Education- “no added hormones”

To continue our series that was originally posted in the Market at Dothan weblog we want to share with you information this week about “no added hormones.” This information was originally changed and edited before being published. It is being shared to our website today in its original state without editing. It is taken from our own research, FACTS, and knowledge of the poultry industry.

No added hormones” So what does that even mean? Why would poultry be labeled as having no added hormones? 

FACT: It’s illegal in the United States for poultry to be given hormones. Whenever these labels are placed on poultry, it is then required for them to say something to the effect of how the use of hormones isn’t allowed in poultry. There is usually a star or a marker for you to read and follow the fine print. 

So why the label? Really it’s a farce! It makes it SEEM like one company or grower has an advantage over another, BUT it’s a marketing strategy! Educated consumers know that no chickens are given hormones! So please don’t be fooled! 

I will be the first to tell you that before researching this we had our chickens labeled as steroid free, but as we became educated we realized this was not necessary because of the laws governing chicken in the United States.  

I know what you’re thinking….why the super chickens? You know those whose legs are huge and the chicken breast is bigger than the entire chicken. It’s called confinement and targeted nutrition. Remember from our last post, chickens are omnivores. They will eat just about anything they can find or are given.

Let’s illustrate it this way. If a chicken is housed with 20,000 of its friends, given a diet that mostly consists of genetically modified corn, and they don’t have much if any room to move around, they can be marketed and labeled as “vegetarian fed” with “no added hormones.” Is that what you want to eat and feed your family?!?! NOPE! That is not for us! I’m sure that, that is not for any of you either, or else you wouldn’t be here! 

In the end we just want you to be educated. Anyone can slaughter a chicken and sell it. They can use creative marketing that looks like something you want, but the facts are that not everything that looks good, is! 

Next time we will share with you our article on “cage free.”

Education- “vegetarian fed”

We recently started an educational series on our weblog for The Market at Dothan and since we feel this information is SO important we also wanted to share it on our website. This will allow us to say what we feel is necessary for education without it being censored, changed, or edited. The statements made are our views along with FACTS taken from research and knowledge from our own experience.

Today we want to talk to you about poultry labels. Brandon and I were recently in the more upscale market in our area and we saw poultry that was listed as “vegetarian fed.” Not just any poultry, but the fancy kind with the fancy price tag. Well anyone looking at these labels may think these birds are worth the extra money. They may think they should purchase them…..BUT SHOULD THEY?!? We hope by educating you as the consumer, we are helping you to choose wisely! Not everything that looks good is! 

FACT: Chickens no matter what breed they are love to be chickens. They are omnivores and if provided with an environment that allows them to be chickens their natural instincts kick in. They are not vegetarians! They love bugs of all sorts and will actively search for them.

44FE91A4-7F48-45FC-8C1F-0749FBA06A29.jpegIn the above photo, you have our chickens digging through the compost pile.

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In these photos you have our chickens actively searching for food. So whether you’re raising hens or meat birds of all sorts, chickens will eat what they can find.

Of course we feed our chickens a 100% certified organic feed. It is verified by the Non-GMO project and keeps them healthy and strong. We buy it in bulk and make sure that they’re getting the BEST feed. Their first choice is always whatever they can find, but they love their feed and so do we! What they’re fed and how they are raised is what matters to us. We want to give them the best life so they can produce quality meat and eggs.

Next week we will continue in this series and talk to you guys about “no added hormones.”

Organic Pasture Raised Turkeys!

Recently there have been so many food scares in the news, that have many people asking is there really anything safe to eat?

If you’re a person who supports local farms and access to clean food than you will be as excited to learn as we are to tell you that we’re raising organic pastured turkeys!! We kind of leaked the information on our Facebook page, but this is our official announcement!

We had hoped to have the turkeys ready for November, but Hurricane Michael had other plans. It definitely set us back, but since we couldn’t change it we just rolled with it.

Besides chicken, turkey is something that we eat a lot of around here. This was a natural progression for us because it allowed our farm to provide another organic protein source for everyone.

