Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Holy cow!

So, I can't really say this is the rebirth of BFF, but I do have a fun little project going on that I thought people might enjoy.  I have finished up my own schooling (which you may have read about in my last post) and I begin teaching in just a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, the family garden is being moderately maintained, with new experiments going on each new season.

 Based on the title of this post (or the pictures, because I'm not sure which you saw first) you may have figured out that we are trying our hand at raising beef. I guess this is kind of like a CSA, but with pasture-raised beef.  With a bit of research and number crunching, I estimate that the cost of raising and butchering each animal will run me about $1000.  With that number in mind, I divided each animal into 20 "shares," each costing $50.  Once the animals come back from the butcher shop, each share holder will then get 5% of the total packaged weight.  Again, I estimate that to be between 20-25 lbs of meat per share.  Each share will be paid out with about half ground beef (less actually, but not much) and the rest will be various cuts.  This is after discounting the packaged weight for heart and liver (totally suitable cuts, but not highly desired, usually).  If you are interested, I do still have many shares available.  If you have expressed an interest, but have not bought shares, please know that it is your share deposit that provides for these animals.
We currently have three animals: two steers and one bull.  While I am not entirely sure of the breed of the animal, I can make a pretty good guess.  If you can correct me, please do.  These animals were purchased at auction by the hundredweight (or cents per pound, which ever is easier for you to calculate) through Pacific Livestock Auctions in Chandler.  If you've never been to the auction, I highly recommend that you take the family down there some Saturday.  There are signs everywhere reminding you that photography is prohibited, and they mean it, but don't think that means they mistreat the animals.  I have never seen an animal mistreated by the staff there, although I have seen a few who needed medical treatment. There are a lot of old dairy cows who go through their lot, so mastitis is pretty common (not rampant, but still common).

So, we have three animals, and even though I tried to convince the family not to give them names, they all had names within a few days.  Our bull, lovingly named T-Bone, seems to be an angus/holstein cross (or angus/corriente) and is almost entirely black.  The auctioneer announced him as a steer, and I was too high in the stands to tell otherwise.  However, the low sale price got me suspicious.  I didn't want a bull and all of the drama that brings around.  However, his temperament is quite pleasant, so if he stays friendly, we may keep him around.

Chuck is a hereford (cross maybe, but looks pretty clean).  He is short and stocky, and relatively friendly.  His horns have begun to grow quite rapidly, and he and T-Bone enjoy a good sparring match now and then, but they keep it friendly (so far).

 It's hard to tell what breed Pete is, although I think he might be a charolais cross of some sort.  He was by far the most expensive animal up front, but his build will yield well.  He is extremely shy and runs away quickly if people come within 50 feet.  Pete's name doesn't come from a cut of beef like the other two.  Instead, Pete is named after a game that my kids like to play.  The game is played on a piece of paper divided into many squares, each with a different face drawn inside.  Pieces of candy (or goldfish crackers) are placed over each face.  One player leaves the room, and the others decide which of the characters is going to be named Pete.  The person who left the room returns and proceeds to each the candy until they reach for Pete.  At that point, all of the other players yell, "Don't eat Pete!"  The kids think that is great fun, and thought it would be a fitting name.

They do know the animals will be killed eventually, and that we will eat them.  I took my youngest son Cullen out to see them one afternoon (we both love to just sit and watch them) and got a chuckle when he yelled out, "I'm 'unna eat you, T-Bone!"

These animals are being raised almost entirely on pasture with no hormones or antibiotics.  I will have a vet come do a check-up on them in the next week or so to make sure they are in good health.  I have only given them grain sparsely in order to get them to eat the dewormer pellets I treated them with about a week ago.  I will supplement them with alfalfa when necessary, but the pasture is doing pretty nicely right now.

