Friday, December 30, 2016

New Farm Advertising Campaign

We have done very little advertising for the farm since we launched Little Sprouts some 6 or 7 years ago. The customer list has grown slowly from a dozen to a few hundred in that time by word of mouth, interviews, etc.  But as we approach 2017, and have left the off farm income behind, there is a desperate need to speed things up.

So, we have launched a new advertising campaign. It is primarily based on "doodle" add, where a hand draws the story on a whiteboard in a video.  I personally love that format! It is entertaining, crisp, simple.  So here we go!

At this point, all of the ads are made in-house, with some special software.  It has been a learning curve and challenging, but below you can see the first results! Yep.. I know.. it looks amateurish. That's ok.. we are amateurs! Constructive feedback is appreciated, but lets keep in mind that no professionals are involved.. so keep expectations realistic!

The Ads themselves are, for now,  graphics and music. The combination of audio and visual tells the story without narration, well that's the goal anyway... so be sure to turn on the sound as you watch.

Save The Children

Monday, December 26, 2016

New Favorite Recipe: Turkey Dressing

This Christmas dinner we tried something new, and it worked out unbelievably wonderfully, so we would like to share this with you.

We very very rarely touch breads, but Christmas dinner is one time where we will splurge a little... with dressing. But the turkeys we made were smoked long and slow, so doing the stuffing inside the birds is next to impossible. The question then is how do you get that stuffed turkey taste from dressing made in the oven?

It is actually quite easy... fat! The realization came from thinking "what gives dressing cooked inside the bird that amazing flavor?". The main difference is, dressing inside the bird soaks up all the fat that renders out while cooking, fat from skin and suck. Based on that, I came up with the following recipe and it was nothing short of AMAZING.

Broth - make your own by boiling some giblets (hearts, gizzards, livers, etc) in a small amount of water with a few peppercorns, a quartered onion, and a pinch of salt. The amount is roughly 2 cups per box of bread crumbs, but check the dressing box for recommend proportions.

Fat - remove all the fat possible from inside the turkey. A heritage turkey properly raised will have about a handful of orange or deep yellow fat inside the body cavity and around the neck area. pull all that you can out and put in a small pot to render slow on the stovetop. If there is not enough rendered fat for the amount of dressing desired, add sticks of grass fed butter to it. Again, use the dressing box as a guide, but use about 50% more total fat then they suggest.

Veggies - my favorite is equal parts onion, carrot, celery. Chopped to quarter inch or so pieces

Garlic - Peel an entire head of garlic and mince it up with a knife

Stuffing mix - we use 1/3 wheat dressing, 2/3 corn dressing

Now your ready to build... First mix the chopped veggies and garlic to the dry dressing mix. Gently mix this together in a large bowl by slowly flipping.  Then add the liquid broth slowly as you continue flipping gently. Be gentle as to not break up the bread any more than necessary.  When it is all uniform and the moisture is pretty much all soaked in (about 10 to 15 minutes) then add the liquid  fat, preferably warm. Again, flip slowly to coat all evenly without breaking the bread apart.

Now just shovel this into a flat glass baking dish and cover with foil. Then into a hot oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Check, it should be bubbly at the bottom. If so, remove the foil and continue baking another half hour or so, until the top is brown and a little crispy.

There you go! The best dressing ever, made in the oven, taste like it comes from a bird.

NOTE: do NOT try this with a storebought turkey. They wont have enough fat, and what they do have is not healthy anyway due to raising and feeding.  This will only work with a heritage turkey raised where it can get access to lots of bugs.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

First book in paperback on Amazon

Just in time for Christmas, our first book is now available in paperback on the amazon website. It's definitely exciting to see the book on amazon.. Actually surreal is a better term.

You can order it here:

This is being fulfilled through "print on demand" service, which is great for a new author! They actually print the books, one at a time as they are ordered. that way there is not the huge investment up from in making the first shipment of books on speculation.

It is also available now in Amazon as a kindle download through this  link:

Hopefully this is the beginning of a new trend in small farms making healthy foods across america!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New product - guinea fowl

For the first time ever, we have organs, feet and necks from guinea fowl available for purchase in the online store. Son we will have the whole birds available also.

These are the birds we are using for biological pest control in our animal feed gardens. The flock is retired in the winter and a new flock hatched next spring. (Otherwise the birds would eat the whole winter garden!). So that means they are almost exclusively bug fed all year as their natural diet, and totally free ranging as they stand guard protecting the garden from bugs.

The feet and heads make excellent medicinal stock, loaded with collagen, cartilage, minerals and all sorts of medicinal nutrients. Just put in a small stock pot with water, maybe add some onion, realsalt, cap of vinegar and a few black peppercorns then simmer for several hours.

The organs can be cooked as any organ meat, added to a variety of dishes for extra nutrients in almost anything.

To try these, better hurray, supplies are limited! (But more are coming as the weather improves).

Converting ODT to EPUB or MOBI using Calibre

This post will likely seem off topic for the typical readers of our blog. It is concerning the process of publishing eBooks. Now that we are deep into the throws of the publishing world, these details are a big part of daily life!

Background: The books I am writing are being written in Libre Office on Ubuntu, saved as .ODT files. The conversion to PDF is simple, as Libre office has a "export to pdf" function that works amazingly well and all features of Libre seem supported in the resulting near perfect PDF file.  PDF is fine for self publishing and distributing off a website such as this, but none of the major eBook retailers support PDF. 

The reason is simple... PDF is a really cool and flexible set design format. It allows creativity to place objects and text around the page as in written works. EBook reader, however, do not accept PDF.  They prefer a format that allows restructuring on the fly to fit a variety of screen sizes and shapes and resolutions. this presents a problem for PDF becasue  the exact thing that PDF is best for, fixed structure, is something not allows in the ebook reader world. These readers work more like a web browser, dynamically flowing text to match as things are scaled up and down on various platforms. 

So, The next step in our process was converting to EPUB and MOBI (for Barns &Noble and Kindle respectfully).  WOW, what an experience this was! I chose to use the converter software called Calibre becasue has the highest recommendations and most control. Calibre will acept many formats and spit out many other formats, mostly right. What it cant do is deal with a fixed structure format in a flowable world.  This caused many hours of searching the help pages, the internet, and finally trial and error.  There just isn't much information available because of the vast number of possibilities of input format to output format. 

