We went into 2019 with that book in hand and a pretty clear goal. You would think that new little farm hands would have blown this all out of the water, but there is nothing like seeing the world through the eyes of a little one to make you slow down and re-prioritize.
One of our biggest changes for 2020 is the end of our poultry operations. Meat birds are the most labor-intensive protein on the farm. Raising them on pasture means they need to be protected from predators and moved frequently to provide fresh grass and forage. While we had high hopes for our livestock guardian dogs - we have to admit defeat that Sarge can ever be trusted around the birds.
We are instead happy to offer our customers chickens that are raised on pasture at The Farm of New Marlborough. We will miss the antics of the chickens, but are excited to use those pastures for our flock of sheep.
Partner of the month: The Davis IGA in Kent, CT. The Davis IGA has been offering our beef and pork to Kent residents since January 2017. Part of what makes local groceries so amazing is their willingness to support local food producers and other small businesses. Many of our partners are seasonal farm stands, having our products at the Davis IGA allows year-round access to many of our customers.
On the average it seems 26 days a month go easy-peasy with only a few little blips ….….. pigs broke their ramp, goats keeping the sheep away from the hay or the bottom broke off the feeder. But those other 4 or so days a month are the ones that test your faith. The hydrant snapped below grade and is flooding the barn, the last 3 pigs refuse to leave the pasture (eliminating the chance of moving the other groups that weekend), the fox & bobcat took all the ducks and geese, the processor rescheduled your dates (again) those things defy all of my list making, planning and preparing and REALLY DRIVE ME NUTS!
While we didn’t have Elf on the Shelf when Farmer John was young, (certainly a good thing because I am definitely not that creative) we always stood by the phrase – “If you don’t believe he doesn’t come”. I think a bit of that is what keeps us going here on the farm for sure.
And in this season of thanks – we are not of complaining!! We know we have so much to be thankful for.
Speaking of Partner Farm Stands, have you checked out Barden Farm Market 510 Main Street New Hartford yet?? Aside from offering our proteins they have baked goods, prepared foods, local crafts, Sweet Pea Farm cheese and milk, and their own seasonal veggies as well. Not only do they have their neat little store on Main Street, but they have partnered with Brewery Legitimus to offer a unique CSACB - a CSA that includes Craft Beer and cheese. (www.bardenfarm.com)
Meat of the month – Boston Butt
Second only to ground beef this is one of the easiest and more versatile meats we offer. Pulled pork is low carb, gluten-free, Whole 30 compliant, dairy-free, low carb, paleo, carnivore and keto friendly. You can toss it in the crock pot (frozen) and come home to an amazing meal.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Wuorenma
Phone: (202) 446-2138
Office: Terrebonne, OR (Pacific Time Zone)
HOWLING FLATS FARM IN CANAAN, CT, AWARDED TOP ENVIRONMENTAL AND ANIMAL WELFARE CERTIFICATION
-- Local farm uses sustainable agriculture methods to earn Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification for its pasture-raised beef cattle --
CANAAN, CT (NOVEMBER 19, 2019)--The beef cattle at Howling Flats Farm are now Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW).
This certification and food label lets consumers know these animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S. and Canada, using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent farm. Consumer Reports has rated Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW as a "highly meaningful" label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability--and the only animal welfare certification in which they have confidence.
Like other Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW farmers across the country, Kelley Babbin and her family recognize the growing consumer interest in how animals are raised on farms. Managing animals outdoors on pasture or range has known benefits for animals, consumers and the environment.
Howling Flats Farm uses rotational grazing practices and sustainable farming techniques, which results in lower environmental impact and a higher quality product. Kelley Babbin of Howling Flats Farm says she chose to pursue certification because, "many of the industry's labels have been watered down and manipulated to be meaningless. We believe that Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification has real value and provides our customers with proof of our hard work to give our animals the best."
AGW Executive Director Andrew Gunther says,
"We're proud to certify farms like Howling Flats Farm that have demonstrated their commitment to transparency and verified, high-welfare, farming practices. These stewards of the countryside are quite literally building a greener world while producing delicious food, and we're honored to help consumers find them--and in doing so choose products that match their values."
Howling Flat Farm's Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised beef is available direct from the farm. The farm also supplies beef to several local colleges through a collaboration with the Kendall Foundation's Whole Animals for the Whole Region project. For more information about Howling Flats Farm, visit howlingflatsfarm.com and the farm's Instagram and Facebook page, or contact Kelley Babbin at Howlingflatsfarm@gmail.com.
ABOUT A GREENER WORLD
A Greener World (AGW) identifies, audits, certifies and promotes practical, sustainable farming systems by supporting farmers and ranchers and informing consumers. AGW's growing family of trusted certifications includes Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW. Each program is designed to have positive and measurable impacts on the environment, society and animals, and to encourage truly sustainable farming practices. AGW's standards and procedures are robust and transparent and achievable.
A nonprofilt funded by public donations and membership, A Greener World offers a range of resources to help people make informed food choices, including an Online Directory of certified farms and products and to food label claims. For more information visit agreenerworld.org.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear; does it make a sound?
