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Growing Now (First Quarter 2021)

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. 

Announcements:

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. 

Eggs:

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. 

Chickens: 

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!  

Meatbirds:

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 info@hawkinshomesteadfarm.com or contact us directly at 334-595-5128.

Price Increase:

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.

Produce:

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.

Growing Now:

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……

Farm to Fork (10-12)

Ok so by this time, I’ve run out of salad. We still have some arugula in the gardens, but that’s it.

If you ask my husband what my favorite food is, he’ll say salad. I love just about all vegetables, but throwing them all together with a bunch of toppings and a good dressing, is the BEST!


Now that you have that clear picture and knowing that we can’t shop, order any salads, or pick one up, I wasn’t in the best mood at times. My body craves greens and so you’ll see how I made due.

DAY TEN

After realizing that I was moody I decided to take matters into my own hands and eat greens for breakfast. By greens I mean whatever I could harvest and thankfully we had some greens leftover from the CSA deliveries earlier in the week that were in the fridge. I was up early chopping greens and enjoyed a bowl full all before going to work at 9am that morning.

Our lunch was Joshua inspired and really good. As a matter of fact, he made it!

We forgot to take a picture of dinner, but what we ate is listed below.

Breakfast: Sautéed greens with feta

Lunch: Homemade french fries and tuna patties

Dinner: Homemade chicken pot pie (not shown)

Snacks: Strawberry Scooter Crunch Bites

DAY ELEVEN

This day was Friday and it was a celery juice and coffee day for me. Brandon had leftovers for breakfast and Joshua ate cereal.

You will see that our dinner was amazing! I was supposed to take a picture of the plate, but that just didn’t happen….

Breakfast: Leftovers or cereal

Lunch: Organic blue corn chips with tuna (I know weird, but it was so good) or ramen

Dinner: Boston butt with green bean sauté

DAY TWELVE

This too was a celery and coffee day for me, but we did have brunch. It was the weekend and I prepped dinner early which was an awesome curried stew.

Brunch: Boston butt burritos with feta and fermented relish that was beautiful and tasty. (not shown)

Dinner: Curried chicken and potato stew

All in all this was a great couple of days. Be sure to keep a watch for the next few.

Farm to Fork (7-9)

Hello again. Thank you for following our Farm to Fork series. Here we’ll talk to you about the next few days and what our meals looked like. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY SEVEN

The next day was Monday and during CSA season, Monday’s are delivery days. I had an alarm set for 6:15 am, but forgetting to charge my phone left me sleep until about 7:30 am.

Of course this caused me to be late, plus with all the weather changes, I was starting to develop a small cold.

I had no time for breakfast and was thankful that by the time I came back home Brandon prepared smoked sausage that we wrapped in a burrito and called it breakfast.

The picture isn’t pretty, but I’m glad I remembered to take one. It was more like brunch though because it was about 11 or so before we ate.

Since we had a late breakfast, some of us skipped lunch and kind of snacked up until dinner.

Here’s what we ate:

Breakfast: Smoked sausage in a spinach burrito

Snacks: Pecans and popcorn….of course Joshua had ramen

Dinner: Beef roast with mushrooms and onions over rice.

DAY EIGHT

Tuesday was a stressful day to say the least. I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t go to work. I needed to rest and just have an easy day. I traded breakfast for celery juice and then coffee later. The guys ate leftovers and cereal.

If we weren’t doing this challenge, today would have been a pizza day for sure. Brandon was looking for comfort food and you know how you’re not feeling well and all you want to do is lay around and eat something good? This was today!

We didn’t eat out, but someone was baking and so we were introduced to Strawberry Scooter Crunch Bites (not shown, but we ate it so I had to list it here)

Breakfast: Leftovers and cereal

Lunch: Pizza burritos (Pay no attention to the fact that it’s half eaten)

Dinner: Spicy chicken and broccoli over rice

DAY NINE

We don’t typically eat sweets for breakfast, but when you wake up to what we did, you just roll with it!