I wanted to document what I learned specifically about converting ODT to EPUB using Calibre on Ubuntu. (I dont thin the OS matters at all, but worth mentioning). Here is the list of issues to deal with that are not well documented:

A. Graphics and captions

Libre Writer allows frames to hold the captions of graphics in a nicely formattable way.  NOT COMPATIBLE WITH CALIBRE! The frames themselves do not get interpreted properly and mess up the page.  The only option seems to be:
  1.  remove captions and paste graphics only (anchored to paragraph text)
  2. Place the cations into the graphics themselves
B. Table of Contents

Libre Writer does a fabulous job of building and maintaining a table of contents automagically. Unfortunately this is wholly incompatible with Calibre.  Instead, use the Calibre "create table of contents" feature based on headers in the document, and remove the embedded table of content entirely. This is ok, as it actually makes no sense to leave it. EBOOKS have no page numbers, because the pages are fluid as the text flows to fit. The Calibre created TOC is not based on page numbers, but clicks to go there. That works well.  Unfortunately this does mean keeping two copies of a finished doc, one with TOC for PDF, and one without TOC for EPUB

C. Track Changes

Calibre has this interesting quirk, anything it doesn't understand is just thrown into the front of the ebook, sort of like its saying "I don't know about his part, so look here first. Changes pending under the Libre "track changes" feature are one of those that it doesn't understand. Be sure to accept or reject all changes within the document before conversion to EPUB. 

D. Page Breaks

Calibre will add page breaks where it or you wants to. This si controllable in the conversion settings. You can choose which level of headings create breaks, H1, H2, N3, etc.  The default is to break after both H1 and H2. This is easily adjustable if its not what you want.

E. Embedded fonts

If you care about the final look and formatting, embed the fonts used. Dont depend on the font being available on the reader device. Substitute fonts are never perfectly alike and causes weird changes.  This is easily settable in the conversion setting of Calibre

F. Tables

this is perhaps the most difficult one! Tables are a way of force formatting text on a page. Again, totally incompatible with the goal of eBook readers.  There are options on this:

  1. Do not use tables, organize in some text only fashion that makes sense
  2. Use tables and let Calibre "flatten them", which pretty makes the table unreadable
  3. Use Tables and let Calibre leave them tables, which makes them mostly unreadable since they fall off the edge of the reader screen into oblivion
  4. Build the table in a graphic program, save as an image, and paste it into the document
Number four is the only one that truly works and preserves the layout of the table. It is a pain though since it means more objects to manage to build a book when changes are necessary. 

E. Cover
Several options on what to do with a cover. Calibre can expect an outside file as the cover, but if you do that and also produce PDF, you must maintain two copies again (one with and one without cover embedded).  What I ended up doing is making a full page graphic for the cover, text and all, and putting that on the first page of the document.  then do not tell Calibre to use a graphic nor to use the first page. Just leave all cover settings alone. That produces a PDF and EPUB that look identical with no intervening steps. 

One thing I did do is to set Calibre to scale the cover proportionally... that preserves the look of the cover as it stretches onto different device screens. 

F. Properties

Calibre is supposed to pick up "customer document properties" from Libre Writer, but I have not been able to get this to work. What that means (if I cant solve it) is that each time a new file is converted, you have to enter the properties like author, publisher, etc manually. You do what these to allow for better searching within the ebook retailer. 

That's about it for now...  Nearly at a usable EPUB file !

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Little Blog that Could

As 2016 come to a close, we are amazed at what this little blog has accomplished. Started just to document our struggles in building a farm from scratch coming from corporate america, it was reached many countries and grown in popularity.  Six years into documenting our journey, December 2016 shows us approaching 8000 readers per month. 

While by internet standards, this may seem pretty dismal, to us it is phenomenal! From zero to 8000 in 6 years with virtually no paid advertising, from a tiny family farm in southerm oregon, its amazing.  And on top of that, to see the list of countries that visit our blog regularly, its humbling!

Our prayer is that we remain diligent to use this voice to heal families and farms around the world, and turn this earth a bit more back to the paradise it was meant to be. 

Thank you for following along our journey. Each of you, whether a reader or a customer, is precious to us. YOU matter to us more than we can express. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

New Product! Cascade Organic Beef and Beef Bones!

At long last.. after many many requests, Little Sprouts Farm is offering Organic Beef for sale!

No, we are not raising cattle. We simply do not have the facilities for those large animals.  However, we have become re-sellers for the best beef on the planet... Cascade Organic Beef! You can now order this highest quality beef right on our online store and have it delivered free to your door!

Cascade Organic Beef  is the one beef producer that meets our highest standards. They raise beef the way that we would if we were able to!  The most important points are:

Grass fed and Grass Finished - no grain!
Organic pastures
Fermented Alfalfa fed during winter
Highest Omega 3 of any beef
Closed Herd - no unknown genetics
Humane treatment

One of the most unique aspects if the way COB raises the omega 3 content of the beef... fermenting alfalfa! You see, as grasses or alfalfa dry in hay, the omega 3 content diminishes greatly.  Since grass doesn't grow in the winter, normally cattle live off dry hay all winter. But that dry hay has low to no omega 3 left! COB solved that problem by setting up a large scale hay fermenting process. The cut grass or alfalfa is packed into huge "tubes" over a hundred feet long and 12 feet round. This happens right after cutting while the grass is still reasonably wet and thereby contains high omega 3s. Then it sits for months fermenting in the tubes, preserving the omega 3 but also rising the probiotic content, making the hay more digestible, all sort of benefits. Its like eating sauerkraut instead of raw or dried cabbage!All that nutritional benefit transfers to the meat and bones.

speaking of bones, we will also carry the organic beef bones that you can use for super nutritional bone broth, stews, soups, stocks. Bone Broth is one of the most basic, necessary healing foods for any family. Its incredibly easy to turn a bag of frozen cut bones into super nutritional healing bone broth right at home.

We encourage you to browse the online store... and try some of Cascade's products with this month's order. You wont be disappointed!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New Product! Heirloom Seeds!

We are proud to announce that Little Sprouts is now offering the very heirloom seeds that we use to grow our animal feed, direct to you. These seeds are the varieties we have tested and use on our farm in bulk. But you can order small packets to fit a normal garden area. 

INCLUDING!  The now infamous Gete-Okosomin squash!

