Sunday, November 27, 2011

French Style Heritage Turkey Recipe

A recent customer has a unique way to cook a heritage turkey, a french style recipe. She was kind enough to share it with us so you can give it a try.


Duo of Roasted and Braised Heritage Turkey
By Alain Sailhac, French Culinary Institute

--For an 18 lb. heritage turkey, legs & thighs removed, and wings removed at the second joint.

The hardest part of this recipe is cutting a raw turkey into 4 parts – 2 leg/thighs, the back that was between them, and the breast attached to everything else. Prepare all the ingredients first as it can take over ½ hour cut up the bird. The turkey comes up to room temperature during that time, but you don’t want to leave it sit out much longer than that.

-- Preheat oven to 350 ˚.

--Make a mirepoix by chopping:
            1 large peeled onion
            1 large peeled carrot
            1 celery branch
            1 small peeled rutabaga
Combine all these, then divide them equally into 2 bowls.
-- Make a bouquet garni with:
            2 bay leaves
            2 branches of sage
            5-6 parsley stems
            A few inner celery leaves

--Stem 25-30 sage leaves, and preserve the stems

-- Chop 4 oz. onion

-- Have ready:
            3 C. white wine
            11 ½ C. chicken stock
            4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and lightly crushed

For the Braise:

§ Season legs with salt and pepper.
§ In a pot just large enough to hold the legs comfortably, heat 1/3 C. oil; add the legs and brown well on all sides.
§ Add half the mirepoix and cook until soft and it develops some color. Remove the legs and strain the contents, leaving 2-3 T. of the fat in the pan.
§ Return all ingredients to the pan and deglaze with 2 C. wine. Reduce the liquid until syrupy and add about 7 C. of the stock. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the legs.
§ Add the bouquet garni and 2 garlic cloves, bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Let braise, turning occasionally, for 2-2 ½ hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the inner thigh (not touching bone) registers at least 180 ˚ F.
§ Remove the legs, cover and keep warm.
§ Strain the braising liquid and return to the heat, skimming diligently and reducing slightly.

For the Roast:

§ At the same time you start braising the legs, begin roasting the breast.
§ Rub it all over with about 2 T. of oil and season with salt and pepper.
§ Chop the neck and wings into 1-inch pieces.
§ Place a small roasting pan in the oven to heat it for a few minutes. Add ¼ C. of oil to the pan, place the breast in the pan, skin side up, and distribute 2 garlic cloves, the neck and wing pieces, and the other half of the mirepoix around it.
§ Place the pan in the oven, and roast the turkey for 30 minutes.
§ Baste with one T. butter to encourage browning.
§ If the neck and wing pieces have developed color, deglaze them with 4 ½ C. stock and bring to a boil.
§ Return the pan to the oven and continue basting every 15 minutes for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 168 ˚ F.
§ Remove the breast, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm. Let the breast rest a minimum of 15-20 minutes before carving.
§ Strain and degrease the cooking liquid and skim well.

For the Sauce:

§ Marry the braising and the roasting liquids together and reduce them to just under 1 quart.
§ Meanwhile, soften the onion in 4 T. butter and deglaze with 1 C. wine. Add sage stems and reduce by two-thirds. Combine this with the reduced stock and simmer for just a few minutes to meld the flavors.
§ Strain the sauce through a fine chinois and mount with 2 T. butter.
§ Taste for seasoning and add a chiffonade of sage leaves.

Heritage Turkey Reviews starting to come in for 2011

We are starting to hear from some of our customers who purchased a heritage pastured turkey for their thanksgiving table. So far everyone has been very kind and exceptionally happy with their turkey.

Here is an example from Karen:

"The turkey I got from Little Sprouts Farm was superb. Both white and dark meat were flavorful and the skin turned a rich, crispy brown. Heritage breeds make turkeys that have a denser flavor and don't seem to get dried out like mass-produced birds. I got mine brined at the farm, and I think that helped make it very tender. This is the first year that I haven't had to get my heritage turkey from the midwest -- we are so lucky to have farmers in the Rogue Valley like Dave and his family, who really care about raising healthy, delicious food."

If you have an experience you would like to share, please go to our testimonials page by clicking above, and at the bottom of that page you can enter your own experience. 

