This post was written on July 19:
The gravy train is still yet to arrive, but the feed truck showed up today with the very first shipment of my farming career (sadly a whopping $1,200 bill came too). We are continuing to rush in order to get ready for the Wednesday and Thursday arrival of the 400 chicks and 100 poults, but one BIG item is now off my to-do list. We were so lucky to find this producer too, it is exactly what we want. We’ve gotten a few people giving us questioning and even judging looks when we tell them we are not certified as organic, but to us, the largest gains in the quality of life for the animal, the care we give to the land, and the health of the food we produce comes from raising chickens outside where they belong.
We don’t want to produce food just for the rich. I think that the cost of organic certification has gone beyond the actual costs and now the price includes a good chunk of government red-tape and trendy hype. For Shae and I, giving the chickens plenty of wild grasses, bugs and fresh clover to munch on as well as a natural feed free of genetically-modified ingredients, synthetic hormones, and pharmaceuticals, means our pasture-raised Early Bird Broilers (good name for a product, don’t you think?) are a going to be a delicious, healthy, and affordable option for families and individuals who want real food that’s worthy of their table.
I realize that reads just like a marketing pamphlet, but that’s why I love farming. I don’t have to switch on a “marketing” switch in order to talk to customers. The pride and enthusiasm comes free with the territory.
The farm’s staff has continued to grow this week. Because of a bit of over-zealousness on my part, I may have given myself a hernia during a particularly fast-paced and long day. To keep us on track (and provide a wealth of emotional support) my dad came up early to help out on the ranch. So all together it has been Shae, Shae’s Uncle Rodney, my father Alex (in the blue jacket to the right), and me working an average 11 hours per day with pretty regular visits from our friend John from Santa Cruz. That means that in one day we can accomplish what would take me more than a regular corporate working week to do alone. And what’s awesome is that everyone feels useful because out here we good at everything from electrical wiring to financial management. As such, every age and background has something they can teach and it’s even helped me to connect with friends and family (including those who haven’t visited the farm yet) as though I am meeting a whole new side of them.
I can’t think of a profession that values more the natural diversity of skills and experience that exists in families and circles of friends. What a blessing.