter now and the snow is here. I took this photo one night walking back to our little house after checking in on the chickens to make sure they were all snug in their coops. Anywhere can be home in my opinion. But sometimes, there are places that are more home than anywhere else. I think we found that for us.

Thanks for sharing in my journey through life. While FoodCyclist Farm is going to operate under Camps Road Farm for the time being I am still going to maintain the blog to share more information about my pursuit of my passions and even more information on farming and chickens.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Even so, I like where I’ve ended up so far.

Cheers!

 
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Published on August 29, 2013, by in chicken recipe.

It may come as some surprise that the chicken farm has never eaten chicken hearts before. Weird I know. It was just never something I sought out and tried, though I am now regretting my lack of motivation because I have stumbled onto something great.

When you’re a chicken farmer people come to you with all kinds of requests and recipes. Recently my friend Barry has been bugging me about chicken hearts.

“John, do you have any hearts? Do you have any hearts?”

“Why Barry? What are you going to do?”

“Grill them, duh!”

My interest was peaked and we decided to grill some chicken hearts one day for lunch. Here is the recipe told through photos. It is insanely easy, and quite delicious. My thoughts on the bottom.

chicken skewers

First things first, let some skewers soak in water so they don’t light on fire when you put your hearts on the grill. I put them in water in the morning, did my morning work on the farm, and they were more than ready by lunch.

cooking chicken hearts

Barry’s recipe = olive oil, salt, and pepper. That’s it. We didn’t have olive oil so I melted some butter and basted them. There is great flavor in the hearts to you don’t need much doctoring. Doesn’t mean it should stop you from experimenting. Note: There is a membrane that covers the outside of the heart. You’re going to want to remove that. Not every heart still has it on but some do. Just pick it off with your fingers, it comes right off.

cooking chicken hearts

A lot of the cooking was guess work and it turned out great. Med-high heat on the grill. Make sure it is heated up first. I did about 5-6 minutes, then turned them over for another 5-6 minutes. They go from pinkish red to brownish. Looks a little out of the ordinary, but then again you’re eating chicken hearts. It might not be your normal.

cooking chicken hearts

Once they’re cooked through you shouldn’t have any pink in the middle. Barry has had them very well done and he said he still liked them. Ares were done perfect. Cooked through but not over-done.

cooking chicken hearts

“Some of the best chicken hearts I have ever had.” -Barry (and he’s a fanatic)

My Thoughts:

I really liked them. Would I eat them every day, maybe not. Will I have them again, most definitely.

They had a real “chickeny” flavor to them. Everyone who eats my birds says there is a huge difference in the flavor over store bought chicken. Well the chicken hearts take it to a new level.

There’s a definite difference in the texture. Hard to explain. I’ll just let you try it for yourself.

End result = If you are feeling up to something new, I recommend grilled chicken hearts.

 
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baby chicks in the mail

It’s 6:30 in the morning, your phone rings, it’s the Post Office. “Umm hello, is this FoodCyclist Farm? We have your baby chickens here, please get them out of here.” Then you drive to the Post Office and see why they are annoyed. There sits several cardboard boxes of incessantly peeping little chicks. They’re super cute, super loud, and ready for a drink (of water).

chicken drinker bell waterer

When you pick the chicks up out of the box you have to dip their beaks into water to teach them how to drink. After that they know what to do. They instinctively look for food and start scratching around next.

poultry farm chicks

This last batch of chicks to come in is my last for the season. As of now all the chickens on farm are the only chickens I will have for the rest of the year. We’re still about two months from the end of the chicken season but it is hard to believe it is coming fast. The rest of the farm will continue on through the rest of the winter. More on that to come!

chicken tractor

My chicken tractors have done great this season. The birds have been really happy. Safe from the elements and predators. That doesn’t mean the predators haven’t tried to get in, but knock on wood my defenses hold.

chicken tractor designs

The chicken tractor design I created has been perfect for my situation. They’re easy to move, fit in between the rows of hops for our farm brewery, and have provided proper shelter for the little cluckers.

bobcat on chicken farm

Look at this guy, skulking around. That’s right, I took this picture. It’s a bobcat that has been stalking the birds on farm. Production has been down do to the pressure this guy, or lady, has been putting on the birds. The good news is we haven’t seen him in a week of two and things are starting to catch back up.

hawk on chicken farm

I took this picture too. This hawk is perched on the fence where our egg-laying chickens are. I have also see it perched in the hop yard right above my chicken tractors. We increased the number of times we check on the chickens during the day as well as yelling at the hawk (mostly just annoyed it) and like the bobcat it has been missing in action for over a week now. That makes me extremely happy! It never got into the tractors, but it certainly stressed the birds out.

planting herbs farm

Here’s my brother on farm right before Mabel was born. He came out to help me catch up when I was moving one farm to another and I needed to get some planting done. I had major plans to have a lot more herbs this year. Between the weather, the need to move locations, and having an infant, there were plenty of holes shot in that plan. While I couldn’t deliver herbs each week this summer I will have some for my CSA members in the coming weeks.

herb farm

With the herbs transplanted and a lot of love they are doing well. Not the amount that I would have liked, but I have some healthy plants. CSA members were guaranteed a chicken a week for twenty weeks. So far I have been able to deliver without fail. Knock on wood everything continues to do well. The herbs were my idea for a complimentary gift as a thank you for supporting me in my first year owning a farm of my own. Happy that I will start having them for CSA pick-ups. Pictured above is sage and winter savory.

farming

I mentioned we’re going to have more on farm this fall and winter. Farmer Brian and I have been busy breaking ground to plant crops for the end of the year and for the greenhouses. Tomatoes, green beans, beets, lettuce, spinach, and carrots to name some of them. I ran through and cultivated the beds with a hoe before we planted to make sure the veggies had a nice soft bed to grow in.