One story has it that the seeds were found in an old clay pot, dated to be over 800 years old.  However, there is an alternate story:

The true story may be even more captivating, Lobe said. Although less theatrical, the real story of Gete-Okosomin (which means “big old squash”) reveals rich agricultural knowledge among Turtle Island’s original inhabitants.
“This is not an abstract archaeological thing,” he said. “It’s a way to connect back to the first people and acknowledge their agricultural heritage.”
Further digging into the story reveals that the seeds came from elderly gardeners on the Miami Nation of Indiana, who gifted them in 1995 to David Wrone, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin. The seeds had not lain dormant for centuries, Wrone said, but the Miami people had grown them for as long as 5,000 years.
The Miami were careful stewards of the seed, taking care to hand-pollinate them and maintain their purity. Wrone planted the seeds and grew several squash weighing 30 pounds or more.

This alternate story is according to

Either way, these are amazingly awesome heirloom squash representing centuries old agriculture.  And now you can have them in your back yard, courtesy of Little Sprouts!

Browse through our online store now and put together your garden list for 2017. Supplies are somewhat limited, so don't delay!

New Product! Rosita Cod Liver Oils

Just in time for the January delivery, we have an exciting new product available! The world's freshest and ONLY Extra Virgin Cod Liver oil!

This Cod liver oil is special, very special.  Here is the description straight from the producer's web site:

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is real Norwegian cod liver oil that is fresh, raw & handcrafted from wild livers using a very rare ancient extraction technique which uses nature to separate the oil from its liver. No chemicals, solvents and mechanical devices are ever used during the extraction process. The oil is completely unrefined and produced under the total absence of heat, a process that protects its nutritional value. This type of cod liver oil is both precious and rare – something that is almost impossible to achieve on an industrial level. This ancient oil is of the highest quality with all the health benefits that are naturally present in the oil of a “living” codfish liver.
The bottom line, there is no better oil available and none that even come close to pure and natural, but free of contaminants.  Yes, it costs more, but when you need the best, this oil is produce without compromise.

To read more about this amazing product, go to the producer's website at

Now you can order this foundational health supplement from Little Sprouts along with your regular monthly order, and receive as many bottles as you need through our home delivery service.  No extra charges, no freight, just pure clean true cod liver oil.

Come visit at the Grants Pass Growers Market Today

We are set up at the Grants Pass Growers Market today, the last market of 2016.

Come by and sign up for free home delivery to Grants Pass area and get $10 credit for your first order!

See you soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Meet the newest Little Sprout!

The finally arrived yesterday when our newest little sprout joined the world.

Samuel Arthur Salch
Born Dec 13 at 3:07pm
8lbs, 1oz  and 20 "

We are happy to report that everyone is doing fine, healthy and strong.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

First eBook Released! - Join the Revolution!

The small family farm is one of the key aspects that built America. Once upon a time, small family farms covered the landscape from seas to sea, producing good local food for the masses.  Today, not so much. Today the small farm is hard to find, and when you do, it is supported by off-farm income!

The reason? many actually... But the bottom line is, the conventional model does not work! With the conventional model, even organic, much of the profits of farming is passed along to other industries. Sustainability is an elusive thing with so much dependence on "imports" from outside of feed, fertilizer, labor, etc.

The answer? We have been working on this for years now. Producing a small farm model that can show a profit while producing healthy local food.

Now (drum roll please) we are sharing our model with others, with you. We are producing a series of downloadable books explaining every aspect of our model, in enough detail for you to implement a system that WORKS on your farm.

the first eBook is available for download now! It is not entirely "polished" but we didn't want, this information is just too important. So we are releasing it now, in its slightly unfinished form, and offering free updates as it is matured.

More books will follow as quickly as possible. For now, please consider buying a copy for yourself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Worry - Shy away from conventionally raised pork

There is a constant string of discoveries that point to the need for locally produced pasture raised meats. This one in particular is especially concerning.

It appears that there has been a discovery of a very concerning gene on a medium sized pig farm. The farm has about 1500 sows, that they raise only on farm, no outside genetics or breeding. This particular gene has been found in multiple samples from different sources around the farm.

Why is this so concerning? becasue this gene has the ability to make a variety of bacteria into "superbugs" that are strongly antibiotic resistant. AND, the gene can apparently be transferred to humans where bacteria on the humans can acquire antibiotic resistance.  In other words.. someone could be carrying this gene without knowing it, get a cold or flu or other infection, and discover that the usually easy to deal with bacteria are resistant to all known antibiotics. Not a good situation!

Let me say that it is completely unknown where this "gene" came from or how it got onto the closed ecosystem of this farm. However, as you read through this article, towards the bottom, it makes a clear mention of this:

They made multiple visits last year to the farm, where the sows give birth in tight pens and the piglets are taken to separate pens of 25 each after they are weaned. They found samples of the bla IMP-27 gene in several different samples and in several different species of bacteria, including E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae.
So, this is NOT a pasture based operation where the pigs live outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it is NOT  an organically based operation since the use routine antibiotics on farm. We can "assume" that they are also not using heritage animals with strong immune systems, since those animals are usually raised within the first two criteria of pasture and organic. It is also a pretty safe assumption that these animals are fed commercial soy based "barely good enough" hog feed instead of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Dis any of these issues cause this gene to show up? Its hard to say, BUT we do know that consistent use of antibiotics (as they admit to doing here) causes antibiotic resistance.  I strongly suspect that the combination is what creates a sort of "negative synergy" that gives birth to this and lots of other problems.

The point here is, this is a medium sized operation. It is not technically a "factory farm" or CAFO. And still, the lack of adherence to nature gives rise to these very concerning problems.  It is the practices of conventional breeds, low quality feed, confined spaces that create the need for consistent antibiotic usage and thereby crate these "superbugs".

How do YOU, the consumer avoid this? As we always say.. KNOW YOUR FARMER! Know how he does things... the key points to look for are:

  • Heritage breeds for strong immune systems
  • Pasture living for fresh air and sunshine
  • No confinement births for a naturally cleaned environment
  • Good quality organic feed
  • At least some feed that is fresh, not from a bag with minimal nutrition
  • Completely free of antibiotics, hormones and vaccinations

These form a "minimal accepted standards" for the resulting meat and meat products.

The source of your family's meat is critical... a pretty label or a good flavor or a cheap price are NOT reasons to buy meat. Doing so puts your family into deep health risks, Buy meats only from farms that you KNOW and TRUST and follow at LEAST the above list of criteria.

The full article is here:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ebooks Coming! - Volunteer Reviewers?

We are VERY pleased to announce that finally, at long last, I have committed to writing the Ebooks promised long ago. In fact, the first one is almost done! It should be finished by next week.