I plan on taking the first animal to butcher some time in late November or early December.  If you are interested in purchasing a share or two, or know someone who may be interested, just point them my way.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Change of Pace

So, I want to start off this post by thanking everyone for all of their support throughout this whole big experiment. Now, I need to let everyone know that I am going to set aside any plans I have had for the growth and development of Bogle Family Farms. I am going to continue my growing as a hobby, and still participate at the Chandler Farmer's Market as often as possible. However, I will be going back to school to obtain my Masters of Education degree and teaching certificate so that I can teach high school students. I have not yet decided if I want to teach business, marketing and economics, or teach biology and get involved in the FFA program. However, this makes me unable to grow my ideas for helping people establish their own home gardens. When I first was faced with this decision, I felt like I was giving up on my dream. Now I realize that this is just a kind of roundabout way of making my dreams become reality. I guess that's about all there is to say. Thanks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What the hail!

Ouch! That hail storm really worked us over. I'm sure things will start to perk back up in a day or two, but everything is in shambles, so pickin's may be kinda slim at the market for the next couple weeks. The good thing is that my seeder should be here on Tuesday and chicks should be here before the end of the week. That way I can get a ton more stuff planted in the next two weeks, and also have eggs before too long. Okay, the eggs will be at least 6 months, but it's just the beginning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big Time!

So, this has been an exciting couple of weeks at Bogle Family Farms. Thank you to both tour groups we had come through. Hope you enjoyed it. Check back with us in the spring as new crops come into season. Also, we have to send a big Thank You to Diane Webb and the rest of the Downtown Coalition. If you have not been out to the revamped Chandler Farmers Market, it is definitely worth it. My understanding is that after we stopped going in the summer, some people from the city wanted to start charging Jeff Scott for selling his produce at A.J. Chandler Park. Well, the Downtown Group got wind of it and did something about it. Now the market is bustling with activity with 3 produce stands, gourmet breads and cheeses, tamales, salsa, hummus, gourmet olive oils from around the world, plus an assortment of crafts and jewelry. In fact, the Chandler Market was recently featured in a Chandler Republic newspaper article, and brief mention was made of Bogle Family Farms and the produce we sell. Response was so good that I was about 75% sold out before I even had my tables all the way set up. I was trying to find a link to the article, but no luck, so I'll scan it and throw it up here in the next couple of days. Anyway, demand is going up, so it is time to get serious and get all my planting done. I ordered a new seeder so that I can go a little quicker and have the quantities that the market demands. Chandler actually picked up so much that I no longer have enough for two markets each week, so Florence is going to be put on hiatus until after Christmas.
Another awesome thing that happened is that we were "discovered" by a really cool restaurant. It is called D-Vine Bistro ( ). Two weeks ago Chef Ramon came out and picked up a few small samples from us. This past Thursday he and Chef Carlos came early and cleaned us out pretty well (another reason to increase production). Anyway, Natalie and I recently visited the restaurant and there we were mentioned on the menu of the nightly specials (I'll throw that up too when I get a chance). Let me tell you, D-Vine is a great restaurant! Excellent food with a nice atmosphere. Check out their website and then go eat there. Support the businesses that suport local farmers.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We are most of the way through our first client's raised garden bed. Sorry Gavin & Emily, I could install Monday if you guys weren't in CA. This one was a little bit of research for us, so they got a great deal. If anyone else is interested in having us come build, install and plant a reaised bed garden in your yard, please let us know. You can email me at for the time being. Just as a reference piont, they did a 4' x 12' x 30" bed with a fully prepared soil and a simple irrigation system and that would run about $450. That may be a lot of money, especially right now, but being able to grow and eat healthy, organic food in your own yard is priceless. Remember, that is just an example, smaller would cost less, but we also can show you different styles and woods that add durability, but would cost more.
So, that is what is going on around here right now. I will try to figure out a way to post what we currently have available, so keep checking back!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ark of Taste