snap peas

Our snap peas are getting a great start. They’re bursting out of the surface of the soil looking for that fence above them to start climbing. Since I took this picture they have gotten even bigger. Cannot wait to have fresh peas.

vegetable farm

Add to that list mustard greens, collards, and basil. The black material is a natural decomposing fabric used to keep weeds down. Water and air can get through but weeds cannot come up. Makes it a little easier for us as we run around like crazy people getting everything done.

farm dog

Brian’s dog Sade (say-dee) helps us put together sleds for the chicken coops. We had a problem that moving our chicken coops was a big ordeal. They were big and bulky and difficult to move with the equipment we have. As it is our goal to keep the chickens on fresh pasture we needed a solution.

mobile chicken coop sled

The solution = chicken sled. To make mobile chicken coops we created a sled that the coop will sit on and be pulled by the tractor. With our wet ground wheels might have sunk in. The sled disperses the weight and they glide easily over the grass.

 

mobile chicken coop

Getting the large coops on the sleds = not so easy. Moving them once they’re on = piece of cake. All you need is a piece of chain and a trusty old John Deere.

monarch butterfly on the farm

While there is a lot of rush to get stuff done as the days begin to get shorter it is still a very peaceful place.

 

 

 
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Published on July 12, 2013, by in chicken recipe, Food.
tal contributing writer for chicken farm

Recipes and Info from FoodCyclist CSA member (and friend) Tal

Recently in the Food Cyclist CSA announcements, you probably noticed that you can now purchase chicken heads, feet, livers and hearts. Long ago, these parts of the chicken were cherished for their high nutritional value but, unlike my grandmother’s generation, most people today don’t know what to do with it.

I can remember my grandma Shirley telling me that when cooking broth, never let the liquid come to a boil. I never bothered to ask why and only years later I found out. A rolling boil will destroy the natural gelatin found in the connective tissue. Keep it to a gentle simmer.

Cooking in my family has been passed down through generations. Those small tidbits of information are the jewels we continue to pass on. Listed below are some of the health benefits and ways of using these beneficial pieces:

Much of this information can be found in Nourishing Traditions from the Weston A. Price Foundation. I consider this my bible of traditional food.

What to do with chicken feet and heads and their health benefits:

It is commonplace in other parts of the world to purchase chickens with their heads and feet still attached. Chicken feet are a delicacy and I first experienced eating them when I visited China several years ago. You can get them in Chinatown at any dim sum restaurant.
Heads and Feet are mostly comprised of cartilage, tendons and bone. When simmering a broth, the collagen and gelatin from these parts is released along with many trace minerals. Using these parts in your broth is easy and exactly the way Mother Nature intended us to consume whole chickens.

  • Collagen – Made from Amino Acids that are found in bone, cartilage and skin of animals. Collagen is used throughout the body in bone, joints and mucus membranes especially of the intestinal tract. Collagen is especially good for the skin to minimize wrinkles. Collagen absorbs better internally then using external creams.
  • Gelatin – Is the protein that makes up collagen. Gelatin helps regain elasticity in skin, assist hair and nail growth, lubricates joints and facilitates recovery and is a great source of protein. Elastin, the protein that keeps skin flexible is only made in the body until roughly 12 years of age and consuming gelatin supports this process. One of the most amazing things is how much it can improve digestion. Gelatin moves food through the digestive system because it naturally binds with water. This can help with easing food allergies and intestinal issues like Crohn’s and colitis.

To prepare these parts, the feet are usually scalded, pealed and the talons removed. This is only for sanitary reasons as the chickens are scratching around in the dirt all day and they can be hard to clean. Thankfully our thoughtful Farmer John takes care of that for us, which makes it easy to incorporate into our diet. The heads I just rinse and throw in the pot or you can cut the hanging skin off and use it to make schmaltz and gribenes, an authentic eastern European Jewish dish.

Bone Broth 101:

When making your bone broth from your leftover chicken carcass, first pick off any leftover meat to add to your soup later. In a crock-pot, place your chicken bones with two feet and a head in the cavity of the body (this way your kids wont be grossed out!).

Add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar.

Cover with cool water and let sit for 30 minutes. This will jump-start the minerals leaching out of the bones.

Add any vegetables you have on hand (including any trimmings like carrot tops and onion skins leftover from making your roasted chicken).

Once the water begins to simmer, skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

Simmer the broth for 6-24 hours.

Strain all the bones and vegetables. Your broth is now ready to use or place in the refrigerator to use later.

making bone broth

(from John) Not going to lie, it’s a little weird seeing the chicken feet and heads in the stock pot. Even with the weirdness, it is totally worth it when you see how delicious and beautiful the stock is when you are done. Or rather, “bone broth”.

Here are some things you will notice about your bone broth:

  • The water level may dwindle as your broth simmers. You can add more water if you like or keep a concentrated broth which is easier to store in your fridge and thin out later as you use it.
  • When the liquid is completely chilled in the fridge, a thick layer of fat will form. This is called Shmaltz, which should be skimmed off only when you use the broth. Until then, it will preserve the freshness for about a week in the refrigerator. Chicken fat is great to cook with so make sure you use it (or if it grosses you out then give it to the dog). I don’t keep it in my soup as it leaves a greasy feel in my mouth.
  • Your cold broth will look like jelly. There will be lots of gelatin. Don’t boil your broth as you can damage this very delicate goodness.
  • I start my broth on the same night I cook my chicken and let it simmer until just after lunch the next day. This way it is cool by dinner time and I can remove the fat. Eat it as soup with chicken and veggies, use it for the base of any recipe calling for stock, or freeze it for later.
cooking bone broth gelatin

(from John) My bone broth got used right away so I didn’t have a picture of the effects of the gelatin. Luckily Tal is awesome and sent me a pic from her phone. When your bone broth is cold it will actually look like jello. I think it’s a lot of fun, and a good way to know you did it right. Again, weird, but worth it. It is healthy after all.

