Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Processing Our Pastured Broilers

We wanted to share some photo's of processing day! We processed our first batch of broiler chickens on August 11th 2012 and it was such a great experience that we are already planning for next year. We will be posting a sign up sheet for anyone who is interested in purchasing whole broiler chickens starting next summer. Here are some photo's from our day...

Here our broiler chickens have reached the 8 week mark! They are looking really plump and healthy.  We are excited and hesitant at the same time...

None of us have ever raised an animal from baby to table. It is bound to be a day of learning and excitement.

We ended up with an okay day for the job, a little gray sky and drizzle for the morning and then warming up later on. We started out with 50 chicks and lost 2 during the 8 weeks of growth. We added 4 roosters that came with the laying hens for a total of 52 chickens to process that day.
Here is the chicken tractor with the roof pulled off and what's left of the broilers. We are about 3/4 of the way through in this photo.

Our three pretty Rhode Island Red boys awaiting their fate. The other rooster "George" (not pictured) was from the Kelley's house.
Our set up was pretty simple, the broilers went from the killing cones, to hot water, to defeatherer  to cold water tank, to the processing table. It was all hands on deck at the tables! 

An upclose shot of our borrowed plucking machine. This one worked great! So fast and clean!!

From the plucker the heads and feet are removed and then the broilers go straight to a cold water tank to cool them down. 

Another job after coming out of the plucker is to remove any feathers that did not come out. See those long tail feathers to the right. Those are the easy ones, it's the tiny little stray pin feathers that we needed the needle nose pliers for! I have excluded any photos of the evisceration process but there are tons on youtube if you really need to know :-)

And finally to the table! This was our first one and it tasted great! 

Thanks so much to everyone who helped that day!!! We could not have had such a great experience with the whole process without all of our helpers! A special thanks to our friend Dick who taught us all he knows!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update: October 2012

Things are winding down on the farm. James the oldest grandson in the family got his first lesson in tilling the fields today! He did a great job!!! It was such a beautiful fall day too, sunny, blue sky, fall colors, and a view of the mountains! Under the row cover we have some broccoli and cauliflower still growing.

We even got a smile out of him in this one! Who doesn't love riding on the tractor right???

In house one we pulled all the cucumbers except a few experimental ones that we started way too late but decided to leave them in and see what happens. The peppers are still hanging in there and actually have blossoms forming and peppers still growing! 

These may be the only cucumbers we get from these plants, the growth has slowed way down and although they have new blossoms they are growing VERY slow!

We also have some greens growing in this house. They are loving the cool temps!!! It seems like every time you walk in here they have gotten bigger! 

House two is another story... these tomatoes have finally succcumbed to the late blight that is so rampant this year. The greenhouse protected them for quite a while but in this photo you will notice towards the top the browning and dead leaves. On closer inspection it's a mess in here!!!

We still have some good reds here and there and lots of greens too. Maybe some green tomato mincemeat is in order???

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our New {Old} Farm Stand

The skies were darkening and the wind was blowing hard so we made the decision to take down our tent/farm stand. We collapsed the tent and put away all the veggies and other goods preparing for the storm. What seems like only minutes later... the skies were clear??? That's fall in NH for you! 
Setting the tent up again seemed futile since the forecast was very iffy. Sooooooo...... even though the milk house (see this post) was not quite ready yet... we moved in anyway!

It was a great move! It is now much easier to open up and close down and we do not have to worry about crazy fall weather blowing our tent down. 

Here are some shots of the inside. It needs a fresh coat of paint in there but at the same time feels like a rustic farm building. Very quaint!

Still a great assortment of veggies left! Although this is the last of the tomatoes and eggplant, get them while they last!
Our new honey shelf! Check out the ribbons from the Sandwich Fair, Best in Show for the frame of honey comb and  a blue ribbon on the jar!!!

 Also had room in the corner for some Lizzie-Tish Designs bags and other items! We have some great re-usuable snack bags and mesh produce bags for sale!

