Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Duck eggs for sale at the Moscow Food Co-op and farm insurance...ReMARKable Eggs coming to Farmer's Market...

 On the Farm

When starting Mark's business, we wanted to make sure we had multiple avenues available for selling the eggs.  You probably already know that he has an egg delivery route.  He LOVES doing egg delivery each Wednesday!  He also sells duck eggs at a local farm store called Wingover Farm.  

As you might guess, another way to sell eggs is through a grocery store.  We decided to look into selling duck eggs at our local food co-op.  We read through all the "rules".  Mark would need to get liability insurance.  This is to protect him if someone were to purchase his eggs and get sick.  Years ago, I think it was in 2017, I had actually attended a presentation about farm liability insurance.  I can't believe that I actually found the information from that presentation but I did!  In early September 2020, I called the presenter to get help getting the liability insurance.  The lady that had done the presentation said she would get me in touch with an insurance broker that could help us.  It seemed confusing because I thought that she was the one that was going to provide us the insurance.  But, what do I know, this is all new to me.  

The insurance broker called me and I gave him the information.  Mostly, he wanted to know how many poultry we had.  He started looking around and the weeks ticked by.  At one point, he said that he found a provider but that they wanted to see our Farm Safety Plan.  I spent the better part of an afternoon putting together Mark's Farm Safety Plan.  I guess it was not convincing because they backed out.  Actually, now that I think about it more, I think they wanted us to show the past 3 years of finances. This is impossible to do because the business was less than a year old!  This came up more than once.  How do they expect a farm to grow and get business to show finances if it does not have insurance to protect itself.  Kind of a chicken and the egg situation...Finally, after about a month, the insurance broker just said he could not locate anyone that would be willing to insure Mark's business.  He is too small and too new for most insurance companies to want to deal with an egg business.

Okay, now I had to start making calls.  I just googled "farm insurance and Idaho" and started calling every listing that popped up.  Finally, after about a month, I located 2 companies that were willing to actually provide insurance!  The first quote was several hundred dollars (like close to $1000)!  I was in shock!  I was like, Mark is not even going to make that much money selling the eggs until he is in full production.  Luckily, the other company we had contacted had a much more reasonable quote.

The company is COUNTRY Financial and Mark's agent is Crystal Wendt.  Naturally, the company wanted all of our business.  This means that we had to switch our auto and home insurance over to their company.  A small price to pay for the ability to get insurance to cover Mark's egg business.  A great advantage of the COUNTRY Financial insurance is that it is actually "farm" insurance.  So, all the barns and coops are covered too!  I even added our automatic gate onto the insurance (because we just had someone back into it and it cost almost $2000 to fix!).  

Now that we had the insurance, Mark could take eggs to sell at the Moscow Food Co-op!  Yeah!!!
Here is a close up of the eggs in the cooler for sale...
This was so eggciting and such an amazing milestone!  It is a nice advantage to take a cooler full of eggs to one location, drop them off, and get paid!  It is great to serve our community this way.  I am pretty sure that Mark is the only one selling duck eggs at the Co-op.  I think people are catching on.  We brought 10 of the 6 packs last Tuesday and they were sold out by Saturday!
Crystal has been great to work with.  She came out to the farm and took inventory of everything.  She is very responsive to any and all questions that we have.  I highly recommend her services if you are looking for insurance in north Idaho.  

I want to also give a big THANK YOU to Stepping Stones.  Last fall, Mark got a grant from Stepping Stones to help cover the expense of the insurance.  If it were not for this grant, he probably would have had to wait to start selling at the Co-op but these monies made it happen!  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The insurance broker just called me 2 weeks ago!  He had another client that was doing something similar to Mark and wanted to know if we had ever located insurance!  Too funny!  I'm glad he called and I could give him the information to help another small farmer.

Where to buy ReMARKable Eggs

To recap, here is where you can purchase ReMARKable Eggs.

1. Off farm: just contact Denise at remarkablefarms@gmail.com and let me know what kind of eggs you want and when you want to stop by and pick them up

2. Moscow delivery route: contact Denise at remarkablefarms@gmail.com to learn more information about the delivery route.  We only serve the city limits of Moscow right now.  We may start a delivery route in Pullman at some point but not for a couple years...

3. Moscow Food Co-op: Only duck eggs are sold at the Co-op in 6 packs.  We stop in often to make sure that there is always inventory there.

4. Moscow Farmers Market: we were not going to go to the Market this year but that has changed.  We will start going about every other week starting June 5th.  We don't have enough inventory to go to the Market every week at this point...maybe next year if the chicken coop gets built and we get more chickens!  If you are interested in coming to the Market for eggs, make sure to like the Facebook page.  We will always post to FB on the Saturdays that we are going to be at the Market.

Have an eggcellent day!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

What is bugging the girls?

 In the Coop

I had noticed that a couple of the ducks just have not looked "right" lately.  I have been watching them and they seem to have lots of energy but their feathers were all matted.  I picked one up and I saw a lot of white looking dander at the base of the feathers.  I didn't actually see any lice but it seems that this may be the issue.  It was mostly in the older ducks.  I have also noticed that the older chickens seem to have patches of feathers missing.  It is not the right time of year for them to go through a molt so I am not sure why they would be losing their feathers.  The conclusion is that the girls had feather lice.
Chicken standing in wood ash dust bath
I started looking for ideas of how to treat the girls.  Dusting the girls with something like diatomaceous earth (DE) would help to kill the pests.  Food grade diatomaceous earth is useful to reduce internal and external parasites (such as worms, lice and mites).  We actually put DE on the girls food once a month so they eat some to help keep any internal parasites (worms) from becoming a problem.  DE also contains trace minerals that are beneficial to poultry.  You can use the DE to dust the outside of the birds to help kill any mites or lice.  The DE is a desiccant and will dry out and kill the little buggers.  Adding DE to a dust bath is a great way to help the chickens stay lice/mite free.

