Duluth Trading Company - A Giveaway!

Every once in awhile you come across a company that really speaks to you. You find yourself thumbing through their catalog uttering a string of "ooooohhhs" and "ahhhhhhsss" over and over again. For me that company is Duluth Trading Company.

Their products are effective, they wear well, and, because it totally matters when you're mucking out a goat pen...they're cute.

Duluth Trading Company Sidewinder Shirt & Workgloves (you can read more about the many ways I zhushed this shirt up and down). Duluth-Trading-Company-Sidewinder-Shirt

Duluth Trading Company Overalls - pink? YES PLEASE!Duluth-Trading-Company-Raspberry-Overalls

But up until now I'm the only one who has enjoyed Duluth's clothing...

This Father's Day though I'm celebrating my handsome farmer and first time Papa with a special purchase from Duluth. _MG_8059[1]   Here's what I'm getting him:

I think he's going to love them. He's never had pants that fit, are comfortable and durable all at the same time...we'll see if this is the pair that changes that. And the shirt, well, if you've seen him, he's a beautiful shade of opaque...very sun sensitive. And, the older you get the more you care about these things, and protecting your skin. The Armachillo Shirt seems to be the perfect answer to working in the Summer with long sleeves but also staying cool. Again...we'll see.

And, just because, why don't you celebrate someone special in your life too. We're giving away a $50 Gift Card to Duluth! (Bonus, right now shipping is free on $50 orders). Entering is easy. Just leave a comment on the blog telling us what you'd purchase with the money (and if it's for yourself that's totally okay too {winkity wink}).

And then head over to Duluth's blog and check out some hilarious Father's Day sayings.

Cheers and Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The great chicken food debate

Since starting The Farmstead the handsome man and I have gotten very involved in researching the conversation around food. We're not educated enough to form a truly solid opinion at this point, but I do one thing.

GMOs scare me. GMO stands for genetically modified organism and the United States is the largest grower of GMO crops in the world. Which we think, isn't good. These GMOs have been created to be more resistant to herbicides and even more nutritious (hmmm...I feel like fruits and veggies are pretty nutritious on their own).

The best known example of this is the use of B.t. genes in corn and other crops. B.t., or Bacillus thuringiensis, is a naturally occurring bacterium that produces crystal proteins that are lethal to insect larvae. B.t. crystal protein genes have been transferred into corn, enabling the corn to produce its own pesticides against insects such as the European corn borer.  Source.

So what's the problem? I don't know about you, but when a plant can artificially defend against a predator something feels out of whack. I love a good zombie flick (as long as it's not too scary) but this all seems like the beginning of a post apocalyptic film...

The Farmstead's laying flock is finally eating enough that we can buy in bulk. We recently bought a ton (as in 2,000 pounds) of organic chicken feed. It comes in a big sack which honestly a small family could live quite happily in. This organic food wasn't cheap, but it's in the right price range so that we can still makes our eggs affordable. Imagine my surprise when I was looking over the ingredients...MADE IN CHINA.

Ugh! My precious organic food was made in China?

As a Nation we've created a large demand for the "organic label". But, for many reasons farms (especially small farms) aren't getting certified (this is a blog post for another day, which I will cover soon as we are one of those farms that will not seek organic certification even though we raise and grow organically). So as a Nation we're doing what we normally do. We're outsourcing organic.

I'm not convinced buying organic feed from China is the answer, but buying organic feed that is "local" in that it came from Eastern Washington isn't really sustainable for us. Right now we want to cap our price for a dozen eggs at $4, hopefully less. In the supermarket you can buy "cage-free", "natural" eggs for $3.49. We think our organically raised, pastured eggs are worth way more than that in taste alone let alone our chickens lead much happier lives than those of "cage-free" hens. But, we want to encourage our community's decisions to support local farms, which means we need to keep our price point reasonable. And so, we can't afford the next highest food tier.

Of course our ultimate goal is to grow our own food for our chickens, which we've already done by planting organic seeds: corn, amaranth, comfrey, sunflowers, melons, spinach and cucumbers just to name a few. Maybe after this season the discussion around what to feed Farmstead hens will be moot point.

But I'd still like to know your thoughts. What's more important to you, organic or local?  Do you trust organic food coming from outside the US? How do you feel about GMO foods?



Looking for a contractor?

For those of you who follow us you know that we decided to contract out the installation of our roof tar paper and shingles ... and I feel good about it for all the reasons I have already listed. We did our homework and got 4 quotes from 4 different roofers licensed and bonded and found what we think was a really great deal using a neat little site called ServiceMagic. I had never heard of the site before but after doing some research learned that they are kind of like a "gate keeper" for subcontractors. The companies actually pay a weekly fee for Service Magic to refer to them. However, it's not a good ol' boys club. They check backgrounds, company history, license, etc. etc. etc. And from what we can tell they check in constantly with their "Quality Pros" to make sure that the company dynamics haven't changed and they are still the same company they advertised themselves as. After getting the name from Service Magic we went with Islander Roofing, LLC and couldn't be happier. They were professional, quick and overall really nice to work with. Plus, they were also the cheapest. This was a surprise for us since we figured they would pass on the "Service Magic" fee to us but I guess they went with the mentality of a small profit on lots of jobs. Either way, we will definitely be using ServiceMagic again.