Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

WAgN Field Day in York

I have found that field days are one of the best ways how to learn both what and what not to do when it comes to farming. Yesterday's PA Women's Agricultural Network field day in southern York county was an excellent example of both ends of the spectrum.

We started off the day at Swissland Acres. While they had many great ideas, especially in regards to poultry, these people were a glaring example of what NOT to do when it comes to dairying--mainly, selling raw milk without any sort of testing or a legal permit.

At the State Senate Ag Committee Hearing on September 18th, during the open comments,
they stood up and said they were operating under the "single cow exemption" and were quoted in news articles stating so, however, they are actually milking a small herd. "We each have one cow," I was told. But the crowning moment of idiocy came when they allowed a full grown breeding Jersey bull with horns to blow through two strands of electric fence (that was turned off so no one got shocked) into the same pasture with everyone checking out their pastured poultry. Despite reassurance that he was a "nice bull", anyone who has had any experience with breeding bulls knows that these animals are unpredictable and dangerous. Here was a group of strangers between a pawing, bellowing bull and his cows. Needless to say, many of us kept our eye on him until we were safely out of the pasture.
Marc Shearer shows off his brooder design. Above is their home-built killing cone system and drum-style feather plucker.

A delicious lunch was served at our second stop of the day--Spoutwood Farm, home to the Mother Earth Harvest Festival (this weekend!) and the infamous May Day weekend Fairy Festival. Our gracious hosts, Rob & Lucy Wood shared with us about their farm, which includes a 100-member CSA. We toured the gardens with Rob offering samples of freshly-picked herbs & vegetables as well as his wisdom.
Rob Wood leading the group through Spoutwood's vegetable gardens.

Our third stop for the day was at Perrydell Dairy Farm, a third-generation dairy farm that bottles milk (legally, I might add) fresh at their farm. Although they only offered bottled raw goat milk from a neighboring (and permitted) farm, the Perrys hope to in the future be able to offer their customers raw cow milk after they transition from a conventional to grass-based dairy. For me, this was a great example of reality. Reality in dealing with circumstances and taking the time to effectively plan for expansion and change.
The Perry family in the bottling plant at Perrydell.

You can tell these kids live on dairy farms.

At the end of the tour, the Perrys treated everyone to an ice cream cone made from their cows' milk.

1 comment:

  1. I laways wondered what a chicken plucker looked like besides my own two hands.