Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Hello, Spring!

Last year was challenging for us with both the Grade Fire and Redwood Valley Fire, evolving the flow of the farm to work with new market channels and land, and trying to juggle it all without sacrificing family life. We made it through, and now that we’re adjusting to life with two children (baby boy was born Dec. 27!), we’re excited for this year of farming more local food.

On the one hand, the wildfires were horrible in that they destroyed livestock fencing and set back the grazing for a year or two. On the other hand, working with our landlord, Golden Vineyards, we can work with a “clean slate” and expand the rangeland pasture available. We are especially excited for the prospect of raising more sheep and goats!

Egg layers in BD olives & vines 2018

Until then, we are focusing on pastured heritage pork and poultry production. We continue to purchase inexpensive organic and non-GMO food manufacturing byproduct that cuts our feed costs on raising meat chickens and pigs. This helps us stay competitive at our scale – much smaller than larger, vertically integrated operations. (We also purchase organic feed to ensure a balanced ration.)

Last year, we rented irrigated summer pasture for our hogs which we will continue to do this year. We plan to bring our sheep and cows there, too, as buying hay is not sustainable. By late spring, we should have those animals moved from Heart Arrow Ranch and to summer pasture.

We also just raised out our first batch of Pekin ducks! This was an experiment for us. It happened that the USDA-inspected processor was able to give us a date to custom process, so we jumped at the chance. As long as we make a few improvements on any subsequent batches, the duck enterprise can be profitable for us. So…if you are looking for local, pasture-raised, organically-fed duck, we have it available now!

Pekin ducks 2018

Throughout the year, we will be raising our pastured, organically-fed broiler chickens. The plan right now is to raise both Cornish Cross and Freedom Rangers. Forget what the difference is? Cornish Cross chickens have a more tender texture and more delicate taste and are ideal for dishes that are cooked quicker and at a higher heat. Cornish cross chickens are raised to 8-weeks old. Freedom Ranger chickens have a firmer, developed texture and richer, fuller taste. They are best for slow-cooked and braised dishes. Freedom Ranger chickens are raised to 12-weeks old.

We also just wanted to put in a plug for roaster hogs! Word is starting to get around that we sell amazing whole hogs for parties, like weddings. Adam can even come out and roast it for you if your event is not too far away. Roasting and eating a whole hog is a mouth-watering experience if done right.

Right now, you can find our chicken and pork on the menu at SIP and SAVOR at The Golden Pig in Hopland. We’re also helping them with eggs. Stop in to try their fresh, delicious fare. They have a full bar with many locally-produced spirits, wines, and beer. They even have a beer on tap from Moonlight Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, where we get spent brewery grains for our pigs.

Pork production slowed a bit last year, but by summer we should have cut-and-wrapped pork available again for filling your freezers. Also, we’re hoping to raise holiday turkeys this year! We will let you know when we start taking deposits on turkey. As always, it helps us immensely when we have orders confirmed before we start raising or producing something, and pre-payments help us cover input costs. Our days of running a traditional CSA (community-supported agriculture) have stopped, but the spirit of having co-producers is still crucial for us to continue farming delicious, healthy food for our community.

Have a blessed Spring!

-The Gaskas


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Is it still raining?

Is it still raining?

It’s grey and wet today, but we’re busy as ever with CSA veggie planting, bottle-feeding kid goats, and keeping our sheep in check in the vineyard. Spinach and peas are popping up out of the ground as are the beets and carrots. Potatoes have been planted in Potter Valley and starting to break the surface. Lettuce is thriving in the high tunnel. We have one soil test back and we’re calculating nutrient requirements for the different crops to see if we need to add any amendments. And our yearly organic crop inspection is coming up next week!
Yes, it’s busy on the farm, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for you to come visit with us! Many thanks for supporting our farm – your farm. There are currently 26 CSA shareholders, with the hope for at least 50 members this year.
Cashflowing the farm is extremely tight, meat sales are helping subsidize the vegetable cropping, and we’re making cuts in the budget to make ends meet. We are keeping up on bills, but we still need to put significant investment into upgrading our postharvest handling, including the walk-in cooler. But, we’re still getting crops in the ground and hope that commodity prices are favorable this year. We will most likely have to sell certain surplus crops to Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op and restaurants. Local restaurants are tricky to sell to because they typically pay very low prices for very low volume, but we have a good relationship with Bar Agricole (a James Beard Foundation Award Finalist this year!) in San Francisco who always wants more of our produce. The Ukiah Unified School District is also interested in our produce.
If you know someone interested in joining our CSA but is not sure, please invite them to the April 13 farm tour at the home ranch. This will be just one of a couple farm events we’re hosting this year.
We’ll also be at a big CSA Open House in Hopland on Saturday, April 20, from 11am-5pm. It’s part of the Solar Living Institute’s Earth Day Festival, and we’ll be one of eight CSA farms with farm information, looking for more sign-ups. There’s also going to be a couple cooking demos with food from CSA farms, as well as the entire Earth Day Festival happening!
Hope to see you at one of these events, and thanks!
Adam & Paula Gaska

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“Hi! Wow, there are so many of us, and we’d love it if you purchased a Chicken CSA share. When you pay for your chicken ahead of time, you help cover the costs to raise us. That means we have a happy, healthy life before we make it to a dinner table near you!”

