2020 Cackleberry Farm and Garden Newsletter
This week I'm going to share the newsletter for the farm this year. I am doing this at the suggestion of my father, because I honestly didn't even think of this opportunity to inter-seed my farm's business activities into the blog that is more or less ABOUT life on this farm/homestead. If you are a reader that has joined us as a result of this newsletter, I apologize for a bit of repetition but I promise I will use this opportunity to extrapolate on this newsletter just a little bit and briefly update a couple of things here.
So here is a copy of the Newsletter as it was written, SANS personal information for anyone who is not myself:
Another wonderful year is on the way here at the farm! I have quite a busy year planned and hope to provide you and your
family with loads of healthy, nutrient-dense foods that heal the land and your body. Production plans will have 150 chickens available and 4 lambs. Microgreen production will continue to increase as the market demands. Eggs and vegetables will be
provided on an as-available basis. With the exception of being out of town or any unforeseen circumstances, I will be at nearly every Farmer’s Market in town throughout the entire year. You can visit the website’s “Say Hello” page to view my market and event
calendar if you’d like to verify any market dates beforehand. These dates are updated in increments of 5 events/markets. Please continue reading to learn more about specific farm products and how you can purchase them. This is a long newsletter, so I have
organized it by subject, which you’ll find in bold above the text of each section.
When I say grass-fed, I mean it! During my ownership of lamb, which begins about as soon as the lambs are weaned, I feed only hay, organic alfalfa pellets (and therefore non-gmo) and for the vast majority of their diet, pasture. I rotate lambs on a
daily basis when they are grazing, this protects the pasture from overgrazing and as I develop my skills as a grazer and work the same land for multiple years it will create a thick sward that protects the soil from erosion and compaction while increasing soil
organic matter and grazing capacity of the land. In regards to the finished product, my grazing practices yield a tender, juicy carcass with healthy Omega 3-6 ratios, quality fat as opposed to the gristle one gets with grain finished lamb and superior flavor.
Regular rotation reduces parasite risk and enables my lambs to consume fresh, green grass for more days of the year than they would get with set stocking. I am careful in selecting a breed that is developed predominantly for meat production and thus has a
more mild flavor and doesn’t deliver that “mutton-like” flavor many have experienced with other lamb. I also slaughter at true lamb weight and age which further prevents this flavor from developing. This combination of grazing practices, breed selection and age
of slaughter yields a lamb of such superior quality that I am confident you and your family will be quite satisfied with the value you receive, make your deposit and reserve your lamb today! As stated above, I will be providing 4 lambs for sale this year, 3 of these will be available in the same manner in which the 2 were sold last year. That is, they will be sold as whole lambs at $10/lb hanging weight in addition to the processor’s fee. We bring
our lambs to Dan’s Meats due to their excellent reputation and our good experience with them last year, they charge approximately $60/head to process a lamb. Legally speaking, you are purchasing a live animal and we are delivering them to the processor for you, thus a deposit is required prior to delivery of the animal to the processor. As with last year we will offer a 50% discount on the deposit if you make your deposit prior to May 10th. Deposits made prior to May 10th will then be $50, deposits made between May 10th and August 30th will be $100. As with all of our deposits, your deposit will be contributed to the overall cost of your lamb. The remainder of the cost will be due after August 31st and prior to pickup of your lamb from the processor. We raise our lamb to traditional age and weight and with no grain supplementation whatsoever during our ownership, so hanging weights are typically
25-35lbs. I highly recommend that you purchase your lamb whole through this option as this will save you the most money and due to processing logistics will yield the best quality and flavor that I can offer. One lamb will be processed at Wyoming Custom Meats in Hudson, Wy under State inspection. This will enable me to provide individual cuts for sale at markets beginning in late September or early October. For those who have never tried lamb or
would like to dip their toes, so to speak, this will give a low cost option for trying the lamb. However due to the extensive cost of travel and the higher cost of processing these retail cuts will be much more costly per pound than simply purchasing a whole lamb. I
will be required to transport the animal live for processing and this will cause stress on the animal, which may have an effect of flavor, the lamb will of course still be raised the same as others and should still be delicious and tender. I will not know what the retail cost of individual cuts will be until I get the animal processed but would encourage you to take advantage of my custom processing option to ensure a better cost for you and your family.