Natural Flavorings?

Think about something... As a food producer, why do you need "flavorings", even natural flavorings? There is only one answer I can think of... and that is to make something that isnt a particular food taste as if it is. the reality though, is perhaps even more concerning. What exactly IS the thing that is made to taste like food?

This story appeared on 60 minutes recently, explaining a bit about the flavor industry.  It is filled with eye opening facts that most people (at least me) have never thought of.

I think the reality is, the flavor industry is in fact the enabler for the entire processed food industry. The flavor industry makes it possible to put together the cheapest raw ingredients, and make it taste like or better than real food. The fact is though, it is NOT real food! There is no way that these artificially created proteins, carbs and starches can be compared nutritionally to real naturally produced food. BUT.. it tastes as good or better than real food. Therein lies the problem!

It is not the health concern of the flavoring, rather the concern is that the flavoring is USED to make some non-food product taste like food!

Once you can take empty raw ingredients and create cravings and addictions to the FLAVOR placed on it, you have a goldmine for profit, and a nation with a health care crisis.  That is my bottom line, the flavor industry without intending to, is the actual leader of the health care crisis and untold human suffering, because they make it not only possible, but preferable to consume weird "stuff" that tastes great.

So my challenge to you is, next time you buy a "food" look at the lable. If it says "artificial or natural flavors" ask yourself WHY? Why do the raw ingredients not have acceptable flavors? Is the raw ingredient something you recognize? Is it truly Food?

Here again I propose that the solution to your health care crisis is simply... find a local farmer who does things right, buy from them the real food that your body is intended to thrive on, and shun anything that comes in a box, bag, can, or bottle. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

ducklings enjoy duck house

The ducklings are moved to their new house and pen, and seem to really enjoy it! The Duck house has a heat light and deep straw bedding to keep them warm at night.  They have a nice pond to swim in too.
Funny thing is they are small enough to slip through the fencing,  so they can come and go as they please,  but the bigger  birds can't get in.  They can forage for food all over the farm,  and return to the safety of the pen  if threatened. It is fun to watch the entire flock running around the yard in a big group.

cozy warm
bedtime snack

Don't forget the Turkey Stock! Here's how.

Now that thanksgiving is past, there is one more benefit to having a heritage turkey... stock! The leftover carcass from a heritage turkey makes the absolute best soup stock and broth you will ever taste.  Don't waste those bones... use them!

Our own turkey stock recipe  is quite simple. We have a very large stock pot, maybe 5 gallons. We place the carved Turkey carcass in the pot and add enough water to cover. Add a couple spoonfuls of vinegar. Optionally you can add a quartered onion, carrot, celery, a soon of peppercorns and a little salt. Being it all to a simmer. Skim off any scum that floats to the top, then cover tightly and let it slowly simmer for a couple days.

After a couple days take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Then pack it into hot quart canning jars and seal. Leave them on the counter to cool, then you can freeze or refrigerate.  In the fridge it keeps for a week or so, in the freezer it is almost indefinite. Just be careful to leave plenty of headspace  to freeze (an inch or so should do)

this stock is great for soups, cooking, or just drinking as a warm treat! It is both healthy and nutritious!

Little Sprouts leaps into the Egg Business!

Our plans to enter a consistent egg business just got moved up yet again.

First, we decided to start an egg business with about 70 cross breeds we hatched ourselves. Those birds are now just about old enough to start laying eggs any time.

Second, we decided that would not be enough eggs for us. You can get 3 eggs a day from every four chickens as a rule,  and we wanted more than 70 chickens could provide.

So third, we ordered about 200 sussox chicks. We built the movable coop as you will find on other blog posts. Those birds are now about 6 weeks old. They will be laying next spring.

Now... the plans got moved up again. In addition to the 70 or so cross breeds, and the 200 sussox, we found an opportunity to take on 10 or so laying golden sexlink hens. There is another local farmer that is temporarily going out of the egg business for personal reasons, and they needed to pass their hens on to another farm. We decided to take them in .

So.. Little Sprouts Farm will officially be in the chicken egg business on a regular basis starting sometime next week. We will immediately have 6 to 8 dozen eggs per day. That will increase to about 20 to 25 dozen eggs a day  by next spring.  These will all be pastured, free range chickens supplemented with soy free and corn free feed.

