We want to install a WSDA licensed food processing kitchen on the farm so that we can start making chicken soup stock.
Photo by Diane Padys photography (padyseye.com)
What will you do with a kitchen on a chicken farm?
I'm so glad you asked!
We raise chickens primarily for eggs. So what happens when laying hens stop laying eggs? On most farms, they become compost, but we have found that retired laying hens make the best stock you could ever imagine tasting. Their mature bones impart a robust flavor to soups that is lacking in stock made with young chickens.
We have been making soup for family and friends from our chickens for years. At one point, I had a pregnant friend who could eat nothing other than my chicken noodle soup during her first trimester. I happily provided soup for her, remembering what those days were like!
We would now like to make this delicious stock available for anyone to make their own favorite soups at home.
We have commitments from 12 stores that would love to carry the stock. And earlier this year, we received approval for a USDA grant to help us produce the stock. The problem? I need to build an on-farm kitchen first. I have been slowly gathering used equipment and installing it when we have the money, but the clock is ticking on the grant.
I would very much appreciate your help in launching this new product. For those of you who enjoy our eggs, we'd love to provide soup stock for you as well. And for those of you who haven't tried our eggs yet, maybe our soup stock will lead you there!
So how did you get here?
It all started with three chickens.
I just wanted three chickens so that I could feed my family a dozen eggs a week. Unfortunately, they were prohibited by covenants in our suburban neighborhood. You tell me I can't have chickens?!? Now I REALLY want chickens.
So we packed up the family, moved out of the city, and I got my three chickens. Okay, we didn't just get three chickens, we fell in love with chickens and the taste of their amazing fresh eggs! Soon we added four more, and since that was no more work, we got a hundred more. (Trust me, it made sense at the time.) We now raise over 1,000 laying hens.
We raise our chickens the way everyone assumes chickens are raised--but rarely are. Our chickens are outside. They scratch, they perch, they chase bugs, they eat grass, they dig holes to dust bathe. They live a happy normal chicken life. No antibiotics, no chemicals, no physical alterations. We are certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and strive to go well beyond required practices.
In 2007, our eggs were tested by a nutritional testing lab as part of a nationwide study sponsored by Mother Earth News magazine. Misty Meadows Farm eggs had three-and-a-half times the vitamin E, four times the heart-healthy Omega-3s, a third less cholesterol, and a third less saturated fat than eggs from factory-farmed birds. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-10-01/Tests-Reveal-Healthier-Eggs.aspx
In 2010, The Cornucopia Institute rated organic egg producers on humane animal husbandry standards. We were rated the top producer in Washington State and one of the highest in the nation. http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/
We sell our eggs through independent grocery stores in Whatcom County and a few locations in Seattle. We know everyone can't have chickens in their backyard (although we think they should!), so we enjoy raising the kind of eggs people would have if they could raise their own.
Why do you need our help?
We have never had any delusions that we would get rich raising chickens. Returning to true pasture-based methods is time-consuming and expensive. At this point, we are still not drawing income from our work on the farm. We believe that adding another revenue source with the soup stock will be the tipping point for us and turn our farm into a profitable venture.
We have slowly been gathering used equipment when we have the funds and doing most of the preparation and installation ourselves. We need to hire professionals to do the plumbing, electrical and duct work. We also need to gather the rest of the needed equipment.
Now that we have a grant from USDA, the clock is ticking. We need to get the food processing kitchen operational as quickly as we can in order to access the grant money for production and labor.
It is very humbling to have to ask for help. We feel amazingly blessed to live in a place where people genuinely care about the quality of the food they eat and the lives of the farmers who produce. We would be honored to have you partner with us to make the highest quality pasture-raised organic chicken soup stock you have ever tasted.
Now let's go make some soup!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
FARM FRIEND: Thank you for helping to make our dream a reality. We will list your name on our website as one of our donors.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
FARM SUPPORTER: In addition to the above, you will receive a Misty Meadows Farm tote bag so that you can show the world you support small family farms.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
FARM LAUNCHER: In addition to the above, you will receive a container of our first run of the chicken stock that you helped launch. (Chicken stock must be picked up at The Bellingham Public Market)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
FARM TASTE TESTER: In addition to the above, you will be invited to participate in a pre-launch VIP testing panel where you will help us refine the final stock recipe. (Taste testing will be at The Bellingham Public Market)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
FARM FUNDER: In addition to the above, you will have a container of stock reserved for you each month throughout the first year. (Stock must be picked up at The Bellingham Public Market. If you are not able to get to the market, we will donate the stock in your name to the mothers at Lydia Place, an agency that provides transitional housing and life skills training for homeless women and children.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (4 left of 6)
FARM SPONSOR: In addition to the above, you and your guests will be invited to the farm for a private tour. During the tour, a professional photographer will document your visit (including portrait shots of your choosing) and give you a disk of all the pictures taken. If we time it right, you might even be able to have your picture taken with a few hundred hot chicks! (Limit 6)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (8 left of 9)
FARM PATRON: In addition to all of the above, you will be allowed to name one of our chicken coops. Currently, they are unimaginatively named coops #1-#9. The name you choose will be engraved on a wooden plaque and hung on the chicken coop. (Limit 9)Estimated delivery:
- (36 days)