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495 County Road 2202
Hooks, TX, 75561
United States

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Blog

Ramblings from a modern regenerative agriculturist 

For the Sake of Transparency

Annemarie Sullivan


For anyone concerned, here’s an update on Sullifarm Chicken—

I’d like to update all of my customers on a change we’ve made in our 2018 meat birds.  After much thought, I’m no longer able to feed non-gmo grain.  

Here’s why:

I was making a 6 hour round trip to source a non-gmo grain blend for chickens that came from a mill in Muenster.  It didn’t contain soy or corn, with are the two biggest GMO crops in production.  The trip was long, and my lack of personally owned truck and trailer made hauling awkward and difficult.  Even though I was getting a decent price on the grain itself, these issues boosted my price point greatly.  

If you know me, you know that it is my mission to produce the highest quality meats I can.  I’ve searched both physically and online for a quality grain that is produced more locally for a bearable price.  As far as I know, it just doesn’t exist, other than the “organic” grain at tractor supply which is more than double the price.  (I’d have to charge $35-45 for whole chicken, and I don’t trust that the mass produced “organic” grain is even legit)

So the question remained, do I sacrifice some of my values to still produce a product that is better than the store-bought alternative, or just quit altogether?  

I decided that if I quit producing chicken, I would only be leaving my customers with the factory produced alternative.

Even though I have to feed a conventional grain ration that is nothing special, my birds still live outside on pasture, are still active with room to grow and forage, still don’t receive any weird growth hormones or antibiotics or medications, and are still a pretty healthy bird.  

So if the GMO and organic labels are a concern for you, you’re totally welcome to look for something better suited to your needs.  Just know I’m always looking for ways to improve how we produce and sometimes you have to compromise just to stay afloat.   Thank you for understanding!

PS if you know of anyone producing high quality grains in the area, let me know!

  meat birds doing their thing

meat birds doing their thing

Shopping at a Farmers Market, from the Farmer's Perspective

Annemarie Sullivan

It's almost time for the full blown market season to start!  Well, some markets in bigger cities go year around, but for us in Downtown Texarkana, our market starts in April and ends by August.  So, what are some things farmers wish they could explain to their shoppers?  Well, there's a couple things, so here's a list, and I'll do my best to be brief:

  1.  Please don't look at Farmers Markets like it's just "farm fresh" entertainment.  Meaning, we see a lot of people who come out, look around, touch and smell and perhaps sample, talk to us about our products... and then walk away with zero purchases.  I'm not saying you have to buy from every stand, or feel guilt tripped into a purchase!  Not at all.  However, we need people to treat markets like a grocery store.  Yes, come and enjoy the atmosphere, but also spend a few bucks while you're here, so you won't HAVE to go to the supermarket the next day!  A lot of people work really hard to make a market happen, we need your presence AND financial support!
  2. Try new things!  Never bought a watermelon radish, or cooked with ham hocks before?  You might have just found a new favorite!  Don't be afraid to cook or use ingredients you're unfamiliar with.  For us small growers, we don't exactly have the ability to ship our "less desirable" cuts of meat, or vegetables to other parts of the world to support a profit (Did you know today's industrial chicken market ships around 300,000 metric tons, or around 250 million dollars worth of chicken feet to China every year?) so by supporting whole animal butchery, or eating the less popular fruits that grow really well, you're supporting profitable small farmers and sustainable operations.  The internet is a great source of ideas, as is the vendor you're buying from!  Ask them for tips when taking home something unfamiliar.
  3. I encourage you to ask questions about what you're buying.  Is it handmade?  Who made it?  Is it grown locally?  Who grew it?  Is this grown without the use of (state whatever chemicals or substances you try to avoid)?  How should I cook this?  Do you farm conventionally or organically?  Do you raise your animals in natural environments?  How are you growing this fruit/vegetable when it's not it's natural season?  Your growers and makers can answer all of your questions and more.  If they can't, it's usually because they're not the people actually making/growing the product.  (Which isn't always a bad thing, but also a good thing to know)
  4. Please don't always try and cut a deal.  Meaning, a lot farmers already do not make a living off their work.  Most of the farmers and creators you meet at a market are just passionate about what they do, and find the work enjoyable and meaningful.  Trust me, when we charge a a few dollars more than our supermarket counterparts, we are not getting rich, or trying to rip you off. However when our customers haggle us for a deal, or compare our prices to other vendors or even the supermarket, it makes us feel guilty for pricing our products at a price we need to get by, and makes us reconsider the worth of our laborious product.
  5. Give Feedback!  Tell your favorite vendors what you love about their product!  It's also important for you to let us know when our product didn't exceed your expectations.  You're paying for quality, so that should be our number one concern.  No one especially likes to hear it, but constructive criticism can be helpful for your favorite vendor in reading their markets and producing a quality product that makes for rave reviews.                               That's all I got for now, I want to end this by saying thank you so much for supporting your local markets!  It's so important, for countless reasons, to keep these community based markets in operation.         

That's all I got for now!  THANK YOU for choosing to support your local farms and economy by shopping at your neighborhood market!  It is so important in countless ways.

Let the fresh eating begin!

-Annemarie Sullivan