Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Food Glorious Food!

Get that?  From my thesbian days---Oliver! 

Panorama Natural Feeds
Vernon Burkholder
85 Mud Run Road
Oley, PA 19547
610.987.3898

You won't find a web page nor much more information other than this on a Google search.  I found a review on this place on backyardchickens.com by another local woman, who, like me, was looking for an organic product using no soy and no GMO's.  Today I ventured over to check out the place.

I pulled up to a typical Old Order Mennonite farm (Wenger's, as my newer order Mennonite neighbor's call them).  Equipment everywhere, but no rubber tires.  At first, I wasn't sure where I needed to go.  There was a sign on the same side of the road as the house and barn.  It said Panorama Natural Feeds and had a logo on it from a popular Natural/Organic company that now for the life of me I cannot remember!  I saw a large population of hogs in the barn.  Across the road from the house was a steel building with an open door and truck and trailer pulled up to it.  I figured I'd try there first.  Sure enough, I was at the right place.  The gentleman in the truck was helping to load huge plastic tubs, each filled with a different ingredient.  Cracked corn, grains, etc.  They had a huge mixing bag and were dumping things in and filling up other tubs.  I finally got to meet Vernon.  Now I am not sure what all Old Order men are like, but having dealings with the family down our road, I can say that the man is definitely the quietest.  His wife is very chatty and outgoing, the kids are sweet and always talk to me when I pass them by.  But I don't think the man of the house has said boo to me!  ((Ok, maybe because I when I see them I'm usually wearing shorts/tank tops and work out clothes!))  But anyway, Vernon was a lovely man.  Very sweet and smiling.  He took afew minutes to answer my questions and then got back to work. 

I figured out by talking to him that I will need the Organic Soy Free Layer feed.  It comes in an 80lb bag and costs $31.99.  The Purina Layena I currently buy is $17.99 for 50lbs (and all protein is soy (non-animal) and all corn is GMO, of course.  The Organic is no GMO's and no soy.  Protein is all animal based.  Chickens really are omnivores, they eat bugs and worms, their own eggs and feathers.  They are pretty much their own compost bins.  So the fact that Purina is saying they don't need meat based protein sounds pretty crazy to me.  Anyway, divide it out and here's what it costs:  $2.77/lb for the Purina Layena and DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!  $2.50/lb for the ORGANIC, GMO FREE locally grown and milled feed.  Hmmmmm....yeah, I know we are making the right decision.  Funny how when I asked at the feed store about their organic feeds (months ago) I was told their organic feed is about 2 times the price of the Purina.  Little did I know similar quality can be had sourcing out your own, locally mixed feed!  So exciting.  I combined the bags of Layena we had and we have almost a full bag at this point, so I would think I am looking to start the organic product in a month or 2.  I figure I have bought 1 bag medicated chick starter, 2 bags unmedicated chick starter, and 2 bags of Layena since May.  That's about $100 worth of feed (not including a bag of Scratch Grains and small bags of gravel and oystershells).  We may have gotten about 4 dozen eggs so far, 5 tops.  That's some expensive eggs!! 

I'm just glad that I know my chickens are spoiled and happy and are having a great life with us.  Everytime I drive past a commercial chicken operation (or Turkey farms that are off the turnpike in the Lehigh Valley), I think of all those poor creatures that live in tight and horrible conditions.  They never will know what it's like to be danced to by their protecting rooster, stretch their wings and legs and run/fly up the sand mound in search of bugs/greens and the neighbor's slop pile in the back of their yard.  Our birds are so sweet and each has their own personality.  Everytime little Rosa defends me to that mean ol' Lila, I just melt.  I think hanging with the flock definitely lowers your blood pressure and relaxes you.  Even when you have to block the evil one from vicious attacks!  ;)

Lovin' life on our mini-farm. 
Malissa