 

What to do with chicken livers and their health benefits:

Liver – Loaded with vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B12, Folic acid (for all you in childbearing age!), Potassium, Iron, Copper and so many more, liver is one of the most nutrient dense traditional foods.

Years ago, Liver was a common food, consumed by many. Unfortunately, with the introduction of plant-based fats such as vegetable and soybean oil, processed foods and a fear of cholesterol, people have put down their forks. Many don’t know that cholesterol is important for your body to carry out important bodily functions such as maintaining cell walls and their temperature, creating hormones, and enzymes for digestion used in breaking down fats. Also, we need cholesterol to turn sunlight into vitamin D, which is essential to bone health and calcium absorption.

In a Jewish household it is commonplace to make chopped liver but with all things, moderation is key. This dish was always served before holiday meals along with the Gefilta Fish (but that would be better for a fish monger’s blog).

Classic Jewish Chopped Chicken Liver:

  • 1 package of chicken livers
  • 3-4 hardboiled eggs
  • 1 Chopped onion
  • Garlic powder, paprika and salt seasoning
  • Shmaltz (optional) as your cooking oil. Use the layer of fat from your broth or click here for great directions on making it with skin and fat. The necks have lots of extra skin and fat on them and this is a great use for it.
  1. In a sauté pan and with high heat, brown seasoned onions in shmaltz/oil until dark
  2. Add the livers and sauté until they are just cooked through and are dark on the outside
  3. Use a chopper and combine with hardboiled eggs
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Add shmaltz if the mixture is dry
 
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Published on July 3, 2013, by in Farm Update, Farms.

Just when I thought life could not get any crazier, I went and made a huge decision. I am going to move my whole farm to a new location in a different town. In the short term life is indeed crazy, but the long term picture looks less stressful and full of opportunity. Let me explain.

The land that I started on was a great opportunity for me. I am eternally grateful to Curtis, the farmer who’s land it is, for the help and resources he has made available to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and he definitely had a huge impact on how I got started. So thanks Curtis (though I know you won’t read this).

There were a number of factors that led to my decision to depart from the land I am on now, and move to “greener pastures”. You could say financial projections played a part. There is definitely a lot of pressure as a new Dad (any day now). However, that is not the root of my decision.

Following my passions

The FoodCyclist website and brand started because I chose to always pursue my passions in life. I wanted to shape my life around my passions, not my passions around my life. Kate and I have taken a lot of risks through the years, knocked a lot of things off our bucket list, and have no plans to stop. You only get one life, why not do what you love?

I love farming. For better or worse, haha. Though, it is not the only thing I am passionate about. Obviously Kate, my baby, my family, and my friends are at the top of the list, but I’m going to stick to the things that keep me busy, and hopefully pay a few bills. One of my other passions is craft beer. More and more of my CSA members are catching on to this, and frequently discussions about cooking chicken goes hand in hand with what beer to drink with it.

Though I love chickens, only being around big dumb meat birds takes a little of the flare out of farming. I needed egg laying birds in my life. To top it off, I was running my farm alone. All the work, all the toil, all the decisions were all mine. I like being around people, I wasn’t happy alone.

I could certainly continue as I was and have been quite happy. But I learned that when you see an opportunity to make a positive change in your life, you jump on it. Some times it works out, and sometimes it does not. That is the risk, but you never know if you do not try.

Finding like-minded people keeps your passions alive

When I moved to the area in January I was researching farms. Imagine my surprise that after years of being the “FoodCyclist” I found a farm close to home called “Food Cycle Farm”. In the vein of “there is no such thing as competition in farming” I got in touch with them and asked if I could be of any help.

We scheduled a meeting and I instantly knew I liked these people. Right after that I got tunnel vision making FoodCyclist Farm happen and didn’t speak with the folks at Food Cycle very much. (This FoodCyclist / Food Cycle thing is going to get confusing).

Fast forward a couple months. I heard that Food Cycle for one reason or another lost it’s farm manager, and was looking for help. I wasn’t sure at first, but I inquired into what they were looking for. It turns out they were looking to hire two people to manage the farm. One to concentrate on vegetables, and another to back the first guy up, do some marketing, and oversee operations and make sure all the elements of the farm play nice together. In short, I fit the bill perfectly. Bing bang boom, I’m in.

The fine folks at Food Cycle have the same dreams and the same ethics that I do. You will get to know them more as I update both my blog and theirs throughout the summer (I’ll share the links). For now know that I am super happy working with people on that same dream. That dream is outlined in brief below. Then I’ll get into the pictures.

Who/What is Food Cycle

I’ll let them tell you who they are in their words, then I’ll supplement with a few of my own to let you know where they stand.

Typical farm-to-table organizations seek to create a linear path, demarking a straight line to consumers. The Food Cycle is not a typical organization. We consist of several, interlocking businesses; currently, a farm, a distillery, and a brewery. In the very near future, we will scale ever upward. Our plans include a fine-dining restaurant, a casual eatery, and a small inn near the farm. Each interlocking business contributes outputs to and receives inputs from the rest of the organization, making it stronger, more sustainable, and as energy efficient as possible.

We love food that makes our taste buds sing, we love drinks that incite and inspire, and we love feeling good about the choices we make. The Food Cycle is a group of enthusiastic folks looking to create the tastiest, most flavorful produce, beer, and spirits imaginable, while maintaining an intimate connection with the earth.

Everyone participating in the Food Cycle has exacting standards; our ability to control and monitor our ingredients, production techniques, and supply chain allows us to create the highest-quality products possible. Our chickens are inquisitive, our beers are rich and malty, our spirits will fill you with warmth.

