|Our free range tractor. These guys were voracious grass eaters.|
|We harvested 25 birds for around 100 -110 pounds of meat.|
That's it -from coup to freezer. We took the birds to Eli Reiff at Reiff's poultry dressing in Mifflinburg, PA. I highly recommend him to anyone who's interested. He's been in business for 20 years. He cares about the birds, and he's doing the work of harvesting them humanely. We travel 2 hours to use him. Not to mention, the conversations and connections we make there are priceless.
Here's a sample of a conversation I had with Eli last Tuesday. He said, Try this experiment:
Take a regular chicken breast, the kind you buy in the grocery store, and boil it. Add nothing to the water, just boil it. As the steam rises, take a good whiff. What do you smell? It smells like... you know what. Now take one of your birds and do the same thing. What will it smell like? It will smell like chicken.
I'm not going to test the store bought chicken, We're just (Lord willing) going to keep raising our own birds. They are as identifiably other than food industry birds as homegrown heritage black tomatoes are from the store bought version of (something-someone-says-is-a-tomato-but-really-is-not) a tomato. They are completely worth it.
When all is said and done, we raised 25 "spring" birds for 10 weeks. They ate 5 80 pound bags of feed, (thanks to Jason and Heather for the feed). It is whole grain, locally grown, and made with Fertrell organic minerals. All told, water, gas, butchering and feed. The total cost per bird was $7.00 or $8.00. That's only two bucks a pound. Not bad for the privilege of knowing where our food comes from!
Now for a few other goings on around spring garden acre...
|Apple and strawberry wine waiting to be bottled and racked respectively.|
The apple wine on the right is ready to be bottled and the strawberry wine on the left is just about ready to be racked again.
I met Chris the wine maker at Reiffs Poultry Dressing in Mifflinburg. Chris is a school teacher by day and 5th generation farmer, with his brother and their families, by the rest of the time. He is growing an amazing vineyard, right here in Hershey, PA. He helped me understand several things about wine making that I did not know in a very short time. Thanks Chris! I won't share these details now. Please just let me keep saying thank you, thank you Chris, especially for directing us to a vineyard in Shermansdale, (just up the road) where we can buy wine making grapes -a Noir variety and at a reasonable price! Yes, we're thrilled about this! We've talked about it. We've wanted to try it, but never known how to get grapes. Now we know!
Finally, we planted our first seeds for fall today -Vivian romaine. Our spring harvest of romaine was almost 12 pounds. We're hoping for 20 pounds this fall. We planted 60 starts. They're scheduled to be put outside on August 11.
|True Confessions: this is just a small part of the carnage of our spring seedling endeavors.|
|Vivian romaine seeds:our hopeful fall harvest under lights.|