Yesterday's visit to Seven Sons Farm was inspiring.
This farm is located 20 miles from Ft. Wayne, Indiana and is run by the seven sons of Mr. & Mrs. Hitzfeld. They have been direct-marketing pasture-based foods since 2000, and have become the dominant producer and marketer in the Midwest, distributing product to cities throughout Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. All of their business is conducted through on-line transactions and deliveries to neighborhoods every six weeks. What is more, they are willing to consult with aspiring producers and marketers, like ourselves. It seemed prudent to sit at their feet for several hours, and it was. Below are Blaine and Blake, both of high character and intelligence.
The picture above is of their newly designed laying-hen operation. 1000 hens make this enclosure home, which includes about an acre of pasture, and is moved every day with a tractor. The density of hens seems to prevent aerial predators from attacking, while electric nets ward off canines. Note the amount of trampling and consumption of grass in the picture at the bottom. This mobile structure is parked for the winter above a water point and filled with wood chips for deep bedding.
This is the last week of outdoor markets at Milford and Hyde Park. Next week the Hyde Park market moves to Clark Montessori (3030 Erie Ave.) and the Milford market moves to on-line ordering, with delivery every two weeks at 5:30 on Wednesdays to the same location. We will continue at Findlay until weather prevents doing so.