HIDDEN HOLLOW FARM
“Healthy Soils, Healthy Food, Healthy Families”
Winter Update 2019
I am writing to you from Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma where I am undergoing pilot training in the Boeing KC135 refueling tanker. I am scheduled to be complete in April and will join the 155th Air Refueling Wing of the Nebraska Air National Guard in Lincoln. Katie is at home working full time and taking care of Ben and Will. Needless to say, it is a challenging time for our family, but we are managing and looking forward to this spring!
First of all, we would like to thank you for being part of our farm family. We ask and hope that you will continue with us on this journey and encourage your friends and family to become a part of Hidden Hollow Farm! We are certainly in the EARLY days. Unfortunately, with our off-farm schedule, we will not have any products to offer for sale in 2019. However, we do have some big plans in the works and hope that you will stay with us as we take this leap of faith into farming.
One of our core beliefs is that a direct connection between farmer and consumer (aka us and you!) is a win-win. Our mission is to provide our family and our customers with healthy, flavorful and nutrient dense foods. Our family wants to know where our food comes from and how it was raised and we believe your family does too!
Reflections on 2018:
This was the third year that our crop acres have been managed organically and we are really starting to see improvements in the texture and the amount of life (earthworms!) in the soil. We had three cuttings of alfalfa that were sold to a neighbor for his cattle. The smell of the freshly mowed hay brought back some memories of helping my Grandpa Boyer bale hay when I was a kid.
We were very happy with the broiler chicken production and efficiencies gained with “new” water tank and feed barrel placement on the pasture. We raised a total of 79 and will be ready to scale up production in 2020. Thank you all for your feedback. It is truly rewarding to hear from you that you enjoy the delicious and nutritious pasture raised chicken. When we figured out our expenses, we realized it cost us a bit over $10 to raise a broiler to 6 weeks. I was reminded of one of my favorite farming sayings from Joel Salatin, “you may as well do nothing for nothing as doing something for nothing.” Therefore we decided we need to raise our price to $15 in 2020.
Our big project this fall was hauling and spreading 200 tons of cow manure and moving several items of livestock equipment that we purchased from a neighbor who is moving to Missouri. The added fertility will go a long way toward building our soil health. Also the time spent with Ben in the tractor on a few of the trips was priceless father son time.
Plans for 2019 and beyond:
The main goal for 2019 will be a successful harvest of our first organic corn crop. We also hope to plant a pumpkin patch and host a farm party this fall. As always, we are more than happy to have you come visit anytime.
One exciting farm related project we have been working on is the opening of a craft brewery in Council Bluffs with my brother-in-law Marshall Redmond and sister Dessie. We broke ground on Feburary 21st and Full-Fledged Brewing Co will be opening this summer. www.fullfledgedbeer.com. We will be located directly across from the Mid-America Center. Please come have a beer with us!
Going forward, we will be working in partnership with another nearby organic farmer to utilize the spent grains from the brewery as supplemental feed for cattle that we will raise together. Both farms see this as a mutually beneficial relationship which will enhance our desires to promote local agriculture. Also, for 2020 we are hoping to raise our first hogs, dust off the chicken tractors and maybe have some beef.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone you feel might be interested and I will add them to the email list. You can also visit our website at (www.HiddenHollowFarm.net) and contact us through the website.
Thank you so much for your support. We look forward to many productive years to come!
Heath, Katie Ben and Will