Recently, we had the exciting opportunity to chat with one of our valued stallholders, Brad Eberly from Canowindra Farms. Brad talked to us about the history of his farming, his outlook on poultry production, and what he values most about coming to Market. Read more from Brad below.
“I guess poultry farming has been a part of most my whole life. Some of my early memories are helping my father tend fluffy yellow chicks on our family farm back in Pennsylvania. Keeping the heaters running properly, setting out feed trays, and cleaning the waters were all part of my daily chores as a young lad.
“As my father grew older, I took over the farm and continued with raising chickens as well as turkeys. I loved the challenge that each new batch of chirping balls of fluff presented. “Maintaining optimal health and wellbeing for the livestock and seeing them grow to become a healthy source of food for customers has always been something I deeply enjoyed.
“A number of years ago, my wife and I with our family relocated to Canowindra, NSW to help with a Christian church. It was then, that an opportunity came up to purchase a small business growing pasture-raised poultry. With my love of growing poultry and many years of experience in the commercial field – we jumped at the chance!
“So how does one transition from growing poultry on a commercial scale to a small-scale pasture-raised chook farm? All I can say is that the journey has had far more bumps and bruises than I ever imagined! But we have enjoyed the challenge. Furthermore, it brings us a much greater sense of fulfillment to be raising a meat product that is healthier, tastier, and more environmentally friendly than before. While growing pastured-raised poultry sounds idyllic, there are a great many challenges to overcome. Over the last few years, we have been constantly battling with wet field conditions. One also needs to accept losses from hawks, eagles, and foxes. Another challenge is providing adequate shelter, especially during a frosty winter. Sometimes foul weather causes diseases.
“While all this can sound daunting, it has forced us to look at things from a different point of view. We are committed to raising all our poultry (which now includes ducks as well) chemically and antibiotically free. So, we now look to other natural methods to work with nature in combating the problems we face.
“This new outlook on poultry production has been an exciting challenge for us. To be honest, there have been some days we feel like giving up. But then the sun shines, the chooks are plump and healthy, customers are happy – and your old, dogged farmer attitude kicks in and you go for another round!
“Bringing our farm produce to the Capital Region Farmers Market in Canberra has been a very rewarding experience for us as a family. For many years, we had a farm market garden and had a regular local customer clientele. We really enjoy this avenue of farmer and consumer being able to meet face-to-face. The Capital Region Farmers Market has given us this opportunity with our pasture-raised chicken. Though it seems the Market is often too busy to chat much, we do enjoy meeting each customer and their children. It gives us a feeling of purpose to be able to contribute a healthy source of fresh meat to your table. We have been a vendor at the Market since 2020. This direct market opportunity makes it possible for a small family farm to interact directly with consumers and their families. This is marketing at its best!
“As spring rolls around, it’s time to dust off the barbeque and think about some delicious, marinated chicken breast. One of our family favourites is to marinate chicken breast and summer squash such as zucchini for about 12 hours in Italian dressing. Pop it on the barbeque and enjoy!”
Make sure to make time to visit Brad at your next visit to Market to check out some of his incredible, fresh poultry products and to learn more about his interesting history.
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