Good Morning and hello from your farmer,
As you know, our cows, pigs, chickens, and hens all live on pasture where they receive nutrition from the plants, Vitamin D from sunshine, and plenty of fresh air.
So, that being the case, it is critical that our pastures provide quality nutrition to grow healthy animals - that means NO chemicals.
Regenerating soil is not an easy thing to do. There is always more to learn. For example, last Spring is when I learned about the importance of soil biology and the role they play in making minerals available in a form a plant can use. The learning came from a special soil test called PLFA that identifies the type of biology and overall percentage of each type in your soil.
My soil showed heavy concentrations of bacteria and little fungi & protozoa. That means the biology was out of balance and was not able to make nutrients available to the plants.
So, last Spring we made two Johnson-Su Bioreactors for a highly fungal compost. It takes a year for this compost to mature - thus, we started using it Spring 2023 when planting our summer annuals. In the interim I continued learning and connecting with other farmers who were several years ahead of me. For example, Cory Miller owns 1,000 acre ranch in MT. When I last spoke with him June 1st he was just starting his 3rd year using compost. Cory told me he had already harvested all the hay his ranch needed for the year and that his neighbor's grass had not even started growing. WOW!
Two themes for success were: 1) they attended the Soil Food Web school, and 2) they had a consultant help them get started. That is why our oldest son is enrolled in the SFW classes (it is a long process) and then late June, Zach (who once worked with Dr. Ingham) came and helped build several compost piles & showed us how to use the microscope to test our compost.
As I mentioned earlier, we sprayed our compost extract while planting our summer annuals this year. This week I moved the yearlings into one of those pastures and was very pleased with what I saw. Here is a quick picture I took...
The pasture includes Crabgrass, Millet, Bahia, Dallas, S. Sudan, peas, and more. Lots of diversity and good nutrition. Did you notice how tall the forage is? Key advantage is how it shades the soil and reduces the soil temperature.
Here is a picture of the next pasture they will move into.... same story.
As we move the cows to a new pasture, then we are coming in and spraying a new round of compost extract in the pasture they just moved from. The good news is you cannot over apply!
(I intended to circle back and take a picture of the yearlings, but got too busy replacing a property line fence). Maybe I can make this happen for next week...
One of the "tricks" Zach told us about was adding red wiggler worms to your compost piles. Since our three new piles have matured where worms can be added, I ordered 2,000 red wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. They come shipped in a bag with dry peat moss. Included was an instruction sheet that spelled out all you need to know to get the worms started. I was very pleased with the quality and service from Uncle Jim's.
This is a close up picture of the worms just before I covered them with compost. Did you know worms can double their population every 90 days? Amazing the work these creatures do for our soil & compost.
Lastly, for those who have been to the farm and seen the new ground we purchased in 2018 that I've had trouble trouble trouble getting to grow grass - well, when I took the cows off in June, Jared came in and bush hogged the weeds close to the ground. Behind that we sprayed a good dose of compost extract. Surprisingly the crabgrass we had planted is now thriving and I'm not seeing the weed pressure as before. Thank the LORD!
At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.
** Product Availability Update **
Chicken - Restocked July 25th and sold out in a day. We will process again August 1st and 15th with restock the following day. By mid August we should be fully stocked on chicken. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year.
Turkey - Some of the first turkey we made into ground turkey did not come out perfect so we held it back. SOLD OUT! Thank you. We do have a few on pasture now and received a batch of 25 poults this week.
Eggs - Will add eggs each Wednesday at 6pm along with any other items processed (like chicken)
Beef - Restocked July 20th. Next restock will be about August 25th..
Pork - Restocked July 13th. We plan to restock pork again in August.
Lamb - Restocked April 28th. Next restock will be July 24th. We have contacted a fellow Regenerative Farm in MO who will deliver Ground Lamb & some Loin Chops this weekend while visiting our farm. They also recently started processing their own animals on farm as well. So, we will fellowship & share best practices to help each other be better.