If farmer's work everyday producing amazing meats, but never take the time to update their blog post, can they still sell their products?
You may have wondered where in the world we have been lately !?!?
While we definitely miss talking with everyone on a weekly basis, we decided this year not to attend any of the local farmer's markets. This was not an easy choice to make, our success has solely been due to our loyal customers and their referrals but with the joyful addition of our littlest farmer we knew that something had to change.
Little ones only stay little for a short period of time and freeing up our weekends has allowed us to focus on family while continuing to work with our amazing Farm Partners. We are overwhelmed by the positive responses we have received about this program. Our Farm Partners report increased sales of their products when customers realize they can purchase a large majority of their weekly grocery needs in one place. Our customers love that they can shop at their own convenience and support multiple local farms without having to make multiple stops. It has been a WIN-WIN-WIN.
We know how fortunate we are to have your support. As we round the bend to our 9th Year of Farming and the arrival of our next littlest farmer we promise to continue working hard to offer Healthy Family Food - for your family and ours!
I am so happy it's finally spring because spring = calves and calves = fluffy and cute. We've had 4 born so far and are expecting many more over the next few weeks. The coloring of our Murray Grey bull is showing up in some of the calves - it's hard to capture on camera but they're almost silver.
Our TOBB grain bins finally arrived from Missouri this week. They each hold 3 tons and can be filled by our feed supplier, Stone House Grain. When we started buying feed for our pigs and poultry, we bought 50 pound bags. Once we started going through close to 200 bags per month, the plastic bags became an issue: not only an eye-sore stacking up in the barn throughout the week, but so wasteful, too. Stone House can now drive their bulk truck to the farm and fill these directly - no plastic involved! (You don't have to see many pictures of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch before you don't want to be responsible for a single shred of plastic going into the dumpster).
My brother called asking for a favor last weekend. His hairdresser saw someone abandon a duck and a goose at a park in Bristol, and after watching someone trying to entice their dog to attack them, she scooped them into the back of her car and brought them home. "They look just like yours, will you take them?" he asked. John has an affinity for poultry so of course we went and picked them up. This inseparable pair may have feathers, but they're really dogs in disguise. As soon as they see people they come running, squawking, to be pet and held. I've really never seen anything like it. So let me introduce Beetle (the duck) and Juice (the goose).
Lastly, I have to congratulate my brothers on the success of their new business, Litchfield Organic Land Care, LLC, and highly recommend them to anyone in need of environmentally-conscious land care. Their guidance has been invaluable for our orchard and they will be taking down some dead trees on the farm. Even if we weren't related, I would endorse their knowledge and skills!
Our solar electric system is up and running! This project was months (years?) in the making so it's almost unbelievable to see it completed. We can't talk about the panels without thanking the Connecticut Farm Energy Program for their assistance with the grant application. We applied for a USDA REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grant, and would've been lost in the paperwork if not for the invaluable guidance of CFEP.
We wanted to install solar panels on the farm for a couple of reasons: one being to cut down our electricity costs. More importantly, though, we wanted to switch to a renewable source of energy. We're constantly trying to improve the sustainability of the farm and this is an important part of that. Just as we collect manure and spent bedding to compost and then fertilize our fields with, it seems right to harness the sun that shines on the farm and use it to power the well, run heat lamps for the piglets......
Speaking of piglets.
Our pot-bellied mama had a litter of piglets last night. Unfortunately, she was completely disinterested in them, and without her motherly grunting the piglets couldn't figure out where to go to nurse. We decided to hand-rear this group, and by we, I mean Kelley had them in a laundry basket next to her bed overnight, and currently has them in a makeshift cardboard crib next to her desk at work. They need to be fed every 2 hours for the first few days, so for now they'll be her sidekicks until their feedings can be stretched out a bit and I can lend a hand.
I also wanted to quickly touch on something that John and I saw in the news recently. Within the last year, the Department of Agriculture has relaxed a ban on the importation of Brazilian beef. Brazil is just one of over twenty countries that the US imports beef from. In general, I take issue with such high importation because transporting all of that beef across the world creates a lot of pollution. Brazilian beef is particularly concerning, however, because cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Rainforests are vital in that they help stabilize the world's climate by absorbing carbon dioxide. Plus, there are 16,000 species of trees and 2.5 MILLION species of insects in the Amazon.
This is why it's so important to know where your food is coming from.
"We don't have to participate in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." -Howard Zinn
A few customers have been asking us "what's new?" which reminded me that I haven't shared any farm news since last June! I'm not sure how time flies by so quickly, but we definitely have had many things to be excited about over the last 8 months (wow I'm a bad blogger).
Last summer was an absolute blast. The cows enjoyed their time on the beautiful land we're leasing down the road, and we enjoyed our morning and nightly visits to check in on them. My favorite check-in was July 24th when John asked me to marry him. We were sunburned, covered in dirt, and surrounded by cows - I couldn't imagine it any other way.
