2018 Recap and Plans for 2019
2018 Recap and Plans for 2019
Hello friends! First, thank you for your support during 2018 and helping it be a success. We wanted to provide a quick recap of 2018 and give you an idea of what we have planned for 2019.
Yes, this is a long overdue post – with how busy we were during the 2018 season, we had a number of items on our “to-do” list that we deferred and are slowly finishing up. To this add some emergency home projects (losing and replacing our electric service to the house) and here we are, better late than never I suppose.
Poultry – Eggs and Meat
2018 was the first full year of production at the farm. We expanded our laying flock to keep up with the demand from our growing customer base. We added a number of different varieties of hens. Some we hatched out ourselves, and others we brought in from local sources. Our goal is to produce great eggs, while also preserve genetic diversity found in heritage breeds. Most egg producers raise hybrid varieties which are bred for efficient egg production and feed conversion. Instead, we are working on preservation and selecting the best producing birds from our own flock to be self-sustaining.
To help keep production costs down, we purchased a weatherproof shipping container so we may buy feed in bulk. The quality of feed is very important to us, and being able to buy in bulk has helped us keep feeding our birds locally-sourced, organic, non-GMO feed at a reasonable cost. We know our eggs cost much more that the ones you may find at the store and even at some other farms. We think there is value beyond the great taste and quality of the egg: Preserving heritage breeds, supporting locally sourced feed (and farmers), and raising awareness of the intersection of agriculture, economy, and environment.
More Turkeys and Ducks
This year we hatched turkey poults from our flock of Bourbon Red turkeys, and harvested some for our own Thanksgiving table. We think these were some of the best tasting turkeys we have eaten (and our guests agreed too!) We are selecting the best birds for breeding – selecting birds that are true to the breed standard and for both vigor and size. The birds are now in breeding groups and on fresh pasture.
The goal is to hatch out more poults this spring and have birds available for sale in time for Thanksgiving. Due to the peculiarities of WA state law, customers will have to pick up their birds at the farm within 48 hours of harvest. Keep an eye on the website and/or sign up for our email list for information on reserving your bird(s). Once we get our Special Poultry Permit, we will send out an email with details.
We successfully raised Saxony ducks this year which should begin laying this Spring. Again, we are selecting the best birds for breeding, and hope to expand the flock to have meat birds available in 2020. Saxony ducks are a great dual-purpose heritage breed (and very tasty), having enough meat on them for roasting while also producing delicious, high protein eggs.
We ran a 20 week Vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this Summer, offering a variety of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and fruit throughout the season. We really enjoyed sharing our produce with all of our CSA customers and learning more about the ins-and-outs of vegetable production. We started small with only 10 shares and are glad we did. CSA farming is a lot of work! Especially when we both continue to work off-farm full-time jobs. However, the experience provided us with a ton of ideas about how we can improve production, and to think about what direction we want to take the farm and business. The shift from gardening, canning, and preserving produce for ourselves to trying to provide a steady supply each week to customers made us re-evaluate whether we want to continue the CSA in 2019. So far, we don’t plan on offering weekly CSA boxes for the 2019 season. However, we are considering selling veggies directly to customers as they come to pick up their freshly harvested birds at the farm.
But Wait …There’s More!
This post is getting rather long, so I’ll finish with a brief look at the goals for 2019. We recently added Nigerian Dwarf goats and we’re hoping the doe is pregnant with more. We’re continuing to renovate the pastures and are planning on adding sheep this year and may have lamb for sale soon! Following the sheep we will add pigs. Depending on how quickly we can repair and add fencing, this could be 2019 or 2020.
Well, thanks for a great 2018 and we hope you will join us on the journey into 2019!