Farm to Table: An Inside Look At Cameron’s Experience
Hi, I’m Cameron, a member of the Meyer Hatchery customer care team. Today I’m sharing with you my farm-to-table experience.
Our family farm was established in 1936 by my grandparents Willie and Mazie Via. My mom, Liz, and I currently run and manage the farm. My son Stetson will be three in April and even at such a young age, he loves the farm and all of the animals.
We are predominantly a cow/calf operation, raising commercial Black Angus and registered Herefords. We also have what most would consider a big backyard flock of chickens varying in all sorts of breeds. My grandfather stirred the passion in me to raise cattle and my grandmother was the one who started my love for chickens.
In the past few years, I believe there has been a bigger push/want for customers to buy directly off the farm. There is an increase in farmers’ markets nationwide as well as more farmers supplying goods to those markets. At our farm, we have decided to jump on the “bandwagon”. We currently offer Hereford beef and fresh eggs to our customers. Not only do we sell locally but we also believe in purchasing locally. We purchase our milk and butter from a local creamery, and any produce that is not raised in our personal garden comes from other local farmers.
With the growing demand for products to be purchased directly off the farm, we intend to increase our numbers on the poultry side. As I mentioned before we have what most would call a large backyard flock, however, I foresee myself becoming the “Crazy Chicken Lady”.
In 2020, I plan to increase our laying hen numbers to 100 and will begin raising roughly 50 broilers for the first time. From past experience and hours of research, I have found what I think will be the most suitable breeds for our operation.
Rhode Island Reds have always been a breed near and dear to my heart because that is the only breed my grandmother raised. The Rhode Island Reds are known for being a dual-purpose breed, brown egg color, laying 5 +/ eggs a week and the hens have a calm temperament.
I have noticed that some customers prefer purchasing white eggs over brown. In order to meet customer demand, I have decided to add Austra Whites to the flock. The Austra Whites are considered a docile breed, great for free-range, and lay 4 to 5 eggs a week. Now, no flock is complete without adding some color to it, and I’m excited to add Easter Eggers to our flock. I have not raised them before, and I know that when Stetson is a little older he can take some green eggs to school for Dr. Seuss day.
Chickens For The Table
We will also raise broilers starting this year. We are currently in the early stages of preparing the farm to take on broilers. We are researching processing equipment to buy and locking down the location of where we are going to raise our broilers. I recently had the opportunity to go over to our neighbors to help process their birds. Come to find out, they purchase all of their birds from Meyer Hatchery. After talking to them, I came to the conclusion that we are going to raise Cornish Cross Broilers. These birds are ready for processing in 5-8 weeks and with good management, your processed weight will average between 4-8 pounds.
2020 has already been so rewarding and it’s only the beginning. I am so excited about my role with Meyer Hatchery working for their remote team and being able to share my experiences with all of you. In case it wasn’t obvious, I will be purchasing all of our chicks from Meyer Hatchery. Stay tuned for updates on how we progress with our farm to table operation. Wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous year.
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