The Ebooks have three purposes:

  1. To spread the knowledge of our unique model so that others can make use of these innovate approaches to farming
  2. Augment our own income in this tight financial period
  3. Begin the longer term strategy of launching ten thousand small family farms across america.
We are laying out a series of Ebooks covering every unique aspect of our operation in a way that enables other farms to follow and reproduce what we have accomplished. Some books will be broader, covering principles (i.e. gardening for animal feed), while others will be specific (dehydrating zucchini for winter storage). That way, you can pick and choose the major and minor topics that apply and get right down to business. 

Why Ebooks and not regular printed books?

First, Ebooks are easier to keep up to date. This farming model is a evolving understanding and with Ebooks I can make changes virtually overnight and release updates.  Printed books mean a committed number of printings, at cost, before changes can be made.  That would stifle "up to date-ness" of these writings. 

Second, Ebooks are quicker and easier to distribute at no cost. You simply download the file, and view or print it at your leisure. It puts you in control of how you want it delivered and stored at your end.  An Ebook turns into a printed pamphlet by simply printing!

that said, we will be distributing printed pamphlets (paperback stapled "books") through certain channels for those that really do want only a printed copy. 

What Part can YOU play?

We invite you to volunteer to review and edit these books as they are released for this. The first one will be available sometime next week (last week of November).  Here is what is expected for both  volunteer positions:

Reviewer - Simply read the book, making notes about sections difficult to understand, redundant, incomplete, awkward, etc. This is more about reviewing content, not hard things like sentence structure or typos or layout.  This is more about WHAT is said than HOW it is said. Just look at the information and ask :
  1. is it easy to read?
  2. is it easy to understand?
  3. does it convey the information enough to be doable?
Editor - All of the above PLUS attention to sentence structure, typos, word choice, punctuation, layout, etc. The mechanics of writing and conveying information this way.  This is about both WHAT is said and HOW it is said. This would also require a basic understanding of the art/science of writing and communication.

Please feel free to volunteer for either of these positions by emailing to at your earliest convenience.

FYI: Please remember that any suggestion may or may not be included in the books. Either way, your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Every year is a new adventure in this life, and 2016 has been full of surprises beyond most others.

As many of you know, our life changed dramatically this year. We unexpectedly became reliant solely on the farm income, before we were ready. This has been quite the financial challenge. Yet, so far, God has provided in one way after another so that we are doing ok.  This is something to be thankful for! Things have worked out, sometimes at the last minute.

2016 also was a year of changed on the farm. The financial challenges have led us down a beneficial path of improving how things are done, making Little Sprouts significantly more self sufficient. This path has brought realities that previously were just a dream, or not even considered!  The end result is both higher profitability and lower prices.

2016 is coming to a close with the biggest expansion in Little Sprouts History. We have ventured down a path of providing everything we have used to improve our family health. Going way beyond food, into household items, personal care items, supplements, etc. We have worked to be able to share with you what worked for us. Our vision is to become a one stop place to grab not only knowledge but also the necessary products to truly transform your family health and life.

And 2016 brings the seventh child to the Sprouts clan. Due in just a couple weeks, with this child our family has grown beyond our wildest dreams. Each and Every sprout is special in their own way. We are reminded by the farm name, "Little Sprouts Farm" that this venture is not about me or Brenda, it is about the children, the sprouts themselves.

So today, we celebrate so many blessings while facing an uncertain future. Life has brought us to this point, and as we glance back in awe of all the steps that led us here by Divine Providence, we recognize that this is bigger than us. This is truly a life mission, to touch your family with the blessings we have enjoyed. We almost lost a child to lack of knowledge, to "following the standard american advice" in health and life. But we didnt! By Gods grace we are all here at the end of 2016. What more could we ever be thankful for. Not only are we all here, healthy and happy, but we have the privilege of sharing these truths with you.

God is Good, Life is awesome, and we are thankful to share what we can with you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Lower Prices !

We have finally received our first batch of products made through our new streamlined processing.  And you get tremendous savings!

Little Sprouts is now utilizing Mohawk Valley meats and Taylor Sausage to do the processing of all meat products. This has greatly streamlined the process ad lowered our cost for all processed products, which we pass along to you.

In addition, our  new approach (started in early 2016) of growing our own feed for animals has lowered our feed cost dramatically. the project is a success! that also lowers the finished product price to you while preserving a decent living income for the farm.

 For example, dinner sausages have dropped over 40%!

Please take a look at the new prices in the online store... you wont be disappointed.  Virtually all meat products have dropped in price significantly!

Exciting Changes in the Online Store

With all the new products we are offering starting with the December delivery, we have made a number of changes to the  online store. It is now easier to navigate and find things, easier to discover new items. There are many more categories, with fewer items in each category.

Please take a moment to browse through all the categories to see all that we now offer to bring your family the life you deserve.

You will also notice a new category: CLOSEOUTS! This is where we will put items that we are no longer selling, or that have changed and we need to move some stock to replace.  These products are often offered below costs for quick sale.

Gift Certificates - Give the Gift of Health

Everyone knows someone that is struggling with health issues. In fact, it seems that today, all of us are struggling with health issues of some sort. Many of these health issues can be traced to a root cause in diet, nutrition, or environment.  the standard american diet, and the standard american home are both loaded with toxins and lack the basic things necessary for health.

Now, you can do something to help your neighbor, family member, or friend! 
Give the Gift of HEALTH.

For the first time, just in time for the holiday season, we are offering Little Sprouts Gift Certificates.

How do they work?

For the buyer (you):  Just go into the online store and look under the category for "gift certificate". Choose the value you wish to give, and as many as you desire to create a total value of gift.  ($50 plus $100 = $150 value).  This will become part of your order for the next delivery. On that delivery day, we will drop off the printed gift certificate with your monthly order. Then you simply send out as a gift from you.

For the Receiver (your gift recipient): They receive the gift certificate from you, and go into the membership system to create a new free member account.  After signing up they can contact us through to let us know the value of the certificate, and we will verify the code. Then we place that value on their new account as a credit.  They can order anything in the store with that value! From that point on, they will receive monthly emails about upcoming deliveries and can order anytime they wish. 

The gift certificates are good for local delivery as well as shipping! Dont forget your out of state friends! 99% of our products are now available for shipping across the USA.

This holiday, give a gift that lasts a lifetime, one that will touch lives in a positive way. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New Product Overview

As promised, we have been working very hard to expand the value that we can bring to you, our loyal customer. 

