Mother Earth and other fallacies… a summer of reflection

Bigger is better…Can’t have too much of a good thing…I’m better when I busy…Mother Earth…

This has been quite a summer at Sunbird Farms.  It was the summer that wasn’t planned.  Or maybe the summer that was over-planned.  From international travel to a totally new job in the “real world,” it has been a summer of going and doing…some of it good, some more challenging than one might prefer.  When you start responding to the daily question of “how’s it going?” with the tired, but true, “I’m still alive,” you know it’s time to take a little stock of events.

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From Austria, with love… the Sulmtaler

In late 2013, Sunbird Farms started working with the Red Wheaten Sulmtaler.  We spent many months planning this project and were so excited to kick it off.  Over the following months, we raised a number of Red Wheaten and Gold Duckwing Sulmtalers.  The breed was delightful to look at, thrived on free-range, and laid a very nice clutch of beautiful eggs.  However, due to a timely predator visit and a lack of sufficient stock to carry on, we “set-aside” the project and moved to other breeds.  We are delighted to announce that we will once again have Sulmtalers and they should be up to speed by the fall.  So in honor of their return, we have brought back an earlier post below… enjoy!

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Slow Food USA

Sunbird Farms Goes To Italy… (fingers crossed!!!)

To our absolute delight, Sunbird Farms has been chosen by Slow Food to be a US delegate to “Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre,” the international Slow Food conference in Turin, Italy this fall!  It is an honor and privilege, and we couldn’t be more excited to represent the local food movement in America, especially this year, the International Year of the Family Farming.  We will be sharing our work with Ark of Taste poultry, as well as our efforts in promoting and preserving local food culture.  We’re hoping you might consider supporting us as we work to raise the funds necessary for the trip.  We will be sharing more about this exciting opportunity with you soon.  Here is a video to introduce the conference:


And a copy of our support letter:

Support letter for Brice Yocum



courtesy of

A Critical Case… Pilgrim Geese

courtesy of
courtesy of

One of only three American breeds of geese, the Pilgrim Goose is a real charmer.  Although it is unlikely that the name “Pilgrim” is the result of the breed being raised by the original colonists, they are truly an American treasure.  Today, Pilgrim geese are listed on the Livestock Conservancy’s website as “critical,” their most endangered classification.  This is a true tragedy when you consider the value of the breed:


“Pilgrims are rugged, quiet, docile, good foragers, excellent natural parents and make good medium-sized roasting birds. Because they are sex-linked for color, it is a simple matter – even for the novice – to keep the correct ratio of males to females when selecting young for future breeders. Ganders can be mated with three to five geese” (Holderread, 1981).

This is the only domestic breed that is auto-sexing, meaning you can tell the light colored ganders from the grey geese at birth.  Their eggs are delicious, and some have compared roasted Pilgrim to tri-tip… brisket for some of you.

Our friends at Valley Fog Farms have been delighted to find one of their geese sitting on a nest of about 16 eggs.  If you know anything about Pilgrims, you know this is a wonderful find.  They have goslings hatching as we speak, and they will be available in limited supply for those interested in preserving this wonderful poultry antiquity.  Send us an email if you’re interested:

Apple Tree in Bloom

Spring Happenings at Sunbird Farms

Apple Tree in Bloom
Apple Tree in Bloom at Sunbird Farms

Well, Spring has officially sprung…and around here it feels like Summer will start any day (we’ve been knocking on the 90’s already).  So it seemed like a good time to share our “goings-on” and the plans we have for the upcoming seasons.

As some of you may have noticed, we had a little “contest” a few weeks back, a “name-that-breed” if you will.  We ended up with a winner, our friend Pete M..  With great insight and a keen eye, Pete properly identified the chicks as Belgian Continue reading


California Woman Arrested for Sharing Milk with Neighbor…

For most of us this seems ridiculous, and in all fairness, we did make it up.  But before you get too upset, its important to note that if AB2505 doesn’t pass, it will continue to be illegal for small “Home Dairy Farms” to do what farmers have done for centuries; sell excess produce to friends and neighbors.

AB2505-cahomedairy-300x300We’ve written about the benefits of food access here before, and will soon post about why “local food” is important to all of us. Right now we have an opportunity as Californians to support access to raw milk in California.  This is not about mandating what we must eat and drink, but about allowing citizens to choose for themselves.  Please follow this link and send a message to your representative to support AB2505.  This bill is about the right of individuals to decide what they are and aren’t going to eat, and leaving that decision to families and farmers rather than the government.  While raw milk is legal in California, this specific bill is about the ability of “Home Dairy Farms” to share excess milk with neighbors and friends.  It would allow a farm with 3 or less lactating cows (or water buffalo…now that I’d like to see), or 15 or less goats, to sell or share their milk with willing consumers.  It should strike some of you as a little strange that farmers with a cow or two would need a law to allow them to share milk with neighbors.  Welcome to modern food laws!   The Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund summarize the bill like this:

The California Home Dairy Farm Raw Milk Safety Act (AB 2505)—also known as the “Farm to Fridge” bill— provides for small-scale raw milk producers (i.e., home dairy farms) to make on-farm sales direct to consumers. No license would be required but there would be basic safety/sanitation requirements to meet.

You can read the entire bill here.  If you’re a Californian and you are interested in protecting the ability of small farms to sell their produce to friends and neighbors without prohibitive government oversight, then take a minute to go to FTCLDF’s website and sign the automated petition.  Protect your right to choose the food you eat, and a farmers ability to support their family.



Artisanal Farming, Slow Food & Family

Valley Fog Farms

In pursuit of food and family

Young, Broke, & Talented

The Belleques (Est. 2013)

Bees Knees & Goat Cheese

A place to chronicle the trials and thoughts of a budding grass fed farm


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