Chicken, Turkeys, and…. Flowers?

What an odd combination! Doesn’t seem to go together… Or does it?

In 2019 our farming season was torpedoed by the combination of two factors.

First, the flood in the basement, 3 days before the arrival of the chicks. The choice had to be made… Fix the basement, or raise chicks. So the very last minute, I had to find buyers for the chicks. Shout out to Kodie and Vicky at Horizon Hog Farm for taking some of them!

Second, I was being deployed to Amsterdam for work from July 5th to October 1st. I could play the victim here, but work deployments (this was my second) are actually quite pleasant and a great family-growth opportunity. Well, those dates limited my ability to produce and sell. I had one chance to do a batch… and there it was, slipping through my fingers.

So what to do when you’re in the Netherlands for 3 months, 1 of which is by yourself? You discover what makes it the most productive country in terms of land mass for vegetables and flowers in the world. Like, seriously. Drive, bike, walk the countryside, and there are countless hints of highly-technological, highly-efficient farms producing global-reaching products. I asked around, and farmers in NL are able to produce, ship, with phytosanitary certificate, plant roots that would cost $35/unit to buy in Canada, at $2/unit. Now mind you, it’s 500 units minimum, but that’s still a fact that blows my mind still to this day.

A picture I took at the RoyalFloraHolland warehouse right about the time when I decided I needed to do this
Those carts might look empty… But look how huge the whole place is!
Vantage point on the other side of the previous picture

So… I’m getting myself into flower production. Basic reasons are that 1. I like them, 2. my wife likes them, and 3. there seems to be a real need to local, sustainable, “slow” flowers in the area. That’s it. No fluff, no big story. Well, ok. My wife like the idea of me growing commercial quantities of flowers better than commercial quantities of chickens, I suppose haha. And flowers do end up being quite the symbiotic addition to the farm. I need some place to spread the litter from the brooder after it gets composted, and being rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, 2 major elements that most flowers need in high quantity, it only seemed to work! Then, you add the bees, the beauty, the smells, the part of the pasture that was more suitable to crop production, and, you get a complex integrated system.

In 2020, we are starting rather small. I’m only targeting to produce approximately 5000 flower stems, but, like spaghetti, we’re throwing it at the proverbial to see what sticks. If you, the customer, like what we produce, please tell us, and quick! The best time to purchase large quantities of bulbs and large-root perennials such as peonies is in July!

Trying out these varieties in various amounts, from a single packet for some, to a whole 10 grams of seeds of others.

Is the need there? The local demand there? I think so. Though perhaps I should’ve chosen a better starting year than 2020, with the virus and all. Oh well. #letsdothis

The Dutch have it right. High Quality living. Surrounding themselves with beauty instead of negativity. I’m going to try bringing that to Black Duck Farm in 2020. My Grand-Père, the green thumb of the family, would be proud.

2020 Season is upon us!

After a – let’s be honest here – disastrous start in 2019, Black Duck Farm is back with a BANG!

The only way I can describe the feeling is that I really really missed working with animals, planting and eating from our garden, and overall spending a summer improving our farm.

If you are on facebook, you may have noticed the heightened number of posts since April 1st. Nearly-daily updates there for your perusal. So far, some gardening, some techniques and tips for your garden/homestead, and some talking chicken. Come join us and swell our ranks!

This is the link:

I also started a youtube channel for the farm. 1 very shaky video is all that populates the channel so far, but I have received a few days ago an adapter to place my phone on a tripod for better viewing pleasure. I will be making my best attempts at making all videos with versions in French and English. 2nd video is already in the pipeline!

This is the link:

This year, we are doing 3 batches of organic-fed, pasture-raised chickens, and 1 batch of organic-fed, pasture-raised turkeys. I considered organic certification, but it is an expense I cannot have right now since, with the coronavirus, I am on layoff from work (What a difference from past summers!). YOU, my customers, will be my certification, and I still maintain my open-door policy for all visits – just call first to make sure I can meet you!

These are the following processing dates:

Batch 1: Medium whole chickens on June 18th, parted and halal chickens on June 29, and Large whole and parted chickens on July 6th

Batch 2: Target processing dates for medium chickens on August 16 and large whole and parted chickens on September 1st.

Batch 3: Target processing dates of October 1st and 15th (will probably do some halal as well here.)

Turkeys: Target processing date of October 8th (Thursday before Thanksgiving) By the way, I’ll have the Large Whites and the Orlopp Bronze, which are a heritage, smaller bird!

I will also be dabbling in flower production in 2020 – look to our facebook page and our instagram, @glennormanpermaculture, for nice pictures and updates on availability!

And LAST BUT NOT LEAST, we have partnered with the Glengarry Market in Alexandria to sell our products. You can find us in the freezer room in the first freezer on the right. Fair warning, other than the product I dropped off last week, Im almost sold out of everything until June 18th! Only chicken legs remain in reasonable quantities to market.

Working on an online web store to attach to this website, that’s on my list of things to look at this week. I believe the best way Black Duck Farm can benefit our community in these trying times is to shorten the supply lines to good food, because with good food, people think better and are more active participants. If you ever have any questions about my products, or how to purchase any other local products, just call, text, or email us, and I’ll hook you up!

Happy Eating!