Snow Birds redefined

This is the earliest in the spring we have raised chickens and the weather has presented some challenges to say the least. We decided to delay putting the birds out on pasture as we were concerned with how they would handle the cold (and as it turns out snow!).

Thankfully, they are very hardy and did just fine. We moved the first 80 last week and the remainder today (April 16) after the snow. It was a beautiful morning and I was pleased to have Katie there to help!

Pigs Arrive

We picked up our 10 feeder pigs on April 3rd and they are doing great. We ended up getting 3 different breeds; Hereford, Berkshire and Red Wattle. The loading and unloading went as smoothly as one could ask for and the pigs seem to be enjoying their new home. We plan to get them moved into the woods in early May.

Please email heath@hiddenhollowfarmiowa.com if you would like to reserve a 1/2 or Whole.

Winter Newsletter

With all the mud in the driveway I can tell spring is just around the corner! We are gearing up for a LOT of exciting projects this year at the farm. Thankfully we are going to have some help this season from Gavin Johnston. Gavin will be staying at Hidden Hollow full time, raising some exceptional vegetables for his market garden and helping us take care of the livestock. 

VISITING THE FARM We are always happy to have our customers and families come and see the farm! If you would like to come visit Hidden Hollow we would be delighted to show you where and how your food is being raised. Call or Text Heath at 563-334-2042 or send an email and we will schedule a visit. Why not make it April 28th, June 6th or June 23rd which are our processing dates and we will have fresh chicken available!

PASTURED CHICKENS ARE BACK! We are going to expand our chicken production and be offering them for sale at the Council Bluffs Farmers Market which is held in Bayliss Park on Thursday afternoons 430-730 from May through September. You can also place an order by sending me an email heath@hiddenhollowfarmiowa.com

This year we are going to be feeding 100% certified organic feed and all the birds will be processed through Duncan’s Poultry in their State inspected facility. This year’s price will be $5.25/pound. The first batch will be ready April 28th!

PSST….there is also a rumor that we will be raising a small number of pastured Turkeys which will be processed November 23rd just in time for Thanksgiving….don’t tell Katie about this one yet.

NEW FOR 2020…..PASTURED PORK! I was somewhat surprised when Katie signed off on this, but we are charging full speed ahead. We will get our Berkshire/Mangalitsa cross feeder pigs from Travis at TD Niche in early June. They will be raised outdoors and fed 100% certified organic feed. As always, NO hormones or antibiotics. 

They will be processed by the great crew at Minden Meat Market in Minden, Iowa in early December (Ham for Christmas anyone?!). We are targeting a finished weight of 250 pounds. Prices will be $3.50/pound hanging weight, which will be around $600 for a whole hog. We are not planning to get very many so if you would like to reserve a whole or half hog please send me an email: heath@hiddenhollowfarmiowa.com

FALL FARM PARTY! We had such a blast last year (despite the cold in late October) that we want to make it an annual deal. Mark your calendar for Saturday September 26, 2020. There will be hay rack rides, bonfire, pig roast, bouncy house and of course beer from FULL FLEDGED!

NEW WEBSITEhttp://www.hiddenhollowfarmiowa.com.
I’ve tried to put more detail on our revamped website so please go check it out and let me know what you think. 

THANK YOU! Our family sincerely thanks you for continuing support our farm and our local community food system. This journey is just beginning and we are praying that it will make sense for us to continue to produce delicious healthy food for our friends and families. Please help us by spreading the word about Hidden Hollow Farm! 

Final Thought: I was driving by the massive concrete behemoth of the Costco chicken factory the other day and asked myself (rhetorically)….is that where people really want their food to come from? I know for our family we would rather eat food from a FARM than food from a FACTORY!  

Full Fledged Brewing is born!

This summer after two years of planning, we were proud to be part of the group that helped to open Council Bluffs first craft brewery! My brother-in-law, Marshall Redmond is the head brewer and is assisted by his wife and my sister Dessie. They have an amazing staff and Marshall is making some amazing beers!

They are big supporters of small businesses in Council Bluffs and the local food movement. Full Fledged is located next to the mid-America center so come out and have a delicious brew!

Machine Shed

Upon my return from USAF adventures last winter I discovered our hoop shed had collapsed due to the snow load! Thankfully none of the farm equipment was damaged, but the loss precipitated an unexpected project of building a new machine shed. We decided to build a 50′ x 100′ metal building which was installed by Tyler and his crew at Next Generation Buildings. Seth at Council Bluffs Well ran water to the building and Tyler from Amped Electric installed the electric service and lights. They all did a great job.