That’s quite impressive! Lots of plans. This is their second year building up the farm and it looks amazing there. They have cleared and cleaned a lot of land, put in hop poles and planted a hop yard, a newly planted apple orchard, several mobile chicken coops with pasture-raised eggs, two greenhouses, several buildings, and a boat load of passion for what they are doing.

With all the land they have my chicken tractors fit in quite easily. The deal is I get to keep my business and run it off their land, while working for them on the farm. It’s the perfect scenario for me. I get to work with great people, be a part of a new brewery, increase the amount and the type of chickens I get to take care of, and I get a little more stability and security in life.

I think 1,000 words might be good enough for now. It’s currently getting late and I am waking up around 4a.m. for my processing day tomorrow. I am about 50% moved on to the new farm and working from essentially three locations makes for a lot of driving and longer days. Thanks for taking the time to read, and enjoy some of the visuals.

chickens talking to chicks on the poultry farm

Only the youngest birds made the move to the new farm. The older birds would have had more trouble with the commute, so I am waiting to leave 100% until the older chickens have been made into dinner. Here the young guys and gals excitedly discuss their future home on Food Cycle Farm.

moving chicken tractors to new farm-7184

Here is the first field my chicken tractors will be on. The grass was mowed before I got there but it is growing up fast now. The little birds don’t eat as much as the big guys and the big guys are still back on the long grass. This grass is full of clover which is high in protein. The younger the chicks are the more protein they need so this is perfect. In the background you can see the corner of the hop yard, a chicken mobile with mobile fencing, and one of the greenhouses.

moving chicken tractors to new farm-7186

The little chickens are loving their new surroundings. It is always a good day for me when I get to move them from the brooder to pasture. The fact that it is on a new farm means nothing to the birds, but it makes me happy. Everyone made the trip just fine.

chicken tractors on grass

I still move them every day. They are already leaving their mark on the new farm. I cannot wait to see the effect of their manure on the grass. It goes with the whole Food Cycle philosophy, the chickens feed the ground, which will feed more chickens, and the chickens then feed us. The healthy grass also sequesters carbon and makes the air cleaner. The list goes on, long story short, it’s a good thing.

growing hops

There is a new hop yard just put in this year. It still needs cables put up but that hasn’t stopped the hops from growing. We’re going to run the chicken tractors between the rows to add some natural fertilizer. It really is pretty there. I am excited for the beer that is going to be brewed with these hops. The head brewer, Dan, really knows his craft. I have sampled their beer, and I can tell you, I wouldn’t have agreed to all this if the beer wasn’t amazing. They’re still waiting on some licenses but should be selling beer by 2014 (don’t quote me on that).

chicken mobiles through hop yard

Through the hop yard you can see the chicken mobiles where they have the egg laying chickens. They have large sections of pasture fenced in against predators. I’ll have more photos of them as time goes on. Right now I am running back and forth between the two farms and my time is limited. Looking forward to being in one place.

green house

These two monster green houses are a welcome sight. After all the trouble that I had starting plants this year, next year will be a cinch. I don’t know 100% what the plans are for the green houses. We’ll see what happens. A lot going on, and everywhere a lot of potential.

chicken mobile tractor

I know I trusted these guys when I saw that their chickens were as happy as mine. This was during the hot part of the day and most of the birds were taking shelter in the shade under the chicken mobile. This mobile fencing that they designed works pretty great. Two guys can move it in minutes, and it keeps all the chickens in. Hopefully all the predators out.

moving chicken tractors to new farm-7193

At the end of the day what I was most worried about was my chickens being happy. Well, they’re happy, and so am I. I don’t know how I keep finding these great opportunities in life. Maybe it’s that the more good you put out into the world the more you get back. Maybe I am just lucky. I don’t know what the future will bring, but it can’t be that bad. I’m going to be a dad in another week or two, and that is the most exciting thing of all.

 

 
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When I moved to New Milford in January and I was driving around looking for land to use, I came across a common misconception. That was that “chicken farms stink”. There were a number of people who thought that chicken farm are gross, smelly, muddy, messy, where nothing else can survive due to the chickens unhealthy ways.

I also came across the thought that you can smell them from a mile away, and even further in hot weather with the right wind. That’s true of industrial chicken farms where broiler chickens are kept in large barns by the tens, if not hundreds of thousands with NO access to the outdoors.

My chickens however, are neat, clean, and good for the environment. You don’t have to take my word for it though. I took a bunch of pictures to help illustrate.

snapping turtle on farm

Had a visit from a rather large snapping turtle on the farm. It was turtle mating season in town, needless to say this one wasn’t interested in the chickens.

snapping turtle near chicken tractors

The turtle was on the land where the birds had recently left. He/she (I didn’t check) didn’t mind the effect the birds had. This is one particularly bare/pooplicious spot, and she’s resting right in it. If it was more highly concentrated I am sure she would have kept her distance.

wheat farm

This is the wheat that grows in the field next to my birds. Last years wheat is what my chickens are eating. It is nice driving by it each day on my way to the chicken tractors. When you get to the chicken tractors there are always two pigeons scratching around where the birds have been, a family of deer that I once in a while, and there are always tons of dragon flies buzzing around.

chicken on pasture

Keeping the chickens moving on grass keeps the chickens healthy and the land healthy. The pasture is really benefiting from the added nitrogen. I recently had The Grass Whisperer on the farm and I got a ton of good advice on how to more properly utilize my pasture.

chicken farm

The birds grow up with sunshine, fresh air, bugs, grass, and dirt. The dirt provides the tiny stones that chickens eat to help them digest.

baby chick

This little guy is closing his eyes and wishing he was big enough to safely go out to pasture. Not yet little one!

chicken

How’s that for a yearbook photo? Obituary? …

csa pick up

It all ends at my CSA pick-up where all of my customers are local and meet me each week to get their chickens. It has rained the last two weeks but I am hoping this week the weather cooperates. I love doing the pick-ups and seeing my CSA members.

