Sorry I haven't written anything in over a month. I went home for Thanksgiving and when I got back it was right at the start of the last Polyface buying club delivery of the year and it was a BIG one. The last delivery went out today. Let me tell you, HUGE weight has been lifted. Anyway... enough about me, on to the first question!!
A couple weeks ago Tracy asked:
Well, from reading your blog and viewing your photos (both here and your other blog) I'm almost a little disappointed in the Polyface model. I mean, it seems like it has grown to be so huge now (in numbers of animals) that it has become just another 'industrial' model. Perhaps a better model, for sure, but still an industrial model. I afraid it will lose the mission he originally had for it, and lose the whole "family farm" type of atmosphere. Do you feel that way at all -- being there in person and able to see it at work?
Great question... here's my answer:
The Polyface model is definitely not anything close to an industrial model... not even close. I'm guessing that you saw the pictures of the chickens in the hoop houses and thought... thats not right! If that was the case let me explain my pictures. Those were taken in early March when I came for my checkout/interview for becoming an apprentice on Polyface. The chickens were still in the hoop houses because it was still too cold for them outside. Polyface only keeps their chickens inside during the winter months and I must say that the chickens would much rather be inside the hoop house where it's warm than outside in the rain, snow, cold, wind, etc. Once it warms up the birds go outside on fresh grass and are moved to fresh grass every couple days.
As far as the number of animals go, Polyface is growing, but Joel knows better than to increase the stocking rate beyond that of what the farm can handle. We will only keep increasing animal numbers as we keep increasing the amount of land Polyface uses through leases. Which brings me to the part about the farm having a "Family Farm Atmosphere."
Fear not... this is most definitely a farm with much family atmosphere. Joel and Daniel work in tandem to keep things running. I think its safe to say that Daniel is the Operations Manager where as Joel is the CEO. Both of their wife's, Teresa and Sheri, are very involved with marketing, accounting, etc. Not to mention their help on the farm and in the kitchen feeding the MANY mouths that need food. They are the ultimate farmer of strong men and we are VERY glad to have them around taking care of us. Without them... crash and burn. The longer I'm here, the more I feel like part of the family.
Polyface has also extended their training from apprentices and interns out to families. On one of Polyface's rental farms, Joel has enacted a former apprentice to train a couple to eventually take over operations. Polyface has essential started planting families in farms with a great model to follow. I don't see how you could get anymore "Family" than that of any farm.
So, have no fear about Polyface turning into a big industrial mess... It won't happen. He is a little bit from the Polyface website:
Today the farm arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis. Believing that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world, the Salatin family invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.
I hope this answers your question. Thank you so much for asking!!
And remember... If anyone has a question about me, the farm, pluto... just ask in the comment box. Thanks.