Breakfast: Homemade chocolate chip waffles

Lunch: No lunch for me, but the guys had Ramen or tuna

Dinner: Steak Hoagy Burritos

So we’re still trucking along. Stay tuned for the next few days, coming up soon!

Farm to Fork (4-6)

Catching Up

To continue our series we’ll now fill you in on our next few days of meals. The family and I are enjoying eating this way, but we did have a few days when we were out most of the day and had to remind ourselves that we were eating at home. Don’t worry we stuck to it.

In looking back at pictures, I realized that on day 3 we received a beautiful gift!

We’ve been snacking on it ever since……

Day Four

This day fell on Friday and Fridays are notoriously busy for us around here. Brandon was out making deliveries and running errands when it dawned on him that grabbing something while he was out was off the menu. He did make breakfast before leaving home, but being out for so long threw him off.

Here’s what we ate:

Breakfast: “Fancy“ Coffee (made at home) with tuna and eggs.

Lunch: Oven roasted salmon with spinach, onions, mushroom, and tomatoes or ramen. (Forgot to take the “after” picture because I was so hungry)

Dinner: Blackened cod fish with garlic butter sautéed green beans and potatoes.

Snacks: Organic blue corn chips and Oreos

Day Five

This day was Saturday and it was my turn to be tempted. Up until now, I had barely left the house, but for some reason I wanted to stop and get something while I was out running around before 8am. I guess old habits are hard to break, but I didn’t stop until I was home.

I failed to take a picture of it, but we did also sample some delicious goat cheese that was gifted to us along with the pecans from Day 3.

Brandon also was out for most of the day and I was worried about him! He was out with friends and I guess technically if they got food, but he didn’t pay for it….well nope…..scratch that. Eating at home is just that! Thankfully, he was good too.

Breakfast: Good ole bacon and eggs! I actually had mine with Ezekiel Bread from the freezer.

Lunch: Roasted salmon salad topped with feta.

Dinner: Cheesy ground beef nachos with organic blue corn chips.

Day Six

Sunday is usually the day where we can lay back and chill, but we we are in CSA season, so that was not the case today! Not only did we have to harvest and package but, we also had made plans to make some farm runs, so busy it was! We still managed to eat at home and we’re feeling pretty good about doing so.

Here’s what we ate:

Breakfast: Oatmeal (shown) for me, cereal for Josh, and just coffee for Brandon. My oatmeal is always busy and this was no different. A mixture of organic oats, frozen bananas, pumpkin seeds, pecans (gift from day 3), and cranberries topped with tupelo honey.

Lunch: Beefy taco salad topped with organic blue corn chips and feta of course! This one was already started.

Dinner: Sunday dinner was spaghetti, but we were so tired that no pictures were taken.

So there you have it! We’re still doing well and enjoying all that farm to fork is bringing us. We’ll catch you up on the next 3 days soon.

Farm to Fork Series!

Introduction:

Hello farm family! Thank you for following our farm to fork series. Our family is thrilled to have this opportunity to eat from the farm this month! In making the decision to eat this way we realized that some things would have to be purchased. So as mentioned in our Newsletter, we did have a shopping trip before the month started to ensure we had staples on hand.

Although we grow some staples like onions and potatoes. Those items are seasonal. Then you have items like rice, that we can never grow.

As a small urban farm growing grains is also out of the question and sadly, the one thing we forgot to purchase was bread. Not to worry, though because we do have some bread in the freezer. Although we aren’t sure if it will last the whole month, we will just wait and see. The good news is that I can bake bread and we have plenty of flour.

You will find that there will be some days that will have extra items like snacks. Plus we have a teenager, so he would try to live off cereal and ramen if he could!

Drinks for the month consist of water, coffee, tea, fruit and vegetable juice, nutritional supplements, and Mountain Dew for Brandon.

Some of the biggest blessings we had this year were our animals and a half cow, that was ready right on time. We don’t raise cattle, but we are so happy that we know people who do! All meats are farmed with a few exceptions which will be noted.

