Here are just some Q and As providing some more information about us or addressing common questions we get.
Are you ‘organic’?
We are not and probably never will be Certified Organic. While we agree with many of the principles that people associate with ‘organic’, it seems to us that as more products push to be certified, the label has lost its heart and has become a marketing gimmick. We often consider what we produce to be ‘better than organic’, in that most of it is never sprayed and never touches a chemical. In most years, everything is like this. Although we focus on heirloom varieties, and never plant or grow any GMOs, we do use some traditionally bred hybrids, and we also sometimes use conventionally produced seed/growing stock (alongside organic seed/stock).
In very bad years, for limited things, we can only consider ourselves ‘chemically sane’. We rarely use limited applications of pesticide to stop an entire crop from being destroyed. This is not done unless required to tsop a crop failure – we spent a couple years losing 95-99 percent of a few crops before deciding this was necessary – and best practices are followed. We are happy to answer any questions or disclose any information regarding this.
It is also important to remember that even organic growers can and do apply pesticides to their crops … they simply have to use non-synthetic ones, which doesn’t necessarily make them less toxic.
What’s the deal with your chickens?!
Our chickens have been handled and hand-raised since the first few days of their lives. They are pastured, and are let out to free range the property on any day that weather permits. For their safety, they are kept inside on days of extreme weather, and are also inside a lot of the time in winter simply because they don’t like to walk around in the snow. They still come out in the cold when there’s patches of hay or bare grass for them to walk on, though! They get supplemental grit and also get stones from our dirt driveway. They are also supplied with crushed oyster shells to keep their calcium levels up. They eat plenty of bugs, grass, and scraps from our garden, with black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, whole oats, dried mealworms, lettuce, and the like as treats. They also eat a standard commercially produced flock ration. This ration is all grain-based, antibiotic and drug free, but is not considered organic. We do not ‘force’ our hens in winter. They are allowed to lay on a natural cycle, which means egg productions is very low in winter, as is availability.
What does a rooster do?
He doesn’t lay eggs, and isn’t needed for the hens to do so! He’s there because he’s beautiful and he protects the flock from things he thinks are threats. He’s been hand raised the same as the hens and is usually quite tolerant toward people he knows, but remember that he is a guardian – please don’t approach, chase, or harass him without permission or if he doesn’t know you, because he does have his spurs and he may use them!
He’s also necessary if we want to hatch any of our own eggs, which we have done successfully in the past. We do not sell adult chickens, but we do have fertile eggs available (barnyard mix only), and once in a rare while there may be a few baby chicks available.
Do you have bulk quantities of _____? Can I buy a bunch of _____ for my business/a cookout/my market?
Sometimes, depending on the volume you need. Just drop us a line asking us about what you want to do, and we’ll see if we can accommodate you. If you know about it early enough in the season, before we plant, we are willing to work with you for a contract for a custom planting. After all, it is in our best interest to plant a higher quantity of something if someone has promised to buy it when it’s ready.
Will you ship me _____? I’ll pay for all the costs!
With the exception of our corn/bean seed, we will not ship anything – sorry. Most of our items are very fresh, somewhat perishable, and cannot be guaranteed to arrive in good condition if shipped. Things like the maple syrup are shelf stable but are in glass jars we do not necessarily trust to stay intact or sealed during such a trip. Most of all, though, one of our main goals is to help the local food system, and shipping would go against that desire. Please support your local farmers! We’re even happy to try to help you find them if you have no idea where to start.
I think your stuff costs too much!/I think your stuff costs too little!/Why is this free?!
We are patrons of other farms as well, and we do ‘shop around’ and try our best to be more than reasonable. We try to be on par with other operations like ours, but we also know sometimes crops overproduce and exceed our expectations; on the other hand, the amount of time and effort we’ve put into a crop sometimes doesn’t match up. So, sometimes things may be higher or lower priced based on supply and how much labor the crop requires. We do offer produce in exchange for a hand around the farm – contact us for details. Donations toward renovations and any other parts of our mission are also gratefully accepted.
As for the freebies, take it and enjoy it while you can. We like to hear about all the ways others are using the stuff that we grow. We often give away several piles of things through the course of the season. This is often because they are things that are slightly past their prime/oversized, have been sitting a few days, or are moderately to badly cosmetically blemished (ex. really scratched up, lumpy, or misshapen). As any gardener knows, the nature of growing means that not all things come out looking like identical, beautiful, grocery-shelf specimens. In almost all cases they are still perfectly usable, but they might not be quite as sweet, might require different preparation techniques, or may need more trimming. This is why we often put them out for free/for donation only (and no one seems to want to buy them anyway). That way they don’t go to waste and everyone is happy.
When are you “OPEN”???:
We are open when our farm stand is open. Due to everyone having other full time jobs, these times vary a lot. Our farm signs, big ‘Produce’ flag, and banners will only be out when we are open. Only a simple ‘Closed’ sign and no other signs will be up when we are closed. We are sorry this cannot be more specific, but that’s how it has to be right now as the farm is a labor of love and usually does not even pay for itself, much less pay any of our bills.
Random arrivals or visits during the week while we are ‘Closed’ should be BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, please. It is acceptable to stop by if you see us working outside, but we ask for NO unannounced drop-ins other than this. Please call, email, or message ahead, especially if you need things at a very specific time or in a very large quantity. The messages are checked every day that we can. Please remember that there are only a few of us, and we have to do all the work ourselves. Also, above all, this is our home, too!
Do you currently participate in any farmer’s markets?:
No. Although we would love to be able to have access to new markets, we cannot currently justify the very large additional expenses and logistical headaches of doing so. It remains to be seen whether this will change in the future.
Can I get some hay/corn stalks/wood?
You can absolutely buy some corn stalks as long as we have already harvested off of the plants. We sell them for $1 a bundle, or you can have a bundle for free if you buy any other product from us. The hay is usually all sold out and spoken for before we even bale it, so it is unlikely we will have any extra for you, but feel free to ask. If all you need is one bale for decoration or mulch, the chance we can help you out is much higher. As far as wood goes, we intend to begin selling campfire bundles in 2017.
Thank you for your support!