Over the last few years, we have seen more and more local farmers offer CSA shares for their customers, and we have decided that this year, Frontière Farm House will join in!! Here is some information on how it works.
What is a CSA? CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” Farming is an expensive endeavor that requires a lot of upfront investment, and the returns take a while to show. Having a CSA means that farmers can get an influx of capital up-front, and customers usually get a discount for making that investment early on.
What makes our CSA different? We are asking for a purchase of a CSA membership upfront in a set amount of $100, $250 or $500. This will get you what is essentially a Frontière Farm House gift card loaded with that amount that you can use at any of our markets. There is no expiration date on the card, and it can be topped up whenever is convenient for you, in those same amounts. You can spend as much or as little as you want, when you want. You do not need to pick up weekly, and you get to choose exactly what you receive.
What do you get with the membership? With this purchase, we are offering a bonus on loading and reloading the card. If you make the initial purchase before April 30, 2019, the bonus will be as follows: $100 purchase gets you: $115 (an extra 15%) $250 purchase gets you: $292.50 (an extra 17%) $500 purchase gets you: $600 (an extra 20%) After April 30, 2019, including any reloads, the bonus will be as follows: $100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%) $250 purchase gets you: $280 (an extra 12%) $500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%) This bonus amount will remain the same for all of 2019. We may change the bonus percentage in the future.
What can you get with the CSA? In short, anything we sell! This year, we plan on offering: Chicken, duck, and goose eggs; and chicken, duck, goose, and turkey meat. In addition, we will have a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers; our delicious spice blends and infused salts; and a selection of Nicole’s hand knit and handmade items (at most markets). We will send out an email and/or a Facebook update with what will be available at the market weekly. If something is only available in a limited quantity, we will let you know ahead of time, and offer the option to reserve a small number
What can you not get with the CSA? The only things that the CSA cannot be spent on are wholesale orders, and our Egg CSA. Basically, you cannot “double dip” the discounts.
This time of year, there isn’t a whole lot going on here, but that doesn’t mean we are sitting around all day. Our fifteen fuzzy hay eating animals still need hay and snacks brought out to them at least once a day, and the birds still need their feed and water taken care of.
We have shifted the way we do our chores slightly this winter. We were both getting home after dark some days, so we moved all of our poultry feeding to the mornings. One fifty pound sack of feed is divvied up between several feeders, and they seem to be fine with that. If one of us is home, we will go out a couple times with Luna and throw some “snackies” out for the birds. Snackies are scratch, kitchen scraps, or whatever else we might have for them. This keeps them entertained, and allows us to check on them periodically.
As for the fuzzy hay eating animals, we still occasionally feed them twice. They get at least one full bale of hay in the morning, which is sometimes brought out in a wheelbarrow. The smaller goats seem to enjoy when that happens. If they eat most of that, we give them another half bale of hay in the evening. We don’t like to give them all of it at once, because they just like to make a mess of it, and leave it all over the ground.
The nice part about them making a mess is that it’s great for them to bed down in. This works well for us, until the hay and poop piles up. We have been managing to stay on top of things, and we scoop out the spent hay pretty regularly.
The wheelbarrow loads of dirty hay get hauled around the pastures and are dumped into low spots in the ground. These holes are mostly caused by chickens taking excessively aggressive dust baths. I don’t know what their issue is, but they apparently think bathing for 45 minutes and tossing every speck of dirt three feet away is absolutely required. Filling the holes means we fall less frequently, which is always a good thing. We also toss some of the hay into the bird yard for them to scratch through. It soaks up some of the gross mud we have been dealing with for a while, and gives them a little more traction when the ground freezes. If we have any hay left after, it gets piled on top of our compost pile.
This is the bulk of what we have been doing all winter. Soon, we will begin ordering our seeds for the vegetable and flower gardens, as well as ordering chicks to raise. We are looking forward to working back into our daily routines.
This is going to be a little different than our usual content, but I hope you don’t mind. I promise there are cute animals!
My birthday is January 4th, and I turned 30 this year. Robert decided to make this birthday an extra fun one. We exchanged gifts for Solstice, and he had told me ahead of time that my gift was going to be an experience, instead of physical things, but he got me something to open and it was representative of what my gift was. I opened my gift, and immediately started crying. This is what greeted me.