Its has been a long road and as always, we researched, asked questions, and found what worked for us. When trying something new, there is ALWAYS a learning curve and experiences that you just have to go through. One big hurdle for us was finding a source for a quality organic non-GMO feed. Turkeys require a much higher protein than chickens, so lots of phone calls were made along with some extra car miles, but in the end we found a wonderful feed source and are very proud of how we’ve been raising them.

When you can sustainably raise an animal on grass, clean organic produce, and a high quality feed, the meat is just wonderful. This is something that we’ve been looking forward to with these turkeys.

When you think of us, we want you to think outside the box. Yes turkeys are for roasting, but what else could you do with a whole turkey? Just think ground turkey, turkey cutlets, smoked turkey legs, freshly sliced turkey for sandwiches, grilled turkey, turkey burgers, plus more.

It is our goal to have these available year round. So if you’d like to reserve a turkey for your family, now is the time!

So make your deposit on our shop page and we will handle the rest.

Is Bigger Better?

As an urban farm the key for us to sustainability is being diverse. People are often surprised by how much food we produce here. To be quite honest, sometimes so are we, but through crop rotation, companion planting, intensive gardening, soil health, composting, and the use of cover crops, we’re able to grow enough food to feed our family and many others.

The video featured in this blog post was taken in the Spring. For most people the stand out is the corn, but if you really scan the video, you can see how many different foods we have growing in this small space. This is just one of our garden areas.

The other day, our 21 year old daughter, Brooklynn was watching as I packaged up a few orders of Asian Stir Fry Greens and she and I had a conversation about what we have growing.

This exchange led me to reflect on how much food we actually grow. Now I don’t keep track in numbers or weight, but I definitely keep records. So here’s what we’ve grown this year alone.

Spring/Summer

Herbs: Basil, Lime Basil

Produce: 4 types of tomatoes, 3 types of cucumbers, 3 types of potatoes, 3 types of peppers, 2 types of corn, 8 varieties of beans, green onions, 3 types of peas, squash, 3 types of cowpeas, cantaloupe, 2 types of zucchini, 2 types of okra, mulberries, green beans, pears, sweet potatoes, eggplants, onions, carrots, 3 types of radishes, a few lettuce varieties, strawberries, cucamelons, and pumpkins.

Flowers: 3 types of sunflowers, edible marigolds, and edible violas.

Protein: Chicken and eggs.

Storage: Jams, jellies, preserves, salsas, peppers, relishes, pickles, pesto, and frozen veggies.

Fall/Winter

Herbs: Cilantro

Produce: 4 types of radishes, beets, carrots, 3 types of peas, green beans, 2 types of broccoli, 3 types of cabbage, 3 types of mustards, collards, arugula, 2 types of spinach, potatoes, Swiss chard, several lettuce varieties, 3 types of kale, 2 types of turnips, rutabagas, and endive.

Flowers: Edible nasturtiums

Protein: Chicken and eggs

So with all of the food produced here the question is how much space do you have? Our answer…..enough for now! Eventually we would love to expand to bigger livestock, but for now we’re content with poultry, so what we have is fine.

If we asked you the question is bigger better with what you now know about all the food we produce what would you say?

The truth is that a lot of space isn’t required to produce high quality food. You can be diverse on any level. So whether you have a small stoop, a patio, or a container garden, what matters most is how you use the space you have.

Bigger does not equal better!

Compost!

Did you know that we offer compost year round? Even if you’re not planting during the Fall and Winter months you could still be providing your soil with added nutrients for the Spring and Summer.

In the above photos you can see the before picture of an example of what goes into our compost and the finished product.

Composting is an important part of organic gardening because it allows for the use of just about everything from the farm with no waste.

The pea tendrils and shells shown in the bucket, were used to give back what the soil helped to produce and it’s truly beautiful to see how healthy fertile soil is developed by using things like these. Of course we add in chicken manure, wood ash, and grass clippings, etc. We try to achieve a balanced mix of greens and browns.

If you’re planning a Spring garden? We’ve got you covered! So Order you garden compost today!

 

 

Growing Now! (December)

It’s the last day of November and boy are we happy to say goodbye to it! This month has brought many ups and downs on the farm, but we’re rolling with the punches.

