We focus the animal energy of the farm on three critters: cows, pigs, and chickens. All of our animals are raised as part of the farm system. The roles they play in cycling and recycling nutrients, eating insects, mowing grass, tilling the soil, and providing us with hours of entertainment (as if we just sit around and watch them!) are just as important as the products they provide.
All of our animals are raised on certified organic feed (hay, pasture, grain and cull vegetables from the farm). Our meat and eggs are all certified organic.
Cows and Beef
We started our herd of cows with a Jersey named Ellie and a Milking Shorthorn-Jersey Cross named Eva. Eva was the grand dam of our herd for many years. She lived a long and productive life, taught many young folks how to milk by hand and is the cow pictured on our logo and signs. She died on Mothers Day, enjoying new pasture, in the spring of 2009 at the age of 20.
Our beef herd is now primarily made up of Devon cattle. We chose this breed because they are efficient grazers and produce high-quality beef on a grass-based diet. Devon beef is more flavorful compared to other breeds thanks to the balance of fat and meat. They have intra-muscular fat in the meat, producing a wonderful marbled beef.
Our beef is available by the cut at the Norwich Farmers’ Markets as well as right here at the farm. If you sign up for our vegetable CSA, you have the option to add on a meat share which includes our beef, pork and chicken. We occasionally sell animals by the whole, half or quarter.
Pigs are smart and piglets are cute. We purchase weaned organic piglets in the spring and raise them on our organic fields, feed them weeds and cull vegetables from the farm and certified organic grain.
Pigs are our natural field renovators. They love rooting around eating plants and roots and grubs. Our pigs get plenty of sunshine and exercise and always a nice mud hole to wallow in.
You can purchase our pork at the Norwich Farmers Market and at the farm. We can also sell pork by the whole or half animal. As with our beef, pork is included in our meat share for our current CSA members.
Our poultry is all organic and raised on pasture and fallow vegetable fields. The chickens help us to improve our field and pasture fertility, and the bugs and worms they eat foraging makes healthy and happy birds. In addition to the foraging, we feed our chickens organic grain.
We get our day-old chicks in the mail and provide them with a warm, dry place for their first few weeks. As soon as they are hearty enough, we put them out on pasture in movable pens.
When they get a little bigger we put a nice big flexi-net fence around them so they have plenty of room to explore and forage. The electrified fence also helps to keep predators out and the chickens away from growing gardens.
Our eggs are available for purchase at the Norwich Farmers Market, the farm and for our CSA members as an add-on Egg Share. You can also find our eggs on occasion at the South Royalton Market.
Our meat chickens can be purchased fresh or frozen from the farmers’ market, through our CSA, or directly here at the farm. We have a discount for purchasing ten or more chickens and we appreciate advance orders.
If you want to know when we are bringing fresh — never frozen! — chickens to the farmers’ market, I recommend you like us on Facebook — we try to post there when we’ll have fresh chickens, so you’ll be sure to see our announcements.
And one last thing on the chicken front . . . we can only sell whole chickens. Sometimes people are hesitant to buy larger birds when we have them, but I say “don’t be afraid!” Larger birds are great! More meat for the amount of bone. And when you buy them fresh, you can always cut them up and freeze pieces . . . have a wing party over the winter, use a chicken breast in stirfry . . . Contact us if you want to be on our “fresh chicken” list so you can cut up your own chicken.
Here is a great video showing how to cut up a chicken (hat tip to our pals at Sunrise Farm for finding this). Very clear directions and demonstration. It really is not that hard… even I can do it! Take a look and bookmark it for the next time you buy a fresh, organic, free-range chicken from Luna Bleu Farm.