Microgreens are one of the fastest growing enterprises on the farm and I am excited to offer fresh-cut greens for you and your family year round! These have come a long way since I started growing Microgreens in January of 2019 just over a year ago. I have changed growing medium a number of times, changed growing procedures and equipment used and all the while have increased quality and quantity of production. This year I will continue to develop this enterprise and will be building a small greenhouse on the south side of my home to provide a much larger growing area and enable higher production. By the summer
season I aim to be capable of producing up to 10x what I currently produce! As for what I actually do produce, that will depend on how much the market demands. This time of year I harvest late Friday nights/early Saturday mornings for Saturday Winter Maker’s Farmer’s Markets. When the David Street Station Market Begins I will be harvesting Monday nights/Tuesday mornings for those Tuesday evening markets. Beginning with the Master Gardener’s Farmer’s Market I will begin harvesting twice a week for the Tuesday and Saturday Markets. If you would like to come to the farm for a purchase, please contact me via text or phone call at the number listed at the top of the page. I currently grow three varieties of microgreens: Sunflower Shoots, which are my favorite! These have a pleasant crunch
with a predominately floral flavor and a nutty background. Pea Shoots: these are great for many asian recipes and I like to use them on sandwiches, burgers etc. as a flavorful alternative to lettuce. Broccoli Microgreens, these true microgreens are grown to
cotyledon stage and yield a tender and creamy green that is excellent on sandwiches and wraps and cooks up particularly well in comparison to my other greens due to the texture of the green after cooking. I grow in Coco Coir, which is essentially ground up coconut husks, this is an excellent medium for me, and ecologically is a much smarter alternative to peat moss as it uses what would otherwise be a waste resource. The seed I source is USDA certified Organic. This does not enable me to claim my product is organic but you can be confident that these greens come from only three things: Coco Coir, Homa Hills Well Water, and Organic Seed.
Pricing on Microgreens purchased AT THE FARM is: Sun/Pea Shoots: $0.75/oz or $12/oz and Broccoli Microgreens: $3/oz
Pricing on Microgreens purchased AT THE MARKET or otherwise delivered to town is: Sun/Pea Shoots: $1/oz or $15/lb
and Broccoli Microgreens: $4oz or $60/lb
Pasture-Raised Chicken was the first enterprise undertaken under the Cackleberry name, and I still raise chickens on pasture with daily moves to fresh ground and constant access to fresh grass, forbes and bugs. I am still continuously seeking to improve this enterprise and increase its value to my customer’s. To that end I have decided to source feed from a company called, “Scratch and Peck Feeds” that specializes in natural and organic feeds based out of Washington State. I will be feeding their “Naturally-Free Starter” for the first 4 weeks of the chicks life and finishing on their “Organic Broiler with Corn.” The large difference here over last season is the inclusion of corn in the diet, this corn will be certified organic and Non-GMO as all feeds and ingredients from this company and will result in larger carcasses than in years past. Both these feeds are still Soy-free as I will not compromise on the exclusion of that ingredient and in addition our feed will now be USDA certified organic. Perhaps the largest benefit to this change is that this feed is scalable far beyond the farm-mixed, triticale/pea-based feed we fed last year and will free up some of my time to focus on the production and care of the birds this year. It is my hope that I can stick with this feed for years to come and cease the constant change in feed that this enterprise has had since its inception. If you have any questions about the
feed, you can follow the underlined links above to the info page for each feed, if you still have concerns with this, please contact me with those concerns to discuss them.
I will also be changing the size of the pens this year, making them smaller and easier to move. This should also make the pens less likely to grab the wind, flip over and become damaged. Because less birds will be in each pen, the hope is that this will also reduce my risk of catastrophic loss due to a predator such as we experienced last year. Though it will increase the cost of housing initially I hope the benefits outweigh that additional cost. In addition to this change in pasture housing, I will be getting a guard goose this year to keep with the birds and provide some protection against small predators such as kit foxes and skunks and to raise alarm to any other predators. If all goes well and I make it through this season without such hard losses, that will enable me to grow this enterprise to meet the large demand in the following 2021 season. One thing that will not be changing with the pastured poultry enterprise is the cost to you. This will remain at an On-Farm
Price of $9.50/lb on processing day and a Market Price of $12.35/lb packaged and frozen. In addition to this, if you purchase frozen and packaged birds On-Farm, the price will then be $10/lb for these frozen/packaged birds. As with all past seasons these birds are
sold as whole birds, ready-to-eat, purchases on processing day will include feet and organ meats if you wish to keep these. I do recall one or two of you wanting these last year and then forgetting to send you home with them, if this was the case with you, I invite you to remind me this year, should you choose to return, and I will gladly double your feet/organ meats with this year's purchase.