This series will document the meals the we had each day. Day one was mentioned in our Newsletter, but it will also be listed below. We’ve been trying to take as many photos as possible, but I have to admit that my name is Rachel and I’m super OCD about the photos so some things you may have to take our word on.

Day One

We were so pumped and hit the ground running on the first day, I have a tendency to overthink and over analyze things, but thankfully Brandon reined me in as I was literally going to plan out every single meal for each of the 31 days of the month. He was like “Rachel, you’re doing too much. We have enough food where we can just decide what we want to eat that day.” He was right!

My “green” personality lives by calendars and schedules, so I needed his “red” to help me out. Of course I still woke up at 5 am and started cooking and meal prepping for the day…..

What we had on day one is below.

Breakfast: Beef bacon and eggs scrambled with green tomatoes, onions, and peppers. (Beef bacon was purchased)

Lunch: Garden salad

Dinner: Baked pork chops, the same garden salad from lunch, along with rosemary and onion rice with broccoli.

Day Two

The second day was Brandon’s day to cook. He and I alternate dinner nights as part of our normal family schedule. When the children were home, they also had one dinner night per week as well. We have always been those parents who believed in teaching them how to be self sufficient and so cooking was a big part of it. Even today, our youngest, Josh will cook sometimes, but he is more of a baker. He sometimes surprises me while I’m working with donuts, cookies, etc, ❤️

Our second day meals are listed below.

Breakfast: Chicken sausage, garden salad, and cereal (not shown)

Lunch: Same as breakfast except no cereal this time.

Dinner: Sirloin and cubed steak topped with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Served with rosemary onion rice.

Snacks: The guys had Oreos and I had homemade trial mix.

Day Three

This day I had I had an appointment early in the morning and so I wasn’t able to eat breakfast before going out. Thankfully, I had my celery juice and Brandon heated me up dinner from the previous night before I had to rush for work.

Breakfast: Cubed steak with rosemary onion rice or cereal (not shown)

Lunch: Garden Salad with sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, and topped with feta cheese or ramen (not shown)

Dinner: Pork ribs with our special barbecue sauce and coleslaw. This was the first time we’ve cooked or eaten pork ribs in 20 plus years! Man these were SO good!

There you have it our first 3 days in the books! Thank you for following our farm to fork series and we’ll see you back here in a few days to see what days 4-6 brought us.

Growing Now! (December 2020)

Yes…..We skipped the month of November and here we are in December with all types of news to talk to you about, but first let’s just say how happy we are that it’s officially December!! 🎉

Now of course that doesn’t mean that come January 1st, this pandemic is over and everything can go back to the way it was before COVID. We won’t all be tearing off our masks and be free to breathe in everyone else’s air around us, but at least this year will be over.

2020 has seen so much sadness. So many insecurities. So much craziness and so much damage that all we could do at times was pray and have faith that better times were ahead.

COVID Precautions

Now that Winter is upon us and it’s not only COVID season, but also flu season, we urge you all to pay attention to what’s happening around you. Wear your masks. Maintain your distance and if you or your loved ones become sick, stay home. Actual lives are at stake and people are losing their spouses, mothers, fathers, children……you get the point.

You guys know how much I love my Dad. I’m always talking about him and how much he does for our farm. Well do you know that when I visit with them, I seldom go in the house and I always keep my mask on. Why? Because it is that serious!

I recently shared a picture of our daughter who’s having a baby and we weren’t wearing masks for the picture only! As soon as the pictures were done, the masks were back on. Why? Because it’s that serious!

We have turned down so many invitations and said no to event after event because it’s not worth our family being sick or worse. A bit of struggle never killed anyone, but COVID has killed many. So please take care of yourselves. Use caution for you, your family, and those around you.

Our Experiment

We are planning 2021 to be our biggest year yet! At our new farm location we will soon began building our high tunnel. This is something that we’ve wanted to do for such a long time, and now we can see it within our grasp.


We feel strongly that now is the time to grow as much food as possible and to find ways to preserve it. 2020 has taught us that!

