Vegetables

FTF grows in three systems environments: hydroponics, greenhouses, & field crops.

Some vegetables grow year-round in our hydroponics room, such as lettuces, kale, arugula, and microgreens (e.g., peas, sunflower, cilantro, radish).

We do season extension via two heated greenhouses, actively growing at least from March – November.

In our fields gardens, we grow on a more traditional schedule.

Animals

The animals provide Nature’s way of adding back fertilizer to our vegetable crops, completing the Circle of Life. We feed our animals certified organic grains, and have them on pasture as much as the weather allows.

FTF raises:

  • Pastured, semi-rare heritage breed Tamworth pigs (commonly called “the bacon pig”) whose meat is leaner than more common commercial breeds.
  • Semi-rare heritage breed Dexter beef cattle, a smaller breed that results in cuts of high-quality, leaner-than-average meat.
  • Cornish Cross broiler chickens, moved 1-2 times per day to fresh grass & delicious bugs that they love.
  • Californian & Flemish rabbits, also moved daily to fresh pasture.
  • Multiple breeds of laying hens (Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, Aracauna, Special Black, Browns), which become stewing chickens for fabulous pot pies, chicken & dumplings, and slow-cooker meals when their egg-laying days are over. All our laying hens are free-range birds. They lay beautiful white, brown, and green/blue eggs (they all taste the same).
  • Boer/Kiko goats, which restaurants make into tasty appetizers. It’s also a standard meal that some ethnicities enjoy.
  • Bees: our Italian bees make the best honey you’ve ever tasted. Why? Our farm, and the three surrounding pieces of farmland and woodland, were not touched/farmed at all for 25 years before we bought in 2013, and we’ve gone organic since purchasing, with the other lands still untouched. The bees love what grows wild here!
  • Bronze & white turkeys, also totally free-range wanderers.
Chicken Eggs

The egg layers

The chickens and ducks of Flying Tractor Farm work year-round laying eggs. The chickens are prolific, laying almost 1 egg per chicken per day, while the ducks lay much more slowly and slow down even more in the winter months. Our chicken population includes Rhode Island Reds & Browns laying brown eggs, Leghorns that lay white eggs, and Araucanas that lay blue/green eggs. All our chickens are raised organically from the first day after they hatch. Our duck population includes the larger Pekins and upright Indian Runners.

Production

Our free-range birds have at-will access to go outside of their coops during the day, where they can enjoy fresh air, peck about searching for tasty morsels (i.e., bugs) in the grass, and be in the sun acquiring healthful Vitamin D, just as we humans do. Our birds are not caged, and in their coops have fresh water and free-choice oyster shell (for calcium to make strong shells) & organic grains to eat. We have 5 coops on the farm, including one used in the warmer months which is a moveable, converted chopper box (a farm implement that harvests forage plants to make silage for animals to eat). The chickens like to lay their eggs primarily in the morning, so we harvest the eggs in the afternoon.

Chick Tips

Whether the eggs you buy from Flying Tractor Farm are brown, white or blue/green, they are all organic, and they all taste great. Organic egg yolks are firmer than ordinary store-bought eggs, standing more upright when you crack them into your frying pan, and are more vivid in color.

Per USDA guidelines and from experience, we know that eggs are good for at least 30 days after they are laid. Before refrigeration, maintaining the afore-mentioned Bloom was very important. With proper refrigeration, the 30 day life of an egg is assured.

The Honey Makers

The bees of Flying Tractor Farm work diligently during our relatively short warm-weather months to put away enough honey for their own use to over-winter safely. They do this by stocking up their supply in what are called Deep Supers, two per hive, where the queen lives. Of course, we also ask them to share their honey-making skills with us humans, and we do that by placing Shallow Supers on the hives, one at a time, for them to fill at a pace that is sustainable for the bees to feed both us and them.

Production

In the first year of a new hive, the bees must build out their comb onto the frames that we provide for them. This takes time and energy to accomplish, so that excess honey is not produced in large quantities in the first year in the Shallow Supers. If the beehive successfully over-winters until Spring, though, the reward of honey produced in year two can be appreciable.

Bee-friendly

Our bees gather their honey from our 20-acre organic farmland, and from the 60 acres of our adjacent neighbors’ fields that used to be farmed, but now have lain fallow for 25+ years. As you can imagine, the wildflowers are abundant in those fields, and on our own producing farm we have put in large areas of organic, bee-friendly flowering plantings, utilizing partial grants from the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), which has these grants to help our bee population in America thrive again.

Sweet Delight

We sell our honey in 12-oz “bear” honey bottles. FTF had its first 2 hives in 2014, and in 2015 expanded to 7 hives. Our intention is to continue to expand the number of hives we have in order to both meet our customers’ demand for this tasty product, as well as to have ever more bees pollinating our other organic produce.

Production

In the first year of a new hive, the bees must build out their comb onto the frames that we provide for them. This takes time and energy to accomplish, so that excess honey is not produced in large quantities in the first year in the Shallow Supers. If the beehive successfully over-winters until Spring, though, the reward of honey produced in year two can be appreciable.