Thursday, May 24, 2012

What would you say if.. ..

What would you say to the executives of major agribusiness if you had their undivided attention and a dinner date at their table?  If you were sitting next to the individuals responsible for more lasting harm to our children than any other single interest in America.  If you were openly questioned in their midst,  about your thoughtful on their mission to "feed the world " through poison,  chemicals,  and genetically altered organisms?

Well this fellow was   given just that opportunity,  and I think he did admirably.  Respectful yet direct.  I personally would have a hard time remaining respectful in such a situation, being a son of a farmer who unknowingly gave his life  to agriculture chemicals through cancer, and having witnessed the direct result of feeding with poison on families.  I applaud this writers resolve and self control.

What Do the World's Most Powerful Pesticide Honchos Eat for Dinner? | Mother Jones

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is that a tractor? !

These pictures say it all.. .. the boys are watching a never before seen type of tractor / forklift loading the garden soil  onto our trailer. Priceless!

Little sprouts a modern day garden of Eden

A very complimentary article on Little Sprouts that appeared in the examiner (

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Delivery day ends with 34 new little lives

Our home tonight was filled without theta sounds of new life.  When we returned home today after home deliveries,  there were 34 new little turkeys hatched and singing.

We moved them out to the barn  brooder to hey enough space foe theta rest to hatch.  This brings the total number of turkeys for the year to 234 so far.

Be sure to reserve yours today!

Charlie and the egg

During our home delivery today, we ran into quite an interesting fellow. He  was riding along on his bike, and noticed our delivery vehicle.  As you may know,  our logo us on the back window. The logo caught his eye to the point that he  waved us over on the road. As he did we really didn't know what to expect.
His name is Charlie. Turns out his reason to flag us  down was simply to compliment us on our farm name,  and learn more about Little Sprouts Farm.

As we explained the farm approach and our free home delivery service,  Charlie gained more and more interest. I asked if he would like to try some of our eggs.  He said sure ! I  handed him a free carton of a dozen eggs and to our surprise he opened it to remove one egg.  He asked if we ever ate raw eggs and we replied that's we did as long as we knew the eggs were produced right. He then took the egg,  knocked a little hole into each end,  and sucked the egg right out of the Shell! We caught a pic of Charlie Downing the raw fresh egg.
He loved the egg,  recognizing immediately that these are  uniquely good  eggs. After all.. . He should know as  a regular raw egg consumer.

After we chatted for a bit more it was time to move on, but not without thanking our new friend for a memorable experience.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New milking shed in progress

The new milking shed is coming along now after a brief contractor problem.  We were forced to change contractors mid project.  Our new contractor (Ken  Brown Construction)  saved the day!

Here is the results of day one.  I'll post construction details soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hospital treatment 72 times more likely to cause illness than drinking raw milk?

Yes, amazing to consider... but if you follow the math in the below article it shows that going to the hospital for a medical treatment puts you at 72 times more risk of unnecessary illness than drinking raw milk. Why dont we see that in the headlines or a press release from the CDC?  Why is raw milk vilified unnecessarily? 

I personally think the lesson here is to be careful interpreting numbers and studies. They are mostly controllable by the author.  Even if that author has the alphabet behind his name or works for a government agency. (many would say to be ESPECIALLY suspicious about an alphabet carrying author or government authority).

Here is the article, take a minute to read through and follow the math. This is a good example of how numbers can be manipulated to show either side of a debate. 

Another side to CCD in bees

Colony collapse disorder as we all know is the condition where whole hives of commercial bees just disappear quickly, not escape but die off.  It is a quickly growing threat to food production worldwide.  Without bees,  growing many  foods  becomes difficult at best. This is one reason we put in bee hives at little sprouts last year. Since bees are a vital part of our food system,  they should also be part of a sustainable farm ecosystem.

I have written several blog posts about CCD and the many ways modern agriculture is at the root cause.  This article brings  a new twist,  still related to conventional farming practices and thought.

