Don't they look like Easter?
Written by Gayle
Lassen's is so excited to feature a new local producer--we have just started carrying Highwood Farm's beautiful blue and brown eggs in our Ventura and Thousand Oaks locations!
Last week we went to Somis to meet Devon and Patrick and tour their farm. Despite my trepidation about being near chickens (my shins have scars from the vicious rooster pecks I got when I was a little girl!) I was ready to face my fears. We learned so much about chickens and eggs, too!
Devon had 6 or 7 chickens when she was growning up in Santa Monica, and now she and Patrick have taken that childhood hobby into a budding business. Patrick also grew up in the LA area, but visited relatives who farmed soybeans and corn in Minnesota and became interested in farming and in animals.
The farm is 200 acres, and there are about 300 chickens, and growing. They started about 2 years ago with a few chickens who roosted in their laundry room!
These have got to be the nicest coops I've ever seen!
Now the chickens roam around all day long and then gather to their coops each night to roost.
Highwood Farms has three varieties of chickens--two lay brown eggs ( Rhode Island Reds and Australorps) and one that lays blue eggs (Araucanas). They scratch around, free-range, on fields of hay and grass.
Here is a Rhode Island Red--isn't her color gorgeous?
Australorp Chicken--they are also sometimes white
Everything that the chickens eat is organic, and they are never confined in cages. Patrick moves the coops to a different part of the fields about once per month so that the chickens always have a good food source.
Here is a Araucana chicken--she lays blue eggs
The chickens come into the coops to lay their eggs (although they do sometimes sneak into other places, like buckets or under bushes to lay, and Devon and Patrick have to go hunting!)
These laying sections are on the sides of the coops
Most of the laying is done by about 4:00 each day, and Patrick and Devon gather all of the eggs, mark them with the date and then refrigerate them.
They make sure the chickens have water and extra feed, and clean the coops so there is a nice clean place for the chickens to lay their eggs.
A rooster watches over the brood
Highwood Farms has a few roosters and are starting to hatch some of their own chickens. They also grow some hay, wheat, and barley to use for feed for their own animals and also to sell to their neighbors and some to the feed store. And speaking of their own animals...
Here are some of the piglets that are at Highwood Farms. They have had three litters of piglets in the last five months!
They also have a horse and two miniature donkeys, who were very friendly!
The donkeys coming over for a look at us!
Bethany, our Marketing Director enjoys petting the soft nuzzle of their horse!
We have noticed that these eggs are not only beautiful on the outside, but firm and full-colored on the inside (not that pale, drab yellow of commercially produced eggs), as well as delicious. We have enjoyed them at home for about a week, and think you'll love them too!
Thanks, Patrick and Devon! We had a great time!
And I got over my anxiety about chickens! (but I didn't approach the rooster, either!)
Look for Highwood Farms in our Ventura and Thousand Oaks locations!