I have just introduced gift cards to the farm this year, and I couldn’t be more excited about a simple piece of plastic! In fact it may be the only plastic that I have been excited for in a long time. These gift cards are going to fulfill two primary functions for the
farm. First and foremost they will enable you to support the farm with early spring cash flow, during the time of year that the business has the highest expense and a relatively low income. This is at no risk to you as the gift card can be spent on the crops you want, when they are available, if there is a crop failure, you can hold onto your gift card until that crop is produced again. Since the gift cards NEVER expire you can save them for the crop you want, or budget your Cackleberry expenses in the spring and spend the card throughout the season. Secondly, using Cackleberry gift cards can SAVE YOU MONEY!! During the “Support Your Farmer” promotion, running from February 8th to May 1st of this year you can save up to an additional 10% on Cackleberry products, whether purchased at the market or at the farm.
Pricing on Gift Cards is as follows:
Minimum Purchase: $25
From now through May 1st, when you load a card with:
$50 or more: 5% off
$60 or more: 6% off
$70 or more: 7% off
$80 or more: 8% off
$90 or more: 9% off
$100 or more: 10% off
If you are able, I encourage you to take advantage of this promotion to save you and your family money while sourcing high quality, healthy and nutrient dense food. I have not yet figured out how to include gift cards in the online farm store, so to get ahold of a gift card, either meet me at the winter market or at the farm in person and I will get it loaded for you.
CSA - Community Supported Agriculture
I am partnering with Food For Thought this year to provide microgreens in their new CSA offering. This will begin with a small test run beginning March 7th and run through April 25th. This first test run, rather than be a CSA purchasing model will be more akin to a monthly subscription box. As a customer you may find these a convenient way to ensure you get a regular supply for the local products you want and use. Many find these sorts of boxes assist them in meal planning and make day to day cooking an easier task. If you are typically in a hurry, these boxes may provide you a way of getting all the products you want without having to go booth to booth and may even provide some products that are not available at the winter markets. It may also be a good option if you occasionally find that you get to the market and find a product sold out or unavailable. Products may include pasture raised
meats from Sunshine Valley Farms, Honey from Hat Six Honey, Jams, Jellies and Salsas, etc. from other local vendors and likely much more than I am able to remember at this time. As for my products in this first round, you will find an oz of pea shoots and an oz of sun shoots every week in each box you recieve. There will only be 10 boxes available this first round, so get yours before they’re sold out! If you would like more details about dates, pricing or to subscribe as a customer, please contact Cassie Murphy with Food For Thought regarding all the offerings of the CSA.
In mid-December, Rose and I launched a blog about life on the homestead! This is predominately a lifestyle blog with some coverage of projects and livestock management. We publish a new post every Wednesday and if you would like to follow the blog, I
will include a link to the homepage at the bottom of this section. We have developed a few different methods of monetizing this blog and invite you to explore them if you would like. The first is the pain-free option of following our Amazon link, if you are already
going to be shopping on Amazon, you can go the blog and at the top of every page you will find Amazon’s logo, click that and it will take you to the Amazon homepage, if you shop Amazon on that page/window/tab within 24hours of following that link, we will
receive a commission from Amazon at no additional cost to you. I will also include an amazon link beneath our blog link below. Next to that Amazon link you will see links to a couple of logos for Zazzle and Redbubble. I developed these stores A LONG TIME AGO, when I was in high school and seeking to develop some online income, I actually hesitated to share them on the blog because some products show what I now feel is a lack of maturity in design. Nevertheless those stores are there, and you are welcome to explore them and purchase from them if you’d like, there is already a little bit of Cackleberry Swag and over time I may yet choose to develop the product offerings further. You can also choose to subscribe to the blog itself to be notified when a new blog post is published, to do this, simply input your email in the appropriate field midway down the page when you get to our blog.
Blog Link: https://cackleberryfg.wixsite.com/blog
Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2H7QIho
Cackleberry Farm and Garden offers products in two basic sales models: On-Farm Purchases and Market Sales. On-Farm prices are set at the lowest price I can afford to offer and will give you the opportunity to see the farm that produces your food. I set
these prices as the lowest price to incentivize you to personally develop a relationship with the land and the farm that feeds you, and in the process I encourage you to personally inspect our farm for yourself and your family.