Born to bee wild: How feral pollinators may help prevent colony collapse disorder | Grist

What stood out to me in this article is this. ...  the beekeeper went in search of healthy bees among the feral bees that escaped from commercial gives.  Now think about this.  Bees that were destined to suffer death if the remained in the care of commercial beekeepers have escaped and found a way in nature to avoid death from this mysterious disease. In my min that points a finger of blame squarely back at commercial beekeeping.  Once again,  the notion of science over nature,  profits over quality of life,  shortsightedness over long rang benefit, all these foundations of conventional agriculture are at the root.  Once escaped from the grips of modern thought and control,  the bees have conquered the disease and restored their own health. 

Commercial agricultural thoughts , unfortunately,  instead of changing their practices to make beekeeping match nature  is to capture the now healthy bees and steal their secret.  To what end I ask?  If it is the practices of beekeepers that created the problem,  and escape to nature the answer,  won't recapture just repeat history?

No,  the answer in my mind is to search beekeeping to find all the ways it is different from nature and change beekeeping to match nature.  Sure production per hive  and profits  will initially go down,  but in doing so it becomes sustainable. Think of a race.. . You can only sprint for so long.  The distance runner paces his progress to a sustainable pace.  Agriculture is like this.  We can sprint for a while and destroy ourselves in the process,  or set the sustainable pace of natural methods and run forever.

The bees are in danger,  and so is man's food system.  The answer is to release these bees permanently from big agriculture's  grasp and let nature heal itself.

At little sprouts we practice natural beekeeping . Our goal is like everything else we do,  mimic nature and recognize that our creator designed it right.  We accept lower quantity to gain higher quality and lower profits to gain sustainability.  This season we may have honey produced the way nature intended available for sale :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Olive oil: a health food, or a health hazard

We have been hearing for years if not decades how extra virgin olive oil is good for you in a vast variety of way. IT is one of hte commonly available foods that we can all feel good about adding to our diet, right? Well.. perhaps not as much as we think. There seems to be a major problem with olive oil much the same as honey (see another blog post about bees being fed honey and the lack of pollen / honey in .. honey). What can possibly be wrong with olive oil?

I recently ran across several articles such as this one :  which basically says the olive oil you find on the shelf may be too old to be healthy, and may not even be olive oil at all! Now this is upsetting.  I mean, this is a universally accepted healthy food, and in teh name of profits foreign producers are "cheating" in any number of ways. We , the consuming american public, do not know the difference so we spend our lives consuming what we think is a healthy food product when in reality it is harmful because of this cheating for profit. One article claimed that the cheating could bring profits similar to the cocaine trade! We are talking serious money here!

The claim is that olive oil can be mixed with other cheaper unhealthy oils without labeling, and that eve if it is pure,  cheaper shipping and handling makes it old before it arrives art your store. Olive oil looses half its nutritional benefit at 6 months after pressing. Most oils in the store are not labeled for date, because they can be over a year old! At that age the oil becomes a health negative instead of a health positive.  One way to tell the age is apparently to taste the oil. The taste should be obvious in fresh oils.

So, to test these claims, we decided to try some oilive oil form an american company that grows, presses, bottles, and dates the oil.  We ordered a few bottles to try.  When they arrived, the bottles were imprinted with the pressing date, about 6 months ago. Ok... that's marginally acceptable.  then the aroma... OH MY! IT was absolutely amazing the difference. The fresh oil did not smell like any olive oil I have ever encountered, anywhere.  And the taste absolutely blows you away. THIS is what olive oil taste like? There is absolutely no comparison to the stuff we have been buying at the store for years.  NO COMPARISON WHATSOEVER!

So now I must conclude that we have never, not even once, bought oilive oil from the local stores that was either pure or fresh.  and that is very upsetting! Here we thought there is at least one thing that we have had right in our diet all these years, but no... due to greed, it has never been beneficial. Considering the health problems that we were treating with things like olive oil, it is VERY upsetting indeed. This isnt about flavor alone, this is about health, and health issues.

So, I urge you, if you have never tried DATED olive oil from a company you trust, please do! you will be amazed.   No, we are not planning on putting in olive trees.... as much as i'd love to we simply dont have the room. What I will do is share with you where we bought the oil from:

It isnt cheap... but it is real.

Haircut day!

This week we did haircuts for the sheep.  To save time and stress we brought in a professional sheep sheare r. It was amazing to watch him manage the sheep and remove the wool.

