Our mission is to take care of the land on which we live and work and to eat well from its harvest, sharing the increase with our friends and neighbors.
It is a late fall evening, cool and gray and damp. John walks out to the chicken coop that we’ve been moving around the backyard for a couple of months. The eight pullets who call it home are just beginning their orderly, methodical ascent to the roost. We’ve been on should-start-laying-any-day-now egg watch for weeks. He checks the laying box, more out of obligation than expectation, and almost misses it: light brown, laying on the pine shavings and straw, almost camouflaged in the twilight, an egg.
An egg, protein and possibility protected by this thin, tough shell. It’s a miracle of biology and bacteria. Basic vitamins and minerals broken down from soil and worms and bugs and grass and grain and made in a matter of days into an egg - a symbol of transformation and rebirth and an actual, physical, edible manifestation of it.
It’s just an egg. Birds and lizards and fish and all other sorts of non-mammals have been laying them and hatching out of them all over the globe for as long as it matters and they’re going to keep right on doing it for as long as it will matter. Crack it, cook it, compost it, chart it for a science fair, or don’t. It’s just an egg. They’re everywhere.
But it’s not just any egg. It’s one we worked for, shepherded really, and harvested. It’s one we’ll eat, one we’ll happily give our children to eat. And it’s one this creature laid in our backyard.
On this mission we will value creation, conservation, hard work, adaptability, diversity, cooperation, old wives, new friends, local resources, and our local economy.
It is one thing to delight in the earth and marvel at its ancient ways in the spare time between jobs and kids’ activities and the internet and all the other pleasures and distractions of modern life. It is quite another thing entirely to transform a style of life into one that fits around morning and evening milkings and follows the rhythm of the growing and resting seasons. But season a homegrown squash well, make a batch of plum jelly, find an egg in a box then run inside and scramble it up, cut up a chicken you raised then make black bean soup with the stock, turn your goat’s milk into (Bald Knob) strawberry frozen yogurt - do all that and then try to leave that joy in the backyard. Starting Brood Farm is just our way of responding to good news the way people have always responded to good news. There is something good and right in this work. We should share it with the folks around us.
And so we are doing that. We started this small farm. It is important for us to say that we haven’t done it alone. We have enjoyed enormous support. Our family helped us have access to this land and have been willing to test out (almost) everything we try. Friends teach us about growing and canning vegetables, bring us plums and egg cartons, help us build and design and make do, and encourage us in all of this. Other friends sold us animals, offer tips for caring for them, and answer frantic phone calls about them. Since we’re book-learnin’ sorts of farmers, still others - writers, bloggers, filmmakers - have helped us plan and see what’s possible.
And we will need more help as we grow. Yes, we will grow. Slowly, and on our small, family scale. One of us works off the farm and loves it. The brood spend lots of days at school. But we will grow. We have plans for a u-pick orchard, for Thanksgiving turkeys, for some custom meats, and maybe… It is easy to stand for a stretch while weeding the garden and see the goat herd browsing the pasture or to look up for a breath while digging a fence post and imagine a hillside covered in blackberry brambles and dream a little. Or a lot.
It is also important for us to say that we are not out to change the world. We are just out to share the delicious fruit of this way of life with folks who want to try it out. We are so lucky to live in Cave City, where good, smart growers market incredible watermelons and canteloupes, where farmers raise cattle and chickens and even a few sheep and goats and pigs, and where lots of our neighbors grow great tomatoes. We are proud to be rooted in the sandy, rocky soil of this part of the world, and as we work to be good small farmers of it, we will work to be good neighbors to the folks who celebrate it and struggle in it too.
So we're glad you stopped by Brood Farm's little place on the internet. We hope you stop by our little place in Cave City. Try the soap. Enjoy the eggs. Maybe visit a while. And come back soon.