This winter we will be completing our bug farm, the target being to raise about 10,000 to 20,000 mealworms per month to feed the birds, plus an unknown amount of crickets.  That extra pr otein during the winter combined with the soy free / corn free feed should produce the absolute best eggs money can buy.

So, stay tuned! This will be a learning experience.

We will be offering the eggs for sale off farm, at pick up points, and through a new home delivery route. If you are interested in a regular supply of healthy pastured eggs this winter, go ahead and send us an email at and let us know where you are and how many you are interested in. We will be working on the details this week.

Our own Thanksgiving turkey

here is a look at our own family's Turkey roasting in the oven. we prefer to use a cooking method where you start with a high Temp (450) for a few minutes,  then turn it down to roast. this Sears the skin with a nice color and seals the juices inside.  here is the bird after the 20 minutes or so.
this is a brined Turkey,  so all w did was rinse it well,  place an onion inside,  and rub a little butter on the outside. this year we have shiny new roasting  pan to try. even the biggest size pan that was available barely holds the heritage birds!  and this was only 13 pounds!
were invite our customers to share your cooking experience as a testimonial. just click the tab above for testimonial and enter your own at the bottom of the page. if you have a recipe to share please  email it to us at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 final thoughts

As the thanksgiving holiday comes to a close here at Little Sprouts Farm, there are a few thoughts left to share.

First of all a word of thanks. A heartfelt thank you goes to each and every one of our customers who purchased from the farm this year. This was our first year in "business" and we dearly appreciate everyone that participated in it. You trust, friendship, and patronage is dearly  appreciated. We realize that there are plenty of options out there and we are grateful that you chose to spend your hard earned food dollars here. We view each of you as a friend and your families as our own. It is a pleasure to serve you.

Also an ever important thank you to our creator, our heavenly Father who has guided us along this incredible path to becoming a sustainable farm. we are approaching our four year mark of leaving the high society city life of southern california. None of this would have been possible without His constant guidance, inspiration and help along the way. We are deeply grateful that he counted us worthy to take on this mission of rediscovering how to feed our friends and neighbors with good wholesome nutritious foods. What greater calling in life could there be than that?

So thank you, thank you for everything.

This is also a great time to reflect on the past season. As we head into the relatively calm winter months, we look back on a summer of  constant activity, ups and downs, and work sun-up to sun-down. We loved every minute of it, dont get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. I will take a day on the farm over a day in an office anytime. Even so, there are plenty of new lessons we can learn from last summer to make our work more productive. I am not looking to eliminate the work, that is what we are here for, but I do desire for the work to be as efficient and productive as possible. This is a time to correct he mistake of the past so that next season things run a little smoother.

One such are is in automation of water. Water is the blood of a farm. It must run through every corner where there is life to keep that life going. Delivery and management of that water  is a key focus going forward. Carrying buckets of water here and there is just not efficient.  A renewed focus on water systems is in order over the winter.

Another point needing improvement is the hog feeders.. again. I am still unhappy with the current setup and in fact it needs repair anyway. The hogs have managed to  break two of the feeders loose already. I may end up purchasing one of those big round field feeders and rigging up a way to dump a tote of feed in at a time. Perhaps this could be mounted in the center of the current pallet based platform.

Both the three point tiller and disc are broken beyond useability.  Welding and bending back into shape is required before next spring. The lesson learned here is that it is NOT possible to till or disc this land unless it is at just the right moisture content and has been ripped deeply. Tilling without ripping broke welds and tore strong thick metal.

 The greenhouse is being rethought. Instead of just growing produce, we are considering installing a high production bug farm in it. We can raise enough mealworms and crickets to keep healthy eggs going all winter. The greenhouse seems a perfect spot to do this while utilizing the sun's heat to warm them.

I do wish I had invested more time in roadway management. The recent rains have turned some unmanaged ares into huge mud puddles which will soon be impassable with the tractor.

Fencing.. as usual... needs to be done. this is a winter project as the ground is too hard to work with in summer. I need to install a ay to enter both pastures with equipment without the residents escaping easily.

