Spring has sprung and that makes for a Nine Mile Farm full of happy ducks and lots and we do mean lots of eggs. We would like to thank our customers who hung with us though the winter where egg count naturally drops and on top of it our major loss to a coyote. All of that is behind us now, our girls are producing 7-8 dozen eggs a day and our inventory is at an all time high. So if you have been waiting to get some uber fresh duck eggs, now is the time.
Eggs are Collected, Washed and Packaged Every Morning
As always our eggs are from pastured ducks which are now on a 4 paddock rotation system, allowing them access to grass, herbs and insects every day. They are also fed sunflower sprouts for breakfast every morning, which they now demand if Jack is even a few moments late in serving them.
To set up your pick up of eggs just call Dorothy at 866-821-FARM (3276) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will hook you up.
On another note, the reputation for our eggs continues to spread and we are now on the menu at an incredible Restaurant called, The Ranch at Las Colinas. If you are in the area give them a shot, they are serving our fresh duck egg on top of an incredible poutine, made with duck fat fries, meat, cheese and gravy. Poutine is like the French Canadian version of nachos and it is currently hitting the DFW foodie community like a storm.
The Ducks Feasting On Breakfast Sprouts
Anyway we hope everyone is having a great spring, please consider picking up some fresh duck eggs at our farm to make it even better, and please remember to tell your family and friends about our little farm. We now have a limited supply of quail eggs and our production on them is growing daily. Thanks to all of you for supporting our small local farm. Remember if you don’t know who grew it, you don’t really know where it came from.
We are still working out the kinks in our new quail laying operation but we do have eggs. We are making them available to our customers for 4 dollars per 15 pack.
Be advised if you want to use quail eggs any way other than boiled you really are going to want a quail egg cutting tool like this one.
Quail eggs really do prove that good things come in small packages. I have been eating them like mad since we started getting them. We are still in a major duck egg shortage so it has been nice to have these around. I have a feeling I am going to have to hold some back for myself.
While only about 1/4th the size of a chicken egg they are packed with both flavor and with nutrition. Some quick nutrition facts about quail eggs are quite amazing, here are a few articles about the benefits and nutrition of quail eggs…
As you might imagine as local small farmers that also try to buy what we don’t produce from other local producers we live a very healthy food centric life. That leads to my other passion cooking. I love to cook even more I think than to eat what I cook.
Another thing I enjoy is cooking out doors. We do this with grills, smokers, in a fire pit, with rocket stoves and portable stove tops.
I recommended the one pictured above, The Ranger II by Camp Chef. It is a phenomenal stove and I recommend it for many reasons. First if your stove is electric you should have a back up way to cook. This stove is the most flexible one that still has full sized stove power I have ever found. It is absolutely safe to use indoors as well if the power is out and it is cold outside. Next though if you are stuck with an electric stove, you will find yourself wanting to cook with this stove frequently and likely outside. The best part is it sells for just under 100 bucks and ships free if you have Amazon Prime.
A Combination Unit that May Not Be the Best Option.
Anyway a person who listened to my podcast, asked about this stove/oven combination. Made by the same people so I am sure it is absolutely top quality. So hey why not add an oven. The issue is the stove top itself is only a 7000 BTU burner set vs a 17000 BTU burner set and the stove with the over costs over 100 dollars more.
Also while the oven is nice, it isn’t very flexible, and it isn’t very large either. Next the unit is a lot bigger so it is less convenient to just whip up some sausage and eggs on the deck on a sleepy Sunday morning with.
Some really like “all in one” type things well my take is a bit different. Again we have two goals when we add items to our on farm cookware.
~ One – Enhance our quality of life, give ourselves more fun options and when it comes to outdoors stuff, that includes options for camping or tail gating too.
~ Two – Improve our ability to deal with disasters and power outages if we need a back up cooking method.
So when asked about this I think a lot more about flexibility, adaptability and functionality along with good old fashioned frugality. In fact I have a slogan, always be frugal but never be cheap.
Here is the solution I put together.
Say I am happy to spend 213 bucks to up this part of my lifestyle and preps at the same time. Instead of buying a weaker stove, I would do this.
It is only 30 bucks! It also folds down when not in use to be only 2 inches high. You can put it on your cook top, put it on a grill, use fire coals from a camp fire, you are not restricted just to gas. It is cheaper, works just as good, has a little bit more interior space and is dramatically more flexible.
Also a heck of a lot lighter.
Now I now still have 85 dollars!
So I go get myself a nice 6 quart dutch oven with a rimmed top, like this, http://amzn.to/1PpuuSL for 60 bucks shipped free by the way on Amazon Prime.
I still have 15 bucks left over! I can get a good dutch oven lid lifter tool with it for 11 bucks. Or if I don’t need one I could buy some food to get started cooking with my new stuff.
I now have the best small cook stove I know of, a camp oven that I can cook with and a dutch oven that I can use as an oven or make something like pot roast, stew or chili. If camping I can camp fire cook and still bring my stove and make eggs with that or say fried potatoes. I am not relying on just one thing that can break I am now sitting with three options. On top of it all my stove itself is more convenient so I am going to use it more.
