TLC Ranch

  (Watsonville, California)
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What's Growing On 5.8.09

Here's a quick run-down of what is new:

-We bought a new (used) refrigerated truck to transport eggs and meat.  Thank you so much to the egg share customers who made this a reality for us.

-Our eggs are in all kinds of stores now, including New Leaf Community Markets, Whole Foods in the Bay Area, and many small, independent grocers such as Staff of Life, Food Bin, Rainbow Co-op, Other Avenues Co-op, Berkeley Bowl, and more.

-Our new pre-printed 1/2 dozen egg cartons just arrived today!  They will likely be the first eggs seen in grocery stores with the words, "Pasture-Raised" on them!

-Our new website is up and running- www.tlcrancheggs.com

-We have a bunch of new sausage varieties, including chorizo, bratwurst, breakfast, and sweet italian.  Just in time for summer grilling.

-Our nitrate-free bacon arrives in two weeks!

-We have 4 tamworth boars for sale who are ready for breeding!

-It's Friday, beautiful outside, and I think I am going for a run!

 

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What's Growing On 1.18.09

Residents of the Monterey Peninsula can now rejoice.  TLC Ranch will be trying out the Pacific Grove farmers' market with our very own booth, selling both meat and eggs.  Come by every Monday afternoon from 4-7pm (winter hours) and support this great, new market and the producers that are committed to it year-round.  A big thanks to Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms for bringing our eggs all last year and building up a strong group of dedicated customers.

Other news is that we bought a group of 21 Hereford pigs from some farmers up in Oregon and plan to grow them out.  The pigs look great, really healthy, and seemed to immediately take to foraging malva and other weeds in our fields.  Our Gloucester Old Spots are nearly ready for harvest, but don't bother asking- they are all reserved months ago.  We likely won't be selling half and whole pigs for quite some time, if at all this year.  We need all the pork we can produce for the farmers markets.

Our eggs are about one month away from finally being certified organic.  We have been dilly- dallying all these years about getting certified.  Now that so many of our eggs will be marketed a couple hours away, we won't have that face-to-face contact with our customers where we explain our growing practices.  The words on our label ("pasture-raised" and "certified organic") as well as a cool new website coming out in March will have to suffice for meeting the farmer.

Since Rebecca got a new job, we have hired a marine biologist turned farmers marketeer, Jason, to work the markets for us.  Although he is new to meat and meat sales, he is very patient and friendly.  Please say "hi" to him and share your favorite ways that you like to cook our meat.  That will help him build his recipe repertoire.


 
 

What's Growing On 12.16.08

Hello folks!  Our pork is back at the farmers' markets.  Boy does absence make the heart grown fonder, in this case, the belly has gotten fonder.  People are lining up to get their share of hams, chops, roasts, ground pork, sausage, bacon, ribs, hocks, and more. We sell out fast, so get to the markets early to get the best pick.

Our solar-powered lights are up and running.  Without these lights, our egg production would have dropped to around 75 dozen a day, but we are maintaining around 135 dozen a day with the lights.  The lights allow us to give the hens a full 14 hours of daylight so that we continue to get decent egg production in the winter.  If not, we would get really far behind on our feed bills!

We are gearing up to sell our eggs into a lot more markets and stores next year.  By February of next year, we should be the LARGEST pasture-based laying hen operation in the country! We are also getting certified organic and getting beautifully designed egg cartons made.

Other than that, things are still very busy.  With animals there is really no off season.  We can't do any traveling because the eggs have to be collected daily and the animals fed and watered too.  We will be at home for Christmas, probably savoring one of our ham roasts or a leg of lamb.  Still working out the menu...

 
 

What's News 11.14.08

Jim has been installing solar-powered lights on each chicken coop, a rather tedious process but well worth the effort.  We are excited about the idea of maintaining our egg production over the winter with just a few extra hours of light a day.  Hens need approximately 14 hours of daylight to lay an egg.

We are butchering pigs for the farmers market next week, with hopes that we will have the pork back the first week of December.  We will have quite a few nice bone-in hams for the holidays, as well as sausage, pork chops, roasts, ribs, and bacon.  Welcome back bacon!!! 

Our two amazing workers, brothers Saul and Sergio, will be returning to Mexico for a couple months to spend time with their families.  It will be hard without them, but they need a break and their families miss them. 

We are still looking for land to rent or possibly purchase within the 3 counties around Monterey Bay.  We need at least 20 acres of flat to <5% sloped land, and we would consider more if it is oak woodland (pigs love acorns).  

That's all for now!

-Jim & Becky 

 
 
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