In fact since we purchased a half cow, took our pig to the butcher, and harvested both chickens and turkeys, we see that we could actually be our own food supply. So Brandon and I are conducting an experiment for the month of December….

We have decided not go to the grocery store for the entire month! Instead we are planning to eat solely from the farm! Now I’m going to be completely honest and say that we did have a shopping trip before the month started so we could ensure we had some staples that we’d be able to make meals with, but there will be no grocery runs.

I’m writing this in the late hours of December 1st, so technically it’s December 2nd now and we made it through day 1!

This morning I was up a little after 5 am planning the meals for today. I washed and chopped mushrooms and placed them in the freezer.

I also peeled, chopped, and froze bananas to use for smoothies and oatmeal. Tomorrow it will be more of the same because some things just won’t keep for 31 days.

Here is what we ate on day 1:

Breakfast: Beef bacon and scrambled eggs that included onions, green tomatoes, and ancho grande peppers that were harvested before the freeze, then topped with sour cream.
Lunch: Garden salad with beef bacon crumbles, cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, dried cranberries, apple slices, and feta cheese.
Dinner: Baked pork chops covered with green apple slices, rosemary and onion rice with broccoli, and the same salad from lunch with added tomatoes.

Every single meal included something grown on the farm. Brandon said I tried to be fancy with dinner, but I was told that pork and apples pair well together so I tried it.

It will be exciting to see if we can make this happen for us because we would love to try and continue to sustain our family by eating as much as possible from the farm.

Garden News

Yesterday we woke up to 28 degrees and many dead plants. We knew it was coming, but it was still sad to see. There were so many blooms on the eggplants. Even one we saw that had began to grow. The picture below was taken before the freeze.

One good thing is that we waited longer than usual to plant our garlic and then 2 days after we did, BOOM… Winter.

Also in the gardens we have beets, winter carrots, turnips, mustards, and of course collards. Additionally there is salad lettuce, arugula, and more.

By way of flowers, the last ones standing are marigolds. They have turned out to be the surprising winner on our farm this year.

Poultry News

The chickens are still in their Winter molt and although there are a few eggs here and there, what we’re getting can in no way sustain our family or any of yours right now. We will be soon introducing new layers into the flock as we do have quite a few hens that have come to the end of their laying cycle.

We processed most of the turkeys with the exception of 4. Brandon has yet to tell me if we will be keeping those or they will be fattening up for the next big meal in December, but if you’re interested in eating turkey this month, please let us know.

Our meat birds are small and they can’t tolerate the cold, so they are tucked away safely in the brooder pen for now.

Gifts

If you’re shopping this month no matter what the occasion is, we hope you will check out our handmade soaps, body butters, jams, jellies, and other prepared items.

You can order these and more on our shop page.

The next time we write this blog, we will look back on 2020 and then tell it to go kick rocks (preferably while wearing flip flops).

So we will see you soon. Until then……

Growing Now! (October 2020)

It’s officially Fall! The cooler weather has arrived, the bugs are on their way out, and the greens are growing! We are so excited to be past the Summer months and ready for all that this season brings.

September was a whirlwind for us. Hurricane Sally came in with all her rain and flooded a good portion of our farm. Sadly when the water receded so did most of our newly planted crops, so we had to restart and rebuild. Farming has super highs, but at times it can also have super lows. Needless to say this was emotional for us, but we’re doing our best to keep pushing forward. We thank all of you for your kind words, patience, and understanding.

As October rolls in we will see many cold weather veggies come back. We recently dug up a great sweet potato harvest and it’s so nice to see some good news on the farm.

Fall staples like collards and kale we’re re-planted after Sally rolled out. Salad blends will be coming back, as well as spinach, and mustards too.

We will be pulling tomato plants to make room for garlic which will be planted this month. Peppers are hanging around as well as eggplants. Both of which are blossoming out of control right now.

In poultry news, the turkeys are on track for their harvest date in November. With all the rain we had moved them indoors, but now they’re on their way back outside to stay.