The idea of dusting each bird (we have about 120 total poultry) seemed pretty overwhelming.  So, after consulting YouTube University, I found that many people use ivermectin to treat poultry.  I went to the local farm store and bought some Ivermectin right off the shelf, no prescription needed.
As you may notice from this pic, this medication is for cattle.  They don't actually make it for poultry.  Obviously, treating poultry with ivermectin is considered an "off label" use.  I put some of the medication in a small bottle with a dropper.  Then, I took it out to the ducks in the evening.  I had all the ducks in the paddock and closed the door to the run.  Then, I ran around and picked up each duck, lifted the feathers up on the back of their necks and applied 2-4 drops of the medicine.  The medicine is meant to absorb through their skin and into the bloodstream.  After 10 days, you have to repeat the treatment.  This is to kill any eggs that may have hatched after the initial treatment that escaped.  Here is a video of me trying to catch the ducks to give them their treatment...

When giving medication to animals, there is sometimes a "withdrawal" period.  For example, after treatment, you should have a withdrawal period of 7 days and not eat any of the eggs during that time.  Since this is an off label use of this medication, there are no official guidelines for this.  I did see several sites mention the 7 day withdrawal timeline.

For over 25 years, ivermectin has been used to treat parasitic infections in mammals, with a good safety profile and is generally well tolerated.  If you, personally, got a parasitic worm infection, your doctor would prescribe ivermectin.  I find it interesting that ivermectin is being studied as a medication to be used for COVID-19 treatment.  In our home, we are not observing the withdrawal period but we contacted all our regular egg customers to let them know of the treatment so they could make their own decision.  

Where did these pests come from?  Well, they are everywhere in the environment.  Wild birds can carry them.  I have seen quail and magpie in the run on several occasions.  Providing swim water to ducks gives them the opportunity to bathe and preen themselves to keep themselves clean and avoid pests.  We always provide water for the ducks.  Even in the winter, they have smaller tubs of water that they can get in and bathe.
Chickens will dust bathe in the dirt to keep pests off them.  The chickens have lots of opportunities to dust bathe outside.  I did put a container of wood ash into their barn (see pic at top of blog).  Wood ash particles are very fine so they can get up in their feathers and suffocate the pests.  
I feel like we have been doing everything correctly.  The ducks have access to water and the chickens have plenty of areas to dust bathe.  These things just happen.  Hoping the treatment works and we can have healthy girls again!

Have an eggcellent day!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

New look coming to jams and jellies...

 In the Kitchen

A few months ago, my friend, Allison, called me and asked if I would like some jelly jars.  Well, of course I would!  She knew of a person that had some jars that he bought decades ago and was ready to get rid of them.  The story goes a little like this...  

Marv Obenauf had a business idea to sell a spread of honey with nuts in it.  He ordered some special hexagon shaped jars.  (If you didn't know, bees honeycomb are hexagon shaped so I assume that is why he wanted to use these specially shaped jars.)  Once he had the jars, Marv started working on a label.  Unfortunately, the labels were going to be SO expensive that it made the venture unrealistic.  

We can relate to this issue.  Egg cartons and labels are super expensive.  We are fortunate that a lot of our delivery customers save their egg cartons and we can re-use them a few times.  We also take back jelly jars to re-use.  Yeah for recycling!

Mr. Obenuaf then had a different idea and that was to make leather conditioner made with beeswax.  Obenauf's Your Best Leather Protection can now be found at various farm stores and Cabella's throughout the country!  I think he made a good business decision in going with the leather conditioner.  BUT he still had all those jars from the honey idea that he needed to get rid of.  So, one Sunday afternoon, we jumped into the pickup and headed to Peck, Idaho and loaded up the bed with jars!  What a generous gift and we are so grateful for the opportunity to take these jars off his hands.
Some of the jars had the honey/nut mixture in them.  I just opened them all up and scraped out the honey mixture.  I gave it to Alison and she is going to feed it back to her bees.  Alison also got some of the jars.  I think maybe she is going to make some lavender infused honey...if I remember correctly...
I did a test run with the new jars and made some raspberry jammy and they worked great!  They have special sealing lids.  I already looked and found that I could buy replacement lids and they are not too expensive.  This may be helpful because I still have not been able to find any "regular" size canning lids at the stores!

The only downside is that the jars are 4 and 6 ounces.  I usually place a label on the lid identifying the contents of the jar.  The lids are pretty small so there is not enough room to put our logo.  I want to avoid putting a label on the actual jar because it can be challenging to scrape off the sticker to re-use the jar.  On the bright side, we have several hundred jars so it will take several years to make enough jam/jelly to use all these jars up!  What an amazing gift!

Did you know...

I did make some Dandelion Jelly that is going in the farm store today!  Surprisingly, Dandelion Jelly actually tastes a lot like honey.
Have a sweet day!