Farm Location: 9548 Hopi Rd, Casper, WY
Google Maps is slightly inaccurate about our place, and will attempt to bring you to a neighbors home. We are the single wide trailer with a copper colored roof on the corner of N Hopi and Ormsby. I have submitted an edit to Google so hopefully this will be fixed and be accurate soon. At this time, the majority of Cackleberry sales take place at local farmer’s markets, prices are set higher for markets to cover the additional time and cash investment necessary to sell at these markets. That being said, if you are purchasing in small quantities at a time or do not have a vehicle that can be relied on to get you to our farm, you may find that you save money by paying this premium and purchasing at a market. Market Schedule is subject to change without notice, for the most up-to-date info on which market you might find me at, either visit the website or give me a call/text. With the exception of out-of-town trips or any unforeseen circumstances, I intend to be at each of the following markets through the whole season:
Food For Thought Winter Maker’s Market - 9am-2pm every Saturday now through May 30th
Location: 420 W 1st St, Casper, WY 82601
Food For Thought Summer Market - Time to be announced (likely 5pm-8pm Tuesday Nights beginning June 2nd)
Location: 200 S David St, Casper, WY
Natrona County Master Gardener Farmer’s Market - 7:30am - 12noon likely runs July 25th - September 26th
Location: Agricultural Resource Learning Center, 2011 Fairgrounds Road, Casper, WY
Natural/Organic Feed Co-op
When I started this business many years ago, I began with conventional chick starter/grower, full of GMO soy and corn and processed into crumbles. I knew then that this was merely temporary and that I would be improving the quality of feed as soon as I could. The following year I began my journey in attempting to source quality ingredients in the Casper area and right away I discovered this was going to be a difficult journey. That year, 2017, I fed whole and cracked conventional corn and crumbled soybean meal based feed, mixed on farm. The birds that survived were big, but I was not satisfied with the high mortality rate and the quality of the feed the birds were eating. If I was going to put the time and expense into raising birds myself, I wanted them to be birds that I was proud to include in my diet. Fall of 2017, I rented a truck, borrowed a trailer and travelled to Chadron, Nebraska for a few tons of triticale from a grower over there. In 2018 I mixed my own on-farm feed based on triticale and austrian winter peas and had a much better survival rate, but
poor yield and small carcass size. In 2019 I worked with a Poultry feed nutritionist and formulated a feed on Triticale and Pea that maintained low mortality rates and though most birds were still small, some were large sized birds that I was happy to harvest and sell. I was glad that the Triticale/Pea feed was Non-GMO and had no soy but I was spending as much or more time mixing feed than caring for the chickens. I also had to coordinate a LOT of shipping and struggled to find any sources in the area for quality ingredients, making it near impossible for me to scale the pastured poultry to where it needs to go. So, as mentioned above I have decided to outsource feed formulation and mixing to a company that focuses on quality, organic and non-GMO feed.
If you have any desire for quality feed that is Organic, Non-gmo and based on whole grains, not crumbles or pellets, I am offering anyone who is interested the opportunity to bundle their purchase with my own in order to save all involved on shipping costs. I frankly have no experience running a co-op or anything of the sort and so this may be different than any other co-op you may have participated in. Below I will share my idea here overall and then let you know what you can do to take advantage of this. Essentially the idea is that I will manage an email list of those interested. When myself or another producer is planning to
make a purchase of a natural/organic feed or gardening product that will require shipping to acquire, an email will go out detailing when the order will be made, what company we will order from and when possible, a link to their website. A few days before the order is to be made, I will consolidate all the products that are to be ordered and determine the shipping cost per lb or per unit. Those participating in the order will then need to contribute their money to cover their purchase and their portion of shipping costs by the business day prior to the order being placed. These purchases may be ran through a personal account or I may look at the possibility of opening a specific bank account for this purpose, depending on your opinions and the demand as well as logistics. I am certain there will be much to be learned through this but I am committed to developing a solution to the lack of organic feed in the area and hope that this can help some of you in having an easier time sourcing feed than I have had. I am not currently interested in opening an actual feed store or brick and mortar location, just in facilitating bulk purchases to save all of us some money on shipping. Because of this commitment, I will not be charging anything for my time or effort coordinating the orders this year, this may change in the future, but for now you will only be paying for product and shipping, and at a better rate than you likely would on your own.
