I’m afraid I’m a little late getting this blog up! But as promised, here’s the scoop on this farm I toured back in May just up the road from Austin, Texas in a small town called Elgin.
This farm tour was actually organized by Slow Food Austin as a fundraiser for the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association . We were there specifically to tour Coyote Creek’s Organic Feed Mill and Egg Farm. Prior to actually viewing the mill, Jeremiah Cunningham, the proprietor of Coyote Creek Farm, gave us some background information on how he came to be an organic farmer and feed mill operator.
Like most people, Jeremiah had a “corporate” business job for many years. He started to have significant health problems related to his high stress levels, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits, so he decided he had to make a change. He gave up corporate America, bought some land in Elgin and decided to start an organic farm to improve his health.
He was able to tour Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia to start the learning process of how to farm sustainably. (You may remember Joel Salatin as one of the farmer’s in the movie Food, Inc.). Jeremiah also read many books and talked with many other people who practice “permaculture.” ( Permaculture is defined as an ecological system that is sustainable in all aspects.) After doing all his research and starting to raise chickens and cattle, Jeremiah realized that he could not find a quality organic feed that was sourced in Texas, so he decided to start his own mill.
Eventually, other local farmers began to ask him if he would be willing to provide them with organic feed for their poultry as well. That’s how his mill was born! He also began to get demand for his eggs and beef. This eventually caused Jeremiah to expand his farm and start producing for customers. Luckily there were more acres of farmland right next to the land Jeremiah owned, so expansion was fairly easy.
See the mill in the background.
One of their 3 farm dogs at work!
At this point, Jeremiah’s farm is so big he sells his eggs through 22 Whole Foods Markets in Texas (he has around 2,000 chickens!). Once his chickens “retire” from egg-laying (which is when they are a little over two years of age), they are given to an animal rescue group who then re-homes the chickens.
It was really hot, so most of the chickens stayed in the shade!
It’s great to see that a farmer can be big enough to sell through a store like Whole Foods and still be able to treat their animals humanely, be organic, and be sustainable. In addition, Jeremiah Cunningham was able to improve his health so much that he is now a cancer survivor! Jeremiah is truly an inspiration, and I am happy to have made his acquaintance. Please support farmers like him, and check out his video below!