With the damages we suffered on the farm, we’re definitely behind with our chicken harvest. We thank you for your patience and will be contacting each family individually to set up delivery.

As the months turn cooler, remember to stay safe. If we’ve learned nothing else from this pandemic, I hope it’s the importance of keeping you and your family healthy. Things can change so quickly!

While we’re on the subject of staying healthy. We have to stress the importance of NOT ordering from us or expecting us to deliver to you if you’re sick, have the flu, showing signs of, or tested positive for Covid-19. Even if you’re asymptomatic and feeling ok, you could pass it to us and we or someone in our family may not be. As a local farm, we want to be here for the community, but we ask that you respect the safety and well-being of our family, as we do the same for you.

If you need us, we’ll be continuing to grow food for our family and yours! Be on the lookout for Seasonal Farm Boxes! They will come back towards the end of October.

Hope to see you back here next month. Until then…….

Growing Now! (September 2020)

We’re one day away from September and this is the month that we welcome Fall. It’s usually around this time that our birds began their molt (explained below), and it also marks the ending of our CSA membership because the Fall Season starts on September 28th.

I know I stand with many others who farm in the Southeast when I say so long to Summer! The summers here, especially the month of August are BRUTAL on farmers! The heat seems unbearable at times. The monsoon like weather makes the weeds become the best “crops” on the farm, and the bugs make you want to scream and pull your hair out! We even got some new bugs this year!

two green beetles on leaf
Japanese Beetles 

The good news is that today is the last day of August! So Congratulations to my fellow farmers! Congratulations to the gardeners! Even congratulations to all of you! Although the Summer isn’t over yet, the worst part of it is! We made it! 🎉

Molt…….

If you’re not familiar with chickens, the term “molt” may be new to you. Allow me to explain…each year the chickens ready themselves for Winter by shedding their old feathers and growing new ones. During this dormant phase, they lay very little to no eggs and it’s our job as farmers to help them by adding more protein to their diet. This is a process that the birds go through naturally. The chickens don’t know that our Winters are mild,  so it’s out with the old and in with the new.

If you’ve been looking for eggs, you may have noticed that we’ve removed them from our shop page. Some hens are still laying, but it’s not enough to sustain the community. We do try take care of our regular customers and our family first. So please understand that eggs are a seasonal item too.

As mentioned above, today is the absolute last day that we will be accepting new members to our Kith & Kin CSA. In the Fall season our members get the best of both worlds because they get a variety of both Summer produce and the first of Fall. Fresh collards, turnips, and sweet potatoes just to name a few.

We invite you to become a member, but if you’re not ready to take the dive just yet you can always take advantage of our Seasonal Farm Boxes.

B0D26CF3-FAB2-467A-A0D6-48FD16174FE7
These will be available again beginning in October. So stay tuned!

If you reserved chickens, we’re giving them just a few more weeks to fatten up. Harvest date is set for the weekend of September 18th.

In turkey news, they’re growing so nicely! They’re happy and healthy and with just under 3 months go, they’re right on track.

Piggy is absolutely amazing! My Dad came by the other day and his exact words were “that’s going to be some good bacon!” I love that we can give back to him for all that he’s done and continues to do for us everyday. If you’re a Daddy’s girl, I’m sure you’ll understand how much I mean it when I say I have the BEST Daddy ever!

If you’re looking to start your own Fall garden, look no further than Bain Home Gardens! They are at it again with their own seedlings just for you. All Certified Naturally Grown and ready to go to their permanent homes.

This month on the farm everything is in motion! Transplants will go into the ground. Birds will be moved. There will be new plants started and those that have reached their end, pulled. There is SO much to do as we get closer to the start of our CSA. As always it’s exciting and scary at the same time!

If you’re looking for any of our prepared foods, try our Blueberry Island Bliss Jam. It’s brand new this year and from what I hear, it’s a keeper!

Thank you for being with us this month! We appreciate your continued support and look forward to chatting with you again soon. Until then…..

