Tiny dinosaurs, dragon dip, and other farm updates!

chicks_day_ish_old

Winter is the new spring: chicks are ordered

Here at BOTL Farm, we propose that winter is the new spring. Most people think spring is the time to get chicks, probably because that’s when farm stores have the little peepers peeping away in metal troughs. As serious farmers, we get our chicks in late fall. Or, in the case of last year, in the dead of winter because we forgot to order them. Whatever. 

We buy day-old chicks direct from the hatchery and have them driven up (most day-old chicks are sent through the mail using USPS). The heritage breeds that we raise take up to six months to be mature egg layers, so if we got them in the spring they’d start laying eggs right around the time most of our summer farmers markets end. This year we’re scheduled to get our chicks in mid-November so they should start laying sometime next spring, just in time for the busy summer market season! Huzzah. 

Day-old chicks look like little balls of fluff and make tiny little peep noises, but when you have 150 of them it’s actually pretty loud. Within a few short days they grow noticeably and start to look more like the dinosaurs that they are instead of little fluff balls. They grow up so fast!

egg_cartons

Change is hard

As enterprising hippy farmers we always wanted to save the world. Before we got our first chickens, we had already agonized over options for environmentally-friendly egg cartons for hours and hours. Maybe days. If you’ve been a BOTL Farm fan since the very beginning, you may recall that our first egg cartons were made of some plant-based foam, imported special from the Netherlands, held 10 eggs, were at-home compostable, and almost completely unusable. They composted so fast that any humidity or moisture on the eggs would cause the carton to stick, bend, and ultimately fall apart. We still have some upstairs if you want a case or 10. 

After that we switched to more traditional paper pulp cartons that hold the normal dozen eggs and show off our Animal Welfare Approved certification. These cartons are not compostable but are recyclable and don’t fall apart in humidity. Because we didn’t want these cartons to be single-use or end up in landfills, we offered a discount if people brought their cartons back to us for a refill (cartons are expensive). Since we offer soy-free, corn-free eggs, we have a fair number of allergen customers so we had a strict stance of not taking back cartons, just refilling them (we made this rule after someone tried to give us back an empty egg carton that had obviously been used as a popcorn bowl). 

Change is hard. We’ve come to the conclusion that it would be better for the world if we change our minds and DO accept our empty, clean egg cartons back from customers who do not want to refill them. We are alerting all our customers of this change, including our allergen customers, so they can request ‘virgin’ cartons (or continue to bring their own for refill) as needed. Hopefully us changing our minds will result in less of our egg cartons being single-use or ending up in landfills.

Connecticut state laws and our own standards require the cartons to be clean to be reused, so please don’t put cracked egg shells back into your carton if you’re planning on returning it to us! Also, we still totally offer the discount to everyone who brings any carton/container/bag/pockets/box for us to fill with eggs. Together, we can still try to save the world!

dragon dip

Dragon wins!

As you may not recall, last month we talked about our new buffalo-style chicken dip. We finished testing and dragon wins! We now have tins of Dragon Chicken Dip ready for sale. They use our pulled chicken, local hot sauce from Dragon’s Blood Elixir, and the highest-quality dairy products we could find. No gluten. All delicious dippin’ fun, or maybe try it as a pasta sauce? We haven’t tried it yet but we heard one of our excellent customers is going to!

Since we were thinking about our favorite dippin’ foods, it didn’t take us long to start fantasizing about really good, hearty refried bean dip. One of us likes refried beans so much she’s been known to eat it for breakfast. We also now have tins for sale of refried bean dip! It’s made with organic pinto beans, our salt pork, lard, and cumin. Delicious. 

We used the last of our stew hens to make the Dragon Chicken Dip, but don’t be alarmed, we’ll have a new batch of stew hens in stock this week. For the first time ever, we are not harvesting the birds ourselves, as we are very happy to support a new local USDA poultry processor in Connecticut!

wooly pig

New Country Organics animal feed

NCO has been keeping their feed prices steady this year, especially compared to the roller-coaster-that-only-went-up last year. Unfortunately we did see an increase this month with shipping costs, so prices are up across the board on everything (50 cents-ish per bag). 

During the last Reseller Webinar with NCO, they talked about a new line of chicken feeds they have that use olive oil instead of seed oils. If anyone is interested, you can read more and let us know to order some for you. Note that their other layer feeds, Classic and No-Corn, come in 50 lb bags but the Olive Oil Layer is 40 lbs.

goatlet sittin

Find us this month

Sturbridge monthly drop off: pre-order only Saturday 11am to 1pm at Sturbridge Coffee House. November 11. Pre-order 

On farm storeTuesdays noon – 2pm, Saturdays 1 – 3pmPre-order

Tolland Farmers Market: Saturdays from 10am – noon at the Country Butcher on 74. Days we’ll be there in November: November 4, November 18. Pre-order

Assawaga Farmers Market: Saturdays from 9am – noon at Assawaga Farm in Putnam, CT. Days we’ll be there in November: November 11. Pre-order

**New next month** 

Assawaga Farm Holiday Market/Party: Saturday December 9 from 11am – 3pm. Get ready for a good time, they’ll have excellent vendors, food, music, and a taco truck!

Ashford Winter Farmers Market: December through March, 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 10am to 12:30pm. We’ll be there the first market and then each 3rd Sunday.

It’s too many numbers! Save me!

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Page Last Updated on 2024-02-28

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