The building needed a “little bit” of concrete work and I had hired a local guy to do the job who flaked out. We decided to finish it ourselves and thanks to all my GREAT friends who helped get the project completed!

First Organic Corn Harvest

It was a huge accomplishment for us this year to obtain organic certification, plant, cultivate, harvest and deliver our first organic grain. As always, it was a steep learning curve and some “lessons learned” but overall a successful year. We were pleased with the improvement in the quality of our soil and the quality of our crop. We also managed to drill a late season organic wheat cover crop which will be crucial in early spring weed control. In 2020 we plan to plant organic soybeans and are hoping to do chickens again and maybe even a few pigs….don’t tell anyone tell Katie yet. 🙂

Winter Newsletter posted

HIDDEN HOLLOW FARM
“Healthy Soils, Healthy Food, Healthy Families”
Winter Update 2019
Greetings All,
I am writing to you from Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma where I am undergoing pilot training in the Boeing KC135 refueling tanker. I am scheduled to be complete in April and will join the 155th Air Refueling Wing of the Nebraska Air National Guard in Lincoln. Katie is at home working full time and taking care of Ben and Will. Needless to say, it is a challenging time for our family, but we are managing and looking forward to this spring!
First of all, we would like to thank you for being part of our farm family. We ask and hope that you will continue with us on this journey and encourage your friends and family to become a part of Hidden Hollow Farm! We are certainly in the EARLY days. Unfortunately, with our off-farm schedule, we will not have any products to offer for sale in 2019. However, we do have some big plans in the works and hope that you will stay with us as we take this leap of faith into farming.
One of our core beliefs is that a direct connection between farmer and consumer (aka us and you!) is a win-win. Our mission is to provide our family and our customers with healthy, flavorful and nutrient dense foods. Our family wants to know where our food comes from and how it was raised and we believe your family does too!
Reflections on 2018: 
This was the third year that our crop acres have been managed organically and we are really starting to see improvements in the texture and the amount of life (earthworms!) in the soil. We had three cuttings of alfalfa that were sold to a neighbor for his cattle. The smell of the freshly mowed hay brought back some memories of helping my Grandpa Boyer bale hay when I was a kid.
We were very happy with the broiler chicken production and efficiencies gained with “new” water tank and feed barrel placement on the pasture. We raised a total of 79 and will be ready to scale up production in 2020. Thank you all for your feedback. It is truly rewarding to hear from you that you enjoy the delicious and nutritious pasture raised chicken. When we figured out our expenses, we realized it cost us a bit over $10 to raise a broiler to 6 weeks. I was reminded of one of my favorite farming sayings from Joel Salatin, “you may as well do nothing for nothing as doing something for nothing.”  Therefore we decided we need to raise our price to $15 in 2020.
Our big project this fall was hauling and spreading 200 tons of cow manure and moving several items of livestock equipment that we purchased from a neighbor who is moving to Missouri. The added fertility will go a long way toward building our soil health. Also the time spent with Ben in the tractor on a few of the trips was priceless father son time.
Plans for 2019 and beyond: 
The main goal for 2019 will be a successful harvest of our first organic corn crop. We also hope to plant a pumpkin patch and host a farm party this fall. As always, we are more than happy to have you come visit anytime.
One exciting farm related project we have been working on is the opening of a craft brewery in Council Bluffs with my brother-in-law Marshall Redmond and sister Dessie. We broke ground on Feburary 21st and Full-Fledged Brewing Co will be opening this summer. www.fullfledgedbeer.com. We will be located directly across from the Mid-America Center. Please come have a beer with us!
Going forward, we will be working in partnership with another nearby organic farmer to utilize the spent grains from the brewery as supplemental feed for cattle that we will raise together. Both farms see this as a mutually beneficial relationship which will enhance our desires to promote local agriculture. Also, for 2020 we are hoping to raise our first hogs, dust off the chicken tractors and maybe have some beef.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone you feel might be interested and I will add them to the email list. You can also visit our website at (www.HiddenHollowFarm.net) and contact us through the website.
Thank you so much for your support. We look forward to many productive years to come!
Sincerely,
Heath, Katie Ben and Will