Growing Now! (August 2020)

Hello there! Just dropping by with your monthly update from our farm. Things are a bit crazy around here, but crazy for us usually means busy so we will take it!

Both July and August are full on planting months for us. We keep a farm calendar and a poultry calendar year round to help us plan crops, farm chores, track pests, chart egg patterns, and harvests for both plants and animals.

Around this time of the year it’s a bit tricky because of all the heat so we’re up early and back out late. It’s like full time work with part time hours. Does that really exist? Yes it does and we’ve almost got it down. A typical day on the farm looks like this:

Up early before the heat sets in.

PRAYER!

Coffee and food if we didn’t press snooze too many times.

Head outside.

Seek and destroy any pests.

Prune what needs it.

Weed and fertilize beds according to schedule.

Harvest then irrigate if necessary.

Record, record, record.

Feed and water all animals.

Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well since we can only get maybe half of this list done before it gets hot, we usually go back out in the evening to finish. There are those times when we work in or through the heat, but that’s only when absolutely necessary.

Our priorities are harvesting and watering early along with caring for the animals. On those super hot days, the animals get water throughout the day so even if we finished our list early, someone has to go back out to make sure the animals are hydrated.

A goal of ours is have just about everything on automation during the hotter months if not year round. With the continued support of our community we hope to reach this goal. Farming can be very laborious at times so finding ways to be more efficient helps us to farm smart and continue to love what we do. 

So what’s “growing on” in the month of August? Lots! We’re on our second round of Summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and more. Plus we’ve planted Winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, just so many things for Fall. We have to feed ourselves, our Kith & Kin CSA members (which is filling up quick…join now) and many of you guys too.

In case you missed it, two GREAT things happened in the month of July! For starters our farm became Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)!!! We could not be more excited about being a part of this beautiful program.

If you’re unfamiliar with CNG and what this certification means the “quick and dirty” version is that we are committed to growing clean food, from true seeds. Food that is clean AND safe! Now you guys know us, and Hawkins Homestead Farm has ALWAYS farmed “clean,” but now we have another certification to back us up. Check out the link here to find out more. Along with Bain Home Gardens, we are proud to be the only two farms certified in our part of Alabama. Our hope is that more farms will join us as well. So if you have a favorite farmer, ask them about their growing practices, and invite them to stand proud as a CNG Farmer.

Ok onto the second GREAT thing. It’s so important to me to continue to grow in my knowledge. Plus I love sharing and teaching others how to grow their own gardens. Naturally this led me seek out others who are like minded and the result was that I joined the Master Gardener program for our state. I’m so happy to tell you guys that I achieved my certification as a Master Gardener for the state of Alabama!! It’s super exciting! The people I have met and the things I have learned already have opened my eyes wide and I look forward to gaining more insight on what works in our state. Of course, I’m no expert by any means, but I am so enjoying learning and I’m happy to help all that I can.

In chicken news, Farmer Brandon says that we’re about a month out from harvesting. Thank you everyone for your orders! We have been bulking up on chickens because well you just never know with how things are going in the world right now. So we have meat for our freezer and we’ve also been supporting and purchasing from other farmers too. We invite you to do the same. Local farmers feed Alabama! We’re here for you.

The turkeys have sprang up so quickly it seems and they have settled into their home nicely. Soon they’ll be old enough to get lots of garden goodies.

Last, but not least Piggy news is that he is truly a pig! He brings us so much laughter and as our farm grows, we are hoping to be able to add pigs as a permanent part of it.

Now I’m not saying that we will be offering pork, because we’re still in the learning phase, but last year I had a visit from a sweet little boy who came over with his boots on and everything and said “real farms have pigs.” He had fun with the chickens, but I think he was a little disappointed. Now that we’ve been raising Piggy I think understand exactly what he meant by that now! Pigs are a truly great animal to have on the farm!

Just like our chickens we want to raise heritage breeds from good stock and our research has shown that they’re not cheap by any means.