I am aware that Noland Feed is a local feed store and I suggest supporting them when they have the products you need, they thus far don’t seem to have much interest in supplying the exact feed I or you may be looking for. This is in no way intended to
create competition for them or take away their market share but to fill the holes left around the great selection they already provide the community with.
I have two orders planned so far, the first will be with Scratch and Peck Feeds, ordered on April 15th, order consolidated by April 10th. I am aware that you can order Scratch and Peck Feeds through Azure Standard if you are only using layer feed, but they charge 15-17 cents MORE per lb than my order will be, perhaps even more per lb than WE may be paying if we order substantially more than I have planned to order for myself.
The second will be with Seven Springs Farms Ordered on May 22nd, order consolidated by May 18th. I am placing this order to source Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa pellets,If anyone knows of a local producer providing organic and Non-GMO alfalfa, either pelletized or baled, I’d love to hear about them.
If you or someone you know wants to be in the loop on this feed purchasing co-op, please respond with the words, “FEED CO-OP” in the subject line and I will develop a separate email list for this purpose. Please use this subject line for anything you would like to discuss regarding this idea/effort. I will send an email out to this independent list in the first week of March and begin working on that first order.
Lastly, Do you prefer this long format newsletter received once a year, or would you prefer smaller newsletters sent more
Ok, if you read all that... Thank you! But even if you didn't, or only did in the original email and figured once was enough... here is what is a bit of an update and some additional content around the newsletter:
First, the things I FORGOT! Yes, even after writing that 7 page newsletter, I FORGOT THINGS! After pulling out some of my precious hair, I am hoping that I can give you a bit of an update with some accuracy.
That's right! I will be hosting a farm tour this year! The date will be June 20th, 2020 and I will be walking you through the livestock, garden and compost systems at the time. This will include the one-of-a-kind Cackleberry Layer System, the rotationally grazed lamb system, the no-till gardens, the farm pond and potentially much more! I am intentionally scheduling this during a busy time of year so there will be an admission fee of $10/head. HOWEVER, If you are a verified customer or Homa Hills neighbor, or if you mention this blog, that fee will be $5/head, children are FREE when accompanied by a responsible and attentive adult. This is, and will remain a working farm and I make no claims of absolute safety or tidiness, so PLEASE watch your step and mind your behavior, especially around livestock or in any location that you feel may appear hazardous for any reason or that may be made so by inappropriate behavior(such as children running/playing near horses, electric fences, wood piles etc.) I am very excited to offer this opportunity to have everyone here at once to put their feet on the farm, engage with the farm and myself and to ask any questions you may have regarding the farm. This will be a wonderful time for all involved!
Credit Card Processing Fees
Not all that long ago, "Square Inc.," whom we process cards through, recently changed the way they charge per transaction, they now charge a minimum amount per transaction in addition to a percentage fee. To cover this loss when using cards for payments there will be a simple charge of $0.50 for purchases under $15.00 and a flat 3% processing fee for any purchase exceeding $15.00 on a credit or debit card. THESE FEES WILL NOT BE APPLIED TO ANY PURCHASE WITH A GIFT CARD, though a fee may apply if that gift card is initially purchased using a debit or credit card. As I completely spaced this important detail when writing the original newsletter, I did not include this in the initial newsletter and would like my newsletter subscribers to be the first to find out about the day it goes into effect, so this will not take place until after I send out the update newsletter.
As fate would have it, my plans did not go to plan with lambs this year, almost immediately after sending out the newsletter this year, I received an email letting me know that lambing would be done later this season than it was last year. The significance of this, as customers are concerned, is that the lambs will likely NOT be ready as early as they were last year, this will also mean changing processors and thus processing fees, lambs will probably be closer to mid-late November, but honestly, I am still in the process of ironing this out, and this is why a separate newsletter will be sent out when I am certain what I am doing. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause if you were planning to purchase a lamb on the same schedule as last year, but one way or another, I still plan to provide lamb this year to the Casper area.
If you have anything you'd like to add, feel free to comment or contact us. Also if you find our content valuable and would like to support us in the work that we do, please do so. You can support us by following the link at the top of the page before you shop on Amazon, or by visiting the ancient, still-in-progress, Zazzle or Redbubble stores and buying something that interests you. Finally, if you are in the Casper, Wyoming area, you can support our farm directly by visiting the farm website and ordering our direct sale farm products!