Health starts with food, yes, no doubt there. But life is more than the foods we eat and liquids we drink. Life  includes the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the products we put on our skin, EVERYTHING MATTERS. That is the lesson we learned. 

Many people have come to us, wanting to duplicate the healing we have enjoyed. Yet, often, their experience is different from what we testify to. One reason that can be, as we have learned, is to concentrate on only one part of life.  Just buying clean healthy meat is good, but not good enough. TO achieve the maximum health benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you must change everything into a healthy lifestyle! Nothing held back . That is the commitment we made to ourselves and it worked!

So now we wish to bring this to you.. in a convenient form. You could research, shop around, trial and error... as we did. Or you could just start where our experience has lead us.  We have already weeded through a myriad of products of varying qualities and sources to arrive at the short list we use now.  You do not have to start from scratch!

So far, we have managed to bring the following products, ready right now for your order!

  • Liquid Castile Soap from Dr Bonner's
  • Nordic Natural Fish Oils
  • Rising Tide Sea Vegetables
  • Zum Healthy Laundry Soap and surface cleaners

And more are coming! If all goes well we will soon make available:

  • A natural and healthy deoderant that WORKS without stickiness
  • More fish oil products
  • Clay based products for detox
  • A toothpaste that is incredibly effective and tasty without chemicals
 Our commitment to you is this.. we will only bring products that we make ourselves, or that we use ourselves. We do not want to by "just another retailer".. we are here to serve you by pre-testing and researching  whats out there that we cant make, and bring you products you can trust for a whole life healthy experience!

We invite you to start today, with some of these products.. delivered for free right to your door the first week of each month. Join us in a path to healthy life in all aspects... nothing held back, to achieve the utmost of a pleasant, productive, long life.

Available Now: Dr Bonner's Castille Soaps!

Cleaning is something we do every day.. and it requires a variety of approaches and products. BUT, we have leanred through personal experience how devestating most commercial cleaners are on the human body. Constant exposure to harsh chemical based cleaners is significantly detrimental! So to fix our environment in order to promote health, we went on a search for nature's answers... and found Castile Soap!

Castile Soap is the purest liquid soap you can find, and Dr Bonner is known for producing the highest quality with a variety of pleasant aromas. They add no harsh chemicals or fragrances. Its just liquid soap as nature intended. Castile soap can be used for a wide variety of cleaning jobs. In fact, they promote this soap as an all-in-one cleaning solution. Its good for body and home alike as long as you dilute it.

We make bar soaps from our lard, but liquid soaps fill the needs where bar is just not convenient. so... Now you can order Castile soaps right here from Little Sprouts Farm and have them delivered for free to your door with your monthly order!

Browse over to the online store now and check out the scents and sizes we offer.. our own personal favorites after trying many of them.

Its time to clean up your home! No more harsh commercial cleaners necessary!

Available Now: Rising Tide Sea Vegetables!

Seaweed! That crunchy tasty treat that is literally packed with nutrition! We use seaweed treats as snacks for the children frequently.  It is one of hte things we changed in our own family journey to find health.

But which seaweed?

As usual, be careful sourcing anything from the sea. In this day, post nuclear reactor accidents, it is very important to make sure that the seaweeds you consume are tested pure and clean of any radioactivity, and contain no contamination from man's pollution or heavy metals.

Our answer to this dilemma is the local Firm, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables.

These local guys are the sea harvesting version of Little Sprouts Farm, going to great lengths to ensure sustainable practices, clean pure high quality product, and convenient packaging. They hand harvest and hand dry all their seaweed!

for more info, check out their FAQ WEBPAGE!

Now, you can order the most popular of their products, the ones that we serve our own children, through your monthly Little Sprouts Farm home delivery order! Just go to the online store and look under "Seaweed" to see the options!

Available NOW: Nordic Naturals Fish Oils

Fish Oils are perhaps one of the most vital staples of a healthy life. The Omega-3 contained inside fish oils is important for many body functions. We have been taking fish oil for decades. In fact, fish oil is the very first change we made in our family's diet, and saw significant results.


Not all fish oils are alike. In fact, not all are healthy! If not properly sourced, processed, and packaged, they can actually become a health negative due to heavy metal content, impurities, low nutrient concentration, or even rancidity.

We have settled on a short list of fish oil suppliers, one of these is Nordic Naturals. 

Now, you can order Nordic Naturals direct from Little Sprouts Farm as part of your overall health supporting monthly order. We have tried many of their combinations and flavors, and settled on a short list of our favorites, which we now make available to you. Just look in the online store under "health supplements" and you will see the options. As usual, your oder will arrive at your door on delivery day.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Announcing - Zum Clean Products!

Everyone does laundry!

Think about it... soap never washes out totally, not 100%, so there is always residue left in the very fabric of the clothes.. the clothes that then rubs on your skin all day (and all night if you wash your sheets!).  Since we absorb through our skin just as much as through the foods we eat, that is a VERY REAL CONCERN!

Take a look at the laundry soap you currently use... at the list of chemicals on the label.   We did and WOW, its scary! So we made the change. Brenda tried brand after brand. It wasnt easy.... our clothes are perhaps the dirtiest, smelliest possible every day due to our work on the farm. She needed something that actually WORKED as well as had no harsh or questionable chemicals.

We settled on Zum Clean brand of laundry soaps. !

IT WORKS, and has nothing that we deem too dangerous to use, to have against our skin from young to old.

These cleaners will be available in our online store for delivery in December, if all goes well.

New Products coming!

As promised... we are announcing the addition of lots of new products by early next year. Not just food, but all sorts of things! all available through home delivery and shipping.

We have often been asked "what else do you do?" when talking about  our lifestyle changes that led to successful healing of so many health issues.  While food is the central item, there is much more to the story...

" the environment we live in is almost as important to health as what we put into our bodies "

We have decided to add all these other things to the mission of Little Sprouts, so you can easily add the same things to your life.

This includes but not limited to:

Household Cleaning products - laundry soaps, dish soaps, general cleaners
Personal care products - soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, deodorants
Cosmetics - chap sticks, lotions
Herbal health supplements
Nutritional supplements

the list goes on and on..

We will be offering the very same products that we have settled on for our own use, after years of research into "what really works and what is really healthful".  If we dont use it, we wont sell it! We appreciate the trust that you, our customer, has put into us for vetting these products. While we make NO GUARANTEES about any particular products, we are sharing and making available what has worked for us.