So, lots to think about, and some to do. Winter is a great time to regroup and reconsider.. reflecting on the past with the time available to make changes before next season.  Stay tuned! there should be lots of new things going on as time goes by.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

storebought turkey the most dangerous meat available!

in light of information as in this article about the dangers of storebought Turkey,  we are happy to report that little sprouts turkeys are never fed antiobiotics nor any form of arsenic! you can feel safe that your thanksgiving dinner is safe and healthy.
here is the article i am referring to:
What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On? | | AlterNet
at little sprouts, our turkeys are raised primarily on natural foraging for organically grown grasses and bugs. we only supplement as babies and the weeks when weather has eliminated these natural foods. the supplemental feed is organically grown whole grains, and nutrition such as fish meal.
we never medicate our turkeys. instead we use natural parasite control, breeding, good environments, and plenty of fresh air and sunshine. we raise our own poults from eggs each year, from the best of the previous years flock, increasing genetic health naturally using natures method: survival of the fittest.
these turkeys spend their lives much like their wild cousins doing the things that turkeys do.
in contrast storebought turkeys are gentically bread for abnormal and unsustainable growth to increase profits, in tiny cramped space, unhealthy conditions, so that they can not survive without constant antibiotics. yes,  make no mistake, the readon antibiotics are used so heavily on turkeys is that conventionally raised turkeys would die from infection without the cibstant medicine. givingg antibiotics as part of daily diet allows growers to leave the birds in unhealthy conditions. there is no other reason.
conventionally raised turkeys can not forage because it is customary to cut their beaks off whils young to lessen attacks on other birds brought on by the horid living conditions. a birds natural instinct is to remove weak or sickly birds, so when the whole community is sickly, they kill each other off. the conventional answer is to remove beaks to prevent death instead of imoproving health.
i am personally strong on this because in my opinion turkeys are the most mistreated of all farm birds. it pains me deeply to see hiw conventional turkeys are raised. i watch our birds flying and foraging, exhibiting more intelligence and social order than any other farm bird, and wonder why they are singled out for such a sad fate at factory farms. i cant change the world, but i can change my own birds world.
so, emotion aside, you can trust that a little sprouts heritage turkey is the healthiest bird you can put on your table this thanksgiving! you can feel good about changing the world in a seemingly small way that means lots to your family's health and one of natures most awsome birds.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sold out of heritage turkeys

I am happy and  sad to report that we are completely sold out of thanksgiving turkeys for this year.  Our deepest apologies to those that were on the waiting list and did not get a turkey this year. We really did want to accommodate everyone but just didnt have enough grown turkeys to go around.

Next year we will have twice the breeders and thereby perhaps 4 times more turkeys for sale.  Still, based on the response from this year, we recommend getting on the list EARLY! in fact.. w are thinking of starting the order list  next week for next thanksgiving!

Thank you to everyone that purchased a turkey. It was our pleasure to fill your table with quality natural food.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Heritage turkeys - Day 2

What a day!

Day one of this year's turkey harvest was all about preparation... clean the equipment, set up the work area, contain the turkeys, contact all the customers, etc. Well... it all worked great except for one thing. I neglected to actually TEST the equipment, and sure enough... there were issues.

Today started perfect, with a light covering of snow on the ground, and snow falling as the sun awoke us. It was a beautiful scene.  At the crack of dawn I went out to fill and start the scalder. It takes a few hours to get it up to temperature so I like to start early.

The scalder is the device that loosens the feathers so that they can be easily removed. It is really just a metal box about 3 feet cube, with a propane burner and a thermostat. To be effective the water temp must be held between 140 and 145 degrees.  You dunk the turkey in the water for about a minute, agitating slowly, and all the feathers are loose.

Our well water starts out at about 50 degrees this time of year. Lighting the burner on the scalder at 7am would allow us to start about 10am.  I lite the pilot, waited for it to warm up, and turned on the burner.  Back in side to warm up and get ready. When I returned an hour later to hook up the water lines (subject of another blog post) I didnt hear a sound from the burner. Sure enough it had gone out! I relit and waited for a while to make sure it was running, then finished the water hookup and headed back inside.

