May 25, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
The saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words"! The Spring of 2013 John Wood who owns US Wellness Meats visited our farm. During the visit he introduced me to the GrassFed Exchange and the annual conference. He said if I would attend he would use his points to buy my ticket. Did I mention the conference would be in Bismark and feature a tour of Brown's Ranch? I have been very pleased with how my pastures have responded this Spring. While looking back at my notes from the 2013 conference and farm tour a couple of things stuck out. First, don't expect to see much improvement until after 5 years. And, if you continue to follow the principles the improvement accelerates - meaning it keeps getting better. That is exciting! Secondly, I reviewed the Rainfall Simulator demonstration at Gabe's Ranch. Let me que this up for you.
Read more...
May 18, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Since February, our pastures have really excelled. Currently, the Persian Clover is in bloom. It produces a purple flower with a very sweet lavender smell. Every aspect of this clover supports its reputation for excellent forage quality. Mature stems are soft, hollow and have thin structural plant cell walls, leading it to be more digestible than red clover or alfalfa. Some common forage tests boast CP 16-21%. Not to mention, studies have shown persian clover to be more palatable than rape, alfalfa, fescue or perennial ryegrass. High productivity during March- April, provides excellent regrowth potential into early June following grazing. Given the right circumstances, one could expect Persian clover to naturally reseed and be redistributed by wind/water via its very mobile, light weight, seed pods. Spring flowers are known to also attract flower flies, which larva are a leading predator of aphids. Our pastures have supported an amazing weight gain on our steers this Spring.
Read more...
May 11, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Today I want to share updates about our chickens. Many customers when they visit our farm are surprised to learn that our chicks are shipped to us by the USPO. They typically are shipped the same day they hatch (usually on Tuesday) and arrive on Thursday's. We receive a phone call about 6:30 AM from the Petal Post Office that our chicks have arrived and please come get them. The top left picture is one of two crates of baby chicks. The first thing we do when unpacking is make sure they take a drink of water. We also hold food back until they have been here about 3-hours - again, to make sure they drink. The picture to the right is from our third batch taken in our new brooder trailer that I built in April. This is our first batch in the new
Read more...
May 4, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Good Morning from the farm! Praise Lord for He is faithful. What an amazing week! What's so amazing? Well, NGF Customers are "The Best". The number of website orders were 73% higher than our previous high month. Plus, nine customers picked up chicken frozen on the delivery route. I'll be honest. I was really concerned about keeping on schedule. Even though Beth & I had planned and worked to make sure everything was accounted for, all I could think about was
Read more...
April 27, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Hey, Ben here -this week I want to share a story written by another farmer. We've shared other farmer stories from time to time as our belief is as "real food" farmers we should be collaborative and not competitive! Besides, I certainly do not have all the knowledge, ideas, etc. We learn from each other. The farmer who wrote this piece is none other than the renowned Joel Salatin himself, the farmer/writer/philosopher of Polyface Farm. Some folks call Joel the most famous farmer in the world, or the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Joel calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. I call him my most influential pasture mentor as well as one of my favorite writers. After reading several of his books Beth & I visited his farm July 2011 along with 1,998 other interested folks.
Read more...
April 20, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
this week I want to share a farm visit we had from Eric & Morgan, a young couple who lives on the Gulf Coast and are expecting their first child. Eric called a few days earlier to schedule a time to visit. When they arrived I asked their interest and he shared they wanted to start eating local because they have concerns about eating industrial Ag food, especially now expecting their new baby. So, I took them around and showed them what we do, how we handle the animals, and why we pay attention to the details. When Morgan saw the chickens she commented,
Read more...
April 13, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week Ben shares information on three important agriculture topics. First up is the USDA releases the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Next, pork prices are called higher due to African Swine Flu that will put a serious supply strain on all animal proteins in 2019. Lastly, The USDA FSIS responds to a Washington Post article on pork inspection rule changes. We hope you find this helpful.
Read more...
April 6, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week I want to update you on various farm activities. The very wet fall & winter we had was hard on our farm. But, Spring is here and it seems El Nino may be moving on. Our diverse forage pastures are responding very good to the warmer temperatures and sunshine and providing plenty of lush grasses and legumes for our steers and nursing momma cows! Sows are busy raising their next litter. Baby pigs are so fun to watch - and fast. They can really scoot. The faster they scoot the faster their oink, oink! The hens are awesome. They hit the ground at daylight
Read more...
March 30, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week I went to Lucedale to visit with Ethan & his team of artisan meat cutters to shoot a short video of them cutting and packing Nature's Gourmet Farm beef. Unfortunately, because of background noise, we were not able to use some of the audio & video of an important conversation we had. Basically, I was discussing how important it is to let the beef mature before processing. Literature I read when we first started said "at 1000 pounds he's ready to go". Well, that is not true. Two years ago we learned from Dr. Williams (who sells his beef to white table cloth restaurants) that
Read more...
March 23, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Hey, Ben here - this week we had a special visit from one of our restaurant partners, Mr. Josh Casper who is the Head Chef for the Depot Kitchen in Downtown Hattiesburg located across from the Train Depot. They have been buying our eggs for just over a year now. This was a great opportunity to get to know Josh as well as show him our farm and learn how we can better work together to bring healthy food to people's plates. After the tour, I was able to record a short interview. Please click the video link to hear directly from Josh to include upcoming menu changes that includes more business for our farm.
Read more...
March 16, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Hey, Ben here - we hear from our customers that food is a subject that seems so simple, yet is so hard for many. Farmers and consumers alike are confused by debates about what's right or healthiest for people, livestock, and our environment. What was once natural and intuitive for hundreds of years has become the subject of intense nutritional research and government intervention. It is mind boggling to think that people do not know how to eat healthy without the USDA food pyramid or reading diet books. What customer do know, just by looking around, is that something is broken. They know
Read more...
March 9, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Springtime is my favorite time of the year because it's the time of new life - the days are getting longer, sunshine is bright and warm, the grass greens up, trees are budding and adding new leaves, flowers are blooming, bees and other insects are about their task, and it is calving time. Calving started right on time this year. About 75% of the cows had calved in the first 21 days. Calves are a lot of fun to watch. Let me explain. Imagine about 70 kindergartners on the playground. We have observed one group of calves playing together, but
Read more...