So what does this all have to do with being a small farmer?
As a small farmer this is how you have to think about everything you do. We have to function stack our feeding, our egg collection, etc. for efficiency. Our new quail aviary will not just produce quail but grow food for the quail to cut our feed cost while improving product quality and it will also grow food for people too. On top of that it will produce compost all while giving the quail the freedom to really be quail they way they most like to be. Room to run, play and fly. Something we can show our customers that justifies the premium local food sells for.
The days of the giant farm in my opinion are coming to an end. Too much damage to soil, the product quality has been in decline steadily for over 50 years. Less nutrients in our food, less flavor too. The food may visually look good but it doesn’t taste to me like it did even back in the 80s.
We are encouraged daily by people that want to do business with us because they want more quality. What is even more encouraging is people doing it themselves and we see it daily. People asking for advice and getting started, some with just a small personal flock of chickens or quail and others doing far more then we do on our little 3 acre duck farm.
The key though is you have to THINK as a small producer. There is an often stated claim that small farms can’t be profitable, there is some truth to that, because many are not. But you can be viable if you work hard to make one thing do many things, or use the same investment to get multiple redundant solutions. To us this is the way forward for small farms. The systems are disinterested in our success, the corporations of the world want big food, big pharma, big everything. To succeed as small farmers we need more than big dreams and big ideas, we need efficiency and agility. This type of thought process is how we get that done.
Well guys the new year is upon us and it is time to update everyone on some things.
First we are raising our price to an even 8 dollars a dozen for all customers. We have granted special pricing to a few customers over the last year and we have been in general selling at 7.50 a dozen. That said we remain constantly sold out and our work load and expenses dictate that we move to a uniform pricing model. As owners of a small farm we spend a lot of hours and a lot of money to produce a premium product, we try to balance this in setting our price. This new price is fair and about 4 dollars less then duck eggs at Whole Foods when and if you can find them there.
Next for at least 30-45 more days we are going to continue to not take new customers. Unfortunately several weeks ago a coyote killed over 24 of our ducks and our 2 geese. Jack was able to eventually shoot the coyote and she is no longer a threat. But this came at the absolute worse time of the year. In the winter ducks simply lay less, many of the birds we lost were mature layers. We have not taken new customers in about a month at this point and it will be at least that long before we take any new customers.
Following the above, current customers will have longer wait times for at least another month and we have an absolute hard limit of 4 dozen eggs per customer. In some instances as we work down our list we may offer some customers say 2 dozen for the time being. We are doing all we can to be fair to every customer and do so with our currently limited production.
We have taken measures to rectify the situation. First we installed artificial timed lights, this is helping but the effect is limited. One cannot force a duck to lay and frankly we would not do so if we could. The health and happiness of our animals is our top priority. We brought in new birds this fall that will also begin to lay in February and over the next 60 days laying of all the birds will increase as part of the natural cycle.
Additionally we purchased 8 mature muscovy ducks and 15 that are about 4 months old at considerable expense as a stop gap. These girls are laying a bit right now and should be at full on capacity by the beginning of February.
As a final note we are no longer going to be offering a deposit return on egg cartons. The program just wasn’t that popular and our cost on cartons in quantity is only 28 cents a unit, in doing a 50 cent return program we were costing ourselves money. Small farms can’t do that over the long term.
I do want to say that we absolutely love all of our customers. We love being a place your kids can come to and see where their food comes from, we love hearing about how our product is improving your health or in many cases making eating eggs possible for some who can’t eat chicken eggs.
We will be working hard to bring more to you in the coming months. We currently have 60 plus quail in house that should start laying in about a month and will be adding quail eggs to our offering. We will also be bringing out a line of amazing loose leaf teas and possibly baby and micro green salad mixes by March.
Thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to offer us your business. And thank you for understanding this is real farming, there are times of limited production. For those that wish to become customers when production ramps back up, just fill out our email update form on the right. We will let you know when production comes back up.
Simple fountain total cost less than $25. Take this pump and use half inch PVC pipe.
Dry fit is all you need no glue so easy to clean and service. Install a strait piece of pipe the length you want, wire tie the pump to a broken piece of cinder block, put an end cap on the top of the pipe that you have drilled a series of holes into in the pattern you want, done.
Our small pond really and I mean really needed this. We think all the catfish died, we stocked way too soon. I knew better but the stocking truck was at the feed store and I gave it a shot.
No bodies but no fish coming for food any more and I did see a huge great blue heron down there. So it will be gold fish for the next round after about a week of this running. The video is only 10 seconds but you can see how good it works for a small pond.
Last night Jack picked up 9 new Muscovy ducks, 7 hens and 2 drakes. Here is a first look at them. They were picked up in the dark last night and had a long for them we are sure 15 mile ride in a dog crate in the back of our tuck.
Then they had to deal with getting their wings clipped and spent the night alone in the duck house separated from the main flock to reduce stress. They seem to be adjusting well. They will be allowed to range freely tomorrow or the next day.
The reason we had to clip there wings is unlike most domestic ducks Muscovy Ducks can fly quite well. There will be more coming on them soon.