 

 
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Published on June 12, 2013, by in chicken recipe, Recipes.

Ok, so you have successfully made Grandma Shirley’s Secret Chicken Recipe, now what do you do with the bones? You could just throw them in the compost pile, they will end up there eventually anyways, but why not get some more use out of them first? Why not make chicken stock?

If you have made the investment in a pasture-raised chicken why not get all you can out of it? The bones of a my chickens are stronger and more full of nutrients than your average chicken bones. Don’t believe me? Do a very scientific test, try to break them. They are so much harder to break than a store-bought bird.

Making chicken stock is easy

I screw things up all the time. I will be the first one to say it. The only difference is that I usually do it with flare and I look for the best in the situation. Most good inventions were probably discovered by accident. I am sure if you traced the origins of stock back through time, people were just boiling the bones (and whatever else) to get any last bit of nutrition out of them.

It is hard to screw up making stock. You put a bunch of scraps in a pot, cover it with water, and let it simmer for a while on the stove top. There are certainly a few things you want to be careful of, and I will cover all of those in the directions below.

Most of the “you must not do this” advice is for perfectionists. If your stock comes to a boil you will be fine as long as you turn it down, if you don’t have a good strainer you’re still fine. There is a lot of info on the web about making the “perfect chicken stock” which you can Google. I just want to get your foot in the door with this post and give you the basics. I know a lot of my CSA members are families, working moms, or simply just people on the go. Stock takes a little longer than roasting a chicken, but it is largely a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.

After the pictures, stick around because I will highlight some of the things I use stock for that you might not have thought of. Stock is definitely worth taking the time to learn how to make.

Making chicken stock couldn’t be easier!

how to make chicken stock-6599

Roast your chicken, enjoy your dinner, and save all the scraps. If you’re not serving it to company you can keep all the scraps from what you ate off of too. You’re about to put it in hot water, you’ll be fine. Put everything into a large pot. You can add herbs, onion, garlic, vegetables, spices, or whatever you think might be a good addition. Cover all your scraps with water and put it on the stove on high heat. Right before it is about to boil go ahead and turn that heat way down to a slow slow simmer. Not a rolling boil. If you boil it do not fret. All boiling does is emulsify some of the fat into the broth and make it a little cloudy. I would still eat it, and in fact have. It’s still delicious. Quick tip: I have started adding a tablespoon or two of Apple-Cider vinegar to my pot, it helps leach the minerals out of the bones. You never taste the vinegar when it’s done.

take chicken stock bones out of broth

Let it simmer for three hours. That’s right three hours. You can go a little more, or a little less, but you want the minerals and goodness to have time to be leached out of the bones. During this time the water should NOT be boiling. Like I said it’s OK if it starts to boil, but turn that chicken down immediately. You’re keeping the water just before boiling. Every once and a while, while your stock is there cooking away take a spoon and skim the layer of fat at the top. This will give you a more clear and pretty looking stock. Not to mention is cuts the fat. I have both done this and not done this. I recommend getting the majority of it, but don’t drive yourself insane. You can always wait until it cools in the fridge and skim it off then. By that point it’s a hard jelly and easy to get rid of.

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I have this nifty spoon that I use to take the bones and big pieces out before I strain it. Any slotted spoon will work fine. Getting all the chunks out before it heads to the strainer will help you keep the strainer from clogging and it will give you a cleaner stock.

Note: You can add salt at any time during this process. Don’t over-do it. You can always add more salt, you cannot always take it out. I just leave it out and add it as needed when I know what I am going to use the stock for.

straining chicken stock with a paper towel

I would love to show you a picture of my super fancy strainer. I have a cheap metal strainer that I bought at a hardware store 8 years ago and a paper towel, haha. They work great. I use the paper towel to get all the little tiny bits that would easily fit down the larger strainer holes. You can use cheese cloth if you have it, that works too. Word to the wise, don’t pour all the stock out at once. It is slow going straining through the paper towel, especially once it starts collecting things. If you go for broke and pour it all on there at once you will overflow and the sides of your paper towel will fold over and it’s horribly annoying. Note: Hearts on the paper towel because I love chicken stock.

straining chicken stock

I strain my stock into a larger bowel. I didn’t have an “official” way to do this, but I am a farmer, I got creative. I balanced the strainer on the edge of the bowl and on a spoon. It is a little precarious, but it is what I do every time. I don’t know what you have available to you in your kitchen, but be creative. Hopefully you have a large pot that the strainer sits right into the top, that would be perfect. I also strain over the sink. I am notorious for making messes, and less notorious for cleaning them up.

container of chicken stock

Voila! There it is. My delicious chicken stock.  Ideally you could/should separate it into plastic quart containers. Like the kind you get Stonyfield Organic Yogurt in, or Chinese soup. That way you can throw it right in the freezer, or put it in the fridge for immediate use. You can also pour some into an ice cube tray, then put the cubes in a bag. Those are good when you are sauteing something and you want to throw just a little stock in to add flavor.

The many uses of chicken stock:

  • Really simple chicken soup (add chicken, carrots, noodles, celery, and garlic, salt & pepper to taste)
  • A base for any soup
  • Use instead of water when cooking rice
  • Risotto
  • Throw some in when making mashed potatoes
  • Just boil noodles and eat while watching re-runs of Friends when you are home sick
  • Add a splash when sauteing vegetables for added depth of flavor
  • Freeze in ice cubes and give to your dog on a hot day, just do it outside as it might make your floor smell delicious
  • Most things you use water for in recipes you can substitute stock, just use your imagination.

