MEET OUR FARMER
I was born on a small farm in Israel in a kibbutz. Moved here in 1997 and started the farm in 2011 with four goats and a few chickens.
Scooby is our dog, and the farm is named after the dog. And I always say, “I am working for the dog.” The farm was organic from the beginning to make products that doesn’t exit here in the market: local, organically-grown chickens, eggs…. From then to now, we are raising chickens for eggs, ducks for eggs, chicken for meat, turkeys for meat all year round. And we have a small herd of dairy goats. They are … the breed is Nubian. And we sell milk, cheese, yogurt…We do have vegetables and fruit all year round. I raise my animals in a very natural way. I don’t manipulate the animals in any way. I try to give them a natural environment and let them live their life the way they are supposed to live their life. My chickens are running around loose. They are way beyond free range. I call them “out of control chickens.” I just give them a house, I feed them, and I close them in the house at night time to protect them.
The goats are a little bit more difficult because we milk them and handle them every day, so the animals are more pet-like. They are more confined but still in a big yard and they do whatever they want to do. We milk them twice a day, and we feed them twice a day. And part of the handling is to be able to milk them without forcing them. We treat them as they are… we have a pet at home, you call him – he comes, they have a name, they recognize their name, they come to you to have a scratch on the head or to see what’s going on. So, I would say that they are more like a pet than a farm animal.
Because we are Israelis, we named all our goats and the sheep mostly Israeli names: Penina, Halva, Glida (glida is ice-cream in Hebrew), Motek, Ghili.
We do have bees on the farm property, and our bees are raised in a non-treatment system. The non-treatment is not to add any chemicals into the system. And it’s not an easy practice. Last year was a very difficult year for the bees, there was a lot of disease and parasites, and we lost a lot of bees but this year it looks a little bit better. Most of our honey is when mango and avocado are flowering and when Brazilian pepper (it’s a wild bush, a tree that) flowers around here. And then the honey is a kind of peppery. It has a little bit of a flavor. It’s a little bit spicy. Brazilian pepper flowers in November- December, and avocado and mango – about February, March. And these are the only two times of the year that we actually produce honey.
All our animals are fed organic feed that we buy from a company called [New Country] Organics in Virginia. There is nothing to buy locally around here. The feed is made out of grain (it is soy-free) plus an add-on of minerals and some other vitamins and elements that the chickens need. Our meat production is based on the same system. We don’t use any medication and any kind of manipulation to make them eat more or grow faster or anything like that. They eat as much as they want ‘cause they are free-range, they move a lot and it makes them very healthy and make all the products they produce much healthier for you when you eat it.
To buy our product, you have to be a member of the farm CSA. To become a member of the farm, you can come when the farm is open, fill out the form, and become a member and then buy whatever you want. Or you can go online and [sign] the form and then order any product that you want. If you’d like to experience how the farm works, there is an opportunity to become a volunteer on the farm. Contact me through Facebook or our website, and I will talk to you about it, when you have time, what there is to do on the farm.
I would like to take a minute and thank our members for their support and wanted to remind everybody that we are open to any suggestions about new products.