'Round The Farm

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This Week ‘Round The Farm – 09/05/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm – 09/05/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm

Nom Nom Nom

They might not be the brightest birds, but they get extra points for determination!

Sand Box Toy Scooper

Someone stole my feed scoop and replaced it with a sandbox toy 🥄

Nesting Box

New nesting boxes have this girl in awe 🙌.

baby Ray

Quality time with my sweet baby Ray 🥰.

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It’s Been One of Those Weeks

Water Leak

Murphy’s Law is a term used to express, ‘What can go wrong, will go wrong’.  It’s a phenomena we’re all familiar with.  There are those periods in time where it seems nothing is going right.  Power goes out in the middle of some well deserved relaxation, flat tire on an already hectic day, or perhaps just bad news on a day that’s been full of bad news.  I think we’ve all been there and can relate.  That’s been our past two weeks on the farm.  

Last week, we went to water chickens as we do twice a day when it’s been this hot.  Already one of those days where you just want to be in a pool or AC.  Hot, humid, and grass up to our waist is not my favorite time for farm chores.  When opening the yard hydrant, instead of water coming out, air was sucking in.  You can know nothing of plumbing and physics, but you cut on water and air sucks in, we know that’s bad.  Turns out a small piece of plastic the size of a pencil eraser broke on one of our cattle drinkers.  This was the equivalent of opening a hose wide open and running water for 4-5 hours.  The well was pretty much drained.  Luckily we’re on a separate well for the house, so had water for the chickens, but now we’re worried about water for ~ 40 head of cattle.  They can drink 20 gallons per day each.  There was still a small amount of water left in the lines that run across 55 acres, so still a bit.  We got by by cutting the water pump on for 2 minutes a time to fill their water, then shutting off.  After some replacement parts and zip ties (the counterpart to duct tape – works for everything), we fixed the problems.  A two day ordeal that, combined with hospital shifts and parenting, made for a long week.  

Last week also included a GI bug.  Just me so glad everyone else was spared.  COVID negative as well so that’s something, but it took me out for a few days meaning my better half had to double duty chores.  We’re pretty efficient on the farm, but also in the part of summer where we’re kinda treading water to get farm chores done, and that’s when there’s two of us.  Off farm jobs, parenting, and house chores (my lawn’s a jungle) don’t get a break.  So again, just one of those things that multiplies everything else happening on the farm.

To end with what’s been happening these past two weeks, in addition to the above, we had a lizard in the house.  I should say we HAVE a lizard in the house because no one can find it.  Our dog started eating cat poop and vomiting it up in the house.  That’s just great.  Our camper lies unfinished in our polebarn.  It’s calling us, “Hey, come take me on a vacation…. Oh, wait, you haven’t finished me!”.  You’re not wrong camper.  Mice are eating our stored feed because the cats would rather hunt in the fields.  Thanks for nothing guys!  But then, the weather turns out beautiful has it has the past couple days, the kids are healthy despite COVID, RSV, and other human plagues running rampant, and we have each other.  It only takes a quick glance at the news to see that these things we call problems, might not be so bad in the grand scheme of things.  Maybe our Murphy’s Law is really 1st world problems, and the word problems might be a bit of an overemphasis.  I don’t watch the news, but do browse headlines from time to time on the interwebs, and when I’m having one of those days (or weeks), it sheds a lot of perspective that things can always be much worse.    

Whats Happening ‘Round the Farm!

Boneless - Skinless Chicken Breast

Just a quick update on everything that’s presently going on.

Grassfed Beef: Running a bit low on steaks but stocked in everything else.  These cooler nights usher in roasts and comfort food season.  Have a look at the Online Farm Store for what we have to offer.  More cattle going in ~ 4 weeks at which time steaks (and everything else) will be fully restocked.

Pastured Pork: Practically sold out of bacon and breakfast sausage as usual.  Still a good supply of Pork Chops, Boston Butts, Picnic Roasts, and Ham Roasts.  We’re a ways out on restocking but working on improving inventory.  We have secured a number of dates for next year which should help.

Pastured Poultry: Fully restocked with more going in this week and in October, so we’ve got you covered there.  The feedback has been great and we’re excited to have this on the menu this year.

