Spring 2014

by Tom - March 24th, 2014

Hi one and all.
I have neglected this website for a long time.
Here’s an update. Pat retired in 2012 and we are now spending winters in a warmer climate. For spring we will be raising and selling chickens and lamb on a subscription basis. So if you want to get any meat from us this year please contact me via the Facebook page or one of my other email accounts. The account attached to this web page no longer works.
I hope that you made it through this long and cold winter.
Cheers!
Tom

Spring Time 2013

by admin - May 16th, 2013

Hello Friends.
I apologize for taking so long to get around to puting an update here. I have a tendency to post more regularly on the Facebook page for the farm (Quinn’s Irish Hill Farm).
If you have been reading Facebook then you will know that Pat and I spent the winter at our place in Florida. Pat has retired from her 43 year carreer as a nurse and is spending some well deserved time getting into the swing of retirement. We have both spent more time reading and catching up on some hobby stuff.
Pat has been knitting and sewing. I have been restoring an old Honda motorcycle that I picked up while we were in Florida.

Things on the farm are getting going now too. We have our first fifty chicks in the brooder with more expected very soon. I have contracted for a couple of lambs again this year.
My experiment with hops is going along well, with all five plants growing strongly. I hope for a good harvest this year.
The winter was hard on our bees. I lost both hives. Thankfully I had a good amount of honey put up so I can go into the season with a decent supply of honey to sell while I look for more bees.
The garlic is up and looking fiesty. I am a little worried about the fruit trees. There are lots of blossoms, but not very many bees to polinate them.
There is a flock of wild turkeys hanging around which is something we haven’t seen in a couple of years so that is a good sign.

I just learned yesterday that I was aproved to participate at the Homer Farmers Market. It seems odd that I would have to be approved. I was there at the begining.
If you are looking to buy chickens this year you will need to get in touch with me ahead of time. Supplies will be limited as we are producing fewer birds this year. Prices will be adjusted as well because of rising fuel costs that affect feed.
PAt has been making more of her popular “Just Plain Soap” and some lip balm as well. I have also been spending more time on brooms.
We still welcome visitors to the farm, please call ahead though.
We hope you all have fared well. Take care and do good for each other.

Things have been Happening Here

by Tom - August 31st, 2012

Hi All!

I am finally getting around to adding something to the web site.If you’ve been following the Facebook page then you know that prices of feed have risen dramatically in the past few weeks.The price of chicken feed jumped from $433.00 per tom to $451.00 over ten days.

The increases are expected to continue due to the widespread drought affecting the cost of corn and soy which are the main ingredients of most livestock feed. While the grass that the chickens are on contributes up to 30% of their diet, the grass here has been very slow growing and even browning out due to the local drought conditions. I have been irrigating some, but clearly not enough.This has led to me having to  raise the price of my chickens to $4.50 per pound. It is a modest increase and my prices are still below many sellers in this area.

Availability of chickens for sale has been uneven this season partly because I began selling at the Triphammer Mall Market in Ithaca on Fridays. The new exposure has added quite a few customers to my base that my planing had not included. Making an adjustment to the number of chickens I raise isn’t a quick fix  because I have to figure in the eight weeks it takes to grow a chicken out, and adding stock late in the season opens up the risk of unexpected changes in the weather.That being said, a number of my customers have started buying several chickens at a time to avoid the times I have no stock between processing.

I have 100 chickens growing now. Fifty of them are scheduled for processing in the coming week and the next fifty will come in about three weeks.After those are sold out I will not have any to offer until next spring.

Pat will be retiring in December and we will be spending time in Florida. In the spring we will make a decision about how we want to deal with the farm business.

We hope to travel more once we’re retired and running a farm and attending market may not work out with our plan. That remains to be seen.

So for now , if you are a regular customer, make sure you let me know that you want to be informed when we process. If you are considering trying our chickens you’re in for a treat, but don’t sit on your hands, The chickens will run out.

I’ll try to get back to the site sooner.

Be Well!

