Thursday, August 28, 2008

Help Us Decide!!

I've got a fun little task for y'all to do for me.

You see, rumor has it that we here in Irish Grove just might be going organic on some of our acres next year. Grassfed beef is our main push with those acres, but we won't be able to certify our beef until the following year. So, in the meantime, we're thinking of raising some organic, pastured chickens to sell for meat.

This is where y'all come in. Organic pastured chickens will be a lot of work, for minimal return, especially the first year. Organic pastured chickens mean Marcel and I will be spending many winter hours building moveable chicken pens. Organic pastured chickens mean that yours truly will be spending about 2 hours/day, 7 days a week, for 4 long months next summer, feeding, watering, and moving those same chickens to a fresh paddock. Organic pastured chickens mean we'll be buying organic grain from someone for extremely high prices. And organic pastured chickens mean I'll be driving 4 hours south, once every 2-3 weeks, for a long, boring day waiting for the chickens to be processed at an organically certified chicken processing plant.

The extra work doesn't scare us. We're farmers; the type of people who like to work. What scares us is the prospect of extra work coupled with few customers and a failed business idea.

So, I need to know the following: Do you think organic chickens is a good idea and worth the effort? And do you or would you pay more than $3.00/lb for organic chicken?

This is not a ploy for customers, even though I'd love to sell you a chicken, but a ploy for opinions. You all are very aware of my opinions on store-bought chicken. Now I'd like to hear yours.

You can reply to this post, or vote on my cute little poll that I'll be adding in the sidebar. It's as easy as that. We'll just call today "inform a farmer" day.



Anonymous said...

I already pay more than $3/lb for organic chicken. I'd be even more glad to pay that if I knew exactly where the chicken came from. The move is only going to be toward more organic, not less. For everything.

Anonymous said...

I've been gradually buying more and more organic esp. produce as it is more readily available in the stores I shop. I have been considering the meat, find it pricey, but I am pretty well committed to "eating less - paying more". With the recent "processed meat" scare in Canada, more and more consumers are going to be looking for alternatives and I think it'll become more mainstream - in terms of next year - us consumers can be pretty slow but in my area an organic farm has found a niche market and is doing very well, they have focused on "knowing where your food comes from". Good luck, I would think your attitude of hard work and commitment will pay off for you. Follow your heart.

Madeline said...

YES! It will all pay off. I really believe you can't go wrong. Our friends who raise organic livestock and chickens do great. We have an organic vegetable farm but do have egg laying chickens and have to slaughter the roosters. It sucks. I know you know this. Bringing them to the slaughter house will be easier. Good luck! I hope you go for it.

debra said...

I'd go for it. Locally produced organic food is the way to go, IMO.
And chicken tractors make sense, too.
If you were in my neck of the woods, I'd buy from you :-)
Good luck

denise said...

We pay more than $3/lb for organic chicken from the farmer's market as well as our CSA right now.

I also have a friend that just started doing meat chickens for sale (csa share) this summer by using chicken tractors - the chicken is awesome and I think that knowing where the food comes from, how it was raised, and getting it fast and direct is just so much better than anything you can get at a store! :) Hers is about that price too...

Silvia said...

I guess that if I wanted organic chickens, I'd just grow and butcher them myself . . . But that's cause we already have lots of laying hens and have butchered in the past the nasty mean ole roosters, so there's a certain vindictive pleasure to be gained from the experience. Fades after a while, when the steam is in your face and the feathers aren't coming off as quickly as you'd like . . .

Mama Podkayne said...

Where we are in Iowa, the push is towards BUY LOCAL rather than go through the lengthy, expensive organic certification process. And some things just don't matter but add cost.

I buy from a local farmer who practices common sense, ie grass/bug feeds the chickens and only grain supplements when necessary (she says rarely is this so). I pay 3$/lb. Heritage breed.