We keep a couple hundred laying hens that range out on the pasture year round. Their hen houses are elevated enclosed shelters offering an “open door” to the Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Black Star, and Araucana hens along with several roosters. Each evening the hens follow their own instincts to roost up off the ground in their house while an electric fence around the pasture protects them from raccoons, skunks or other predators. Daily the eggs are gathered from each nest, cleaned, inspected, cooled ready for distribution that week. The hens’ diet of clover, grass seeds, and insects is supplemented with organic grains to ensure a well-balanced food source. The pastures are maintained organically by chopping out thistles by hand rather than spraying chemical herbicides. The feed grains for our chickens contain absolutely no genetically modified grains (no GMO), no antibiotics or growth enhancers, and of course no byproducts of other animals often used as a protein source in commercial poultry operations. The organic grains for our hens costs substantially more to produce than a typical poultry ration because you get what you pay for – and we want clean, wholesome food for our livestock too! By grazing and pecking green grasses and clovers, our pastured hens produce eggs that are packed with high nutrition. The orange yolk shows the difference of eggs from hens that live outdoors. Lab testing verifies the fatty acid and cholesterol profile on pastured eggs easily surpasses conventional eggs. It is almost like comparing apples to oranges – basically a different food product altogether. The hens’ egg-laying cycles are in sync with nature and they will respond quickly to shorter days, extreme heat, extreme cold, lack of available food or water, and any other environmental stress by reducing production of eggs. They even take a couple of months off annually and do not lay any eggs then.
The health benefit of pastured-raised foods also is available with Elmwood’s certified organic free-range eating chickens. We have a commitment to do things the right way. Not the fast way, nor the cheap way. Success is measured by the taste and nutritional benefits of the chicken, not the efficiency of the process. We think you’ll agree when you experience the best tasting chicken you’ll find anywhere with the benefit of low saturated fat and high omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, whole pastured chickens have significantly higher levels of vitamin A. These are available fresh for the next few weeks and then offered frozen the rest of the year.
Elmwood eggs are offered by the dozen or half-dozen when we have extras over what is already committed to our egg shareholders. We offer several packages of organic beef (half, quarter, or bundle) as well as a combination organic beef and chicken bundle. More information on these packages including expected cuts, size, and pricing is on our website. If you want to secure local, organic meat for your family freezer this fall, don’t hesitate to let us help you customize your selections.