So keep an eye on this maillist, each month we hope to add a few more items as we get this rolling

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Devil's claw harvest

This very wild looking plant of beautiful flowers had now lived up to its name. Wow! Those pod, when they dry and split, make hooks very similar to hay hooks only much sharper and the points align to create a vice effect.

We pulled out first set of vine ripened pods off today. Or goal is to save the seeds over the winter and plant an entire crop next year. Right now the plant is mostly on the ground, about half the pods are dry. It seems best to let the plant dry completely to get as many mature seeds as possible.

Devil's claw is reported to be a very effective anti inflammatory for such things as arthritis, rheumautism, joint pains. We will definitely harvest the roots when it's time.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Crenshaw Harvest has Begun, with a 16 lb Melon?

Finally... the time we have long awaited.. CRENSHAW MELONS! mmmmm, This is truly the Cadillac of melons!

Crenshaws are an heirloom melon, sort of a cross between a honeydew and a canteloup. The flesh is juicy, very sweet, and creamy tasting. Unlike any other melon we have tried.  These beautiful melons form the tail end of our melon harvest for the year.  the recent rains have brought an urgency to get them in from the garden before the wet soils make the melons burst from too much liquid.

This year was .. a bit odd.  The melons for hte most part kept growing instead of ripening. Not sure exactly what mechanism causes these late season melons to ripen, but it was missing! There are a few patches of ripe melons in the field, but most are still green and enlarging. some are HUGE! Our biggest melon so far weighed in at 16 1/2 lbs! Thats larger than many of the watermelons!

Common Question, why do we grow so many melons and sell so few?

Answer: The physiology of pigs works much like humans. The single best way to "fatten" a pig is with sugar, just like in humans. Fructose to be exact. In nature, the fructose in fall harvested fruit causes the buildup of fat for the longer winter months. We mimic that cycle by growing and feeding a high percentage of fructose laden produce (watermelons, crenshaw melons, etc) combined with the regular feed (often pumpkins and greens this time of year) to produce the absolute best pork imaginable! Well marbled, plenty of healthy lard, and a noticeably clean sweet meat flavor.

So, the harvest has begun. If we end up with more melons than necessary, we will offer a few for sale through our online store.

A crenshaw melon... lots of juicy sweet flesh and small seeds. Very efficient for storage of winter sugars.. not to mention TASTY!

This is a mostly ripe melon, they turn from green to yellow/orange as they ripen, and become a bit soft and VERY aromatic. This is a bit larger than average size for this melon.

This year's price winner... It was not vine ripened, but I picked it to make sure the wild turkeys didnt destroy this one. It weighs in at a whopping 16 1/2 lbs!
First crenshaws in storage, next to the remaining watermelons and some pumpkins. We will need more room soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The kitchen sheep

This little lady fell prey to the bad weather... Approaching 4 inches of cold rain this weekend is a lot for our area. It was just too much for this younger girl. She somehow got soaked with rain and mud.

Kaelyn found her struggling to stand this afternoon... So naturally she brought the sheep inside. Doesn't everyone have sheep in their kitchen?

After a long warm bath, a towel dry followed by some serious blow drying.... she is much better. Regaining her body heat and strength quickly. So ... Naturally.... Kaelyn fixed her up with a little recovery spot in the kitchen. Dry towel, some fresh dry hay, and there are sits!

Kaelyn is definitely becoming our resident vet... Her natural instincts for caring for animals is quite strong.

Even the lamb is attached to kaelyn now. When she went out to get another handful of hay, the lamb went roaming around the kitchen calling for her nurse.

So yea.... Another kitchen sheep for the afternoon.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Grants pass delivery begins in november

There has been a lot of requests for serving the grants pass area with our free home delivery service. Finally we have worked it all out and... Here we go!

We are now accepting customers in the grants pass area! There will be a monthly delivery, on the first Monday of each month, beginning in november! This includes all of our products, including organic soy free poultry feed!

So please feel free to share this news with friends and family in the grants pass area... They can sign up right here on the website under "how to buy".

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cauliflower in place of watermelon

Today we finished planting the cauliflower patch where the watermelons used to be.  This section took about 6 hours start to finish, to convert from growing watermelons to freshly planted cauliflower.

This is a new approach to the drip irrigation setup. The header pipes were spaced wide, for watermelon vines, by using the spacer pipes between each spigot pipe. To convert to narrow spacing was a simple process of unscrewing the spacer pipes and screwing on the spigot pipes. This took the area quickly from 6 wide row to 11 narrow rows.  But the Crenshaw melons are not ready to come out, so this narrow spaced section simple screwed right into the existing wide melon header in place. No changes required to the rest of the setup. I am pleased with the flexibility and ease of change with this drip irrigation system we are developing.

So.. as of today we have 11 rows of 70 yards each, with two types of heirloom cauliflower.

Here is the new patch... right next to the crenshaw melons in the background. 

You can see where the narrow spaced cauliflower  row header connects into the wide spaces melon header.  as easy as screwing two pipes together! 

Imagine this filled with cauliflower plants, half purple, half white.. ready for the slow  winter growth.

Winter Beets are in the ground - Milker area is resting - and we MADE lots of Dirt!

We managed to convert the milker barn area into a winter beet garden this week.  27 rows of about 25 yards each, planted with heirloom beets that grow to about 5 lbs each over the winter.

This also gives the ground behind the barn, where the milkers have lived for a couple years, a well deserved rest. There wont be any goats on this ground or in those barn stalls for at least 6 months. That rest, combined with the tilling and cleaning, will prevent a parasite overload that could come after constant use through multiple winters.

This ground, I must say, is absolutely AWESOME! I mean.. this plot is like intensive grazing on steroids! Taking measurements, the goats have produced an impressive 1 to 2 feet of .. dirt. Fresh, organic, fertile dirt.  yes, made.  that's the beautiful thing about mixing plants and animals the way nature intended... the animals consume the plants, and in turn make the best dirt possible, for even more plants to grow. It's a marvelous synergy that life on earth is based on.  This dirt looks just like what comes out of bags of premium top soil, rich, moist, plenty of variety and biological material. When I first tilled it, there were literally millions of earthworms.. the surface of the ground was .. moving, with a life of its own.

This is a great combinations, as the fertility of this soil is higher than any in the ground we manage, which means the later than desired planting date should be helped through fast growth in this soil.  At the same time, the ground can recover from intensive animal use, produce winter feed thats organic, heirloom, and so nutrient dense.

