Life on a farm is never dull. Well, our life and our farm, anyway. Look how well everything is growing!
We have new piglets, with another litter due next week. Started out with ten babies, now down to seven. Things happen. I still need to update the pig blog about all that.
Kerry passed her massage licensing exam last week. She is now awaiting her license number to come through from the state and then she's officially official. She's already started to gather a base of regular clients by holding Massage Days at the hale between guests. This has branched out to several people hosting similar events at their homes, some on a monthly basis, where she comes in and gets everybody all nice and relaxed and refreshed.
I am done, done, DONE with writing and rewriting the farm book. On to formatting...
And my knee has finally healed enough that I no longer need crutches, brace, or band on it and have finally been able to start walking and even hiking again. We even managed a camping trip to our favorite beach-camping spot, Ho'okena. All is right with my world when I can get outside and move about.
But none of that prompted this post...
What I really wanted to tell you about is our latest venture here on the farm: importing truly organic, certified non-gmo animal feeds.
This endeavor was spurred by a local restaurant owner who discovered our eggs at the Hilo Farmer's Market, where a friend of ours sells our excess alongside her wonderful strawberries and honey. (I generally send 25-30 dozen a week to the market.) This restauranteur phoned up, wanting to buy eggs directly from the farm. His focus is on locally-raised, high quality organic foods. We have been wanting to provide a better feed for the birds for quite some time... and so the search began again in earnest.
We found there is not much choice in organic feeds available on the island. The stuff at the local feed stores is USDA-certified organic, but it all has corn &/or soy in it, and most is distributed by Cargill. Not good enough on all three counts.
So we started looking online. We found this wonderful mill in Bellngham, WA, Scratch and Peck Feeds. It is the first--and, so far, only--mill in the US to offer Non-GMO Project certified animal feeds. Their products come from farms in the Northwest, and since that's where we come from too, it's kind of nice to have that connection. There is a distributor on Maui, but they didn't seem much interested in forming any sort of working relationship with us on the Big Island. No problem. We'll bring it in ourselves.
Since we have to order it by the pallet-load (one ton), and we want to maintain the freshness of the feed, there will be extra to sell. A mention of the possibility on my Facebook page and a couple phone calls to other chicken farmers showed us that there is enough interest out there that this could work.
We'll be bringing in their Naturally Free line of chicken layer feed, pig feed, and scratch grains-- all organic, non-gmo, no corn or soy, high protein, and well-balanced feeds. You can click on the labels below to enlarge and read the ingredients. A side bonus is that, even with freight charges, it will cost less than the "organic" feed from the feed stores.
The first shipment is already on its way. I can hardly wait to start giving this quality feed to our animals! And I'm looking forward to touring the mill while I'm in B'ham this August.
In the meantime, Mike is designing and building a moisture-resistant, rat-proof storeroom for the incoming feed sacks. Because, you know, we really needed another project around here.