Sharing our small farm stories and skills along our farming, gardening and homesteading journey. Visit the farm for an informative and sometimes irreverent tour through our garden, livestock pastures, chicken coop and greenhouse as we live - pasture to plate. Farming topics free range around pastured heritage pigs, broiler chickens and pastured eggs, heritage breed turkeys, an heirloom vegetable CSA and garden, high tunnel / hoop house / green houses, organic and traditional gardening, farm infrastructure, tractors, sustainable energy, permaculture, food preservation and even fence mending.

Farming stories and skills from our small farm, gardening and homesteading journey -

pasture to plate.

This is the last CoopCast of the year!  We expect to be back with another episode January 8th, 2014.  So on with the farming updates and the bitter cold and endless snow here on the farm. We talk a little about how the pigs and chickens are doing in this brutal cold. If you haven't checked it out - visit our Facebook page and see the story of the #elfonafarm... https://www.facebook.com/chickenthistlefarm

To celebrate the holidays we have a community segment where we talk about:

  • The recent FDA and antibiotic use ruling brought up by Daniel- http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378100.htm
  • We pick on Nancy (again) for calling Andy, Randy
  • Pam asked us about reusable canning lids that we discussed in episode 030
  • Tori has a question about electric fencing, goats, moose and bear
  • Kyle asked a good thinking question about predator control

In our last segment we discuss all the people and businesses who make what we do possiable.

A special thanks to Pine Creek Feeds, Joe's Meat Market, Welp Hatchery and of course Farmtek (if you listen to the episode you will get a coupon code good for $25 off $75 or more!)...  and of course we thank our customers!

Finally - it's that time of the year to nomiate your favorite podcasts - so please take moment to give us your vode on Sticher Radio here - http://stitcher.promotw.com/

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Direct download: CoopCast_097.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 1:12pm EST

The Farming Updates this week are few and far between.  We do celebrate the fact we got our 1st Easter egg just in time for Christmas.  We talk about Belle standing or not and the challenges of a new gilt in heat as well as Kelli's plans for the farm undergoing an agricultural assessment.  We also discuss some simple online accounting packages for managing our farm - from Quickbooks (bad) to Freshbooks (great).

In the Farmers Choice segment brought to you by FarmTek (check out the segment for a coupon code to save you $25 off any order of $75 or more!) - we talk a few Christmas gift ideas as well as recipies and how we approach getting things from the pasture onto the plate.

Direct download: CoopCast_096.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 10:16am EST

This weeks updates talke a bit about the winter weather and the snow we had here on the farm and the impact on thep igs.  We move them to the winter paddock - finally!  We talk about Tahnksgiving turkeys and why we love ours so much.  One farmer is getting tired of deer season so we give an update there and close with some thoughts on our pork sales.

This weeks Farmers Choice segment is sponsored by FarmTek.com.  Check out the segment for a coupon code to save $25 off orders over $75!!!

We also talk about farming and farmers use of social media. There's a lot to using social media correctly and we just scratch the surface and share some examples of how it has and has not worked for our farm and others.

Then we put our feet up and head to some Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch to discuss - raw milk.  Mind you - these are our opinoons about raw milk...  because so many of you have asked. Take them or leave them will all the discussion out there on this hot topic.

Direct download: CoopCast_095.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:43pm EST

This weeks's CoopCast is a batch of updates and a bit of community.  We talk about getting ready to move the pigs to their winter area and the fencing preparations that gointo that move. We give an update on deer hunting and pork sales (whihc are unrelated). We also are looking forward already to spring farrowing...  and figuring out when our new gilt is in standing heat has been a challenge.

In the community we just answer a bunch of questiosn for our Facebook page!

Direct download: CoopCast_094.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:30am EST

This is a coopcast unlike any other... it's our first foray into an immersive multimedia experience.  We play the video "Modern Trends in Swine Production" from 1961 produced by US Steel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcqxI7a6wSM).  It's really cool to look back over 50 years to how pigs were produced and how we stack up today. So join us as we walk the fields with a true swine specialist!

From there we free range over to some more contemporary farming topics like "how do I get started" and "I know how to farm better than you". There's a lot of people out there who think they are the person to change the way the world grows food... meaning they think they are smarter than all the people in agriculture over the last 10,000 years. Beware of them!

Then we talk about deposit based farming. We explore the why's and how's of what we do. This was a great question by Tyler and we do our best to explain the risks and rewards of this approach.

Finally we respond to listeners that asked us about the legal world around small scale farming. Don't you think we all need some common sense laws around agriculture, food production and direct to consumer farms? Who doesn't think that some common sense controls around things like,  ohh, raw milk make us all safer?

Join in on the discussion on our Facebook page @ facebook.com/chickenthistlefarm or hit us up on Twitter @chickenthistle and let us know your thoughts!