 

 

Don’t fret, I’m still Here

by Tom - June 10th, 2012

Hello friends.

Yes I have been woefully lax about keeping this page new and fresh. I can blame it on Facebook. I have a Facebook for the farm business: Quinn’s Irish Hill Farm and a personal page as well: Thomas Quinn. Please feel free to visit either one.

I have been tending to make more farm news available on Facebook instead of here on the website.

Today is June 9th. Tomorrow the first chickens of the year go into the processing tent.

I came across a new term for slaughterhouse; Abattoir. It is a French word and means slaughterhouse. But it sounds much nicer.

These birds have survived the ups and down of our very unusual spring and after nine weeks they are plump and looking good. They are out of the pens and spending time searching for things to eat in the grass. Fresh chickens can be picked up after 3pm tomorrow(June 10th). Otherwise we will continue to sell chickens at the farm and at the Homer Farmer’s market. And new for this year, I will try vending at the Tripphammer Market place in Ithaca on Fridays from 9am until noon. Look for me in the parking lot.

Honey production has been pretty good, but the price has had to rise to meet the demand as bee populations continue to decline.

For this year’s garlic powder I am working on getting on the list to use the Grange kitchen in Cortland.

We have been able to get only two lambs this year and they are both sold already.

Pat’s soap is still in good supply and I shall be putting forth more effort with brooms and walking sticks.

So  anyway, if you are looking for more news and perhaps more up to date writings please visit my Facebook page, Quinn’s Irish Hill FArm.

Until next time,.

Caio!

Thomas

 

 

The Night Before Christmas Eve

by Tom - December 23rd, 2011

Hello,

Yes, I’m finally getting around to putting words on the screen.

There are so many things that have come to my mind that I had meant to put up here on the site, but mostly due to being lazy I haven’t sat down to add to the website.

I would like to first say how grateful I am for all the support I have received from the folks who buy our chickens and lambs. Without fail each batch of chickens we raised was sold out in two weeks. We simply could not keep up with demand and that is a very satisfying way for things to be.Our grass fed lambs were sold the day we picked them up in the spring.

We have continued through out the year to maintain high quality conditions for our birds and our processing facility has continued to become more efficient and sanitary.

Some of you may have read the previous post about my woes with the USDA inspector who didn’t know the law here in New York and refused to respect the exemption we operate under. Happily, that episode is in the past and we will continue to do the best we can keep things up to the high standard we have set for ourselves.

I want to say how grateful I am to the folks at The Homer Farmers Market for their support . It has been a pleasure to be a member and I plan on continuing to participate there for this coming season.

The two hatcheries we buy our chicks from will continue to be our suppliers for the new year and I expect to continue my association with Round House Feeds in Cortland.

This past season a greater number of customers have come directly to the farm to pick up their chickens and many of those have been buying several at a time. In order to keep these folks supplied and to have chickens available for market as well I will be arranging to grow separate groups of chicks for several people. If this interests in this please contact me.

Tonight is Friday before Christmas Eve and I wish all of you the very best the holiday season has to offer regardless of what you may believe. And I hope your new year is filled with peace and abundance.

God Bless.

Tom

On Liscensing and inspections

by Tom - September 22nd, 2011

Friends,

I have been contacted by an inspector from USDA and have been told that I am in violation of the law by selling my chickens without having them processed in a USDA inspected facility.

This is not true.

I am permitted to operate in New York State under an exemption granted under Article 5 of the food laws.

Under this exemption I may produce and process for sale up to 1000 chickens or 250 turkeys for sale direct to the customer without being inspected.

I assure all of you that we take the utmost care in making sure our chickens are clean and healthy at the time of slaughter and that our processing is kept clean and sanitary at all times. We use stainless steel sinks and counters and have  new stainless tables on the way.

We use copious amounts of HOT WATER. Our chickens are sent immediately to the freezer to prevent growth of bacteria. Any of you who have seen our product can attest that the packaging and presentation are are well done and carefully stored.

