I've been debating doing some blogging here, but have been a bit torn. I'm not a great writer, and I'm not 100% sure what people would want to read about. For now, I'll be sharing informational posts, daily farm life, projects, and recipes that highlight farm fresh produce or products. The rest of this post will be just a little over view of the farm, and our creatures. Is there a question you have for a farmer? Want to get the scoop on how to start your own garden, or how to milk a goat? Leave a comment and let me know!
We joke we should have named Twelve Springs Farm, Rough Acres. Our old barn has seen better days, we have some fences the goats laugh at, and a pretty nice scrap pile from roughly 50 years of farming. We have a long list of projects and improvements, and hopefully someday we will make it to the end of the list! Although it may be a bit rough, it's home to a whole bunch of happy animals.
I believe strongly in animals being raised with respect and dignity. I believe pigs should be on pasture, goats should browse at will (ok, except the neighboring cemetery!), and chickens should get to free range. I am bucking a lot of old farming techniques in place of new ones. I don't believe hogs need nose rings, and I don't take all kids from our does. Even if an animal is destined to be slaughtered, doesn't mean we don't care for it. It also means when the time comes, we try to make butcher day as stress free as possible. We process our own poultry, but hogs go to a double humane certified processor.
Antibiotics are a highly controversial subject. On our farm antibiotics are only used when needed, no if's and's or but's. Although it's easy to completely vilify antibiotics, sometimes they are needed. Just like sometimes they are needed for us. There will always be full disclosure with our customers on any antibiotics used. And we want to foster a relationship between consumer and farmer, so if you have a question or concern, never hesitate to let us know!
We have a mixed poultry flock. I have never selected chickens based on productivity. We have everything from bantams (miniature chickens), to feather legged cochins. We also have turkeys, ducks and geese. They all hang out together, and range pretty much wherever they want too. We try to keep them out of the front area, just so we don't have an endless poop battle!
We also have a little herd of goats. Our breeds are varied (just like the poultry!) After a long time trying to figure out what direction we want to take our goats in, we've placed a deposit on some full blooded, nubian kids from a registered herd. They will be the breed and direction we head towards in the future. Our main goal is dairy production, mainly for our own needs. Surplus milk is given to other animals, or used as an ingredient in our handmade goat milk soap.
We have an orchard, which is in need of some TLC, that produces mainly apples. We get a very small harvest of cherries, and persimmons as well. We have blackberries, wild raspberries and wild mulberries as well. Our garden is modest, and usually weedy to be honest. We grow a bit of everything, but the staples are always radishes, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, fennel, cucumbers, squash, green beans, pumpkins, melons and various herbs. I hope to add a variety of flowers this year, cabbage, eggplant, dill, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I start the majority of my seeds myself, however will buy started seeds if mine are unsuccessful. I experiment with non-gmo, organic seeds when I can, but do also have more conventional seeds and hybrids as well. We do our best to raise everything organically, without chemicals. On occasion, we have come across a huge issue that has been addressed with chemicals, this is rare. Maybe once a year, for a certain plant. (Last year our only issue was insects on our squash/pumpkins) There will always be FULL disclosure if a chemical has been used, but we do everything in our power to keep that from happening at all.
Above all else, I want us to always be a farm full of integrity, and honesty. I will not hide our practices from anyone. If you want to see the farm before making a purchase, just ask. If you want to know how we do something, why we do something, let us know. We are here to answer those questions, and show that there are other alternatives when it comes to farming.