Sunday
Sep102017

Raising and Processing Pasture Raised Chickens on Any Scale

Raising and Processing Pasture Raised Chickens on Any Scale

 

Saturday, September 16 8a-4pm

 

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I know we have many different people who follow our farm. Many people are homesteaders, beginning farmers or just people who like to try lots of different experiences in life.  For all of these people... we have something special for you.  

For the last several years we have had a very popular and well-attended class, where we teach people how to Raise and Butcher your own chickens.  This fall we will have a class on September 16th.


Information is below or REGISTER HERE
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 Former attendees commented this class helped them feel comfortable with the idea of raising their own chickens and seeing the butchering process up close and personal.   Attendees ranged from curious eaters to serious potential farmers.  All left with positive comments and new ideas!

 

Chickens are an iconic part of the family farmstead and have even evolved to be a popular and valuable part of suburban, urban and rural areas of Kansas City. Chickens have gained this status because they are immensely useful and important. 

In this workshop, we will cover all the basics of raising chickens from brooding new chicks all the way to butchering and preparing them for meat.   All topics will be taught hands-on with examples of what has worked on our farm along with plentiful anecdotes of things that haven't turned out so well.  We will give clear examples of how this can be managed at a working-farm scale like ours all the way down to the homestead minded person just keeping a flock for their family.

Topics will include:

  • Choosing breeds of chicks and turkeys (meat birds and egg layers)
  • Raising Turkeys on your farm - differences from chickens
  • Brooding chicks and poults
  • Feed rations, options, and schedules
  • How, when, and why of pasture-raising chickens and turkeys
  • Raising egg layers on pasture
  • Keeping Heritage Turkeys on Pasture
  • Dealing with predators
  • Humane slaughter; butchering; packaging
  • Regulations
  • Waste disposal

 Jeff and Laura, I did not adequately thank you for your time on Saturday. Your class was very informative and I learned a lot. Thank you both again! -Ruth

 The class will be divided into two sessions.  The morning session will be a hands-on chicken butchering workshop. Each person will have the opportunity to learn each step of butchering a chicken and then be able to butcher their own chicken to take home after class.  You will get to see how to butcher using modern commercial equipment such as automatic scalders, dunkers, and pluckers as well as how to do it with minimal equipment that you would have at your own home.  

 

The afternoon session will include a hands-on tour of each step of the chicken raising journey as well as a guided tour of the farm seeing the brooder, the pasture pens, the egg mobile, electric netting, etc.  We will also look at how turkeys fit into our farm's poultry operation. There will be a short "classroom" setting where we talk about the finances involved with raising poultry, marketing ideas, and the laws surrounding poultry in Kansas.

In-between the sessions there will be a full lunch with pasture raised meat from our farm where we will be able to sit down and talk farming with other lunatic farmers. 

 

You may choose to attend either of the sessions individually or you may attend both sessions for the whole picture on pasture raised Poultry.  If attending both sessions, the cost is $100, a savings of $25!

 

Morning Session - How to Butcher a Chicken (8-noon) $75

When finished, you will have the skills needed to butcher your own chicken in a humane and respectful way. In addition to learning the steps, you will complete the entire butchering process on an organic fed Pasture Raised chicken that you will be able to take home to share with your family ($25+ value).

Lunch (12-1) Included in the price of either session

Lunch will be served farm style with pasture raised meat from our farm.  It will be a time to visit, get to know each other, share ideas and ask questions.  

Afternoon Session - Raising Chicken for Meat and Eggs (1-4pm) $50

This portion of the class will be focused on learning how to raise healthy and productive chickens. We will start by learning all of the details for brooding your birds from newly hatched chicks.  Then, we'll discuss the important factors for transitioning your birds to pasture and what differences exist if you are raising them for meat or eggs.  You will get to see up close the different shelters we use for each and we will discuss construction details including what has worked and what has not worked in our farm experience.  We will discuss how chickens fit within the overall structure of our farm's systems by cleaning up parasites behind the cattle and by intensively fertilizing targeted pasture areas.  We will wrap-up with a classroom session where we will discuss marketing your products and local laws affecting the selling of your products.

This workshop will be outside, so dress accordingly.  Although you may be surprised at how clean you stay during the chicken butchering portion of the workshop, you may want to dress in layers so you can peel your top layer off when that portion of the workshop is done. Waterproof footwear is suggested for all participants.

To register for this class, please click here and fill out the form.  The form will include directions for payment.  

There are very limited spots available, so register early to ensure availability.