I have always refrained from trying to sell my birds to restaurants or stores even when pressed to do so. I admit I have placed chickens at The Peoples Market of Lansing mistakenly believing that consignment was allowed. It is not. And our birds will be removed from there today.

On the matter of lamb

My price list shows cuts of lamb for sale. That was last season and we sold out. We raised three lambs this year. One for us and two as feeders for other people. These will be taken to a custom butcher for cutting as per the request of the buyer. We do not have cuts for sale this year. All lamb offered for sale must be processed at a USDA inspected facility. We have used Owasco Meats in Moravia in the past for this.

Next spring wee will again try to get enough lambs to offer cuts of lamb, and those will be processed at a USDA facility.

Don’t think for a moment that I have not tried to be aware of the rules and have kept my business within the law.

I think it is shameful that the USDA would waste time and energy in trying to put pressure on a small quality sustainable producer as myself.

I thank my customers and friends for tolerating this rant.

Cheers,

Tom

Labor Day Weekend

by Tom - September 5th, 2011

Hello Friends,

Yes I have been very lax in adding to these posts, but then again I am not sure whether they get read by more than a few friends so I don’t often feel the urgency to write. Today is Saturday. September 5th and it is the Labor Day weekend. Many businesses are closed. It is a rainy day. Which is quite a relief from the stagnant humidity of the past two days.

It has been a pretty good chicken season. I have sold out a couple of times and the number of customers buying their chickens in bulk at the farm is increasing. The market season at the new Homer Farmers Market on the green is a really nice setting, but hasn’t been hugely successful for me. But then it hasn’t been a bomb either and a number of new customers have come from Homer.

We have begun offering our chickens at The People’s Market in Lansing. It is a consignment shop run by Jay and Carolyn Engles on East Shore Drive in Lansing.

They carry a lot of local craft items and art objects and are expanding into offering locally produced food products. So far it looks like it is working out OK.

Ultimately the numbers of chickens sold will be about the same as last year, with the up side of that being that expenses have been considerably lower this year. The three lambs we bought have been thriving on our pastures which have stayed green despite a month of drought in July. Honey sales have continued to be steady and my bees seem to be doing well  storing honey for the winter

I recently had some misadventure when I neglected to secure my freezer to the trailer after the market and on the way home the freezer slid off the trailer on Rt. 13 and ended up in a ditch. Thankfully there was no one right behind me or there might have been a tragedy.

I was able to get the freezer back on the trailer and other than the lid being knocked out of alignment it seems to have survived the fall. I did loose one nice five pound chicken, but that is minor considering what might have been.

The last fifty chickens of the year are in the brooder and really need to go out on the grass, but I don’t like to start them outdoors on a rainy day. But it sure smells ripe in the brooder today. The lambs will be going on that one way ride in a couple of weeks. They have gained well, but they started out small and will not reach the hoped for ninety pounds we would like to see.They have already been sold as whole animals, so we will not be offering any lamb for sale for the rest of the year. I have made contact with a breeder to purchase some lambs for next year.

SO, if you are a follower of this writing, or a customer looking for chickens, in about three weeks we will offer the last chickens of the season and then there will be none, so don’t drag your feet  get on board the chicken train.

Be well, be happy, do good deeds.

 

 

Finally, it’s Market Time

by admin - June 28th, 2011

The very rainy spring has finally relented. The first two batches of chickens made it out to the grass without much difficulty and adapted to the great outdoors well.

Yesterday Pat and I processed the first group of 37 chickens. They were in prime condition and weighed between 3.5 and over five pounds.

We are certainly getting very fast at completing this task. I will spend the early part of the week getting the trailer and other stuff ready for my first market on Wednesday at the new location in Homer. I am hearing good things from the other vendors about the setting and the warm welcome form the community.

In getting started this season the price of feed has risen considerably, and because of that I have had to raise the price of the chickens.