The other good news is, our drip planting system is paying off well. The conversion from goat stall to planted stand alone garden took about 8 hours.  Just clear, till, build headers to size (just screw together), drop seeds with our Hoss seeder, install water controller, and walk away.

The area is laid out as 3 sections of 9 rows, about 25 yards long. We left enough space for a road on the end to the right, and a run on the end by the barn.

You can see the controller, filter, and feed mounted to an old table. There are 3 controllers on the timer (one per section). 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Pumpkin Harvest! - a Prize Winner

We pulled in the first picking of the "cinderella pumpkins"...  the heirloom variety that looks  like carriage wheels if you hold them on end. They are quite a bit sweeter than the normal field pumpkins, and really dense without the hollow center, but don't store as well do to their thin soft skins.

We found the prize winner for the year, and a close runner up! The biggest one weighed in at 39.5 lbs, and the runner up at 29 lbs. Not bad !

Hunter and Kaelyn are quite proud of this one!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Major Announcement - Changing to Monthly Delivery and Adding Grants Pass!

WE HAVE EXCITING NEWS! Please read in entirety, becasue this DOES affect your account with Little Sprouts!

We are making three major changes for our customers:

1. Changing from bi-weekly to once monthly delivery

2. Adding Grants Pass area to our free delivery routes

3. Moving beyond just good food

The Details:

Monthly Delivery - starting October 1

We are changing to the monthly delivery instead of every two weeks for a variety of reasons. It seems the right direction to take the farm forward to the next level. We will still offer all the same products through home delivery, and in fact we are adding many new exciting products soon. The only difference will be monthly ordering. We are assembling "packages" that you can "subscribe to" on a monthly basis to make things easier.  For instance, our "pork variety pack" has been quite popular... where you receive a set amount of pork products each delivery for a set price. The contents may change, but you always have dinner ready to go!

Your delivery will take place during the first week of each month. You will be assigned a day based on the delivery address. Most deliveries happen in the afternoon hours.  You do NOT have to be home to accept delivery, just be sure to leave out a cooler in a safe spot for perishables.

Grants Pass Delivery Route!

We are now, after many requests over the last few years, accepting customers in Grants Pass are for home delivery. Just like Medford and Ashland (and surrounding areas) the Grants Pass delivery route will include any products we sell, delivered free once a month. There is no charge for delivery service as long as your in our delivery area. You can pay online or in person.

Be sure to tell all your grants pass area friends and family that they can now participate in the most convenient farm fresh food and feed available!

Beyond just good food

While it is true that Food is Health, we have come to realize that for a family to be truly healthy (especially with already challenged health conditions) there is more than just food. The environment we live in , the personal care products we use, the air we breathe is all part of our total health package.  We ourselves have don't many things to improve our family health, and want to bring these things to your family as well as food.

Some products we will make ourselves, some will be resold from trusted manufacturers. Our promise to you is that we will only offer the products that we ourselves trust and use. Just like the food we offer, this is how we changed our family health. You don't have to go through all the trial and error that we did over the last few years.. you can follow our footsteps (the ones that worked) and adjust from there. The starting point is already worked out and packaged for you.


Keep an eye open for a steady stream of new products, Often we will offer first the ones we use from manufacturers, but then start making the comparable products here locally. Many of the best products like cleaners, personal care, cooking, etc are DIY type things, but so few of us have the time to make everything! Let us do the DIY part for you!

Stay Tuned, Little Sprouts is going through a major upgrade between now and end of year. Each month will bring new things. The changes above start as of October 1 and will be rolled out over the next few months as time permits.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The official water melon harvest has begun

It's time! Time to pull in those deliciously juicy watermelons that have been growing for a while.

There are two varieties growing this year, a pink flesh heirloom and a white flesh heirloom. the pink flesh one has a hardy rind, good for transport and storage. But the white flesh one, not so much. In fact, these are so fragile that just thumping them in the traditional "is it ripe" test will cause them to burst. But oh so yummy! Because of this, we have decided to leave the white flesh on in the garden, and feed daily the ones that burst (besides what we steal for ourself) but the pink flesh one we are harvesting and storing in the walk in cooler (the back end of the farm kitchen / fermenting room / cheese cave).

 So far.. a rough estimate is about 120 melons harvested, averaging 15 lbs each, for a total of 1800 lbs of watermelons. That accounts for about 3/4 of the total harvest expected of the pink flesh heirloom. These pigs never had it so good!

If you would like to purchase a organically grown, vine ripened, heirloom watermelon of either variety, please contact us. We may not put these in the online store, but will sell them for about $1 per lb if you care to come pick up at the farm. There are all sizes from 1lb to 25 lbs.

The watermelon patch before harvest... the blank spot in the middle is our initial test harvest (yum!)
This is a good example of the pink flesh heirloom variety, this one is about 20 lbs
These striped ones are the white flesh heirloom, smaller and much more delicate but no less tasty
Kaelyn's favorite... its a pink flesh but as heirlooms go, there is a lot of variety. This gem has beautiful markings!
The harvest so far... about 30% left to pull in when time permits. This end of the kitchen stays around 70 degrees year round, perfect for melon storing. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Test 3 of dehydrating zucchini

Today we finished the third round of dehydrating the zucchini for animal feed. So far is going beautifully!

We are adjusting the recipe by including various fresh greens with the zucchini. Available is kale, chard, dandelion greens, and arugula.

First we did a mix of about 75% zucchini and the rest a blend of chard and dandelion. The mix cane out beautiful, but the chard didn't work well in the chipper. Kept plugging the exit screen from the soft fibers. The dandelions worked OK though! We only harvested the plants that had talk hard stalks, so they chipped up much like twigs.

Then we did a batch of about 50% zucchini and the rest dandelion, arugula, and kale. Unfortunately the kale plugged the screen almost as bad chard. The heavy green mix made a very different final product, more like balls of fiber. Hopefully it will dry ok.

All in all, the 75%mix seems the best. But... Let's wait a few days and see how it dries.

This is the setup, I had to block the exit flap open to get enough flow. You can see the 50/50 harvest ready to chip on both sides of the machine.

This is a look at the 75/25 mix.

This is the 50/50 mix right out of the chipper. Notice the heavy fibers dominating.

A close-up of the 50/50 mix shows mostly balls of fiber with pockets of zucchini chips.

And here it is on the tray ready for sunshine

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Feed Dehydrating - Round 2 Success so far

We are on round 2 of our feed dehydrating operation.  The first test was very successful, but of course left room for improvement.  The second test, slightly larger, now drying in the sun, holds even greater promise!