Click Here to Register

Wednesday
Aug232017

Sometimes WEEDS aren't that bad


Sometimes the most nutritious forage we have for our cattle is not grass at all, but rather weeds.   If you look closely at the picture above you'll see all the cattle happily munching away -- but what you don't see a lot of is grass.  They are mostly eating ragweed.  A definite weed -- it even has weed in its name.  However, ragweed, at the right times of the year, is a great forage.  Right now its nutritive value approaches that of Alfalfa.  The cows do great eating ragweed and it promotes outstanding health.  

Do you have any weeds in your yard that you would like them to stop by and eat?

 

Sunday
Aug202017

the 'offal' truth about farming

If you want to really SUPPORT your Farmer and make a difference -- be adventurous with your cooking!
You know that when you buy food from our farm, you are not just getting GREAT tasting food that is nutritious, you are also making the world a better place by supporting agricultural processes that enrich the land every day.  However, there is a way you can do EVEN MORE.  

A pig is more than bacon.
A cow is more than steaks.
A chicken is more than breasts.

If you really want to take all of the benefits of buying from a small local farm and multiply them several times -- THEN INCLUDE ORGAN MEATS IN YOUR DIET.

When we have animals processed we also get the organ meats and offal.  These are some of the most NUTRITIOUS and ECONOMICAL parts of the animals to eat.  However, since they have not been a regular part of the American diet for a while (and we see what that has done for us) many people have forgotten how to cook them and are not in the habit of ordering them.  

Here are some of the organ meats we sell and their nutritional benefits.

The most common types of organ meat include:

  • Liver: Liver is the detox organ. It's also the nutritional powerhouse of organ meats and sometimes referred to as "nature's multivitamin."  
  • Heart: The role of the heart is to pump blood around the body.  It is actually very lean and tasty.  Often sautéed in butter.
  • Kidneys: Like humans, mammals have two kidneys. Their role is to filter waste and toxins out of the blood. Often prepared by a simple stir-fry in butter.
  • Trotters: The feet of the pigs.  Most commonly used in stocks and soups to add depth to the flavor and thicken up the sauce due to the dissolved collagen.
  • Pork Skin: the cleaned and scraped skin of the pig.  Typically is used to make fried pork rinds.  Can also be dried and smoked and made into great chew toys for dogs.  
  • Pork Fries: These are the testicles.  They are very edible and considered a delicacy across the world.  Most commonly fried and referred to as Rocky Mountain Oysters.
  • Leaf Lard and Back Fat: Both are simply the fat of the pig that you would use to make lard.  Making lard is a simple the process of slowly heating the fat to liquefy it.   Skim impurities off the top and then pour into a jar to cool and use in cooking.  
The great thing is finding a way to cook these is as simple as typing into google or asking Alexa -- there are thousands of recipes for every organ.  By cooking them you are being adventurous, possibly finding new favorites and eating VERY nutritionally dense foods.

Additionally, you make an important contribution to our farm by adding value to the animals we raise and therefore increasing the profitability and by extension, viability of the farm.
Thursday
Aug172017

Are you a Broth Lover? GOOD NEWS!



Chicken bones are back in stock! 

Why would people be clamoring for chicken bones?  It's not for voodoo rituals (although they might work for that, too).  People want them because they make great broth.

Laura has written a great article showing how she makes a very delicious bone broth that you can read on our blog here.  She often uses an Instant Pot these days and the results are equally amazing.  Perhaps it is time for an update on the blog...any other Instant Pot users out there?

The bones are packaged two backs per bag, weigh approx 3# and are $7.50 per bag.  Each back can easily make 4-5 quarts of chicken broth.  Thick, nutrient filled, healing broth.  

If you are interested in making some nutritious and delicious broth for your family, just let us know how many chicken bone bags you would like us to bring and we can deliver them on Wednesday.  Limited quantities available.  Next anticipated availability is November.  

We also have chicken livers,
 hearts and gizzards in stock.  Get 'em before they're gone!

 

Monday
Aug142017

"Until the Cows Come Home"


Raising grass-fed beef requires a lot of......you guessed it.... GRASS - and we have a lot of it on our farm -- a couple million square feet.  However, we have found it works best to also lease land from neighbors and we have used a few different nearby properties.

Leasing land away from the farm requires some special work since our neighbors do not have the same infrastructure (as primitive as it may be) as the home farm.  Things like perimeter fencing and permanent water are usually not available.  So we bring our own portable fence and haul in water that we pump from our pond into a tank on a pickup and deliver it to the cattle, sometimes more than once a day.

Although we love having the great forage for our cattle to eat and the opportunity to rest the forage at our farm, it was sure nice this week when we brought the cattle home.  

The pasture we were on was just about a 1/2 mile away from our farm, so we walked them down the road.  It was a team effort that everyone participated in and the "cattle drive" went off without too many hitches.
 
Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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