Benefits of chicken stock

  • Boosts immunity
  • Boosts your minerals
  • Improves Bone Density
  • Aids digestion
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy and versatile ingredient

Difference between broth and stock

Essentially nothing. Stock is made with scraps and bones, broth is made with chunks of meat. You can add some meat to stock to make it heartier. Also some will say that broth has salt, stock does not. The solution there seems obvious, add salt to your stock.

Broth is considered a finished product that you can eat by itself. If you make your stock right it’s basically the same thing. Just add a little salt and perhaps a few things (meat, veggies, herbs, seasoning) while you are simmering.

 
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Time is flying by! Ironic, because all of my chickens cannot fly. The chickens on farm start out as cute little fuzz balls. They are excited with their new world, they are curious, and they are always hungry. The only thing that stays the same when they get older is that they are always hungry.

By the time the birds are ready to become dinner they are big, and they are dumb. Now, you might think I am mean calling my chickens dumb, but let me explain. There are some highly intelligent breeds of chickens out there. There are definitely some that make great pets, can recognize you, learn routine, and are down-right lovable. My birds are none of these things.

Every day I move the chicken tractors twice. Once in the morning, and once in the evening. I have a routine that involves cutting the grass, moving the birds, filling their water, filling their feed, and hooking up their protective electric fence. You would think that with moving twice daily the birds would be excited and run to the fresh areas of grass. Not the case. Every day I have to be very careful that no birds get caught under the back of the chicken tractor when I move it. Otherwise they get hurt. It can be infuriating to watch the bird walk the wrong way against the tractor, when it knows darn well that it’s moving to a good place. Once they get warmed up to the fact that they are moving they are happy to run to the new grass area.

There is a saying among farmers about cornish-rock-crosses (my breed of chickens) that, “They do two things. Eat, and look for ways to die.” Keeping them alive is a feat in and of itself. Between health issues and predators these birds have very few things going for them survival-wise. However, I raise my birds on pasture which solves most if not all of the health issues, and (knock on wood) I have built the Fort Knox of chicken tractors so that solves the predator issues.

It has been great to see the birds being raised out on pasture. I have witnessed them eating grass hoppers, gnats, and crickets. Also, wherever there is an ant hill, when I move the chicken tractor I notice the ground where the ants used to live is all scratched up.

Responsible Protein

Now, I had two motivations with this post. To point out that the way I raise chickens is super healthy, and to downplay how lovable the chickens are when they get older. I can honestly say that I love all my birds. It makes me really happy to see them thriving out on grass, and I look forward to seeing them every day. On that same note, I am looking forward to when they will become dinner.

It is important that my chickens, and on that note all “consumable animals” live happy and healthy lives. They serve a part of the food chain that is necessary for us. Humans evolved to eat meat. But just because they are lower on the food chain than us, doesn’t mean they do not deserve our respect.

(the meat-eater vs. vegetarian debate will be reserved for a different blog post)

Having a connection with your food is important. With all the shenanigans that our modern day food system allows, you really never know what you are getting. It pays to know who your farmer is. I eat meat, and if you’re a customer of mine I guess you do too. As an eater of meat I feel a responsibility to make sure that the product that I am consuming is not only the best it can be for me, but for the life of that animal too. That is why I do what I do. I want to eat good food, and I want to be able to provide it for others.

I wanted to downplay the birds a little bit in case you were feeling bad about eating something cute. They have grown out of being something cute by a long shot.

pastured poultry chicken farm-7028

They start out cute and fuzzy. They live safe and sound until they are hearty enough to be moved outside. I always have baby chickens on the farm. At any give time I have chickens on farm that are at all stages of life.

pastured poultry chicken tractors

I have eight chicken tractors out on pasture now. Very soon I will have twelve, and that will be my capacity. There will be three different age groups on pasture, and one in the brooder.

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These birds are one week out from processing. Once they eat their breakfast they lay down and take a nap. They stretch their legs, maybe eat some grass that is near them, and just enjoy the fresh air. This breed isn’t known for running around and this is a perfect amount of space for them.

pastured poultry chicken farm

It was weird the other day. I was out doing my daily routine and the guys and gals were clucking and chatting over their breakfast when all of a sudden everything went quiet. Not a peep to be heard. I look around and they are all looking in the same direction at the woods near the chicken tractors. Of course there’s tall grass, bushes, and trees and I cannot see anything. Needless to say, a little creepy. Everyone is still doing fine though.

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I asked one of the hens to show a little leg for the camera. I found that even when I overcook the chicken in the oven a little bit the meat is always juicy and tender. When I roast the bird just right the meat just falls off the bone. That’s what you get from good chicken.

pastured poultry chicken farm-7056

Not everyone is excited for the first Chicken CSA pick-up day…

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. In case you missed it here’s a great recipe for a whole roasted chicken from one of my CSA members. I have had it, it is awesome.

I promise the keep the food politics chatter to a minimum on the blog. I sort of cannot help it. My farm and my family are a necessary part of the Slow Food movement. Whether you are a die-hard foodie or just someone that wants tasty chicken I will do my best to provide the protein and the story to go along with it.

Cheers!

 
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Published on May 24, 2013, by in Food, Recipes.

tal contributing writer for chicken farmA New Contributing Writer

It was a liberating day for me when I realized that 1. I did not know everything there is to know in the world, and 2. I don’t have to because there are other people who do. I just had to make more friends who knew more stuff, that I can do. FoodCyclist Farm is about community and collaboration. That is why I started a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.

Part of my growing community is a CSA member named Tal. Tal has been the gold standard of CSA members. She was one of the first members of the farm, she has been to visit a number of times, she has donated baby clothes and a baby bike seat, and is now contributing to the blog.

I love sharing information. I also love to eat. That is why I have a website and a farm, they allow me to do both. Tal had a great chicken recipe that was passed down to her from her Grandmother. Not only was she willing to share the recipe with you and me, she also cooked the dinner for Kate and I recently. That way I know it is really good!

