Saturday, July 27, 2013

We moved again!!

If you found this page you are probably wondering what happened to the Phelans anyway??

Find us here:

www.thriftyfarmer.com

Sorry for the run around... it happens sometimes.

Thanks,

Grady Phelan

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Come See The Phelan Ranch


Finally...

I have finally made the time to create a Blog about my family's ranch in Oklahoma. I have been back since the middle of October and have established many enterprises and have already sold lots of product. I even have a restaurant serving my beef and lamb!!!

This is exciting stuff and I want you to be a part of it so jump on over to the new Blog at:


Looking forward to your comments and questions.

Your Farmer on a Ranch,

Grady Phelan

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Time At Polyface Has Ended

To all that have been so curious about Polyface farm:

September 30th ended my year long apprenticeship at Polyface. Now I have cast off into the world to start my own. My time at Polyface was unbelievable! I do believe I learned more in a year at Polyface then I did in 4 years of college (I still love you OSU cowboys). The Salatin's are a wonderful family and I look forward to knowing them the rest of my life. Polyface is the keel that keeps local farmers on course for sustainability and innovation. They will be my keel as I begin to serve my local community with Grass-based meats.

As for this blog... It is finished.

But... I will start a new blog as soon as possible about my farming and marketing experiences. Look for the link in a couple weeks on this blog. Those of you residing Oklahoma and North Texas in need for some fresh, local, grass-based meat and eggs shoot me an email sometime.

Grady Phelan

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Polyface Knives

I have had a lot of inquiries about the kind of knives Polyface uses and how to keep them sharp. The knives come from Victorinox (same company that makes Swiss Army knives) and we sharpen them by hand with sharpening stones.



Here is the link for Victorinox butchering knives. Below I have listed the knives we use and their purpose during broiler processing.

Butcher Knife (heavy stiff blade) --- Used for killing.

Skinning/Lamb Skinning knives --- Used for cutting up processed chickens into pieces and parts.

Here is the link for boning knives that we use for evisceration.

Any of the small straight narrow blades --- evisceration.

The straight back wide knife --- cutting off feet.

Narrow curved blade --- also used for cutting up processed chickens.


Sharpening
As for sharpening we just use a technique that Daniel has shown us. Any way will work and the internet is a great source for videos and articles explaining different techniques. I recommend getting a book or DVD or both and practicing. There is really no easy way that I know of.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Triple Yoke...er


Here is a picture of the triple york egg I had for breakfast back in like March. Just found the picture and wanted to share. Here on Polyface we have about 6000 laying hens and we eat the cracks. On this morning the egg I was going to eat was huge (more than 3oz) and when I broke it on the griddle I was pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Way To Bleed A Chicken


In reference to killing broilers (or any chicken for that matter), Squaw Creek Ranch asked, "Now, what is "best" , as far as getting all the blood out, chop off their heads or cut the arteries?"

Well... here are a few links about processing chickens, one of which is me killing a chicken.





David Schafer with Featherman Equipment Company sells poultry processing equipment and comes highly recommended by the Salatins. He came out to the farm and took pictures and video and then created these videos in order to help people learn how to process chickens. If you are ever in need of poultry processing equipment here is the company's contact information.

Featherman Equipment Co.

PO Box 62
Jamesport, MO 64648

(660) 684-6035

info@featherman.net

www.featherman.net


Jessica also asked, "Videos? I'd love to see them (The Pigs) moving about." Must be her lucky day. Here is a video I took back in the spring of a group of pigs immediately after I moved them into a new pasture. Notice the grazing.

video

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pig Update



When I was a small child I asked my father one day, "Dad, can I have a pig?"  

He questioned, "Son, you can barely wake up in time to get ready for school, how would you ever be able to wake up early enough to take care of the pig before school?"

To which I retorted, "I don't wake up early because I don't have a pig."

The logic was simple enough for me, but needless to say, I never got my pig.  Well Dad, I've got more pigs than I ever dreamed and I am able to wake up early to care for them.  If you haven't ever experienced caring for a pig, I highly recommend getting one (or 10) and find the joy I have in them.  Here on Polyface I have become the "Pigboy" (much like a cowboy... no horse).

Anyway, here is a little update on the pigs and Lunch Box, the lead pig.

Currently on the farm we have ~155 pigs.  They range in size from 30 lbs to 300 lbs and are mostly out on pasture or in the woods (save for the little new pigs and the "about-to-be-butchered" pigs).  We run males and females together (males are castrated) and keep them in bunches of 15-50.  


Pigs in the Beaver Pond Pasture.  Notice the grazing?


Polyface is doing something this year that is Brand new with the pig enterprise.  We have put 100 pigs on actual pasture.  I say "actual pasture" because it isn't grass in the woods like the beaver pond pigs above, but rather grass in an open field that, until this summer, was grazed by the cattle.  We have two herds of 50 on 1/2 acre paddocks and we move them about once every 5-10 days.  Movement depends on the age of the pig and amount of feed consumption.  They have all-you-can-eat access to the normal Polyface pig ration (Corn, Soy beans, Oats, Diatomaceous Earth, and Fertril Nutri-Balancers swine mix) and large quantities of lush, tall, jungle-like pasture.  The clover is thick the fescue is tall and the alfalfa is blooming.  When we move them they don't head to the newly filled feeder.  Instead the put their heads to the ground like cattle and graze their way to the feeder.  It's UNREAL and BREATHTAKING.  Probably should be on the 1000 things to see before you die... maybe.


Pasture difference on day of move.  WOW.  Fencing is only a single strand of 12 1/2 gauge  Aluminum electric fence.


Same pasture after a few days.


Lunch Box is part of one of these 2 herds on pasture.  We put her with the newest/smallest pigs to act as a mother with good habits.  When I enter their pasture I usually began calling for her.  In no time she finds me for a good rub down and scratch.  Then something unbelievable happens.  Once I start scratching her, all the other little pigs lose their fear for me and allow me to pet them.  Its unreal.  The day I turned them in with her they had a huge flight zone, but now they aren't afraid and usually like to nibble on my feet.  Displacement in pigs has risen to the top on my list of desired qualities.

By the way...

Pork is the most consumed meat in the world.  Believe it or not.

Here is a link to a video Nightline did with Joel and Steve Ellis (founder of Chipotle).


Enjoy!!