All photographs by the Farmer Wife LBS
WELCOME TO HAPPY ACRES FARM
Where blue-collar science meets old-fashioned elbow grease.
At our little slice of nirvana we put a premium on knowing what goes into our bodies, which means knowing what goes into the food we eat. In addition to what we ingest, ensuring there is minimal waste and maximum humanity in our operation is key to not only feeling better about what we do, but also in making farming more economically feasible for us.
Nowhere on our farm do we use herb/pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. We focus on the methods of older generations who understood the value of raising an animal in its natural environment and allowing it to mature and thrive in ways best suited to its biology.
Farming was our dream from the word "go" and as the children and grandchildren of farmers and ranchers, our little family jumped into this 40 acre farmstead with eyes wide open. We take great joy in what we do and we look forward to sharing the delights of our farm with you.
Happy Acres is a little bit of this, a little bit of that. We strive for being as sustainable as is practicable for a family that must work outside the farm. Off-sale produce that has been deemed unfit for market (not pretty, blemished, but delicious according to our critters.) is shoveled out by hand once a week to feed our hogs, rabbits, and as treats for our other animals.
We keep busy year round with a variety of enterprises. Before the first buds of spring arrive maple syrup is bottled, seeds prepped for growing and animals paired up for breeding. Under the summer sun we do the ancestral farmer rain dance to water our crops while they're in the ground and to stay clear while we take the bales off the field. Changing colors in the foliage heralds the harvest, as it has for millennia. Before the first snowflake falls we open our barns up for rental storage of campers, boats, and equipment and we grind the harvested corn into feed for the hogs.
While it can be laborious at times, we love what we do. When you come see us you'll see why, too.
Our registered Berkshire breeding hogs are the backbone of our operation and they were our first major investment when we landed at Happy Acres. Berkshires are a heritage breed known world-wide for producing the tastiest pork around. They are often referred to as the Kobe of pork and at higher- end restaurants around the U.S. you can find Berkshire on the menu. Once you taste a Berk, you'll abandon CAFO grocery store pork forever.
Our hogs enjoy the outdoors year-round where they are free to root, wallow, and skate on the icy field (ask us about that one)!
Our swine are never, ever given hormones or antibiotics. The result is a happy, healthy, slower growing hog that delivers a meat product that is almost decadent in flavor. You may order either a half or a whole hog and deposits are requested before we schedule butchering. We send the hog out to a local butcher (per law).
Do you remember having a milkman? Me neither, but I wish we had one. It was that thought that began our egg delivery service. We will bring to your door fresh eggs that come from happy, drug free and cage free birds.
I'm sure you noticed "farm fresh" is everywhere these days, even on grocery store egg cartons. What mass marketers are discretely omitting is "farm fresh" comes with a heavy dose of stink and mess. These funny, amenable, curious birds love a good mess and will thwart all efforts to enter and leave the coop without taking a little extra "something" with you.
If you order eggs from us, no worry, we'll scrub any "something" off. Alternatively, we can provide you with clean but unwashed cackleberries. (Washed versus unwashed eggs is a fun rabbit hole to fall down if you're locked out of your cousin's Netflix).
This is where the science really comes in. It's also where the full banquet of our emotions is on full display and why farmers curse meteorologists. We round and square bale around two dozen acres in the summer. Hubby's grandfather lived and died by the motto "Make hay when the sun is shining." Everything in the summer comes in second place to haying and we have the Claritin stock to prove it.
We are still in our very early years at Happy Acres but we have taken the plunge into beef, more so for our own consumption but we will be expanding to a larger herd in the near future. Our cattle will get the same benefit our pigs do with adequate space to poke around in the pasture and make friends with the crows that pick through the corn kernels.
We are so excited to be on board with Rent-A-Chicken! I know, I know, that's a picture of adorable (and tasty) meat rabbits, but I wanted to put them in there somewhere. -That's Sophie, our best doe, by the way.- So Rent-A-Chicken is the answer to folks who desperately wished they had a farm experience but they aren't quite ready to go full coop yet.
We provide you with a pair of laying hens, a coop, and all the feed and equipment you need to tend to your birds for the warmer months. The coop and all equipment will be set up for you and removed at the end of your rental. You'll get the eggs, companionship, and joy from some of the funniest critters in a barnyard.
For those of you who just want the nitty gritty up front, the rental season runs from the beginning of May until the beginning of October. The cost is $350 and that includes the coop, food, equipment, hens, delivery, set up and tear down. We request half of the funds be sent as a deposit and the other half delivered before the birds are installed on your property. The hens do need a fenced in space and if you need help determining if chickens are permitted in your area we can help you with that.
You can find out more about the program at rentachicken.net
We rent space in our pole barn to store your toys, vehicles, or equipment. We rent on a monthly basis and leases are signed to protect all involved parties. While you visit with us the cats will also climb into any open windows of your vehicle and hunt down that last remaining french fry between your console and passenger seat. They're awesome mousers and sometimes we have baby kittens to re-home.
Montague, MI, USA