She will be writing a few more articles in the future about what exactly to do with a chicken. She is an amazing cook and has thoroughly researched sustainable food in our area. If I ever have a question about my local food, I turn to Tal. I now turn it over to her (with my photos to help illustrate).

Grandma Shirley’s Whole Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetable Recipe

grandma roast chicken recipe For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Shirley cooked amazing food for our family. Most of the table was set with traditional Jewish food like brisket, noodle kugel, and matzo ball soup. The roasted chicken was the part that truly fascinated me as a wide-eyed, and hungry child. When it came out of the oven, it looked so amazing. It got stripped of all the best parts almost immediately. My sister ate the skin off the top, my father nabbed the wings, I took a drumstick and we all gobbled up the roasted root vegetables basting in sweet dark juices. What was left to serve? If ever the chicken made its way out of the kitchen, it was a result of the diligent shooing away of big appetites in little kids by the elder generation.

As the cook in our household (and sous chef, waitress, dishwasher), I have made Shirley’s traditional chicken hundreds of times. Why mess with perfection? After combing many cookbooks and blogs to learn new techniques, I came across two things that I have incorporated to form a perfect culinary marriage.

2 Things that Make a Perfect Culinary Marriage

Salt

The first is salt. I have always seasoned my chicken and then popped it into the oven. All About Roasting by Molly Stevens explains that salting your chicken with kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon per pound of bird) and letting it rest uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours (over a pan to catch drips) will provide a juicer and more flavorful meat. All the salt will disappear. The skin of the bird will look dry and tight and cook up super crisp. I found this article from Food and Wine where the writer tests out the two conflicting prep methods on a variety of meats and finds that preparing a chicken in this manner provides a balance to the flavor and a more tender chicken.

Butter

The second is butter. Who doesn’t love butter? Shmeering it under the skin by hand, what could be better? I don’t know where I saw this technique but I found it would enhance the crispiness of the skin. My children like a plain chicken but you could put fresh herbs or chopped garlic under there. The possibilities are endless.

The Recipe:

Once a friend of my grandmothers asked for one of her cherished recipes. Without giving it a thought, Shirley immediately replied with a “sure”. I remember thinking that she was being so generous to give away secret family recipes. A few days later, the friend returned saying that the dish was good but it didn’t have exactly the same flavor and that it seemed like the dish was lacking something. Turns out that Shirley was very free with her recipes however she always left out one secret ingredient. The one that would ignite the taste buds the most. In the case of the roasted chicken, it was the Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Have you ever thrown a few red-hots in your applesauce? We can get to that later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole (FoodCyclist Farm) chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 A stick of butter
  • Fresh Herbs (optional)
  • One whole head of garlic separated and left unpeeled (though you can peel if you want)
  • Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt
  • 2 large yellow sweet onions
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 6 Large carrots
  • 3-4 parsnips
  1. Season the chicken with kosher salt
  2. Let rest uncovered over a drip pan in the fridge for 24 hours
  3. Slide your fingers under the skin and smush butter, and optional herbs
  4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up
  5. Slice two onions and place around the chicken
  6. Cut up carrots, potato, and parsnip to about ½ inch thickness.
  7. (Diagonal cuts work nicely with root vegetables)
  8. Spread unpeeled cloves of garlic throughout the vegetables
  9. Sprinkle generously with Krazy Mixed up Salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder
  10. Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees
  11. Lower the temperature to 350 until done.
  12. Add water to the bottom of the pan as needed so you get thick dark juice
  13. Occasionally give the veggies a stir.
whole roast chicken recipe-0105

When you first get the bird rinse it off in your sink and pat it dry with paper towels. Then season with kosher salt and let it sit in your fridge over-night.

whole roast chicken recipe-0114

Carefully separate the skin from the meat on the chicken to get your fingers in there. Cut your butter into slices to get it under the skin. I like to mush my butter together with fresh herbs to add flavor. This step is a little weird if you’re not used to it, but is definitely worth the effort in the long run. If you start with your fingers at the back of the birds and be cautiously aggressive with it you won’t have a problem. Make sure to squish the butter up toward the front.

whole roast chicken recipe-0119

One step that I like to do is called “trussing” the chicken. You can use kitchen twine or just use the bird. Tal used the birds tail area . She used kitchen sheers to cut a little hole in the skin toward the back of the bird to stick the legs through as shown. We also folded the front legs under the bird. This brings everything together to cook more evenly. You don’t have to do this but if you leave the legs out they will cook faster than the bulkier part of the body. If you’re not using one of my birds (or just not a pastured bird) the legs might dry out before the breasts are done cooking. I have over-cooked my chickens plenty of times and have never had one dry out on me. I guess that comes with superior quality.

janes original mixed up salt

The “secret ingredient” was Jane’s Mixed Up Salt. You can use just salt and pepper. Add some paprika. There are endless possibilities when it comes to roasting chicken. If you have good chicken it is good with just salt pepper and olive oil, or you can jazz it up.

roast chicken and root vegetables

Don’t be shy with your seasoning. Also, the root vegetables will cook down a lot while you are roasting the bird. There are never enough veggies on the pan. Make sure you have the pan stuffed. If you think you have too much you might be getting close to complete. See how full this is, wait until you scroll down and see the finished bird.

whole roast chicken recipe-0125

Preheat your oven to 400. This will get you skin nice and crispy. Later on you will turn the temp down a little to roast it. The temperature of the meat should be 165 degrees when it is done. You can take a meat thermometer and stick it in the meaty back part of the leg to test. Just try not to poke too many holes in the bird before you are sure it is done or the juices will leak out. Let the bird rest for 10 minutes after you take it out of the over. If you are close to 165 the bird will continue to cook in its own juices as the redistribute themselves. Always let meat rest when you are done cooking it before you cut it up.

whole roast chicken recipe-0131

Voila! How great does that look? We all tore into it at this point, and it was delicious. We made sure to let Tal have a significant portion of the skin (which apparently she was always deprived of as a kid) Note: the root vegetables have cooked down considerably. Those whole garlic cloves you left in the peel, pluck those out and eat just the garlic sucking it out of the peel. The extreme garlic flavor has been cooked down. They are savory and delicious and really good for you.