Another hour went by and I had to run out to see how many gallons our brining buckets held. Again I noticed no sound from the burner. Out again. It was now 9am and the water was only 100.  Not good! Upon inspection I noticed the pilot was a lazy yellow flame! It wasn't even really touching the thermocouple. As soon as a light breeze blew, it cooled down enough to turn off the burner. This wasnt good!

I towed with the pilot adjustment, but no benefit. There was obviously a bad fuel/air mix on the pilot.  With no other choice, I drained out the water completely and turned the scalder over. There was no fuel air adjustment, as the air portion was hard set by the nozzle. That pointed to a gas delivery problem.  Removing hte pipe, I could blow air through the nozzle so it wasnt blocked completely. I removed the pilot unit completely and checked inside the housing. Nothing visible, except it seemed odd to be white inside. Curious i pushed a small screwdriver inside the nozzle. Ah Ha! the white i had seen was NOT the nozzle.. but a very thick cob web! The entire nozzle was full of a thick cobweb.  Humpf. Putting everything back together proved this to be the problem, a spider. Now the pilot was a blue rushing flame.

Problem was, now it was about 10am.  I refilled the tank with cold water and started it up again. Everything worked fine, but now it would be another 2 to 3 hours to reach temp.

The first bird or two was a bit difficult to defeather because we started when the temp was only 130. On thee big birds time can not make up for low temp. Lots of hand plucking resulted. But by 2 or so we were up to temp and running nicely through the process.

the birds themselves look beautiful!  The toms turned out a bit larger than anticipated. The fat was a pleasant surprise. I had some concern that our feeding method this year would result in less fat, but no! In fact for their age these birds had more fat then expected. And the fat had a perfect texture and color. These birds are going to be some of the tastiest ever!

Fortunately the weather was beautiful today! Sunshine, cool breeze, no rain or snow. Beautiful day to spend outside.  Brenda and I managed to process enough turkeys to fulfill the immediate orders. As of this writing the birds are soaking in the brine in a modified freezer. They will sit there for about 2 days, then get washed, wrapped, and delivered.

We might end up processing one more time before thanksgiving. There is still a waiting list. To decide if we have enough I need to examine the toms left to see if we can spare any. It is going to be a tough choice!

A real food Thanksgiving

This blog post is to good to not pass along, especially for or upcoming traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Six Simple Steps for a REAL FOOD Thanksgiving
We are very proud to be offering heritage Free  range turkeys this year. (In fact today is processing day)  here is a little info about or birds:
Truly free range!
Our birds are never caged after a weeks old . They live their lives on pasture and occasionally or yard. They roam free by day and sleep under the stars by night.
Or birds are not genetically modified nor overbred. They are birds as nature intended. The reproduce naturally and exhibit all the natural instincts of wild birds.
Natural feed
First we only fed our birds for the first few weeks of life,  and the last few weeks. The bulk of their life and growth they live on fishing for bugs and green grass. Second,  when we do feed , it is with soy  free, mostly corn free,  organic food.
Long happy life
Our birds are 6 to 9 months when processed unlike conventional birds who are processed at only a few weeks. Conventional birds  Grow  so fast that they can't be allowed to live longer, their bodies are too misshapen to survive longer.  Our birds life long enough to add some good healthy fat to their naturally lean frame.  This result in much more flavour,  moistness, and pleasing texture.
Natural juices only
Or turkeys are available fresh our brined . Or brine is simple with salt,  honey,  garlic,  and herbs. No chemicals nor preservatives.
Natural  processing
We do simple clean hand processing,  unlike automated machine and chemical based processing. We never use chlorine on our birds! We use fresh running water  and careful hand processing under human control.
Overall a pasture raised heritage Turkey is nothing At all like the odd looking birds you find wrapped in plastic and floating in weird chemical juices at the store.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Heritage Turkeys - Day 1

We have almost everything in place now to do the thanksgiving processing  tomorrow. We spent the day putting everything in place, cleaning, and the fun part... catching the turkeys.   It is actually more "herding" than catching.

It went very well this year. Instead of trying to grab them one at a time, we set up the stock trailer in a narrow spot and created a block on both sides. This made a type of "chute" leading to the open back door of the trailer. Then we added a ramp up to the trailer for the turkeys to walk up. With the whole family helping, we slowly walked half the turkeys into the trailer and closed the first partition. Then we walked the other half in and closed the back door. Quite easily we ended up with all but 2 turkeys inside the trailer! this will make tomorrow so much more efficient.