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Hi, Mendo folks! Now, you can sign up for a Chicken CSA share with credit or debit card on PayPal. Just visit , and in a few minutes, you can easily pay and send us your sign-up info. Note: this is for Ukiah and Willits pick-up only. If you’d like to pay with check or cash, please download the forms at the bottom of the page here.

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2011 Chicken CSA

Hello, Ukiah Valley! It is wet and wintry, but we are busy on spreadsheets, on the phone, consulting calendars, and on our calculators planning out the main growing season – spring! (We’re also in the middle of lambing season and the Winter Veg CSA…) But, the spring fairies will be out and blooming sooner than we know it 😉

As a community-based farm, we market most of our food products through CSA – Community-Supported Agriculture. We are doing the Chicken CSA again, with some small changes from past seasons. Check out the Chicken CSA page for more detailed info.

This year, we are raising chickens from June through October. We are ending the season a little earlier in case there is a big, early rain, as happened in 2010. So, a chicken share is 5 chickens ($90.00) throughout the season. Also, we are raising and processing a batch of chickens every other week, as opposed to every 4 weeks. This should provide for a more consistent size in the chicken you get each pick-up. All the details on how the chicken CSA works can be found here. Plan on signing up for a chicken share by March 15, 2011!

Also, this year, we hope to upgrade our poultry processing station. Some things we hope to invest in include: killing cones, chiller, carrying crates, and the convenient “cryovac” bags. (You can explore small-scale poultry processing here.) We hope to improve on our poultry enterprise, ultimately making it more cost-effective and resulting in better chicken for you!

This is NOT how we market our chickens!


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We have not posted news in a while, but it is no wonder – we are so very busy! And this week is no exception. As all the vineyards in Mendo are bustling with harvest, we have been assisting with the grape harvest at Golden Vineyards. It’s always exciting to collaborate with the Goldens, and although we’re doing a lot, we enjoy taking part in the grape harvest madness that has taken over the region. In some ways, the success of our farm depends on the success of the agriculture around us.

In terms of our own harvest, we have been doing a lot of it. Since September, we have been supplying the five NCO Head Start centers in Ukiah with weekly CSA produce shares. Some of the summer’s bounty have been melons, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, sweet peppers, chard, and more. Periodically, we have supplemented the Live Power CSA produce shares with our vegetables as well.

Since mid-August, we have been supplying produce to the bar and restaurant, Bar Agricole. This week, we are sending some lamb their way. It required us driving down to Occidental and back on a Sunday night to drop off the lamb for processing, but that is what we have to do as there is no place for us to do that in Mendo…

Speaking of lamb, our sheep still reside at 3WG in Potter Valley. They have been very happy there thus far, and we’re still putting in time and labor to rehabilitate a couple of the fields there. Growing hay and pasture is still somewhat new for us, so we are going to try growing a specific mix in one field and see how it compares with the other fields. There is still some tractor work to be done so that the irrigation water flows across the fields correctly. Many of the ewes are bagging up (their udders are becoming full of milk) meaning we will have more lambs soon. If you are interested in buying our lamb for your freezer, let us know. We may have some available right now.

Also, we are in the home stretch of the meat chicken CSA. This Saturday, October 23, we will have the 5th batch of chicken shares available for pick-up at the Ukiah Farmers Market. We also plan to have extras for market sale as well.

Earlier this week, we also got together with Doug from the Mendocino Grain Project to get some of our grain cleaned. Some grain we will be reseeding and some wheat will go toward the grain CSA.

This week, we have also been harvesting and curing the winter squash for the Winter CSA. So far, we’ve harvested a couple varieties of acorn, lots of spaghetti, and delicata. The butternut, kabocha, and other plantings are still maturing.

One truckload of many!

You may not have heard, but we finally got a 4-wheel tractor in August. Fall planting has been happening much faster with the large disk and shovels for bed-shaping!

With it being autumn now, we are following the weather forecast closely; we must plan for the first substantial rain. While we are doing all this harvesting, fall is when we plant our hay/pasture and grain. This year, we will be growing barley at the south Ukiah property.

Perhaps when the days are super short and we’re inside more, we will have more blog posts for you 🙂

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We’re doing it again! We’re pushing forward 1 week the processing of our broiler chickens. Basically, the hatchery sent this batch of day-old chicks to us later than expected, so our feathery friends need more time foraging, eating, and running around before experiencing their full lives of tastiness.

So Ukiah Shareholders & Live Power San Francisco Shareholders – your chickens will be ready on Saturday, September 11.

We should have some extras for sale at the Ukiah Saturday Farmers Market, September 11. Thank you!

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