Saturday, February 18, 2012

Interest in pasture-raised meat is mushrooming in Ridgefield

Matt Schwab explaining moveable chicken coop theory to farm visitors

RIDGEFIELD, Washington-- Before today, Matt and Jen Schwab say, when they opened their farm one afternoon each month, maybe five or six visitors would come. On cold and rainy February 18, 2012, more than 50 people showed up to take a look.

Visitors entered the 24 acres of fields near the farm store. Inside the gate 230 new brooder hens clucked and pecked  and next to them a small herd of piglets roamed free. Nearby were Chinese geese, Indian runner ducks and a variety of chickens; but the real attraction was Matt Schwab, farm owner.
Schwab introduced his farm with reference to Michael Pollan's book, Omnivore's Dilemma.   With this reference and others, Schwab let visitors know that Inspiration Plantation's "new farming" methods depart from the Ag school concepts of 1950. Instead of permanent, stinking acre-long coops, Schwab's coops are open-air structures built on logs and moved from site to site around the farm weekly.  Ditto for the pig, lamb and calf pens. This way, say the Schwabs, the fields are constantly reinvigorated.

Built by his ancestors in the 1880s, Schwab inherited the 24 acres in 2004 and started farming with a travel trailer and six chickens. Today the farm's email list alone has grown to over 600, Jen says, and interest in the farm has mushroomed.

When you want chicken or duck eggs, you can drive onto the farm any hour of the day or night to pick up eggs, leaving your payment on the honor system. And when you are ready to order your grass fed and pasture raised meat and poultry, Matt and Jen will make sure your order is processed just the way you want it. Order forms for beef, lamb, pork and poultry are available on line at Inspiration Plantation. Harvest dates for poultry are varied from May through October, while harvest dates for beef, lamb and pork are June and October only.  Don't delay! If the size of the crowd on the farm today was any indication, meat and poultry shares in Matt and Jen's free range farm will be sold out soon.

The Inspiration Plantation will offer another farm tour in March. Those interested can visit the website and sign up for email alerts on tour scheduling.

No comments:

Post a Comment