I knew I would be petting sloths for my birthday! I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t stop crying, and Luna had to help me calm back down. If you’ve seen that Kristen Bell sloth video, that was basically me, but she’s prettier.
So fast forward to my actual birthday. Bob let me sleep in, and went out to do animal chores. Unfortunately, one of our Jacob ewes, Tanka, knocked off one of her lateral horns and was bleeding pretty heavily. We got in touch with our sheep mentors, and they basically said “Well, it’s cold out. She will be fine.” So on we went with our day! And a week later, she’s still alright. We headed to Hillsdale to look at a potential farm truck. Spoiler: it was worse than a rust bucket. So it was a big fat NO. We ended up getting breakfast at Coffee Cup Diner which was AMAZING! Surprise Thai food for breakfast? Yes please! We both loved our meal, and we are planning on heading back there soon.
Post breakfast, we drove to Ann Arbor for my birthday present. The Creature Conservancy is an amazing non-profit educational organization. They started with surrendered pets that people realized they couldn’t take care of anymore. Who’d have though an alligator or an arctic fox would make bad pets? We met up with our guide Patricia, and we talked about what they do there.
Our first stop was the outdoor area where the black swans live. Being that Bob and I have experience with large waterfowl (our geese) we knew we didn’t need to get any closer than necessary. They are cool looking, but a whole lot of NOPE!
After that, we went indoors and through the kitchen area where they prep food for all the resident animals. They get a large portion of the fruit and vegetables donated by the Whole Foods that isn’t far from them. The animals are getting a large variety in their diets at basically no cost to The Creature Conservancy, WF doesn’t need to pay for waste disposal, and it’s keeping good food out of the landfill. Everyone wins! We may be donating some extra produce to them this summer, depending on how our gardens do, and if we cannot find something closer to us.
We walked through the indoor animal enclosures, which included some gigantic tortoises, a shy eagle, and an adorable kangaroo! We learned that kangaroos are super soft. Imagine a chinchilla, but… better? She was so chill. Petting her was awesome.
After the kangaroo, we watched the resident cougar with her new toy, a paper mache “deer”. The staff added some meat to the top of it so Quinn would be able to find it. She was really cool! Bob was really excited to find out that cougars can purr.
After seeing the cougar, we headed out to see the little goats. There are five little wethers, who were absolutely adorable. They all still have their horns, which was a little bothersome for me, because I am so used to ours who mostly don’t have horns, and these little guys were spoiled as babies, so they are exceptionally needy. Two of them chewed the ends off my shoelaces. However, I still love goats of all attitudes.
We wandered through a few more animal areas and ended up in front of Bed Head and Lady Gaga. This was the second most exciting animal encounter for me. Porcupines are an animal that makes me go mushy inside. I think they’re so silly and adorable looking, and I found out we would be feeding them sweet potatoes. We also learned they are basically garbage disposals and they love almost any produce that Whole Food donates!
Post porcupine perusal, we walked through the larger indoor area where the majority of the animals live. They had Macaws, which were loud, warthogs, who were kind of terrifying with their tusks, binturongs (that I didn’t get close enough to verify if they smell like popcorn), and many others. Finally, we went up some steps to where the most important animal encounter would occur.
The first sloth to come out was Poco. He was huge, much larger than I thought a sloth would be. I don’t know what I expected, but he moved faster than I thought possible! But we had grapes for him, so I totally understand his excitement He eagerly gobbled them off the straws Patricia shoved them on. Shortly after, his girlfriend Annie came moseying on out. She had a baby a few months ago, and it’s so stinking adorable, I almost cried.
After the sloths, we headed back to the car and I promptly started crying. I was just so overwhelmed with all the amazing things I’d just seen, and couldn’t hold it in anymore. Bob was actually surprised that I didn’t cry while petting the sloth. And for those who are interested, sloths feel sort of like grey hair does.
The rest of the evening included a visit to TeaHaus in Ann Arbor for macarons and tea. Which were both tasty. We also had No Thai for dinner, which was honestly the perfect way to end the evening! Nothing fancy, just something that would fill our bellies.