Hand Gathered Eggs: Always in stock.  We’ve recently had to go up on our prices a bit due to our feed costs rising.  I’d like to say we’ll come back down, but historically when feed prices rise, they stay.  So we’ll see.  That said, eggs raised from chickens on pasture are only something you’ll find from local farms.  Ignore the fancy boxes and labels in stores that say “Pasture Raised”.  USDA does not differentiate free-range from pasture raised, thus companies can use the term interchangeably.  Chickens raised in a building with a door, whether they can access it or not, and have a concrete / dirt lot can be called pasture raised.  Our birds live on pasture (grass / fields) and are moved regularly to ensure the stay on grass pastures.  OK, sorry, soapbox rant over 😛

Longbottom Farm Coffee: Instock and we dropped prices a few months ago as we were able to get a discount for bulk beans which means you pay less!  We have 4 blends available to wake you up, and 1 decaf blend if you just want to wake your taste buds up.  

Gift Certificates: Lastly, gift certificates are  now available.  Choose a physical card to give as a gift or a digital E-Card that can be emailed.  Multiple dollar amounts for any occasion.  Check them out here!

Thanks for following us and allowing us to serve you.  If you have questions or would like to share your thoughts, give us a shout!

With Our Appreciation,

Jason, Lexi, and Family

Farmers Markets

Want to pick some Longbottom Farm beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and coffee as well as other locally produced goodies.  These are the places to do it. 

Charlottesville City Market – Every Saturday from 8am – 12 noon.  Now open to in person shopping.  There is also a preorder drive through if you prefer to not leave your car.  Just go to Charlottesville City Market To-Go.

Farmers in the Park – Every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm – In person shopping with food, arts, crafts, and lots more.

A great way to stock up on some local food and treats while enjoying some fresh air.  Thanks to all those that have come out to support local farms and artisans in our area.  Hope to see you there!

Farm Store

It Tastes Right Because It’s Raised Right!

Hand Gathered, Farm Fresh Eggs

Experience the difference and give our free range, premium eggs a try!

Virginia Raised, 100% Grassfed, Black Angus Beef

Our Virginia raised beef at Longbottom Farm is 100% grass-fed & grass-finished.

Longbottom Farm Pastured Pork

Raised in a combination of pasture and woods, our Pastured Pork produces a flavor like no other. Experience the difference.

This Week ‘Round The Farm – 08/08/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm – 08/08/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm

favorite helpers

I’m so thankful these amazing ladies call me mama

favorite helper

I’m so thankful these amazing ladies call me mama.

brooder babies

At this moment we have over 500 chickens on the farm. A new record 🏆.

seeing other animals

Photographic evidence that we do occasionally leave the farm.

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Pastured Poultry is Here!

Whole Bird

After months of “coming soon!” banners and lots of “how are we going to manage this many birds?”, we finally have Pastured Poultry!  You’d think such a small animal would be the easiest of animals to manage on the farm.  We’ve found the opposite is quite true, but we’re glad they’ve finally arrived!

When we started our farming journey, our first purchase was ~ 20 birds for laying eggs and 30 birds for eating (broilers).  It was our foray into farming if you will.  We raised our broilers to eight weeks of age and processed them ourselves.  Yep, they’re 5-7 lbs at eight weeks of age.  Once processed, we loaded the freezer with some for ourselves, sold a few, and gave some to family and friends.  

Why did you stop raising them, you ask?  We’ll, part of it was due to the labor.  Our birds are raised in mobile houses without a floor (chicken tractors) to allow them to forage on pasture while having protection from the elements / predators.  They have to be moved daily which means food and water have to move with them.  As a husband and wife team, it meant a lot of time devoted to these birds.  Part of the reason was also insurance.  Like any business, you have to have insurance (or should have) for unforeseen problems.  We found that no one wanted to insure our birds unless they went through a USDA processor.  The nearest one at the time was in South Carolina!  Well, that wasn’t happening.  Finally, to scale up meant a large financial investment in more chicken tractors, non-gmo feed, processing equipment, etc and the amount of chickens we’d need to raise to break even was wayyyy more than we could manage (at the time).  

What changed?  Mostly, we grew as a farm and learned that if there’s a will, there’s a way.  Also, we found a USDA processor here in Virginia (the only one we’re aware of) within driving distance.  Put those together, and Pastured Poultry is here!  

Our birds are raised on pasture (Pastured Poultry).  This differs from any chicken you’ll buy at the supermarket in that those birds are raised in buildings.  Being on pasture (literally) means grass, insects, forbes, and so many things natural to a chicken’s diet that are not available in conventional systems.  They also receive non-gmo feed as another part of their diet.  We’d love to have them eat on pasture only, but chicken today has been bred over the years to put on weight really fast, thus supplemental feed is a necessity for their health.  That doesn’t mean excluding their natural diet though and that’s why raising them on pasture is the way to go. We’re offering whole birds great for roasting, parted cuts for roasting or grilling, and back / feet / organ packs for soup and broths.  Try out some Pastured Poultry and taste the difference!   