Brandon and I don’t eat pork, but we like to look at all meats in the store and if you can get pork chops for $2.00 a pound and there is a profit, that pig could not have had a good diet or a good quality of life. Just some things to think about because if the quality of your food didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t be here right now.

Someone told me just today that “you get what you pay for” and that is so true. We applaud and support those farmers who are focused on the land and the quality of life their animals have. We know you do too. Thank you!

What you may have noticed about the segment this month is that there are no pictures. Why? Well because everything is in turn over mode and there isn’t that much to see!

Not to worry though, next month there will be pictures and updates galore. Please stay safe. Stay healthy. Follow the state mandated order and wear those masks. I’ll look forward to speaking with you again next month. Until then……

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Now! (July 2020)

It’s Summer!! We made it to our longest season in Alabama and I couldn’t be more excited for all the fresh produce that comes in Summer. My most favorite would have to be basil! Yes. You read that right. Basil is such a versatile herb plus an excellent companion plant. It can be added to tea, lemonade, sweet, and savory dishes. Plus who doesn’t love basil pesto?!? I for one won’t raise my hand because pesto is a favorite around here. We actually had this for dinner last night! If you love pesto too, you can grab yourself a jar or two here. We make a lime version too!

CORN went into the ground super late….not just that, but then we had to transplant it! Yep, we did that….some work was getting done on our property and it was run over, but we couldn’t let it go to waste. Hence the transplanting…….we’ve been babying it in hopes that it would perk up and now it has! 

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Beans are growing in plenty on the farm and more have been started. The new ones will go to our land, but for now we’re enjoying watching these ones grow! This trellis was originally built for peas in the Winter, but these beans have found their way up it all on their own.

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Did you know that both Hawkins Homestead Farm and Kith & Kin CSA are a part of Sweet Grown Alabama? Well you do now! This is a program that links what you’re looking for to a local farmer in your area. We love that this is available in our neck of the woods now!

Our go to green that survives the Summer heat is Asian Spinach. It’s doing very well, but the bugs absolutely love it. Flea beetles and worms are the absolute worse. So we keep it under cover from the time of planting.

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Turkey deposits are NOW live! We know people want turkeys for their big feast, but the way things are going, get 2! We ground ours up each year along with marinating turkey parts for the freezer.

It was just announced that Dothan has made the National list for the top 50 cities with rising COVID-19 cases! This city is SO small, this can only be because people truly believe that the virus is over. It’s NOT! Please, please, take precautions! Brandon and I talk about the number of people who don’t have masks and it amazes me to think how something so simple could protect so many, but people won’t adhere to it. Dothan is number 48!

In addition to turkeys Kith & Kin CSA is now open for Fall membership. Secure your food and support local farmers who are concerned about growing food the way it should be! Now through 7/15 you’ll get a free jam or jelly with every order.

We are planting something almost every single day! Another run on the grocery store could mean disaster for SO many people and we want to be there for the community. Already we’ve seen a rise in prices of everyday items, plus beef is outrageous right now and apparently pork is next. I reached out to Working Cows Dairy to see what cuts of meat they have and we advise you to support them as well. They have ground beef and of course dairy products which can be frozen for later use. Of course we don’t know what will happen, but we all have to eat!

So I’ll close this month with asking everyone to please be safe! We know that some people will get sick, but if you’re able to, stay home! The beach will still be there. The mall isn’t going anywhere, and you don’t need to take your kids out to entertain them.

Wear a mask because you don’t know if you’re asymotomatic and could be carrying the virus. Protect yourself and those you love.

As a suggestion, when you go out for the essentials, grab some board games and a deck of cards. You’ll be surprised how this brings families together and it’s fun too!

I am not a TV watcher, but I do love a good show every now and then. So if you have something that you’re interested in, catch up on it.

Lastly, please don’t forget to get some form of exercise in. You can do this at home. In my neighborhood, I’ve watched this couple walk the length of their driveway for exercise and thought what a cool idea. Gym not needed!

Just throwing some ideas your way.  My offer still stands for seeds for anyone who wants to plant a garden!  We’ll talk again next month. Until then……