This was possibly the best birthday I’ve ever had, and I am so grateful we got to spend the day together. The weekend continued the festivities, and we went to Detroit and partied with many of our friends. Nothing will ever top this weekend!
Now that the rush of summer is gone, we were truly hoping that autumn and winter would be a little easier and calmer. So far, we have been wrong.
Our final batch of chickens for this season was brought to the processor last week. They are now in the freezer awaiting their new homes in the ovens and soup pots of our customers. This batch of chickens finished a little smaller than previous batches. We aren’t sure if it’s due to being later in the year, and the pasture not being quite as nutritious, or something else. That being said, they are just as delicious as the previous birds sent to the processor. We had to acquire an additional freezer to store these birds in. We are hoping to have it emptied out by the end of the year. Or at least have one of the meat freezers emptied out by then.
We have acquired several new animals recently. We have three Jacob sheep that we purchased from Sweetgrass Jacobs back at the end of October. One named Limerick, who is a two horned ram born in April of this year. We also got one two horned female and a four horned female, named Haiku and Tanka respectively. They are all quite skittish, but they are slowly warming up to us.
In addition to the sheep, we’ve acquired five goats. They came from a farm that was downsizing. We have three wethers and two does. The wethers are named Taco, Milkshake and Nugget, and the does are Curry and Fudge. Yes, we named them all after foods that goats can be made into. But we don’t plan on eating these ones any time soon.
Our chickens and ducks have slowed their egg production. We are still getting a dozen or two a day, but that’s a far cry from the overflowing baskets we were getting for most of the summer. It will pick back up in the spring. Everything has a season, and egg season is definitely early summer!
We will be processing our own turkey for Thanksgiving, and we are really looking forward to that. We have two really large males that we will choose between. The second one will be served up at the December holiday dinner. We hope the rest of the turkeys will lay eggs for us to hatch and raise up for next year’s holiday dinners.
All of our tasty products, and some of Nicole’s knitted items will be available at the Marshall Farmers Market at the B.E. Henry building. We hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, feel free to send us a message to make arrangements to get some eggs or chicken. Happy almost-winter!
It’s hard to believe that a month ago today, the two of us were at the wedding of Robert’s sister Elaine and her husband Dan. We were honored to arrange the flowers for the ceremony and reception. We had initially planned on growing them, but we got a little ambitious with our garden plans, and the weeds got away from us. With help from Green Gardens, we pulled everything off amazingly well.
A little before the wedding date, we placed our order with Trent. The day before the wedding, we cut some flowers and greens from our property. Much of it was trimmed off our trees that needed pruning, or were actual weeds (they were primarily Queen Anne’s lace) from our lawn. They worked beautifully with what we ordered. A little later in the day, we got in touch with Trent and he let us know that he had our flowers and filler cut and waiting in buckets for us. The arrangements consisted of zinnias, a few dahlias, multiple types of basil, a couple types of celosia, gomphrena, sunflowers and cosmos. There were a few other flowers that we had in small numbers as well.
They were stored overnight in the basement at Robert and Elaine’s parent’s house. It was cooler there, and they would likely hold better. We were very happy with how that worked out. Robert spent much of the morning with the groomsmen while I did the flowers with the help of Elaine’s friend Gretchen. She was a lifesaver! It can be said that I don’t do well under pressure, and an extra set of hands and eyes, and a kind voice were so welcomed.
The flowers started with the bouquets for the bridal party to carry. I wanted to make sure I used the prettiest flowers first. Elaine’s bouquet took some work, but eventually I got it. Gretchen wrapped the stems with twine and gave them a great polished look. We trimmed the stems so that Elaine’s bouquet was a little longer than the rest. It looked amazing.
After the important bouquets were finished, we worked on the 55 or so centerpiece arrangements. Elaine and many family members and friends had been looking for small bud vases and jars for almost two years before the wedding. They looked lovely together, and were fairly easy to arrange.
All together on one table, they were a sight to see! I got so many compliments on them, and I really enjoyed myself. It was stressful, as I didn’t want to disappoint Elaine and Dan, but in the end, it went really really well. Other than the flowers, vases and twine, the only things we needed were loads and loads of floral tape, and some super sharp flower snips. Arranging flowers isn’t the most complicated thing in the world, but it definitely takes some practice. I look forward to more opportunities to work on it.
