Support Your Local Chicken Farmer or Be One

| 5/22/2017 1:57:00 PM

Tags: home grown, poultry raising, small farm, Kurt Jacobson,

This chicken farm has it all! I see chicken coops, a hillside of grape vines, Red Wattle heritage pigs, a veggie garden and quite a view. On my recent trip to Temecula, California, I went exploring both the wine culture and farm culture in this historic town. Once the location of the Vail Cattle Ranch spreading across 87,500 acres; Temecula is now a collection of housing developments, a historic downtown, vineyards, and small farms.

I was having dinner at E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Table) in old town Temecula, devouring some of the best farm-to-table fare I have had anywhere.  When I told chef Leah how good the food was she said “The egg on top of your mushroom soup is from a new chicken farmer, Cory Shallow and his eggs are the best!” I had to agree it was an excellent egg and said a visit to the farm would make my day. That night Leah set up a meeting with Cory on very short notice.  The next morning she met me at Cory’s farm to see for myself where the egg I had with dinner came from.

Cory’s dad bought this property in 2001 to build their home. He envisioned it as a place to grow grapes and make wine for his personal use. Cory attended Cal-Poly after graduating high school in Temecula and didn’t have plans to work the family farm. After graduating with a BS in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science Cory applied for two jobs he expected to land. When neither job came through his dad asked him to consider working on the family farm which made perfect sense.

Cory w broilers

Shortly after returning home to work the family farm the idea was hatched to raise chickens. The family home and six acres were a perfect set up where rolling cages with broilers could augment the land. The broilers would eat insects and fertilize the ground with chicken droppings as the cages rolled through the vines every couple of days.

Broilers and Layers

The plan is to raise 20-40 broilers at a time and sell them to individuals or a CSA.  A Great Pyrenees pup named Couleson and his pal Thor provide predator control. Cory told me he can hear eight month old Couleson barking in the fields late at night probably chasing off coyotes. The coyotes try and get an occasional chicken dinner, and will also bite into the hose lines that water the crops to get a drink, causing extra work for Cory and Jack to repair. In a dry climate every living thing seeks out water.

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