Marin Sun Farms

26 04 2009

A little while back, the hubby and I joined a meat CSA; find out what that means on the Marin Sun Farms website.

We had already been buying eggs and meat from Marin Sun Farms at the local Farmer’s Market and a nearby coop grocery and knew we liked the quality.  It’s been a wonderful thing so far, and we intend to stay in it for the long haul.  This weekend, we, along with other CSA members, members of the public, wholesalers, and restaurateurs, were invited to come out and take a tour of the farm and see where our meat and eggs come from.

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The funny part, probably only to me, is that the ranch is actually out at Point Reyes National Seashore where I lived and worked for 4 of my more formative years (a story for another time).

The tour was great.  The people on it were a mixed bag: some I was glad to have along and others I judged not quite a silently as I should have, but that’s what you get for coming out to the coast and not preparing and therefore needing to wear a baby blanket wrapped around yourself to keep warm in the windy weather.

img_1847Our host, Dave Evans, owner of the farm, started us off with a history of the area.  Fascinating, even if not new information for me.  His take on what sustainability really means as well as his take on the organic label and it’s failings were both right up my alley.

He also talked about the network of farms that he is connected to in order to be able to sell animals to grocers year round – I had never really thought about how when you feed animals a strictly grass diet, your meat becomes seasonally available.

Nate, the ranch manager, filled us in on the day to day activities of the ranch, his view of diversity of species and the role that plays in sustainability, and tried really hard to ignore me trying to take his picture…so here’s one of him (in the muck boots) moving a chicken enclosure with ranch hand Cesar:

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I’m sure he’d prefer it that way.

The chickens were a trip!  How exciting to see the very hens that lay the eggs I so enjoy.  (If you are not a farm fresh egg person, please try one if you can get your hands on them; not only are they full of nutrients regular store eggs don’t have, they taste 1000 times better.)

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The chickens live in “hoops” that are moved about 200 feet a day so that the chickens always have fresh pasture.  Because they are layers, and I think older breeds of chickens, these chicken are smart enough to gather around their hoop when predators, such as the red tailed hawk we saw flying overhead, come around.

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The chickens that are “broilers”, the ones you’ll broil and eat later, are a variety of chicken that is not smart enough to get to safety when predators are in the area, so they require special hutches that are moved twice daily so that they have access to new grass.  The layers followed us to the broilers area, knowing that we’d move the hutches and that they might then have access to the organic corn feed that the broilers would leave in their wake.

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They seemed to be quite happy in their half covered, half mesh, hutches and one that was taken out even tried to get back in.  This one, though, she looks like she’s ready to break for it:

You definitely feel like the layers get the better deal, but they do work for a living.

3 other quick pics before I wrap up this moster post: a couple rach pups, their protective mama, and the taco I had at the lunch afterward that was so amazing you get to see it in all it’s blurry glory.

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Hooray!

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One response

28 04 2009
koala brains

That is so cool that you got to visit where your food comes from. Their set up is how it should be.

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