J.S. Stoltzfus Farm
It was a beautiful fall day when we visited the J.S. Stoltzfus Farm and his pasture raised hens that lay wonderful eggs. I wish I could paint a word picture that would accurately describe the sights, smells, and sounds we encountered.
This family farm is everything we all hope for when we pick up a carton of pasture raised eggs at the market. The farmer was intelligent, friendly, and had a keen sense of humor. He was an enthusiastic learner who is growing and changing with the natural products community. Did I mention he loves his job? It was obvious. A large, beautifully constructed barn sat on a hill with three sides completely open, screens in place, and open doors every nine feet. It was so clean and airy, and his children walked comfortably around the hens, scooping up and holding an occasional favorite.
The hens had the option of coming back in the hen house, going into a lush pasture, roaming down a hill, or congregating along a tree line. The open area also had a few tree and shrub groupings. “Hawks can be a very real issue out here,” he explained. “The hens need to have both open space and accessible coverage for protection.” The “ladies” were surely enjoying their outdoor life on the beautiful morning we arrived; but every evening they all come back voluntarily to the hen house where they are locked in for their own safety. Do any choose to stay outside? Not a single one. They are a flocking animal and all return to the hen house together. Around nine o’clock the next morning, the doors open and they begin to scurry outside like children ready to play and explore. Great farm! Great hens! And as I’m sure you’ve guessed: great pasture raised eggs.