Watching for the delivery truck to return home has been a ritual on our farm for decades. In my Grandpa Dale’s era, the truck would depart with newly-hatched poults heading to an area farm. The poultry truck driver had to watch temperature closely to make sure the birds were warm and cozy in back, and my grandpa often did the delivering himself to ensure the birds got off to a good start.
There are a lot of unsung heroes in agriculture. I was reminded of this during our terrible late January cold spell, with our farm reaching temps of -32 degrees. As (bad) luck would have it, we happened to be brooding our first flock of poults for the year, so I was concerned about maintaining enough heat in our brooder barn to keep the baby turkeys comfortable. At its worst, we were trying to maintain a temp 130 degrees warmer than it was outside the barn door.
I always appreciate the brief pause for reflection that the New Year brings. In theory, this is the quiet season on our farm, but it’s fleeting and quickly filled with planning and preparation for the year ahead. 2018 was a milestone year at Ferndale Market, as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our on-farm store and direct marketing our turkey.
Our son’s first grade class had an assignment to write about a Thanksgiving turkey. Now, our son should have a leg up on his classmates here, because he regularly accompanies me to check our flocks, and this summer he proudly learned how to catch and hold a turkey by himself.
Things are in full swing here: our shelves are being stocked, our trucks are delivering turkeys to our retail partners, and our phones are ringing with fresh turkey orders. On the farm and in the market, our work this season is filled with pride and purpose, knowing that our turkeys will be at the center of family gatherings.
We had been preparing for our 10th Anniversary Open House for months, and thought we’d anticipated everything. After all, we’ve hosted our annual Fall Open House since 2009, so this was simply going to be a “bigger and better” version, focused on thanking our customers for 10 years of support. We never imagined that our farm would be hit by a tornado only two weeks prior to the event.
It was October 15th, 2008 and we were just about to open Ferndale Market for the very first time. Somehow, just before opening, we realized that our credit card processor wasn’t working. I called our local phone service technician (yes, our early credit card terminal ran on a dial up phone line), and he came right out.
Since I returned to our farm in 2008, my reading interests have become more focused. Although I’ve never met a good history book I don’t enjoy, much of my recent reading has been biographies of family businesses, particularly those in the world of food.
I’ve always loved having friends over to our house, so this is one of my favorite newsletters to send each year. It’s a treat to personally invite you to join us this Saturday for our annual Farm Tour Day, where you’ll have the chance to see our farm and turkeys, and experience for yourself what we’re up to here.
Warm summer greetings from the whole flock here at Ferndale Market! Although the summer season brings lots of work here on the farm, it’s a bit quieter on our delivery route, now that colleges and schools are out for summer.