The truth about farming – answers to everyday common questions

The truth about farming – it’s not a get rich quick scheme, nor for the faint of heart or the naked and afraid (although there is that naked farming day…). Everyday common questions, insider secrets and occasional laughs from the Clucking It Up Farmers.

Our little farm is always changing, it’s crazy to think just how far we’ve come these last couple of years. Believe me, it wasn’t easy (an still isn’t). I regularly ask myself – who’s driving this flying umbrella?! This year has been a critical turning point for our farm. We’ve grown in ways we hadn’t imagined and it’s quite magical when I think about it. 

This year, we have been getting LOTS of people wanting to tour the farm and see what all we are doing on our little slice of heaven. We’re happy to give each person a fully guided tour and answer each and every question as best as we can. You would be surprised at some of the questions we get asked. 

We have compiled a list of questions we get asked on a regular basis. These come from everywhere – Facebook, Instagram, Kanab Outdoor Market, farm tours, etc. Are you ready for the truth about farming according to the Clucking It Up farmers? Are you really ready? 

Probably the number one question we get asked is:

How long have you been farming?

Well, that’s an easy one to answer! We officially started farming in 2014. That’s when we registered our farm name and set up our website. However, we got our first chickens in August of 2012. As you all know, chickens are the gateway drug to farming – they lead to ducks, then goats, and then cows…seriously. 

What made you decide to get into farming?

Chickens…it all started with chickens. Fresh eggs change your soul. We had both previously been in the hospitality industry (hotel work and then restaurant management). In a dramatic turn of events it became clear that we needed to do something different. Time to live our best lives – farm and bake shit. Less drama and more reality. There’s also that very real disconnect that people have with their food. Did you know that the majority of high schools students think hamburgers come from HAM? There’s a problem people!

Are you organic? 

Yes and no. You will not find any chemical fertilizers or sprays on the farm. We use a lot of compost and manure from local farmers. So, we can’t guarantee that the manure we get is organic but, we do know it grows great tomatoes! 

What kind of critters do you have?

Our critter list is pretty typical of any other farm. We have chickens (obviously), ducks, goats, dogs, cats, and a cow. Our chicken breeds include Araucanas, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Golden Laced Wyandottes and a few mixed farm breeds. The ducks are mostly Silver Appleyards – a heritage breed and a few that were “donated”. Of course, our dogs are LGD’s (livestock guardian dogs) Great Pyrenees and Australian Shepherd. Can’t forget the menagerie of goats  which includes Nigerian Dwarf, Alpine, Nubian and Miniature Alpines. We searched high and low for our pretty milk cow, we finally found her up in Idaho. Gigi is a Guernsey and will eventually produce TONS of milk for us. And, of course there are a couple of barn cats running around. 

How do you get rid of squash bugs?

Very, very carefully! We’ve had great success using diatomaceous earth. You have to be vigilant in keeping on the plants. The downside of DE is that it also hurts the beneficial bugs. Another option is to put a board down under some of the leaves, wait until morning and capture all of the bugs. We will be trying upside down sticky traps this year (if they become a problem). 

What does “farm raised” mean?

We use this term for our freezer camp chickens. This means that they get moved around the farm regularly for a fresh salad bar. Our freezer chickens get to be chickens, they get to scratch, peck and forage like a chicken should. They get lots of sunshine, fresh air and therefore, only have one bad day.

What new crops do you have this year?

Oh gosh, new crops? What isn’t new this year would be an easier question to answer. So far, we have planted red Russian kale (kale is NOT the answer – joking!), tatsoi, lima beans, celery, red cipollini onions, red sandwich onions. A few new tomato varieties will be gracing the stage a little later in the summer. Speckled romaine has hit the greenhouse this season and I must say, it is delightful. We’ll be trying out some new winter squashes, a couple of different watermelons. In other words, there’s a lot of new crops this season for the farm.

What kind of seed do you use and where do you get them?

That one is also an easy one to answer. We ONLY (and I mean only) use non-gmo, non-hybrid seed. We search for as many heirloom varieties as possible, because well…most importantly we like to save seeds. Did you know that seeds have a memory? It’s kinda cool. The majority of our seeds come from True Leaf Market. They are based out of Salt Lake City and are only a few hours from our farm. That means we’re keeping our dollars semi-local and are footprint is a little smaller. We also get seeds from Baker Creek Seeds and Johnny’s Select Seed. 

How do you fertilize your fields/gardens?

In short – POOP! We use tons and tons of poop. There are several local farmers and ranchers that bring us truck loads of manure. We are so super grateful that they are willing to bring over their critter by-products. 

Can I come visit your farm?

Absolutely! We enjoy visiting with people and talking about the farm. Showing our friends and soon to be friends how we do things and what we do is a delight. 

What kinds of classes and events are you offering this season?

For example, we are currently offering a rag rug weaving class. We have done a soap making class, a cheese making class and a crochet class. The classes that we are offering are skills that are being forgotten. These are skills that our grandparents and great-grandparents would have passed down. Some of the events that we are hosting this year, breakfast once a month, pie socials, farm dinners and who knows what else. We have a few events that a specifically for our farm subscription members. So far, it’s been great fun!

What is your favorite crop to grow?

By far, my favorite crop to grow is brussel sprouts! I love to show them off when we do farm tours. Most people have never seen how they grow and are completely shocked when they see them. 

What is your favorite animal on the farm?

All of them? The farm started with chickens and I love my chickens. Have you heard that chickens are the gateway drug to farming? It’s the truth! I swear! I would have to say that my favorite animal is actually Gigi our farm milk cow. Pretty sure that my spirit animal is a cow.

What is your favorite thing to make?

Probably my favorite thing to make is noodles. I love pasta! Noodles are life! 

How do you do everything?

I don’t. There is no possible way that I can do everything. Honestly, I get by with a little help from my friends. I get to live this life and share this journey with all of you, because my Jesus put us on this path. He leads and we follow. We have been blessed with some help this year in our work/trade program and they are life savers! 

What are you most known for?

Food! Our farm is known for food. Our given task has been to feed the people. Therefore, that’s what we’re doing. Our pasts have circled food in some form or fashion. Several years ago we had a restaurant. As a result we began creating food, pushing the limits with food. Certainly, it was one of the best food experiences. The smiles we would bring to faces and the noises they would make while they were enjoying hand-crafted food creations started us on this farm journey. And now, we focus on farm food and all the ways that we can share it. 

In conclusion, what is the truth about farming? It’s hard work. It takes dedication. It’s humbling. Moreover, it’s the most important work I’ve ever done! 

 

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