Whats Happening ‘Round the Farm!

Chicken Tractors1 (1)

First off, apologies for the long delay in communications.  It’s been a busy summer on the farm and in keeping up with all that is going on, my writing time fell behind a bit.  Working to fix that so no worries.  Time is flying by this summer it seems but that’s what happens when you enjoy what you do.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when we’d like to be at the beach or heading out on a camping trip, but at the end of the day, farm life provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that is hard to put into words.  Some days are laid back and those we spend on family outings and hobbies, or starting new projects, haha.  Some are morning to night, 100 mph and we’re treading water.  

What’s a typical day like at our farm?  Usually it starts with waking up to coffee and fighting the urge to hang out in our PJs and be lazy.  The girls get a little TV time (PBS Kids usually), then it’s out to do chores.  Our youngest always goes with us because, well, she’s three and has too, but also because she loves going.  I love her little go-get-em attitude.  Our two older girls are now getting an allowance, and farm chores are tied to that so it’s hit or miss.  We never force them to do chores as that’s the quickest way to turn them off of farming.  It’s always their choice but for the most part, they’re right there with us.  

Chores in the morning include moving, feeding, and watering the broilers.  They have moveable shelters that are moved daily to fresh pasture.  In the beginning, it’s typically once per day.  The last couple weeks, it could be 3 times per day as those birds can eat.  Next come the pigs.  They have large feeders that are filled every 5-7 days depending on weather, temperature, and how many we have.  They have a large waterer as well.  Some days take about 5 minutes just to check them, and others take an hour or two.  Then it’s on to the cattle.  We rotate them between pastures to promote grass production and give them fresh grass.  This summer has been tough because the lack of rain has forced us to leave them in places longer and give them bigger pastures due to the lack of grass growth.  That’s changing now that the rains are more frequent and the grass is growing again.  They also have large shade structures (12’x24’) that we move daily or every other day to keep them distributing manure around the pasture.  Then moving their mineral bin and they’re done.  Last come the egg layers, but we usually don’t address them until the afternoon once everyone has had a chance to lay.  They are moved frequently as well via their “Egg Mobile” (Livestock trailer converted to chicken house) so ensure they always have fresh pasture.  

Beside chores, there are always fences to fix, grass / pastures to cut, corrals / stalls to build, watering systems to improve, and the list goes on and on, and that’s just the outside stuff.  At night when the girls are asleep, that’s usually the time I reply to emails, balance the books, work on the website, enter data into spreadsheets (I love spreadsheets!), and research farm ideas / plans.  

That’s our chore routine for the day in a nutshell.  Mid-day consists of projects, getting ready for markets on Wednesday (Farmers in the Park) and Saturday (Charlottesville City Market), Wednesday deliveries, and farm pick-ups.  Outside of farming, we also homeschool our girls so that happens around lunch time for a few hours a day.  They’ve had the summer off which means we’ve had the summer off, but the farm is always providing lessons and we’re always turning farming and play time into learning opportunities.  We’re always very conscious to not let farming or work keep us from being active parents in our children’s lives.   

Outside of farming and parenting, I (Jason) also work as a Physician Assistant (“PA”) a couple days a week with a Neonatal Practice in Richmond.  Lexi works as an RN at UVA and coordinates their Cleft Palate Team.  People ask why we don’t just farm full time, and I tell them we do.  We just have Healthcare jobs as well and we love them.  We’re in a unique position in that we didn’t start farming to quit our day jobs.  We started farming because we wanted healthy and responsibly raised food for our family and wanted to share that with others, while still loving the healthcare jobs we have.  It’s a balancing act sometimes, but we make it work.

That’s a glimpse of life around here at Longbottom Farm.  We hope in upcoming updates to share more about how and why we do things here on the farm.  You buy from us because you want to know how your food is raised and where it’s from, and we want to share that with you.  We love sharing the farm life and how small farms work, so if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.  Lexi is also very active on Instagram, so if you love lots of pics and stories, follow us there as well.  Thanks for reading and talk to ya soon!

Thanks for following us and allowing us to serve you.  If you have questions or would like to share your thoughts, give us a shout!  Stay cool out there!