Last year I held the line but I can’t really afford not to make an adjustment in the price. So the cost of the Cornish Cross chickens will rise to $3.75 per pound and the Freedom Rangers will be $ 4.25 per pound. Honey will also be changing to $5.00 per pound. Such is the state of the small farm economy.

If you are a regular visitor to this site you will note the new logo drawn by my friend Lou Meyers. The logo has been well received by my friends and a number of people have asked for tee shirts. That is in the works and will be available soon.

It is raining again today (what a surprise) and there is so much I need to to outdoors. Oh Well like they say… I can’t dance and it is too wet to plow!

Cheers,
Tom

April 23, 2011 A Rainy Day

by admin - April 23rd, 2011

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of wind driven rain spattering against the sliding glass door in the bedroom. When I mention wind up here that means real wind and sustained gusts. We live on a hill at the northern end of a valley. The hills that give us such a great view also funnel the wind causing a venturi effect which means the wind is concentrated and moving faster by the time it reaches us.
This sometimes blows things around and I have to spend a few days picking random things up around the place. It once blew part of the roof vent off the house and three times has moved the processing shelter off it’s pad.
Last night the effect was to chill the brooder house enough to kill nine three day old chicks. Despite the fact that I had placed two heat lamps in the pen and put a top over half of it they succumbed anyway.
At this age there is little one can do once they get chilled that deeply. If there was a mother hen in there she would have protected them, but alas, no hen. I have added a propane heater today. Although the temperature is not that cold, the wind is causing the temps to go down.
This first batch of chicks is always at risk. April weather here in the Finger Lakes is often unsettled and unreliable. While other parts of the country are celebrating spring, we are often hoping that there is no more snow.
There is good news though; I now have chicks in the brooder and I have made a deal to pick up three Finn lambs. Our Grass Fed Lamb business has been doing well, if not spectacular. The chicks should be out on the grass in three weeks.
Out in the garden the garlic is up and looking good. A rodent tunneled under the asparagus over the winter and ate all the shoots. Darn those rats!
I finally finished bottling the goldenrod honey. It is a fantastic pale yellow color and has a subtle flavor. At this point I am going to be able to keep the price at $4.50 per pound.
I am looking forward to the opening of the Homer Farmers Market in May. I hope we’ll see you there on either Wednesdays or Saturdays.
I hope that you enjoy the Easter Holiday and observe it in a way that brings you happiness.
Cheers!
Tom

Springtime, New Beginings

by admin - March 12th, 2011

Hi, I’m back.

After being pretty much dormant for the past few months I am now seeing the stirrings of spring outside my windows and the longer days are becoming more pronounced.

There are a lot more birds showing up. I feel sad for them, the snow is still covering up much of the ground and I’m sure it makes foraging for food much harder.

I have been looking at the calendar and deciding when to have the first batch of chicks arrive. That is always a little chancy as the weather in April and early May can be chilly for young chickens and the grass early in the season isn’t as lush. Still, I think the third week in April will put me in good shape for the growing season.

Big news on the marketing front:

The Cortland East End Farmers Market at Dexter Park is no more. The site has been changed to the Village Green in Homer. The market will still meet on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is a really pretty setting and should offer more vendors and more variety  of locally produced goods.

Remember our focus is to provide products that are locally made or grown. This supports the local economy by providing you with fresh high quality  meats, vegetables and goods, and the money stays in our area instead of being sent to some corporate giant.

We will continue to offer all of our Quinn’s Products at the farm in our new “store” right here so when you come to the farm  you can have a look at how we operate.

It is always a good idea to phone first if you are headed this way, but we will serve you any time we are at home. And please, don’t bring your dog.

For those of you who enjoy traditional meals at this time of year, we still have some lamb cuts available for that Irish Lamb Stew you like, or maybe an Easter dinner.

Call for availability: 607-844-8645.

I will be looking forward to seeing my regular customers soon, and hope I will be meeting some new ones as well.

Keep up with us on our Quinn’s Irish Hill Farm, Facebook page.

Until next time, Have courage, be of good cheer and keep your powder dry.

Tom