Twin Creeks Farms- Wesley Stephens and Bethany Stephens

  (Council, North Carolina)
Providing layers, natural beef, pork, & fresh chicken
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New happenings

It has been much too long since we posted anything on the blog, and things have steadily progressed here. We have been working to expand our beef and pork production, and have been selling products on an online local farmers market called Down East Connect for over a year now. It is a successful venture for all of the farmers involved, and we are happy to be a part of it. We also sell to customers directly off the farm as we always have. We currently have sows farrowing with one litter of pigs born and several more on the way. We will soon be getting in chicks for layer pullets and spring is just around the corner, so we will continue to be busy.
 
 

Sausage is ready and there is more than we thought

The hogs we had processed were much heavier than conventional wisdom would dictate, so we are thankful that we wound up with more sausage than we had hoped for. Our county is large geographically- over 800 square miles- but has a small population- about 32,000. A local online news outlet (www.bladenonline.com) does an excellent job of covering the local area, and has been very successful. As a matter of fact, Bethany writes an article for them once a month. Their number of daily hits is over twice the population of the county.  We are starting to advertise on that site so that we can hopefully sell more of our products close to home. There are several cities within 50-100 miles and many of our customers come from those areas, but we would like to add to that customer base with local folks. People in rural areas like ours have a great appreciation for quality meat and poultry, but it can be hard to come across in this area unless your family or friends produce it. 
 
 

It's raining again

We are certainly thankful to be out of the drought that plagued us for the last couple of years, but this fall has turned out to be much wetter than we thought it would be. The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida dropped six inches of rain about three weeks ago, and we are getting a good soaking as I write this. This is not the ideal time to have a 4 day old calf, but a heifer was born this weekend on a cold morning and is doing great. Pregnant and lactating cows can have a hard time in the cool seasons, but the heirloom corn silage we use provides good nutrition during the gap between warm and cool season pasture so that calves born in less than perfect weather can still thrive. We say that we "raise" animals and that word is appropriate I guess but it is really Nature that does the work. Wet periods in cold weather can mean problems for hogs raised on pasture, but we are fortunate to have our hog pasture in a place where they can stay dry and have protection from the wind. I have visited farms where hogs were in several inches of mud with no dry place, and I feel that is not humane at all. We have a building that they can go into, but they seem to prefer the shelter of the trees and the wallows that they make for themselves in the woods. We are anxiously awaiting the sausage that will be ready this Friday. We can't wait to try it. Good quality meat is always something to enjoy, especially when you have the satisfaction of it coming from your own animals. We had crown roasts cut from 3 young hogs for Christmas dinner, and I'm sure that my aunt who is the "family chef" will do them justice. We are also working on a Local Harvest store so that customers can order products from us using LH if they wish.
 
 

Christmas is coming, and so is the sausage

This fall continues to be our busiest ever. Our winter pastures are turning green and looking very nice and we are taking the first 3 beeves of the fall to be processed tomorrow. Traditional country sausage is very popular in our area, especially around the holidays, and it is hard to find good quality home-style sausage. We will be taking some hogs to be made into sausage the week after Thanksgiving, and we are hoping for a good response from it. We are also getting some broiler chicks in the next few weeks and we will be selling them in early 2010. We have slaughtered small numbers of chickens on the farm in the past, but we are excited to be able to offer inspected and vacuum packed chicken either as whole birds or parts.
 
 

This year's corn crop

We are finishing up this year's corn crop. We had a good growing season and our corn turned out very well. We cut most of it for silage and saved some to pick as ear corn. The heirloom variety we planted- Boone County White- produced some very tall stalks and large, full ears. The tallest stalk we measured was 14'. We will soon be planting winter annuals and turnips for winter forage. Since last year we have begun raising hogs on a limited scale and have added rabbits to our livestock operation. Currently we only have enough hogs for our own consumption, but we hope to expand next year and offer pork for sale. Our cattle are coming along nicely and we should be ready to sell beef by late fall. If you are looking for layer pullets, live or dressed rabbits, or high-quality beef, please let us know.
 
 
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