With an early frost we lost a few plants, but our garden greens took off. This Swiss chard pictured below is just one example that has been loving the cold.

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Brandon loves his root veggies! So he is one happy man with all that we’ve harvested this month! He’s been eating them in a variety of ways plus we sold a few too!

Arugula and spinach are on the way! In our home we go through spinach like crazy and arugula is a definite favorite of mine, but we’ll try to save some for you to enjoy as well!

The only herb that survives the cold for us is cilantro! What’s funny about this plant is that it volunteers every year and never where it was first planted!

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We have several varieties of kale growing. It can be used in salads or own it’s own. Your choice!

If you haven’t tried our Asian Stir Fry Greens, what are you waiting for? They cook up delicious and tender! Try them with fresh lemongrass from Bain Home Gardens!

This month with all the announcements and recalls made on the food produced nationally, we’re extremely grateful that we grow our own! We’re also thankful that we get to feed all of you and we hope to see you again next month!

Did you hear the NEWS?

You can now place your order on our website!!

Shop

Today for our Grand Opening and Cyber Monday, we are offering 15% off your total order when you use code: GRNDOPEN15

Plus from now until December 22, 2018 you get FREE shipping nationwide on all our Bath and Body products!!

Use the code: HHFFREESHP

We have listened to your feedback and although we will still be out and about at our area Farmers Markets and beyond, you now have the convenience of shopping from home!

Thank you everyone! We hope to see you online!

Surprise!

After Hurricane Michael came through we thought all hope was gone for these organic potatoes, but this is one time we are so happy to be WRONG!

With temperatures expected to drop below freezing this week, we decided to check just in case. Plus this area will not be used in the Fall and Winter seasons, so a cover crop was next in line.

Cover crops help to block weeds and fix nitrogen in the soil for the next season. This is one way we practice excellent soil health because it prevents soil erosion. Cover crops also help our land to remain productive and fertile. So although we won’t be eating these plants, they’re still very important.

You can see from the photo that the potatoes weren’t very big, but they were there and that’s what matters! We dropped them in a recycled egg carton that we received from my Dad. He loves bringing us egg cartons to fill up for him, but sadly they’ve been piling up lately while the girls are on “strike.” It’s ok though because he knows they’re good for it.

So after a long day we are happy to report that our Fall potatoes weren’t a total loss and we wanted to share this great surprise with all of you! We wish there was enough to go around, but hey Spring will be here before we know it and we can all enjoy fresh organic potatoes again!

Growing Now! (November)

Yay! Cooler temps mean Fall veggies can grow in plenty! The bugs are almost gone and we’re no longer sweltering while working in the gardens! So what do we have growing this month? Well we thought you’d never ask.

Greens, greens everywhere greens! It’s so nice to walk out outside and see this beautiful sea of greens.

From Pak choi to collards, lettuces, and broccoli we have the greens covered.

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Garlic was planted a few weeks ago and since it’s our first time, we’re ecstatic about them taking off! They’ve been planted with arugula and spinach in hopes the bugs don’t like the greens as much as we do!

Oh how we love our mustard greens! They come in red and green and we’ve got both.

We hope to be inundated with green beans galore. These are the ones that do well in all temps!

It just wouldn’t be right without our staple kale greens. We grew Red Russian Kale last year and loved it so much, we had to bring it back.

Yes! There is always more. I mean where would we be without our roots? We can’t forget about the radishes, turnips, rutabagas, and carrots. So we have those as well.

This month we’re featuring Fall flavors of pear preserves and pumpkin butter. Buy them on their own or in a gift set. Other flavors are lemon ginger and brown sugar.

In addition, we have been canning crazy with all our peppers, so pepper sauce is also available. Try it on sautéed greens! Our favorite is collards.

Plus we have Fall soaps, both scented and unscented along with our body butters available in your choice of scents. Contact us for details!

We love this life! We love growing food. We love that we can offer products to nourish your body inside and out. We thank you for supporting us and as we continue to grow, we appreciate you being here with us. See you again next month.