The equipment is ready, I just have a little bit of plumbing to try a new approach to the slow flow water for processing. I can do that in the morning while the scalder is heating up.

Time for some rest! Tomorrow will be a full day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving heritage turkeys

It is almost time! With thanksgiving right around the corner,  we are starting to gear up for thanksgiving processing.
If you have reserved a turkey already, stay tuned for more details. We will be contacting each of you about details soon.
If you have not reserved a turkey and would like to still, we might have a few left, so contact us quickly!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Work begins on duck habitat

We finally started work on the duck habitat this week. The ground is soft enough to work with and the ducks are grown enough to come out of the brooder.
Hope we get it done before the storm hits!

Looks like an interesting week!

With the weekend before thanksgiving almost here, and the corresponding focus on processing all the ordered thanksgiving turkeys.... I'm searching the weather. A cold wet storm is blowing in friday, perhaps even with snow.
Yes.. Gonna be an interesting week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Beware of farmers market scams

L.A. Farmers Markets Exposed - Page 1 - News - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
Here again is evidence that you can't buy food from someone you don't know and trust. Even farmers markets are populated by people who are not the small organic  they present themselves to be.
Bottom line... Know your farmer. He should be a part if your life like your doctor or spiritual leader.
at the farmer market, make sure you know the farm is local enough for you to visit and talk to directly.
Your health depends on it. in fact your health depends as much on the person growing your food as the doctor who fixes the problems often caused by bad food.

Honey officially joins the list of fake foods

Shock finding: More than 75 percent of all 'honey' sold in grocery stores contains no honey at all, by definition (Updated)
Here we go yet again. You apparently can't  buy honey in a grocery store and know that it is honey. According to these tests, if you do purchase something labelled as honey in a store, you only have a 25% chance that it is actually honey. There is a 75% chance that it is  chemically just liquid white sugar.
How do you buy honey today? Simple, the same as do many other foods, buy only from the producer you have met and know and trust.
I contend that it is the modern model of several middle men in the food industry that allows such lies to exist. The public had no means to verify what the label says, and virtually no way to trace the origin. The government is no use, they are way too busy pouring bleach on locally grown food. (recent news out of nevada)
Several thoughts here...
1. Government agencies like fda are eating our time and cash attacking local farmers for supposed violations where no one is harmed, while ignoring situations where health of consumers is damaged by practices of big ag.
2. The fix here is again to change the model to what had historically worked.... Buy food from small local farmers only. look your good creater in the eye and form a trust relationship with him.
3. All the studies that show honey as harmful and nothing more than sugar make sense... Chances are, the honey tested was actually only sugar! Demonstrating why studies that do not cite the source of the food being studied and production methods are worthless.
4. Any good can be healthy or unhealthy based on how it is created and processed. There is no such thing as common nutritional content of modern food. the nutritional content if based more on methods of production than nature and original content. Most labels today do not at all represent this.
Eggs are another example of this. I was appalled to find that labels of most eggs list the content that the government assigns to eggs, not what the eggs in the package actually are. THE EGGS ARE NEVER TESTED! Yet we more for a fact that nutritional content of eggs varies widely, sometimes by an order of magnitude! Eggs, like honey, can be good for your health, or bad for your health.
5. By the same reasoning, nutritional advice that does not specify the source of good to be used is worthless. most of the advice floating around today  is just false for this reason. Again the example of eggs.... Eggs from most producers should be limited in the dirty because they area in fact unhealthy, while eggs grown right actually reduce cholesterol instead of raise it. it all depend on the production. If your nutritionist doesn't recognize this.. Find another that does!
6. it is more implant to understand the production method than to know where the food comes from. JUST BECAUSE IT COMES FROM A SMALL OUT LOCAL FARM DOES NOT GUARANTEE QUALITY!  Sadly many small local farms follow many of the same teachings of big ag, so their product is similar. The only way to know the good is healthy is to know the farmer and find out what he believes and does.
For instance, I recently spoke with a small local farmer about potential animal feed. When asked if it was organic, he admitted "not certified but really the same thing". When questioned further, he explains that he only sprays poison  ( weed killer) once when the seeds are planted, and poison (pesticide) once when the flowers emerge. But he never sprays the produce, so it is "just as good as organic." IF YOU DON'T ASK DETAILED QUESTIONS, YOU DON'T YET KNOW THE SITUATION!
Bottom line... Honey gets added to the list of foods that you can no longer buy in the store... Another reason to find a local farmer, learn about his beliefs, training, processes, and stick with one you trust.
Your family's health depends on it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Webcam moved to the chicks

