*RESTOCK UPDATE* Beef Aug 24th. Pork- August 4th. Chicken Aug 12, 19, and 26

My First Pastured Poultry Conference

February 8, 2020

Good morning from the farm,

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Eric, Ben and Beth’s oldest son.

Recently I started working on the farm full-time taking care of our laying hens.

A few weeks ago Mom and I had the opportunity to attend the 4th annual American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) Conference in Florida.

APPPA is a nonprofit educational and networking organization dedicated to encouraging the production, processing, and marketing of poultry raised on pasture.

We met farmers from all over the nation who believe and practice much like we do in regards to animal stewardship and healthy, sustainable farming.

It was my first year to attend, and honestly, it was a blast. There were people from Florida to California, Texas to Vermont, and even a group from Ontario, Canada.

There were farmers there who produced only a few meat birds or had a couple of dozen laying hens, all the way up to 100,000+ meat birds! But there was plenty of room for all of us, whether we had two or too many to count.

Topics from the classes were varied and ranged from better care and scaling for laying hens, meat birds, combating misleading industrial labeling, livestock guard dogs, and efforts to make our farms ‘lean’ and efficient without sacrificing quality.

Between sessions we networked with vendors and other farmers to learn from each other, sharing ideas and suggestions so that no one has to “recreate the wheel” any more than they have to.

Before the conference, we discussed the idea of adding an egg washer to our business. Dad suggested we contact the supplier to see if they were bringing a display model that we could buy at a discount after the conference. Sure enough, they were and we did. Also saved a lot on shipping cost!

Eric-Egg-Grading.jpg

Eggs enter on the left and exit right spotless. It's a huge help, especially on wet days when the hens track a lot of mud into the nest boxes. Efficiency has improved at least 50%.

Next would be to add an automatic grader!

Many of the APPPA producers have been in business quite a few years and have a lot of experience raising pastured poultry including turkeys.

The last day included a tour of Pastured Life Farms in O Brien, FL. Dave and Ginger left the corporate world behind to start their farm and have really done great.

Currently, we are in the process of review—seeing what’s worked for others and whether it is a good fit for what we personally do, given our climate, equipment, and size.

It was really great to meet leaders in the pastured poultry business and exchange ideas that help us better serve our local customers like you.

Till next time,

Eric
Eric Simmons
Nature's Gourmet Farm

Melinda M. recently left this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Google Review:

"We could not be more pleased with our bundle purchase. So far we have eaten ground beef, roast, and fresh eggs. Not only is it delicious but we know EXACTLY where and how these animals were raised. Thank you Ben for your commitment to your animals and your customers.​"

Ben Simmons

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