We have fleeces available for sale now!  Our plan is to try cleaning some ourself and make something.. . Not sure what yet .

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little sprouts birds hatching in new York school

The eggs we shipped to new York arrived unharmed and the school hatching project is underway!  We are so honored to be able to support the efforts to show young people,  tomorrow's generations,  the fascinating beauty and grace of life at its start.
Thee is a camera set up to track the eggs progress over the internet.  Her is the link,  it should be active soon

Once the camera is on that page we will also put a link on our webcam page.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fresh raw milk too dangerous for animal feed?

Pig Blood Safer than Fresh Milk? | Farm Wars

OK,  this is just getting out of hand.  If this article is true,  and raw milk is too dangerous to feed to baby cows like nature has done.. . Forever. .. then this is a wake-up call.  Farming has then dropped so low that our food supply is not sustainable.  If it is true,  we have totally failed at our God given responsibility and opportunity to care for this earth. 

Calves can no longer drink mothers milk naturally?   Instead of milk replacement, we need to fix the agricultural industry so that cows can survive.

Enough is enough.

Turkey flocks growing!

The current batch of eggs is pretty much hatched now, maybe a couple more to finish today out of  the 100 eggs in the second incubator. All together there was about 10% non-fertilized, and about 10% fertilized that didnt hatch in this batch of 100. Our total turkeys in the brooder stall in the barn is up to 154.

There are another 60 or so in the first incubator due to hatch within a week or two. Once those are finished we will be at about 200 in the brooder, and this is the flock available for thanksgiving.

The second incubator was reloaded today with another 100 eggs which will hatch in 28 days.  Also we will reload the first incubator with another 100 when the last of that batch hatches. Bringing the next flock to about 200. Those birds will be available for Christmas turkeys.

I did adjust the temp slightly. So far the birds seem to be hatching a day or two early. It was set at 99.6. Setting it back to 99.4 should slow down their development just a tad to hatch on time. We have found sturdier birds emerge when they hatch at the 28 day mark.

DuckCam Active Now

The Farm WebCam is connected again and watching the baby ducks for now.  We get a much better signal here than inside the metal barn where the turkeys are (which didnt really work).  So.. instead of watching turkeys, we will be watching ducks!

To reach it, click "webcams" above  and follow the links. you may need to install the client software.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Eagle Point Saturday Market!

We will be at the Eagle Point Saturday Market, by the old mill in eagle point, this coming saturday (5-12) offering our farm fresh eggs and perhaps some other products if we can get them ready in time. Thus far we have not attended farmers markets, but we finally decided that it is time.

Please take a moment to come by saturday between 8:30am and 3pm to say hi. We would love to see you!

Farming is quickly becoming a dangerous occupation

Who would have thought that farming, the production of good quality food, is becoming a dangerous occupation. Not from the risk of machinery, long hours of physical labor, or other real risks.... no, the danger today seems to be the government.  Like clockwork every month this year we find a news story of yet another farm raided, another farmer handcuffed, armed police seizing food, threats of jail time, etc etc.   One must sit back and ask the question ... what is going on?

here's the latest news story:

As a farmer, this is more than a little concerning. How far will this growing movement go? Will farmers end up jailed, put out of business, harassed, fined, etc for doing their job? You might say  wait... there must be some violation of regulations here for this to be happening.  The odd thing is... its predominately SMALL farmers being scrutinized, now big ag.  When is hte last time you heard of a large farm operation being raided with guns ? How about last year when egg quality in a large processing plant threw consumers in the hospital all over the nation? How about the constant news articles of one type of food poisoning or another from foods produced in factory farms?  It doesn't happen. Only small family farms are targeted, even though the potential for damage to consumers is minuscule compared to large food factories.

All I can say is, as a small farmer we do our best to follow all the regulations, even when they dont make sense. We work hard to increase quality for our customers. We work hard to improve the environment instead of poison it. Perhaps there is an occasional violation here or there of process rules, but nothing to warrant the imbalance of scrutiny we see today. For instance in the farm dinner in las vegas, by invitation only by the way, the violation was one of permits, not food quality. The local authorities came in and poured bleach on the perfectly good food because of permit violations.  These stories go on and on.

