A Different Type of Farm
When we moved up here we had only the vaguest plans of self-sufficiency and despite my husband's childhood experience, were really quite ignorant of farming.
The first few animals we purchased were selected purely on aesthetic grounds, rather like buying a car because you like the colour.
However we eagerly read everything on the subject of self-sufficiency and small-scale farming, and had a look at the "big boys" too, and one thing became very clear. We hadn't got a hope of competeting with factory farms on any level.
Fortunately we don't want to. Quite apart from the obvious fact that we simply don't have the space or money required to invest in the equipment, we would find no pleasure in mass commercial farming "operations". The whole point of us moving to the country was for healthy, natural food, and a peaceful lifestyle. I find neither in modern farming.
Yes, I've heard all the arguments about how the factory farming system is necessary to feed the city-dwelling masses. And I'm quite sure the big commercial farmers (well, most of them, anyway) have the best interests of the public in mind when it comes to food safety. There are after all, easier ways to make a buck. There has to be some level of interest.
Myself though, I like the hands-on approach. I like my animals to have names, not numbers. I like the challenge of feeding them natural foods. Maybe they don't grow so big so fast, but maybe they are healthier and happier in the long term.
What we have achieved is a reputation for the highest quality. Our pork has been described as tasting like "angels dancing on the tongue", our chicken as "orgasmic". It isn't cheap, it isn't EASY to produce, and it certainly will never make me rich. But I get a huge satisfaction from knowing that my family and my customers are eating the finest meat and eggs money can buy.
To understand what modern farming is about, read this
To understand what a rather different type of farming is like read the rest of this website!
We are not Luddites. We use technology where it benefits us. We are not Amish! We take full advantage of heated water pipes and full plumbing to the barn, electric brooders, and power tools. We draw the line, however, at machinery which turns the animals into part of the machine. We do not feed meat products to vegetarian animals, or synthetic foodstuffs to anyone. We do not use prophylactic medication, but rely on healthy immune systems, good husbandry, and clean accomodation to avoid disease. When our animals are sick we avoid the use of antibiotics. Most of our remedies are herbal. We try to provide "natural" facilities and feeds to all animals. This means visitors will sometimes find a turkey or two joining us at a barbecue. All our poultry is GENUINELY free-range, and hens are allowed a break in Winter. Customers must understand this.
You won't find chickens in tiny crates they can't turn round in here. What you will find is contented hens with baskets of straw to lay in, in coops with flowers growing up the outside.
You won't find calves chained to plastic crates. You'll find them playing in the field with their Moms close by.
You won't find pigs in filthy dark concrete pens. You'll find them running about among the trees, rooting to their hearts content.
You'll find lambs and kids with "playgrounds" and herb gardens to nibble. You'll find rabbits on grass, ducks on ponds, and oh I forgot...you'll find butterflies, birds, toads, dragonflies and ladybugs, because we don't spray anything.
You won't find any of the latest machinery because frankly, our methods aren't profitable enough to justify or pay for it, but you WILL find a great place to visit with your family, meet the animals, and take some eggs home. And they will be GOOD!