I want to thank Tal again for the great recipe, article, and fabulous dinner. I love hearing other people’s food stories and them passing them on. I am looking forward to sharing more of her awesome food knowledge here on the blog.

Whether you buy chicken from me this year or not I hope you enjoy the recipes and try eating some more classic home made chicken this year. I do have to say again that the ingredients make the dish. I became a chicken farmer because regular store chicken tastes like nothing and it dries out in a heartbeat.

I have left so many of my chickens in the over too long and they are always juicy and delicious. Good to know if you don’t have a lot of confidence in your cooking abilities. I should market my birds as “almost impossible to screw up”.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you enjoy your time in the kitchen.

Interested in writing for the farm blog?

Pitch me an idea. Could be a recipe, something about the benefits of organic and pasture raised foods, or anything about chickens. I am completely open to submissions. Just let me know ahead of time before you put the work into writing it so I can make sure it fits the voice of the blog.

 
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At long last, the nights are warmer, we have gotten some spring showers, and it is time to move the birds out on pasture. With the night time temperatures still in the 30s until recently, I was hesitant to move them out. Over the last week, I have been turning off their brooder light in “Cluckingham Palace” (chick house) and they have been hardening off to get ready for life outdoors.

They are plenty feathered out by now, and are looking quite hardy. They handled the move alright. It is a little shock for them to go from the chicken brooder house to the chicken tractors out on hay pasture, but they are doing just fine. It feels like a while since I began work on the chicken tractors and I sigh at the fact that I have four more to build. It is the project that never ends.

Rain, oh how I have missed you!

My herbs are looking good. Some of them have died with the cold nights, which really bums me out. But that is farming. The birds and the herbs both had a tough time with the cold nights. I have prepared my herb and vegetable beds for planting and seeding and I will be doing more and more of that as the weather warms. If we get a late frost, I may cry.

The rain is great for the pasture as well. It will help the ground absorb the chicken manure better as the chickens start to do their thing. The combo of the rain and the pastured chickens will do wonders for the hay fields. Because the chicken tractors are moved twice a day, the manure never builds up. Without any build-up, the pastures can recover quicker and absorb the nitrogen, and the chickens stay cleaner and healthier.

pastured poultry chicken tractor-6929

After they were fed and watered this morning, I let them have some time to relax and say goodbye to their old home. So many good memories. While they were digesting breakfast, I hauled four chicken tractors over to the hay field. When they were ready, I put one last tractor on my trailer to use as transport. The fields are a little less than a mile from the brooder, so there was a little travel involved. The birds did really well and seemed very calm. Note: they’re all laying down and not freaking out.

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I will not run out of fresh pasture anytime soon. The pastured chickens get daily moves. They have to stay inside the tractors because of the number of predators around. To compensate, I move the chicken tractors twice a day. Everyone wins in this scenario. This breed of birds are also not really known for walking much. They eat, they sleep, they….you know, then they eat some more.

pastured poultry chicken tractor-6941

You can see they have plenty of room. There are 30 birds per tractor, which might sound like a lot, but you can see they have plenty of space. The orange bucket has chicken waterers on the bottom. It works like a hamster waterer. The feed in the trough is certified organic. The birds will need to have the mixture of pasture, bugs, and grain to survive. That mix of food options makes them awesome.

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I am serious about predator protection. I still might lose some, but it is not for lack of trying. In addition to the Fort Knox of chicken tractors, I have electric wire to discourage any small predators that might want to dig. There is a fox that lives nearby, they love digging. The wire goes all the way around the tractors and packs a 5,000 volt wallop powered by solar. You cannot even see the wire in this picture. Catching the unsuspecting predators by surprise. Leave my birds alone!

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This is only four of the chicken tractors. “One batch”. Strange to think I will have 12 total when in full swing. 3 batches of birds out on pasture and 1 in the brooder. 480 birds on the farm at any given time. So far I have 1200 ordered for the whole season.

For your viewing pleasure, I put together a quick video of the chicken’s first day on pasture. It is a little farm update from FoodCyclist Farm.

I live for these days

There are so many things I love about farming. The fact that I get to call the shots, grow amazing food, and enjoy being outside makes this a life I was meant to live. To see the birds get into their new homes today and start eating grass and scratching the ground is my version of a thrill ride (I need to get out more).

I have seen how industrial chicken is produced. It’s awful. And I have read countless articles and studies about GMOs and how uncertain scientists are about how healthy they are for humans. My birds live a happy life out on pasture, and they are eating supplemental grain that is 100% free of GMOs. What is better than that?

Will it be really tough when it comes to processing time? Absolutely. I don’t enjoy it. But, it is a necessary part of the business. I am a meat eater after all.

Remember also, not all “farm raised chicken” or “pastured poultry” is the same. Also look out for “chemical free”. If the farmer is feeding conventional grain to his/her chickens, they are eating GMOs and probably getting a little of any of those pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on those crops. If they are eating them, you can be assured they are passing them to you. That goes for beef, pork, turkey, and any other animal eating conventional grain. Organic grain costs me a fortune, but I feel it is worth it.

My Farm = Your Farm

I will say it any chance I get. FoodCyclist Farm is as much yours as it is mine. Whether you are a CSA member, a random buyer of poultry, or just someone who found me on Google. It is you who makes my farm happen, and I am thankful for that every day.

Cheers to you!