One of the frustrating things about starting seeds is that many of them need to be babied while they are sprouting. Watering with a regular hose nozzle is too strong of a stream and can disrupt the seeds, or break the fragile stems. We found these amazing misting nozzles on Amazon, and we knew they were a game changer.
The Fogg-It Watering Nozzles come in a pack of three, or can be purchased individually. We decided to go for the three pack, as it would give us more options for different tasks. We are very glad we did! We use the 1/2 gallon per minute (GPM) nozzle to water our seed starts. The other two are used for watering the animals. A couple weeks ago, it got unseasonably hot for a couple days, and all of our animals were panting and struggling with the heat. We ran a couple hoses out to our chicken tractor, and ran the 1 GPM nozzle over them for almost an hour. They absolutely loved it! It was hilarious watching these meat birds drink the water running down the walls of the tractor. We also sprayed down Faith and Galahad, who seemed to really have fun with the water. They had just gotten their hair cuts a couple days prior which also helped keep them cool.
We also used the 2 GPM nozzle to mist the laying flock. We had it strung up in the tree to mist the shady areas, and the drips filled up a pool we set on the ground under the tree. This is an easy, relatively hands-off way of cooling the flock when it gets way too hot out. The hose can be left like that for a while and we can go and get other things done.
Overall, we are so happy we purchased these nozzles! They have several other sizes available, and they can also be purchased individually. If you get some of these for yourself, let us know what you think!
We purchased these nozzles at full price with our own money. We did not offer to do a review of this item, but we seriously love them so much we had to share them. The links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through them, we get a small amount of money in return. Thank you for supporting our farm.
Something super exciting is happening at Frontière Farm House very soon! Our first batch of meat birds is going to the processor tomorrow, and we can’t wait to share them with all of you.
Back at the end of March, we received a shipment of Red Ranger and Husky Ranger chicks from The Chick Hatchery. They were so tiny when they first arrived! We struggled a little at first, and a few didn’t survive, but since that initial issue (which we’ve worked out for future batches) they haven’t had any health troubles. When we first got them, they grew so quickly. In fact, if one of us didn’t see them for a couple days, we noticed their growth very easily.
We are getting close to processing time, and we wanted to share more information about these soon-to-be delicious birds. As said previously, they are Red Ranger and Husky Ranger. These are both chicken breed crosses that have been selectively bred to grow fairly quickly. They are slightly slower growing and have far fewer health problems than the traditional Cornish cross, which was very important to us. In addition, the Ranger types are better for free range/pasture raising (hence the name). We have our birds in a mobile chicken coop, often called a chicken tractor, which we move to fresh grass every single day, and sometimes twice a day. They can eat all the grass, weeds, bugs and dirt they want. More than once we have seen them chase flying insects in the tractor and eagerly gobble them up. This is what chickens are meant to do! In addition, we feed them a high-quality meat bird grower feed which is blended at a local mill. It doesn’t contain any hormones or antibiotics and is made from grains grown local to us. Supporting local farmers is something that we do as often as possible!
Red Rangers and Husky Rangers mature in ten to twelve weeks. It is a short life, but our birds are very happy every single day they spend on our farm. We have a goal of making sure none of our animals have more than one bad day. We will be bringing them to a USDA inspected facility where they will be processed. We have heard nothing but good things about this processor, and we are confident that they will do a great job of minimizing suffering for our birds. Once they are killed, plucked, and cleaned, they will be wrapped, weighed, labeled, and we will bring them home in coolers. We will have them available fresh for the first day at the market, and then we will freeze them shortly after. We are taking pre-orders for the birds. For just $5, you secure your whole bird. That will go towards the total cost. They are $4.50 a pound for the whole birds, and if we end up doing halves or eight pieces, the price will be slightly more.
In addition to picking them up from us, we will have chicken available through our friends at Green Gardens Community Farm! The pricing will be the same, but pre-orders will not be available.
We already have our second batch of birds started, and these will also be ready in ten to twelve weeks. If you miss out on this first round, you don’t have too long to wait for more!
