349 Mattison Reservoir Ave
Branchville, NJ 07826
Phone: 973 948-0906
The Farm Store is open on Saturday from 8-4 and by appointment. We always say if we're home we're open...but please call ahead!
Visit us at Springfest!
Sussex County Fairgrounds
March 13th to the 16th
Registered Alpine dairy goat kids available soon! Prices starting at $200.
See a brief overview under the CSA heading or call or e-mail for more information!
Special Facebook Promotion!
Like us on Facebook...Dana Ray Farm
We are pleased to be a destination spot for the NJ Audubon for eco-agritourism trips. The spring walk is May 18th from 8-12.
Helping to feed your family since 1992!
As a child my father instilled the importance of treating every living thing with respect. This is what we believe, and this is the way we treat everything under our care at DanaRay Farm.
Biodynamic farming is another type of natural farming that follows a different set of practices from organic farming and is in many ways stricter than organic farming. It embraces the idea that the farm should be thought of as an living organism that must be cared for as a whole and be in balance with nature.
So have you ever wondered why some some eggs are white shelled and some some or brown shelled?The domestic chicken is believed to be descended from the red jungle fowl, a pheasant type bird from Northern India. This birds lays about twenty beige colored eggs a year. As the chicken spread around the world different people decided they wanted different things from this bird. Generally speaking the breeds of chickens developed around the Mediterranean Sea lay white shelled eggs, lay a lot of eggs, are thinner and have large combs and waddles. These birds lived in a warm climate and were used almost exclusively for egg production where they didn’t need extra padding to survive a cold winter, in fact they wanted all their energy to go into making eggs, not storing fat. The larger combs and waddles were considered attractive. While those breeds from Northern Europe lay brown shelled eggs, lay fewer eggs, are plumper and have smaller combs and waddles. In the colder climates you would need a plumper hen to make it through the winter, while the smaller comb and waddle would give it a greater chance of escaping winter without getting frostbite. These birds were also considered dual purpose, being used equally for egg production and meat. Why one group wanted white shells and the other wanted brown shells on their chicken’s eggs I don’t know, but they did and they bred them for those colors.
The modern White Leghorn is a small, skinny active hen that lays more than 300 large white shelled eggs a year. You only have to feed a 3 pound bird to get eggs and this is the reason most commercial operations use Leghorn chickens and therefore sell white eggs. While most hens that lay brown shelled eggs lay between 220-250 eggs a year, they weigh about 4 ½ to 6 pounds, so you’re feeding a much bigger bird to get fewer eggs, which is why you see fewer commercial operations use breeds such as Red Comets and ISA Reds. These are the three breeds we have in our flock…so that’s why when you open a dozen of our eggs you’ll see some with white shells and some with brown shells. I’ve always been tempted to get some Araucana hens…how would you all feel about blue and olive green shelled eggs?
Greetings from DanaRay Farm,
I look out the window and silhouetted against the cliff face was a bald eagle soaring by toward the south. No doubt about what it was, it was close, the brilliant white of its head and tail shone against the deep russet of its body feathers. I’ve thought I’ve maybe seen them in the past, way up high, with binoculars, perhaps that’s an eagle? So in Sussex County, New Jersey an eagle…how cool is that! Twenty years ago I would have thought you crazy if you said I’d see an eagle in my backyard. But it was right there. As they become more and more common please don’t take it for granted when you see them, marvel and thrill at their majesty and remember just how close we came to losing them forever.
So this winter has been the winter of a lifetime…so cold and snowy. And with all the snow and cold all the winter maintenance chores have been put aside just to get through all the daily chores. One of our small storage sheds collapsed, of course it was full of seed starting soil, so we had to crawl through the wreckage to get to the soil so I could start planting. Normally the fruit trees, grapes and raspberries are pruned over the winter…usually about mid-February on the first warmish day I’ll hike up the hill, sometimes through the snow and get the pruning started. So now here it is early March and I just started pruning yesterday. Everything has been pushed back…I have a schedule here mother nature…and so all the chores are getting all jammed together. Once the snow finally does melt and the temperature decides to go above freezing…we’re going to be very, very busy. Ray has been lamenting the depth of the bedding in the barn. He normally cleans out the barn on a fairly regular basis, but even with four wheel drive he can’t get through this deep snow with his tractor…so we’re waiting…and waiting.
Ray has spent the winter…hours and hours and hours…four or five or more at a time on an open tractor…plowing snow. (He really has been outside a lot in this cold and he wanted everyone to feel his commitment to a snow free driveway.) And just when he did get the driveway snow free it would, of course, snow again. So add another day of hours and hours on an open tractor plowing snow. And once he finished plowing us he would go help out our neighbor and plow them out. Ray says I must pay homage to his trusty John Deere tractor, which was of course also out there battling the elements. The tractor was of course out there for hours and hours…Ray wants a snow blower for next year, so if anyone knows of a large used 2 stage snow blower in good condition with electric start for sale call our hotline number at 973-948-0906. So next year with a snow blower he can spend even more time out in the cold removing snow! Six months ago he wanted to move to Alaska…last month he wanted to move to Florida.
We’ve had a cold storage room/root cellar in our store for years but other than storing potatoes we didn’t really use it much. Ray has taken on a major remodeling of this space and has almost finished with my…major fanfare and much applause…new produce cooler!!! This is going to make my life just soooo much easier this coming growing season. I’ll be able to store produce for days without it looking like…well, less than lovely. So yeah to Ray, who’s about to go to Lowes for yet another couple tubes of liquid nails, or expanding insulation, or rigid insulation, or fender washers…
We will be attending New Jersey Springfest this year. It’s a gardening exposition at the Sussex County Fairgrounds that runs from March 13th to the 16th. I’m thinking it’ll have really good attendance this year as everyone is just aching for anything green. Think spring flowers and dirt that’s not frozen! Stop by and see us if you get a chance. We’ll be selling our soap and lotion, canned goods, honey and of course promoting the farm and the CSA.
Once the Springfest is over we should start having kiddies being born…baby goats everywhere! Let’s hope by the time I talk to you all in early April the weather has become much more “normal.”
Talk to you soon,
Dana and Ray.