IT’S MEET MY FARMER MONDAY!
WHEN THEIR EGGS CAME IN LIKE GANGBUSTERS this winter, we all wondered what was going on at Cornerstone Farm. Most hens slow down production during the colder, darker months. But on their 13-acre farm in Thomson, GA, Nathalie Cook and Brad Turner were up to their elbows in rich, golden yokes.
“I did some research before last winter to see what I could change in their diet to help them continue their egg production without taking any nutrition away for overall health. A lot of times in the winter chickens slow down on laying because the days are shorter and their bodies use a lot of energy to keep them warm. I figured if they had enough protein and good bacteria in their diets they should be able to do both very well…and they definitely did. I added alfalfa and bird seeds to their laying feed and fermented it in a bucket with apple cider vinegar.”
This attention to the nutritional details of our food is EXACTLY what we’re all looking for in a more local, sustainable and transparent food system. And it’s at the heart of the passionate curiosity that drives this young couple at Cornerstone Farm.
Nathalie and Brad started raising their own food to save some money, and because it just seemed like the right thing to do given the modern-day alternatives.
“Plus, growing your own food is so satisfying!” says Nathalie. “I love going out to the garden and being able to pick things I grew from seed and then take them inside to make a meal. It’s a fantastic feeling.”
Cornerstone Farm is known for their birds: 200+ chicks and chickens. They’ve also got a flock of Bourbon Red turkeys. (That’s right! You heard it first here, Augusta! Turkeys!) They’re also known as the farm where a giant great dane sleeps in the yard with a cat on top of him.
This year, Cornerstone’s garden includes tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, lots of herbs and lots of fruit trees and shrubs that they just planted this year. They’re also trying to grow some hops.
Nathalie notes: “Our farm, probably like most farms, is a constant work in progress. There is always something to do or a project going on. We try to have fun with it! I love doing research on things so Brad comes up with a lot of ideas and then I spend a lot of time doing the research on everything. … It seems like we’re all over the place sometimes. We do the best we can.”
They certainly do. And their best is our benefit every time.