After a long, cold, never-ending winter, the outdoor edition of the Marshall Farmers Market starts up this Saturday, and we are so excited! It runs from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm every week until the end of October. We have something new to share with all of you, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed preparing for it.
We are happy to introduce the Frontière Farm House Market Bag Discount Program! It gets a little confusing here, but we promise to do the hard work for you. This is what you need to know. The bags cost $15. Yes, we do understand this is a little high for a market bag, but it gets you a whole lot more than just a fancy place to carry your purchases. It gets you a discount on just about everything we sell! Here is how the discounts will break down:
Eggs are 25 cents off per dozen (no discount on half dozens)
Meat is 25 cents off per pound
Fruit and vegetables are 10% off purchases of $10 or more
Spice mixes will be three for $9 (usually 3/$10)
Knitted items are 10% off
Other discounts will be added as we add to our repertoire
Here are the rules you need to know:
These discounts may change in the future, but we will be sure to notify you beforehand.
The market bag discount cannot be combined with our Egg CSA.
You must have the bag with you in order to get the discount.
It’s likely we will round pricing up or down so we don’t have to deal with anything smaller than a quarter.
If we are sharing a booth space with another vendor, the discount only applies to the items we sell.
These bags were printed by our friend Don, who also printed our aprons. He did an amazing job on both, and we would definitely recommend him if you have any screen printing you want done.
If you have any questions about the discount program, our egg CSA, or anything else, please do let us know! We are happy to help you out.
Summer of 2017 was a summer of next to no rain. It made for a difficult first year of gardening for us on our new property. We got a soil test done last year which told us what our garden was lacking. One of them was organic matter. Back in September 2017, we plowed the garden and seeded with winter rye and forage radish. The radishes have long roots which helps aerate the soil, and the rye helps build up organic matter when it’s tilled in.
Last weekend, Robert went through our careful orchestration of acquiring the tools we need to do large scale garden work. We borrow a cone spreader from our friends at Green Garden, and a tractor from our friends Dave and Nancy. He also had to borrow a van to transport all the bags of fertilizers home.
Our garden is about 3/4 of an acre. Because of the large size, and how poor our soil is, we needed large quantities of everything. It started with 1500 pounds of lime. Lime helps raise the pH of the soil. Most plants want the soil between 6.5 and 7, and ours was at 5.4. In addition, 400 pounds of 19-19-19 fertilizer was added. This adds nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. And finally, our soil was especially poor in potassium, so 40 pounds of potash was mixed in, which is 0-0-60.
So far, so good with what has been spread. We still need to till in the rye and spread our plastic mulch. But, it’s progressing, which makes us both happy. We can’t wait to share what we are growing with you!
We’ve been told that spring is coming, but we beg to differ. We’ve had alternating days of wonderful weather, with clear skies and reasonable temperatures, and complete garbage. This morning, I woke up to snow dusting the entire yard. Luna wasn’t super impressed with it when I took her out to do her business and care for the animals.
First thing every morning, we let the flock out of the coop. The chickens, ducks and muscovies spend the night in the coop, and the geese stay outside. They are too large, and just too mean to keep in with the rest of the flock overnight. Plus, we have them as “guard dogs” so we want them to make noise if something is amiss. This is what “Unleashing the Feather Beasts” looked like back in the fall.
In the last month or so, we’ve added several birds to our flock. The first were a pair of male muscovies. We got a white, as well as a lavender. Shortly after, we got a trio of females to go with them. We plan on breeding them to raise babies for both egg and meat production. We also acquired three female Toulouse geese, which seem to have bonded with the trio of American Buff geese we have. The plan for those is also raising babies for meat production. Plus, we’ll enjoy some eggs while we wait for the ladies to go broody.
We have also ordered more layers, as well as our first batch of meat birds. The layers are going to be Easter Eggers, to add a little color to our cartons for the market. The meat birds are Red Rangers as well as Husky Rangers. The Easter Eggers will be added to our laying flock after brooding in the barn for a few weeks. The Rangers will be put into tractors to be moved around our pasture. We have several reasons we’ve chosen Rangers as opposed to the usual Cornish Cross meat birds, which we will go into more detail in a future post. Keep an eye out for that one!