So, if you have never heard of Slow Food USA, I encourage you to look into it. One of their programs is the Ark of Taste. They find foods that have a distinctive flavor of some cultural significance that was lost or near lost and support growers and producers of those food products. During the summer, we grew the Moon & Stars variety of watermelon, which is one of the Ark fruits. We had several customers inform us that although they weren't extremely sweet, they were very good down to the rind. I have to agree. even when eaten prematurely, they were very tasty. This fall/winter/spring we will be growing three new Ark of Taste crops: Speckled Lettuce, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce and Inchelium Red Garlic. Personally, I've never tried any of these, so it will be a new experience for me. I can't vouch for the flavor yet, but we're doing everything we can to get our soil prepared to grow the best tasting and most nutritious food that we can. Hope you enjoy!

p.s. - It's not too late for special request produce!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gettin' ready...

So, yeah, we did just kind of disappear off the face of the planet for a while. We had a little problem with our water supply and pretty much just let everything dry up, including our pumpkin patch ='( Anyway, we are getting ready to start planting again and have taken many requests for specific items. If you have a specific request, please let us know on here ASAP. The good thing about the cooler months is that with a lot of items, it doesn't matter if you plant in September or January, but still let us know so we can get a long growing season for you. Also, if you are interested, we have started doing garden installations for people. Pretty much, we bring the farmers market to your back yard. You tell us what you would like to grow and we make it happen. We will do the hard work (soil prep, fertilizing, installing raised beds and drip lines, etc.) and all you need to do is keep the weeds out and harvest. We will do it 100% organic if you would like, just know that is a little more expensive. Our goal is to show people that they really can grow a lot of their own produce, and even though it isn't good for my long term business, hopefully they will be able to do it all on their own after only a couple of seasons. There are no "standard packages" because everyone's location is different and everyone has a different budget. If you want something cheap, but effective, we can do that. If you want something that dramatically increases the resale value of your home, we can do that too. This is 100% custom. Also, there is no crappy "consultation fee" for us to come out and see what you need. We'll get together and give you all the options, find out what you need, then give you an estimate a couple days later. If you're interested, let me know. Ah, it feels good to be back!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pirate corn!

So, here is just a quick update of what is going on out here at the farm. We currently have tomatoes turning red every day. If you like fresh tomatoes, come on down to the farmers market, Thursdays at AJ Chandler Park from 3 - 6 PM. We have a few different varieties, so you'd better try a couple of each. Also, squash is bigtime right now. A couple different types of zucchini (gold, grey, eight ball, etc.) so take a few. Now we also have canteloupe and watermelon. Our watermelon is an heirloom variety called moon and stars. It is recognized by Slow Food USA as part of their Ark of Taste collection of endangered flavors. Even when not ripe, it still tastes awesome. We have more jalapenos than you can shake a stick at, and a few bell peppers are coming back, but with this heat they may not last too long. We also have lots and lots of CNG (see last post) sweet pirate corn. Why is it pirate corn, you say? Well, that because it's a buck-an-ear! Sorry, I guess that's not worth laughing at, but with the huge demand for ethanol and all of the flooding in the midwest, corn is at a premium right now. On the bright side, we are just about the only CNG or USDA Organic corn you can buy locally. Lots of corn out here, not much of it grown using organic principles. Well, ours is, and it is delicious. Boil it, steam it, grill it or eat it raw: however you like your corn, this stuff is awesome.

Now, getting ready for fall (farmers always have to think at least 4 - 6 months ahead), we are planting our squash and pumpkins for our heirloom pumpkin patch that will be open to the public. We have 17 different varieties of pumpkin-type squash, from your standard orange to white, blue, green, stripey, bumpy, warty, thick skinned for cooking, hulless seeds for eating... you will have to just come out and see it. I can't predict the future, but my guess is that we will have a wider variety than you can find anywhere else in the valley. If you have a special request for something you'd like to see in the fall, please let us know within the next couple of weeks. Like I said before, farmers have got to think 4 - 6 months in advance, so the earlier you tell us, the better we can plan.

See you at the market!