I think the main reason autumn and winter have passed so quickly is our investment in more Ritchie automated water fountains for the animals. I seriously can't praise these things enough. We had to run more water lines and electricity, but they are 100% worth it. Not having to break ice and lug hoses back and forth from the house has saved us so much time and frustration. If I had any advice for new farmers, it would be to automate your water as soon as is feasible so you can spend your valuable time caring for your animals instead of stressing about being able to get them enough water.
Of course we've had lots of litters of piglets since June, and are currently gearing up for our busiest time of the year as far as farrowing is concerned. Let us know if you're looking for spring piglets as our list is filling up quickly.
Looking forward into the next few weeks, we'll be busy with piglets, getting seeds started for the garden, and finally getting our solar panels installed! I am over the moon excited about getting the farm running on clean, renewable solar energy. I'll write another post and share pictures once they're installed.
We're happy to share our new relationships with Davis IGA in Kent and Sherman IGA in Sherman, which are both now carrying our beef, pork, and chicken. It's great when small, locally-owned businesses can work together to offer local goods to the community, and we look forward to expanding and meeting new customers in that part of the state.
Don't forget to visit us at the Norfolk and Winsted farmer's markets - details are on our homepage. And if you can't make it to a market but are craving your favorites like jalepeno-cheddar chicken sausage or maple-cured bacon, use our online shopping page to complete your order and schedule a delivery.
Thanks again for your support!
We eagerly check the fruit trees every morning, watching the buds slowly enlarging, promising many sweet treats in the months to come. We had a small scare of peach leaf curl on one tree, but luckily my brother is a horticulture aficionado so it was nothing some pruning and neem oil couldn't take care of. The kitchen garden has blossomed into more of a potager with herbs and flowers heavily intermingled among the vegetables. They definitely add beauty, but they also attract pollinators and keep many pests away from the vegetables. Nasturinium, for example, will repel squash bugs, among many other pests, so plant them near your squash, 'cukes and 'zucchs. Let your basil and tomatoes grow together, too, as they'll enhance each other's flavor. We don't need no stinkin' insecticides or GMO's here - just follow nature's template, y'all.
Over the winter, we acquired a trio of pet-bellied pigs. We originally were just going to look at them because John was only curious (or so he said) but when we saw that the living conditions they were in were less than adequate, to put it lightly, we decided to take them all home. The owner couldn't tell us anything about them since he picked them up at an auction. They're still pretty flighty, but we hope with time that they'll become more friendly. Little Olive's belly recently became not so little, and we suspected that she might be pregnant. When I walked in her pen to feed her on Tuesday and she didn't come out to greet me, I knew something was up. We moved her to her own paddock, just in case, and when I checked on her 20 minutes later she had given birth to 4 of the smallest, cutest piglets I've ever seen. It was such a fun surprise and she is a great mom.
We met a neighbor a few streets away with a great deal of pasture and no cows to enjoy it, so most of our herd will be spending the summer there. They have the best view in town.
It's only June, but we've had Thanksgiving on our minds since our chicks arrived a few weeks ago. They are heritage breeds (Bourbon Red and Black Spanish) which means they'll be smaller birds, but we find that most of our customers want turkeys under 16 pounds anyway. Please contact us to reserve yours as they go quickly!
We are so excited to offer you the convenience of ordering online. This process has pushed the envelope on our tech skills to say the least - but we think it was so worth it! You can now shop for individual cuts or a meat share variety pack AND receive our free home delivery service OR have the option of picking up your weekly meat order when you visit some of our local farm stands (be sure to sign up for their weekly veggie CSA's to complete all your farm fresh shopping in one spot).
Here's how it works:
To shop for the best meats around go to: https://howlingflatsfarm.grazecart.com/ CLICK HERE
At check out you can currently choose:
* The Grassy Knoll Farm Stand and Bakery in Riverton ~ Order by Wednesday to pick up Saturday or Sunday. Give yourself a little extra time at pick up for their coffee and incredible baked goods, be sure to get there early to take home some of their freshly baked bread.
* The Victory Garden in Canaan - Just give us two days notice and we will have your order in their freezer for pick up.
* For Home delivery choose pick up at Howling Flats Farm - There is $50 minimum order for free delivery and we can be on your doorstop within three days.
We will be adding Maple View Organic Farm in Harwinton, Gedney Farm in New Marlborough and local farmers markets as pick up locations once the season starts in the spring.
Need something right away?
The Grassy Knoll Farm Stand & Bakery keeps a variety of our products on hand.
The Riverton General Store always has our ground beef.
The Health Food Corner in Winsted stocks both ground beef and pork chops.
Both Holcomb Farm and Clark Family Farms in Granby have graciously offered to sell our products this spring as well.
If you need anything special that you don't see on our list - or you need something sooner than the times shown PLEASE send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org - we are happy to accommodate you whenever we can!!
Stay tuned for updates: It is our goal to be able to offer our partnering farm's products as a one-stop LOCAL shopping option for you in the near future.
Real food enthusiast following nature's template