Hey Farm Family! I hope everyone is well! Did you notice the title of this one is “First Quarter?” Now don’t panic because this doesn’t mean that we will be sending our Newsletters quarterly. It only means that at the end of the day we will have finished 25 percent of 2021 and we have a lot to catch up on!
Sadly, so far this year has been a hard one for many families, including ours. Between December 29th of last year and today Brandon and I both lost our Grandmothers. I’ve lost two Uncles, an Aunt, and had a cousin who was a survivor, but a victim of gunfire. So needless to say it’s been a rough few months.
As I type this my Dad is sick. Thankfully, not from COVID, but sill sick. He’s been sick my whole life and when he’s down, he’s down. I talked to him yesterday and reminded him that even Superman takes breaks. Here’s hoping he listens.
As our state further loosens it’s mask mandates, I have to tell you that Brandon and I have discussed it and we don’t believe that it’s safe to open back up fully. We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls, messages, and emails about people wanting to come to the farm for various reasons and I have to remind everyone that we did not accept visitors before COVID.
We thank you. We truly appreciate the support and that people want to come out to the farm, but before the pandemic we were protecting our privacy, our neighbors, and the bio security of our animals. Now with the pandemic, we have to protect our family as well.
We love our farm family and we hope that we will be able to accept visitors in the future, but for right now this is our stance.
Purchase and Delivery:
Any purchases made from us are still contactless delivery only. We will not be resuming local pick up until we deem that it is safe. COVID is still very real and although there is a vaccine, it is not gone yet. We want to protect our family just as you do yours and we hope everyone will continue to understand.
The chickens came off their hiatus with a bang! I mean we have eggs coming out of our ears! The other day when Brandon went out to feed and collect eggs, he sent me a message that there were 98 eggs! 😱
This is our off week, but we have been anything but off as there is so much that needs to be done. The good news is that our surplus of eggs means that there is more than enough for everyone and we would like to move them quickly.
As a result of the hens killing it, we’ve placed our eggs on sale. Whether you buy one dozen or 5, you can take advantage of our egg sale on over our shop page.
In the Spring like many farmers we begin to grow our flock by selecting which breeds we would like to have more of on the farm. We then collect their eggs and get them ready for hatching.
We were planning to get started with hatching this month, but then the chickens began laying all over the place and we realized that we had plenty of time. So we are planning to start with hatching next month.
Over the weekend we found the cutest little farm store that gave us a good deal on some baby chicks and we added 15 babies to the flock. They are currently on quarantine, but will be released once we make sure they’re safe. About half of them had had pasty butt so guess who spent their afternoon cleaning them up? If you guessed Brandon, you’re wrong. LOL. It was all me.
For those of you who are new to chickens pasty butt is when poop has hardened on the birds backside and they’re unable to have a bowel movement. This is a usually a simple fix, but if left could lead to their death.
Out of the 15, there was one that didn’t make it, but there are always some losses. Our hope is to buy in about 10 more babies to round it out. Then hatch our own in April and possibly May.
As our farm grows, we will be separating flocks for breeding and to keep our bloodlines pure. We have plenty of roosters to go around and they are happily waiting for ALL the hens!
Brandon and I have been brainstorming and we would like to know if anyone is interested in chicken that would not be organic? We would still pasture raise them with a good quality feed, but it would not be an organic one. As you can imagine, the price of feed has increased right along with everything else and many of you have reached out to us for poultry.
So in trying to open up chicken to more people, this is what we came up with. Of course we would still continue to keep birds that are fed organically and offer both. We would love to get your feedback on this as we are here to service our community.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly at 334-595-5128.
We have always said that we would not charge more for our meatbirds or our eggs unless the cost of feed went up. I’m sure that you have all have felt it and although we don’t wish to raise our prices, we are in business to support our farm and family.
Our initial thoughts are that we are going to try to grow more in order to supplement the higher feed costs and we have started this process.
We’ve seen prices go up over $1.00 per bag which may not seem like much, but when you have about 200 chickens at any given time, it can add up quick.
We’re committed to keeping our standards high, so our plan now is to see if supplementing keeps the birds laying just as well. If it doesn’t, we will have to go up on prices, by .50 cents per dozen for eggs and our organic birds will also go up by .50 cents per pound.
We are still working on the prices of non-organic birds. If we receive positive feedback on them, we will update everyone on that pricing.
Many of you know that in the Spring and Fall we grow for our Kith & Kin CSA members. We are happy and thankful that we are going into our third season with our start in April and we could not be more excited about it. This year the biggest difference is that this is the first year that our farm is the sole grower for our CSA.
What that means for you is that we will have produce available as the season rolls in, but the quantities will be limited initially to care for our CSA members.
We have prayed and planted and if all goes well, we should be able to offer our Seasonal Farm Boxes in late April. You never can tell what the weather or the pests will be like from year to year, but just today I was out pruning some young tomato plants and found insect eggs on their leaves already. Additionally the forecast over the next few days is not a pretty one, so we will be working hard to get some plants covered and safe.
As membership closes for each season, we always have people who are interested that we have to turn away and this year was no different. We would absolutely love to be able to accommodate everyone, but we plan and plant specifically for our family and our members first. So we have to have a stopping point to ensure that everyone is taken care of.
The good news is that we are planning to offer our Kith & Kin Try It in the Summer for all of you thinking of joining us in the Fall. This is a great way to get your feet wet and see if our CSA membership is right for you.
We have SO much growing here on the farm and our expansion to the new farm is coming along nicely. Last year we began to plant at our new location and things grew well. We are stoked about growing our farm and our offerings. We have literally run out of space at our home location and so we’re very thankful that we have more space available to continue to grow on.
Speaking of offerings….we will have a very limited plant sale this year that will consist of tomatoes, eggplants, and possibly a few cucumbers. We were going to release the plants mid March, but with the weather being so all over the place, we’re glad we didn’t. They are ready now and will be listed over on our shop page for purchase starting Friday April 2nd through sell out.
Right now on the farm you will find a mixture of Winter, Spring, and Summer growing. Today we pulled broccoli that has been flowering for quite some time. The chickens were fine with that and would love to get their beaks on our collards, kale, chard, and other greens.
Our salad lettuce is some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen and I promise it’s not because we’re biased.
By way of herbs, our basil was replanted as our initial plantings died with the freeze. We do have clilantro, parsley, and some that we’re keeping secret.
You guys should know by now that we have Spring onions and potatoes in the ground, but of course there is more there too.
Summer veggies are peppers, eggplants, and more.
Our perennial vegetable is asparagus and this is the first year that we’ve harvested more than a little bit. All I can say is OMG we can hardly wait for next year which will be our official third year on it.
Alright now, I believe that we are just about caught up. I say just about because we never did finish out the December Farm to Fork series. We do plan to finish it, but I will tell you now, that we almost made it until Brandon and Joshua snuck off to get pizza at the very end of the month. Then a few days later when we found out that Brandon’s Grandmother was sick, it was over. I have to check our pictures but I believe that the guys official day was December 22nd and mine was the 26th.
As always we thank all of you for being the best part of Hawkins Homestead Farm. We look forward to safe times, hugs, local pick ups, and farmers markets, but for now we will have to settle for virtual hugs, zoom chats, and contactless deliveries.
See you all again next month. Until then……