With Our Appreciation,

Jason, Lexi, and Family

Farmers Markets

Want to pick some Longbottom Farm beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and coffee as well as other locally produced goodies.  These are the places to do it. 

Charlottesville City Market – Every Saturday from 8am – 12 noon.  Now open to in person shopping.  There is also a preorder drive through if you prefer to not leave your car.  Just go to Charlottesville City Market To-Go.

Farmers in the Park – Every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm – In person shopping with food, arts, crafts, and lots more.

A great way to stock up on some local food and treats while enjoying some fresh air.  Thanks to all those that have come out to support local farms and artisans in our area.  Hope to see you there!

Farm Store

It Tastes Right Because It’s Raised Right!

Hand Gathered, Farm Fresh Eggs

Experience the difference and give our free range, premium eggs a try!

Virginia Raised, 100% Grassfed, Black Angus Beef

Our Virginia raised beef at Longbottom Farm is 100% grass-fed & grass-finished.

Longbottom Farm Pastured Pork

Raised in a combination of pasture and woods, our Pastured Pork produces a flavor like no other. Experience the difference.

This Week ‘Round The Farm – 06/06/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm – 06/06/2021

This Week ‘Round The Farm

Oink!

We have a particularly chatty bunch of oinkers this year 🐽.

apple

We were shocked to see these adorable baby apples on our first year trees 🍏.

chicks

May is as overwhelmed by the number of babies as I am 🐣.

chicken tractors

I’m pretty sure Noah built the ark in less time, but progress is progress, right?

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Catching Up

baby chicks

Summer is in full swing and we’re still catching up on Spring projects.  I think we all know the feeling.  The juggling of events and projects that gets a little overwhelming at times.  Amazing what warmer weather and a few extra hours of sunlight will do to the to-do list.  But what doesn’t get done will still be there so it’s all good!  A few updates / happenings on the farm.

Pastured Poultry:  Our first group of chicks are almost ready to graduate to the chicken tractors (movable outdoor pens).  Chicken tractors are those incomplete wooden structures seen above.  It protects them from predators while allowing them to grow / thrive on grass.  We’re anticipating offering Pastured Poultry the 2nd week of July.  Whole birds and individual cuts.  Stay tuned!

Eggs: We’ve recently had to increase our eggs price slightly.  Our feed cost has risen 3 times over the past few months.  We’re in the process of doubling our flock to improve efficiency and hopefully offset rising costs.

Beef:  Cattle went to the processor last week so we should be fully restocked in the next 2-3 weeks.  We’ve also secured dates through 2023 with our processor so hopefully you’ll see less sold out signs.

Pork: We’ll be taking pigs in two weeks and should be fully restocked by the end of the month.  Bacon will finally be back!

Coffee: Good news and good news.  We’ve added a decaf variety to the line up, for those that want to awaken your taste buds without staying awake.  We’ve also DROPPED the price of our coffees.  Buying more beans in bulk allows us to get a better price that we can pass on to you!

Check out our online store to see what’s available and what’s coming.  Order online and pick up on the farm, at Charlottesville City Market / Farmers in the Park Market, or have your order delivered if you’re in the Charlottesville / Scottsville area.   Thanks for following and supporting local.

Thanks for following us and allowing us to serve you.  If you have questions or would like to share your thoughts, give us a shout!  Stay cool out there!

With Our Appreciation,

Jason, Lexi, and Family

Farmers Markets

Want to pick some Longbottom Farm beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and coffee as well as other locally produced goodies.  These are the places to do it. 

Charlottesville City Market – Every Saturday from 8am – 12 noon.  Now open to in person shopping.  There is also a preorder drive through if you prefer to not leave your car.  Just go to Charlottesville City Market To-Go.

Farmers in the Park – Every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm – In person shopping with food, arts, crafts, and lots more.

A great way to stock up on some local food and treats while enjoying some fresh air.  Thanks to all those that have come out to support local farms and artisans in our area.  Hope to see you there!

Farm Store

It Tastes Right Because It’s Raised Right!

Hand Gathered, Farm Fresh Eggs

Experience the difference and give our free range, premium eggs a try!

Virginia Raised, 100% Grassfed, Black Angus Beef

Our Virginia raised beef at Longbottom Farm is 100% grass-fed & grass-finished.

Longbottom Farm Pastured Pork

Raised in a combination of pasture and woods, our Pastured Pork produces a flavor like no other. Experience the difference.

NEVER MISS A FARM UPDATE

Stay up to date on farm events, announcements and farmers market locations.