 Come check out our new {old} set up! :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pastured Eggs For Sale

We finally have eggs for sale! Our beautiful Rhode Island Red Hens are laying up a storm and we are now ready to sell some at our farm stand. To the left is our new egg box label that you will see on our boxes when stopping by.  
Here are the girls happy to see us as we head to the coop to pick up eggs.

 The back of the chicken tractor/coop is where we added on the egg boxes. You access them by opening these double doors on the back.

WOW! An amazing 34 eggs today! The most laid so far!!!

As you can see above we have ten boxes shared by 46 hens. They seem to have gotten the hang of it now. Occasionally we will find an eggs laid on the ground inside, we are guessing this is from a hen who has just started laying and has not found the boxes yet.

 Our little helpers today were so excited to count all those eggs!

 If you've never heard the term "pastured eggs" and are wondering why we use it you should know a few facts about them:

Fact #1 - Pastured hens are raised on pasture! Unlike factory hens who are kept in confinement and fed primarily grains.

Fact #2 - Pastured eggs contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than the factory produced eggs. Omega-3's are healthy fats that are anti-inflammatory and good for your heart.

Fact #3 - Pastured hens eat lots of bugs, earthworms, and other such critters that makes their eggs better tasting and more nutritious.

Fact #4 - Pasturing hens is far more humane. The hens have lots of space to move and run and explore unlike the factory hens who have no fresh air to breath or space to move.

Fact #5 - Pastured eggs also have higher vitamin's A and E and 10 percent less fat and 34 percent less cholesterol than eggs obtained from factory farms.

Stop by to try some of our eggs today! Our eggs are fresh, clean, and delicious!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The First Eggs

We were so excited to find three eggs this weekend! We were about to give the house the old heave ho when we spotted one. It was laying right on the ground in a little hole the hens had dug! Next thing we knew we had found two more!! We were relieved to have spotted them before moving the house, our first eggs could have been scrambled!

Thanks girls! No egg boxes or anything!! Now to get those boxes done and attached to the back.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jackson Farmers Market Photo's

 This was our second week at the Jackson Farmers Market. We were blessed with a beautiful day! Great for taking pictures too! Here are a few of our set up.

Our sign. Small but to the point.

Besides the veggies, honey and maple syrup, we also have bags made by Liz and muffins made by Sarah! Yum!!

Some of our yummy veggies.
A close-up of Lizzie-Tish Designs Bags.
Lot's of HUGE zucchini this week!
Thanks to Pat for fixing our shelf so that we had a nice display for our honey and maple syrup! 
 Please come and visit us on Saturdays from 9 to 1 at the Jackson Farmers Market! It is located next to the Snowflake Inn. We are also planning on trying out the new Ctr. Conway Farmers Market on Fridays from 12 to 5pm at the Country Hearth and Home Store located between the Post Office and the Rec.Center. 
Our stand is also open each day on Tasker Hill if you miss us at the Markets. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moving the Milk House

Earlier this spring we moved the "Milk House" from the farmhouse side of the road to the greenhouse side. We plan on using it for an addition to our farm stand for a while until a larger more permanent stand can be built. 

"What is a milk house?" you ask, our family used this little shed to store the milk and milking equipment. There was a large cooler set up inside where the milk cans would be stored until delivery. These were very heavy milk cans that had to be hoisted into the cooler via a pulley system inside the little house. The electric pump milking system and the cream separator was also housed here. There are still special stainless racks on the walls inside where each piece was placed for safe storage. 

A friend with a forklift came early on a Saturday morning to help us with the move. Here we are below slowly lowering the house into place.

In serious need of a scrub down and new paint but in it's new resting place for now.

Fast forward several months and we are ready once again to move the milk house. This time across the driveway to a platform we will use as a floor for now. Originally a concrete slab served as the floor.
No forklift necessary this time! We use the tractor and some old fashion know how!

Our little farm stand awaits! Now to finish the paint and we are ready to move in!