Direct download: CoopCast_093.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:43pm EST

In the CoopCast Updates we talk about the big smoked pork pickup and the fact the second batch of pigs did not have the USDA inspectors reject their livers.

On a nice night out on the town at a super fancy resturant the farmers ordered a dish called "pork two ways" where they were served pork loin medailons and laquered pork belly.  While the meal was delicious somethign very interesting happened... Farmer Andy confirmed that he is deffinately sensitive to the "mythical" boar taint. There is no doubt that it exists and that it was in the pork belly... Farmer Kelli was grateful and ate it all!

On the Front Porch we talk about our listeners a LOT.  We talk a bit about our UK following with Trevor and Robert.  We share the "comment" from Tilda the Swede living in Argentina... she was astonished that anyone with our accent would have anything interesting to say... A rather awkward compliment, ya think?!  We also respond to the questions from Steve and others asking if we a preppers or not. And what exacly is a prepper? Farmer Kelli redefines it to us as "being a responsible adult".

Direct download: CoopCast_092.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:42pm EST

The updates this week include our last major on farm pork pickup by our customers. It's always nice to see customers and experience the coolness of local foods through their eyes. We share some of the challenges in delivering pork to customers as well. This week was also the consolidation of laying birds and the culling of the old flock.

In Questions, Conversations & Ruminations we talk openly and honestly about pigs and worms. We learned the hard way that we need to be more proactive in deworming the pigs as we had the first batch of livers rejected due to worms. We also saw a decrease in expected hanging weight... although there were no signs of worms in the pigs, we had them and share the experience.

In Farm U, Dr. Farmer Kelli talks about hand sanitizer here on the farm and how it's used in our day to day farming activites. Farmer Andy is generally full of bad humor and sci-fi puns.

Direct download: CoopCast_091.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:23pm EST

This weeks farm and garden updates include the farmer anniversary and dinner.  We talk about getting batch 2 of pigs to the processor and getting the fresh cuts back and to customers from the first batch. We have a new freezer to house the butcher cuts we will be selling from the farm starting in November (stay tuned for pricing and information). Finally we put the veggie patch to bed as we closed up the vegetable garden brining almost all of our gardening season to a close.

In the CoopCast Community we answer some listener questions about:

  • Why we choose seed vendors we do
  • How many people listen to podcast- trends dipping in Oct
  • Listener john- paying us $1 million for 80 more episodes... the check is in the mail...
  • Josh- chickens on pasture but no grazers

On the Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch segment - here's the Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake #hashtag clip that's totatlly worth watching - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA.  We talk about the movie Gravity and it's a strong recomendation to go see. Finally we discuss the season premier of The Walking Dead and if sustainable famer types are drawn to that type of tv.

Direct download: CoopCast_090.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:36pm EST

This weeks updates are a bunch of "end of the farming season" things...  Turkey processing is complete! It always goes very slow but we had all of them sold.  We were very suprised by how small these heritage birds were this year.  We also took our first batch of pigs to the processor and have the second bacth scheduled for next week.  In taking the pigs we have chosen our new gilt as well!

This weeks Veggie patch segment is sponsored by farmtek.com - listen to the coopcast for the coupon code to sahev $25 on orders of $75 or more.

We talk about what we are harvesting in the gardens right now and from the green house.  The cold and wet spring that stunted the plants seems to have been a blessing for our late season harvest.  Tomatoes, zuchinni, and winter squash top the gardn and greenhouse lists.  Andy laments about how gross eggplant is and discusses a new use for them (hint - pistols are involved).  We also tak a little about the question we get asked a lot about the CSA or other farm enterprises - "is it worth it?"

Direct download: CoopCast_089.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:48pm EST

This weeks updates really sound a lot like the end of the season is upon us.

We have turkey processing this weekend and are planning the changeover of chickens in the chick wagon and the coop. We also talk about the pigs to processor:

  • trailer in place -1st batch Monday
  • 2nd batch- following Monday
  • receiving final cut sheets, etc
  • our cut sheet decisions

This week the CoopCast Community is sponsored by FarmTek - listen to get you FarmTek promotion code / coupon code today!

First off, thanks for get well wishes last week. Still, Farmer Andy is better this week and should be out hunting tonight!

Second, thanks for making your questions and comments public for otehrs to learn from.  Now on to the listener questions...

  1. Karen- asked have we tried free range Cornish yet?
  2. Christy- wanted to know if we have written what's in the row boat anywhere?
  3. Tim- grilled first of his own chickens - felt good to be part of the solution that we inspired him to take acton on!
  4. Rebekah- asked if we make enough $ w/ CSA to make it worth it...
  5. Chris - asks about "free help" on the farm

In a new Farm U segment - we talk 1/2 pig cut sheets

What is a pork cut sheet and how do we set ours up to help customers make decisions.

Visual element to this segment - (Cut sheet here)

Direct download: CoopCast_088.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:32pm EST