We moved the webcam into the eggmobile so that we can keep an eye on the baby birds easier. You too can watch them by clicking on the farm webcams link above.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Portable power!

Finally, after 3 winters, Little Sprouts Farm will not be prone to losses through power failures! We found a good backup generator!

After lots of consideration, I came up with a list of wants about the generator:

1. diesel - engines last longer, overall efficiency higher (more power per gallon of fuel), we store diesel, but not gasoline,
2. easy to move - the kind with 4 little wheels just wont work off a concrete floor
3. at least 5KW
4. electric or manual starter
5. reasonably new
6. under $3000

We found one that matched all these criteria on Craigslist (farmers best friend)  located in Bend. It is a brand new, never started Titan diesel portable generator, 5KW constant, electric start selling for $2K.  We couldnt pass it up!

So we headed to bend. Unfortunately between here Medford and Bend was a rather nasty snowstorm. We ended up driving 30 MPH for about 100 miles in the blowing snow. Prudence encouraged us to spend the night and let the weather clear.  I am a big believer in good tires! The tires we have on the yukon pulled right through inches of snow with a trailer in tow.

We did pass a total of 3 serious accidents on the way there and back... 2 of them rolled off the road.

Nevertheless, we made it fine, and the new generator cranked up perfectly on the first pull.  All that is left is to rig up a connection to the breaker box so that we can easily plug it in and make out own power when it inevitably goes dark here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Collecting leaves and acorns

We finally got our gator vacuum running today.  it is a combination of a debris loader, empty feed bags, wooden frame, window screen, platform, all mounted on a gator. First tests today are promising!
My plan is to use this to collect leaves and acorns for feed, loading directly into the feed bags for easy storage. If all goes well this will be a great use for old feed bags.
You can't sees too well in these pics, but the window screen covers one wooden frame. The other wooden frame is just a square open frame. To load out.. You pull the big end of the bad through the open frame, gold it over, set the second frame (with window screen attached) and use a couple if c clamps to hold it in place. Then you place the outlet of the debris loader into the small end if the bag and your it tight.
The suction if the debris loader in impressive! It picks up leaves, sticks , acorns, pretty much anything!
Having it all on the gator makes it ready to go into pastured and yards without leaving tire  tracks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Turkey roost improvement

With the turkeys fully grown became clear that the roost in the orchard was too small. It was filled with turkeys each night but write so few foisted on the ground, our roof, our old tv antenna, etc.
To alleviate the overcrowding, we took down the side roost of last years roost in the pasture, and added it to the new roost. That gives about 50 extra feet of roosting space. We hung it under the roof so that it its higher than the main area.
Hopefully this will make for happier turkeys!

Backing a four wheel trailer

Is not easy!  We tried to move the new egg mobile to a more permanent location, and wow thats tough!
The egg mobile is built on a car frame, so the front wheels turn with the hitch. That changes all the rules about backing, and a few about going forward.
After trying to back it up just a hundred feet, we gave up and decided forward was better. I managed to pull it out to the street and around to the front yard corner. Even that was a challenge! If the front wheels get turned the seen to take forever to straighten.
From more on.. The egg mobile goes only forward!
The chicks seemed to enjoy their ride though:)

Accident claims lives of some chicks

Sad. We lost about 25 of the layer chicks. now the flock is about 200.
It appears that during a brief winter storm, a gust of wind blew open the tarp covering the ventilation window and trained in a large splash of water. The next day we discovered a pile of cold soaked chicks, mostly already gone.
I cannot express enough the sadness we feel when such an accident claims lives, even little lives. All of our animals are precious, part of gods creation entrusted to us. It is heartbreaking to lose some.