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Is your farm chemical free?

Legally we are not allowed to use the “O” word because we’re not certified. Organic certification is extremely expensive. Our aim is to provide affordable organic food: having the certification will increase the price of our produce; as we already firmly believe in organic principles, nothing will change, even if we become certified. We offer full transparency to our guests and invite everyone to the farm to learn about our methods in the hopes of spreading knowledge of caring for the land which will lead to a love for the land. At Feathers and Tails Farm, we never use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Our cultivation method mimic that of a natural ecosystem; we simply lay organic matter (farm produced compost) on top of the soil, then plant our crops into it. This is a far more sustainable way of keeping our soil fertile and healthy; it feeds soil organisms, which in turn produce everything the plant needs to thrive within a lovely, deep, rich, crumbly soil with lots of life. We are always looking to reduce our carbon footprint; the compost we use is made from local organic matter and is high in carbon material such as wood chips; this decomposes over time and the carbon is then locked in the soil.
Generally, large scale farms use nitrogenous fertilizers derived from the Haber Bosch process, which uses a colossal amount of fuel – around 1% of the world’s energy supply-which equates to a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of doing this we use nitrogen-fixing plants; these plants work together with soil bacteria to absorb atmospheric nitrogen. Nitrogen is stored in the plant, until it decomposes, releasing the nitrogen into the soil.

What type of alpacas do you have?

We have Huacaya alpacas on our farm. There are two distinct breeds of alpacas: Huacaya (wah-KI’-ya) and Suri (“surrey”). Both fleeces are soft and luxurious. Huacaya, with full, puffy fleeces whose crimp or crinkle is found throughout their fleeces. Suri alpaca fleece has the lustrous, penciled fiber that hangs down in “dreadlocks”, giving the suri alpaca an entirely different appearance.  Fibers of both types are considered luxury fibers in the textile trade because of their unique qualities.  The twenty two colors range from white to fawn, brown to true black and silver gray to dark rose gray. No other animal on earth comes in so many natural shades!

Do alpacas bite? Can you ride alpacas?

Alpacas do not possess the teeth, horns, hooves or claws to do any harm. They don't bite but they can spit if they are upset. You should not ride or even sit on alpacas because they are not strong enough or built to support people. The weight of an average alpaca is just about 150 lbs. They are smaller than llamas. Never ride or sit on an alpaca.

Why pasture raised eggs?

Research has shown that hens with access to outdoor pastures produce eggs with significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than eggs from caged hens. Another study suggests that eggs from hens with outdoor access contain significantly more vitamin D than conventional (or caged) eggs. Our hens are allowed to roam freely on the pasture during the daylight hours. They can forage, run, perch, bathe and socialize as much or as little as they choose. We offer our hens various water stations, each with their own special blend of organic nutrients added to the water. It is fun watching the hens travel to each water station, eager to taste the water.

Why are the chicken eggs so many different colors? Do you dye them?

We don't dye our eggs, our Easter Egger hens lay naturally occurring colored eggs! Easter Eggers are not a breed per se, but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standard. They lay large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and even pinkish. A single hen will lay only one particular color and that will be the only color she lays – they don’t do rainbow assortments. But since we have numerous hens you are likely to get a good variety of colors in your egg box.

Can you eat quail eggs?

A single quail egg provides a significant chunk of your daily vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, and choline needs, along with some iron — all in a serving that contains only 14 calories. Selenium and riboflavin are important nutrients that help your body break down the food you eat and transform it into energy. Quail eggs have a mild, slightly gamey taste, similar to a chicken egg, but with an extra-rich, creamy yolk and higher yolk to white ratio. Each quail egg is about the size of a large olive, making them ideal for canapés, salads, appetizers and garnishes.

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