To Recap, we are experimenting with solar dehydrating of "chipped" zucchini as storable winter animal feed. The goal is to harvest all the extra zucchini while we can use melons and fruit for feed, run the Zukes through our PTO (tractor driven) chipper / shredder, lay them out on trays to dry, then store in food grade buckets for use later in the winter.

The first test showed that each 4x8 tray produces about one 4 gallon food grade bucket of feed. That's a HUGE compression ratio! That tray was holding about a quarter RTV bed load of zukes.  Basically compressing a typical RTV bed load of zucchini into a couple small 4 gallon buckets of dry feed.

The improvements made this time around are:

1. Raise the exit flap on the chipper to allow freer flow of zucchini chips. This means less "minced" and more "chipped" giving a better texture of final product, plus holding more juice in while dehydrating.  When the juice is held in, and evaporated, all the nutrients in the juice are transferred to the feed. If the juice drains off, so does that portion of nutrients. Simply allowing the chips to exit more freely improved the nutrient ratio dramatically.

2. Adding Salt. Redmond RealSalt or Himalayan of course. (not that toxic white stuff).  the salt adds those important mineral nutrients to the feed, but also aids in drying. Salt helps to "pull the moisture" of food to the surface where the sun can dehydrate it faster. It appears to help a lot, as this round is dehydrating maybe 50% faster in cooler weather.

The overall layout. we now have 6 trays in use. The design seems to be holding up well. Easy to use, light, strong enough, and fast drying with airflow.  The "kiddie pool" on the right is where the chipper sits when in use, to catch the chips and mulch. Then we simply shovel it into 5 gallon buckets and pour out on the drying trays. It takes about 4 to 6 5 gallon buckets to fill a tray.

Here is a closeup of the zucchini chips at one day in the sun. You can see that this has a lot more chips and less minced "sludge" than the first try. 

Here is another closer view. After the chips are laid out, salt is sprinkled across the entire top surface, then every day or two the chips are "stirred" or "scratched" as the kids call it. 

Based on this success, we may be building another half dozen racks so that we can dry an entire harvest at once.

Next time, we may even add some greens to the mix by running the greens through the shredder part of hte chipper / shredder. That will nicely mix the greens and provide even better nutrition.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor day watermelon celebration

The pigs enjoyed their first watermelon this labor day weekend. And they loved it!

When we actually got around to checking the melons, they are so ripe that just a good thump will cause a burst. And oh so yummy!

Hunter chose an heirloom pink and a unique Japanese heirloom whit flesh variety. Mmmm. MY favorite!

We might offer a few for sale, not sure yet, but stay tuned!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Almost lost a good RAM - bloat

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about raising sheep is.. bloat.  Any sudden change in diet can cause the overproduction of gas almost immediately and the poor animal's stomach swells up to the point where, left untreated, they suffocate from the lack of ability to breathe. It is a very common problem with ruminants, but sheep in particular.

We just had a near miss today. Yesterday the entire herd managed to escape the pasture and run free in our yard... which means full access to the barn where some nice fresh "hot" alfalfa was sitting. By the time we got everyone back under control, a few had gorged themselves on alfalfa. That is deadly to a sheep that has lived on grass hay for a while.

Sure enough, one of our best rams was found today on his side, unable to stand. Not only that, but the whole herd broke out AGAIN and AGAIN found the alfalfa. So now the entire herd is a risk and one sheep already down.

Given the severity of the situation, we decided to run to town and pick up a commercial sheep bloat remedy. Last time this happened we successfully used dill weed tea, but we are too low on dill right now to make enough tea, so this time we chose to go commercial. Its a mix of antacid and vegetable oil. The antacid stops the formation of gas and the oil breaks up the bubbles to let the gas already made be expelled.

Giving the remedy to the ram with a drench tool. This is like a syringe that holds a accurate amount of liquid  for slow delivery right at the back of the throat, enabling swallowing even when the animal cant drink. I held his head up while Brenda administered the remedy.

The boys added plenty of baking soda to the herd's drinking water. this is a precautionary measure for the rest of the herd. The baking soda water provides enough ant acid to prevent bloat in minor cases of overeating. 

After a good dose, Hunter and I stand the ram up. At first we have to hold hi up as his legs are too weak and he is too dizzy to stand on his own.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, he has burped enough to expel quite a bit of gas. I massaged and thumped his belly to help break up more bubbles and release gas.

After 2 doses, some therapy as above, finally he is able to stand on his own! He doesn't want to move yet, but can stand. Huge improvement. 

Maybe an hour later and he is able to walk slowly around, even ate a little dry grass. Looks like he is going to be ok!
So today will be hourly checks to see how everyone is doing, and taking whatever measures are necessary. So far it looks like tragedy has been averted!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dehydrating at Scale

We started working on our feed dehydrating operation today. The garden is producing more veggies than we need on a daily basis, so now it is time to start storing for the winter.  Plus, we need to start our annual pear harvest again, where we hope to grab about 10,000 lbs of pears this year.

why dehydrating?   Several reasons:

1. It is fairly quick and cheap if the sun is the power source
2. It can scale easily
3. It preserves sugar (where fermenting converts sugar into acid)
4. It separates juice from bulk, so both can be utilized

The overall plan is simple... the extra produce goes into our chipper/shredder to pulverize it and separate the liquid juices from the bulk.  the juice is captured and stored in buckets to freeze. The bulk is placed on drying racks for a few days and then bagged for storage.

Today we built an initial drying rack to test the design. The cost per rack with this method is around $12 for a 4' x 8' rack covered in standard fiberglass window screen.  2x2 and 1x2 pine form the frame to make it sturdy but light.

Here are some closeup pics of version 1:

The finished screen, version 1. 

Closeup of the design

Standard 45 corner braces

I cut a slot to accommodate the standard spline to hold window screen. this might need to be reinforced.

Here it is in the garden, on blocks and ready for use!

The Chipper / Shredder is a large PTO driven model with a wide screen. I would like an even wider screen to make larger chunks, but too expensive to warrant buying one. Some adjustment of the exit door should make things flow nicely.

We placed the chipper / shredder into a kiddie pool, so that the juice is caught and can be easily removed to store in buckets separately. When we do pears, there will be a LOT of juice.

the produce is slipped into the branch chute, not he brush entry at the top. This makes larger chunks with less shredding.

The finished working setup, a tarp underneath keeps the dead grass down and out of the way.

And here is the finished product.. a tray full of dripping pulp and chunks, drying in the sun.