Sunday, October 24, 2010

Farm Tour at Richardson Farms

Today we spent the day at Richardson Farms for a Farm Tour held by Slow Food Austin. This will be our second year to buy a turkey from Richardson Farms for our Thanksgiving dinner. We thought it might be nice to go to the source and see exactly where our dinner begins. We were also able to see some of the cows and hogs as well as the laying hens and broilers. We all had a wonderful morning on the farm and Clay was happy as could be following around the son of the family farm owners on his special hands on tour. 
The Egg Mobile

It was a great lesson in sustainable farming. On the 200 acres, the Richardson family uses the land to raise grass-fed cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks (just as pets) and hogs. They have an entire field of alfalfa to feed the cows and a huge mud wallow for the hogs. They rotate their crops and all of the feed for the animals is grown on the farm. The pastured broiler hens are in what they call a "chicken tractor" which allows them to let the chickens feed on grass and bugs in a small area. Each day the "chicken tractor" on wheels moves across the field leaving natural fertilizer in its path. The hens are fenced in an area where they have an "egg mobile" that allows them to lay their eggs and still eat grass and roam freely. The fenced in area is moved when the chickens have eaten all of the grass (which is similar to how the turkeys are raised). They even have an area where they grow trees for landscape companies.

Contemplating Thanksgiving dinner
The Richardsons are a wonderful family of fourth generation farmers who care for their land and their animals. You can find them at the Austin Farmers' Markets on Wednesday and Saturday as well as place an order online. Don't forget to reserve your broad-breasted or heritage breed turkey for the holidays. 

Cows grazing in a field

Happy hogs

Clay really got into the tour!

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