Yes, it is a bit scary to be a small farmer, especially one not following the big AG way of doing things, but still our job is not a job, it is a mission. WE are committed to producing the best quality food possible for our customers while wading through the laws and regulations. We take risks every day in many ways, but this truly is a labor of love. For us personally, meeting our customers on the delivery route every other week is one of the most fulfilling and precious moments of our week. Hearing the stories, seeing the benefit that our foods bring, it makes it all worth while. Just as farms are being "attacked" each month, so are consumers waking up to the reality that we need small farms producing healthy local food. They need it personally to meet dietary guidelines for their family's health.

We have come to realize that many of our customers rely on us in a similar way to doctors. We provide a product that allows them to heal, a product that can not be purchased from factory farms. If we don't produce this food people will suffer. There are not nearly enough small farms around to supply the growing need and awareness.  That is a sobering thought that motivates us to our very soul. This is a mission, not a job.

I'd like to give a heartfelt thanks to all of our customers for supporting us. Each of you are as valuable as our own family.

Two more yellow narangansette poults

In the incubator today were two more yellow narangansette turkey poults.   The total count is up to 150.

If anyone else has  produced yellow poults from pure narangansette turkeys,  please let us know.  I am very curious what these will look like when mature.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thanksgiving turkey count at 127

We are up to 127 hatched narangansette turkeys in the barn brooder. They seem to be doing exceptionally well this year with the new flat panel heaters.  What an improvement over heat lamps!  The poults seem to instinctively know to hide under the dark panels much like moms wings. 

We highly recommend these heaters for any sizeable poultry hatching.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New bees doing well

We checked on the new bees today after deliveries. They are doing great!  I suited up and took a moment to remove the branch left in it from the swarm capture.  Opening the hive  showed that the bees already are working on building a comb.  They sure are busy little creatures.

Now without the branch in their hive the little guys can make a new home,  and honey for the farm.

Little sprouts on Facebook?

You should be able to find little sprouts on Facebook now and follow all the blog posts there.  I linked this blog to a new Facebook page and if all goes well.. . We are alive and likable on Facebook!

Let me know if you find anything weird about it.

First season bee swarm

In the midst of packing for today's home deliveries,  we received a very exciting call!  An apartment complex in medford has a bee swarm!

Not wanting to risk loosing the first swarm of the year,  we set aside egg packing to capture these bees. If we look a bit tired today on deliveries,  it was die to the necessary late night.

The swarm was beautiful!  The cool weather had calmed them nicely,. The swarm was about the size of a small basketball, resting about 15 feet up in a tree.  Fortunately it was centered on one main small branch and the owner was OK trimming the branch.  That made retrieval easy.

Quick trip up the ladder to trim around it,  then carefully snip off the branch and carry it down went smoothly.  A little trimmimg  and the whole swarm,  branch and all,  fit into the plastic box.  One more trip up the ladder to grab a few stragglers making a second swarm and we had most bees. I let the box sit cracked open to let a few more workers and scouts find their way end then sealed with duct tape.

The bees made it back to the farm healthy and happy.  Their new home is the give in the orchard which I had prepared about half open.   Imade sure only one access hole is open to help them defend against predators  like wasps,  and laid the branch covered with bees right inside.  After deliveries today we will open it and remove the branch.  I expect to see organization and the start of comb already.

If you see  any more swarms in the southern  Oregon area please call 541.826.4345 ASAP!  We want to give them a safe productive home with us at little sprouts!

Turkeys and ducks bound for new York

Friday we sent a set of turkeys and ducks on an adventure.  Well. ... fertilized eggs that is.  They are bound for  South Jefferson central school in Mannsville, new York. These little fellows are now part of the elementary school hatching project there. The eggs will be hatched right in the classroom with the kids watching every moment,  every change , until the miracle of life unfolds in front of them. Hopefully this project and so many like it across the country will touch these young souls,  instilling in them an appreciation,  a wonderment for the delicate beauty of our world.  What better way than watching life begin and then holding baby birds in their hands just minutes old? Perhaps a new farmer will be born in one of these precious little souls.

When the project is underway next week there will be a way to track them online.  Stay tuned for details!

Here's the eggs all packed up in my makeshift delicate packing box ready for their trip.