Tacomania

Apr. 27, 2008 at 8:00pm

Touring Cheryl's Farm

Saturday, Stop Two

As a direct result of reading Exit133.com, we bought a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. Our good friend, J (yes, ladies, he is single), bought half of a share. On Saturday, we drove out to the farm for a tour and instructions. 

Cheryl, the Pig Lady, grows pigs, cows, lambs, chickens and some veggies at her farm in the vicinity of Canyon Rd and 104th. She showed us around the barnyard, where one mama pig is getting ready to give birth any day, and the chickens, pigs, and goat all hang out together. The chickens are free to go wherever they please, and they have a nice spot to roost and lay eggs in the loft of the barn, where the cats hang out. I'm not kidding. The cats take care of any rodents and leave the chickens alone. Pretty cool. Also cool is the way that Cheryl uses the animal manure for compost which eventually goes on the vegetable gardens. These vegetable gardens are tilled by piglets, who literally root around until all of the weeds are uprooted. Cheryl has a piglet fence that she moves around until all of the garden areas are uprooted. After the piglets do their work, she lets the chickens in to eat the bugs and weed seeds. The goat gets to mow the yard areas for a little bit each day. 

The vegetables get their start on life in the greenhouse, where Cheryl currently has a wide variety of tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra and more growing from seed. Some of the plants belong to Cheryl's teen son, who decided to start his own garden this year. He will be opening it to u-pick customers this summer.

We also got a glimpse of the neighborhood bald eagle, who keeps himself and his family well fed with Cheryl's chicks. When he came out to chase off a hawk, the chickens saw him before we did and about 2/3 of them hightailed it to the barn. Cheryl said that last year she lost a couple of turkeys right when they were getting nice and fat - the eagles swooped down and killed them, but then couldn't carry them away. She also lost a few lambs last year to some coyotes. I knew that farming is hard work, but I hadn't thought about that aspect.

We finished our tour by picking out some meat from Cheryl's freezer and a dozen eggs from the basket in the fridge. From now on, we can drive out to the farm to pick up what we need or we can call Cheryl and place an order for us to pick up at the downtown farmers market.

Tonight, we grilled our first CSA T-bone and it was delicious. And it was so good to know that it was hormone free, that the cows got to roam around, and that we were supporting a local farm with our purchase. 

Felt good. Tasted Good. Life is Good.  

comments [6]  |  posted under CSA, local food, organic, Tacoma

Comments

by tacomachickadee on 4/27/2008 @ 10:07pm
Yay!

by fredo on 4/28/2008 @ 8:19pm
There is a place near Tacoma with a nice assortment of produce like Cheryl's (no livestock, however). It's called Terrie's Berries and it's on River Road.

Your posting is a valuable reminder that we need to preserve some connection with our agricultural background. Unfortunately, we've paved over much of the best farm land in the county. If there's anything good about the current economic downturn, perhaps it will be families going out and harvesting some of their own produce. Thanks for the information about Cheryl's operation.l

by jenyum on 4/28/2008 @ 9:51pm
How do you access Cheryl's CSA? I can't find any contact info anywhere.

by Heather on 4/29/2008 @ 8:29am
Piglets And More! Cheryl The Pig Lady!
Cheryl Ouellette, Owner
cherylthepiglady@hotmail.com
253-535-6322

by HD on 4/29/2008 @ 8:57am
Nice call with the Terry's Berries promote.
A good family with good produce for sure.

by thriceallamerican on 4/29/2008 @ 9:26am
Terry's also sells eggs (and occasionally meat) from free-range organic chickens. Good stuff.

I've also heard some neat stuff about Zestful Gardens, who are nearby Terry and have some in-town pickup sites.

Also, there are several CSA delivery services that are a good option. Some of these are all-organic, but not necessarily local. I know offhand that Terra Organics has an "all local" share option.

So many great options! (And a rapidly growing farmers market environment, if you just want to buy your local produce and other foods as-needed!)

About

Hello! I'm Heather and I'm a bit manic about Tacoma.

I'll probably be blogging about my experiences in Tacoma as they relate to the environment (natural and built), social (in)justice, community building, economic development, bio-diesel, public transit, biking, gardening, home improvement, food & wine, and my little family (me, my husband, one dog, one cat). This is my first attempt at writing a blog - so please bear with me.

Contact: heather.ups@gmail.com

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