Over brunch last Friday our chat turned to gardening and I mentioned how I would someday love to have a couple of chickens so I could get fresh eggs. Lisa said I was getting crunchy in my old age and dubbed me "Moonbeam." Thus the title of today's post. I'm so excited that I can barely form a cohesive sentence.
No, I didn't buy chickens (yet) but I did put a deposit on one. I've been talking the talk about wanting to eat local and know more about where my food comes from so today I walked the walk. Lisa and I went on a field trip to a family farm just 10 miles from where we live. My Dad and Me Family Farm located in Powder Springs, Georgia is a little slice of happiness. We got to meet Daniel and Susan Hammond, the owners of the farm and got a lovely tour from their daughter Anna.
The farm offers a membership to local consumers in order to purchase their fresh from the farm goodies. For a small fee, I will have access to fresh pastured eggs, raw milk from their own grass fed Jersey cows sold under Georgia's raw pet milk label, yogurt made from the fresh milk, raw local honey, herbs, veggies and fruit grown on the farm and what I'm most excited about...pastured broiler chickens!
I put a deposit on one hen, whom I named Sonja Henie though she's just a chick at the moment. She will be cared for and fed grain until she's big enough to run through the pasture eating grass and bugs. On Saturday, May 29th she will be butchered and I will go pick her up and cook her for Sunday dinner the following day. Thus my very first farm to table meat experience. Let's have a look at the farm...
The farm is beautiful, clean and serene. The chickens have a house, a pen and a big green pasture to spend their time on. I got over my unnatural fear of birds quite quickly and couldn't wait to get inside to have a closer look at the chicks and hens. I was a little scared when I was trying to photograph the rooster. He was big and bold!
The Hammonds also have cows that are milked twice a day. Buttermilk, Molly, Maggie, Mulberry, Abbie and the rest of the ladies were happily munching on the grassy field this morning. I always thought myself too squeamish to consider drinking raw milk until I met the cows. I think I'll be purchasing a half gallon to try when I go back to buy eggs and yogurt next week. What struck me most was how there was no "farm animal" smell like I thought there would be. It was a really comforting, earthy smell even in the hen pen. I bet those factory meat feed lots can't say the same.
After the tour, we had the opportunity to speak with Susan. She told us that raw milk and yogurt are really delicious and very healthy. Click here if you'd like to read more about the benefits of raw milk. She told us about how her kids didn't really eat many vegetables until they started growing them and how they said the vegetables tasted so much better. Susan also told us at how much more popular buying fresh from the farm food is becoming. This is really good news. Eat Wild is a great resource on how to find farmers like the Hammonds in your home state or town. I encourage you to support your local farmers.
Susan was very gracious about my crazy babbling about how happy I was to got to have visited the farm. I want to thank Susan and Anna for a wonderful time today and I look forward to seeing them again, soon.
Check out the video footage of the hen pen while Anna tells us about the chickens.