1. How long have you had the farm and what made you choose to farm chickens and eggs?
Our founder, Jeremiah Cunningham, started his first large-scale flock of chickens in 2005. Like most sustainable farmers, we had to bootstrap our way to get started. We knew that if we were going to make it in this industry we had better start with what we knew best - eggs. Organic, pasture-raised eggs weren’t on grocery store shelves at that time, so it was an exciting time to start a pasture-based chicken farm.
Jeremiah was always quick to point out that “World’s Best Eggs” isn’t a brag - it’s a classification. He always reminded folks that they too could raise the world’s best eggs if they raised chickens on grass, bugs, and organic feed, with plenty of space and sunshine. Part of our mission at Coyote Creek is to teach others about organic farming and backyard chicken ventures.
2. When you first started out how hard was it for you to source organic materials for your feed?
When we started producing World’s Best Eggs in 2005, there wasn’t an organic feed mill in the southern United States. Sourcing organic feed was a difficult task. Since then, one of our primary goals as the only organic feed mill in Texas is to provide a market for Texas-grown organic grains and to support the conversion of acreage from chemically-intensive conventional agriculture to sustainable organic agriculture. We are committed to Texas farmers, both grain farmers that utilize Texas farmland to provide the ingredients for our non-GMO and certified organic feeds, and to Texas farmers and ranchers who raise animals in the most considerate way possible - humanely, on pasture, with organic feed, and as part of a healthy ecosystem. As we have grown, we have been successful in converting 8,000 acres of farmland into organic grain production to meet our farm’s needs and the needs of all of the local, organic farmers!
3. How do your farming practices differ from conventional/ cage free farming?
To start, the happiness and welfare of our birds is our #1 priority. Our chickens live entirely outdoors where they are able to fully express natural behaviors such as scratching in the dirt for bugs, taking dust baths to stay clean, and stretching their wings in the sun. Our hens are provided with a variety of environmental enrichments such as roosts and perches, shade covers, protection from predation, patio misters on warm days, and safe and ergonomic housing. Their houses are moved weekly to fresh pastures.
In addition to our hens’ wild diet, we mill organic feed for them daily on-site at the farm. Our feed is USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, and it never contains herbicides, pesticides, animal by-products, hormones, or pharmaceuticals. Because the hens forage in the pasture all day, about 30% of their diet comes from green plants and insects. This makes our eggs extremely nutrient-dense, higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in cholesterol than eggs produced in confined conditions.
At Coyote Creek Farm, we adhere to the most stringent animal welfare standards and have been instrumental in establishing some of the animal welfare standards adopted by current agencies. Our farm is recognized as one of the highest rated organic egg farms in the U.S. by the Cornucopia Institute.
4. What are some of your favorite products at Wheatsville?
Late July Tortilla Chips, Dewberry Hill Chicken, the produce section (yes, all of it), Ruta Maya Dark Roast Coffee, Jaime’s Red Salsa, Margarita’s tortillas, Bubbie’s Sauerkraut, Theo’s Chocolate Bars…
5. Do you have a favorite way to cook eggs or a favorite recipe?
It’s hard to choose just one favorite egg dish! We love pickled red beets eggs, breakfast tacos, and homemade eggnog, but Tortilla Española is sure to please everyone!
3⁄4 cup olive oil
1 lb potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 10” skillet. Add potatoes and onions and cook until potatoes are soft but not brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Add potatoes and onions with a slotted spoon to beaten eggs while reserving oil in pan. Cover and refrigerate for l hour.
3. Heat 2 Tbs. reserved oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add egg and potato mixture, spreading evenly in the pan. Cook uncovered on low heat until the sides have set and the middle is beginning to set.
4. Gently slide a spatula along edges and underneath tortilla to loosen. Place a large plate over pan and quickly turn plate and pan over so tortilla falls onto plate. Add 1 tsp. reserved oil to pan, slide tortilla back in (uncooked side down), carefully tuck in sides with a fork, and continue to cook until eggs are just set, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature.
6. Is there anything new in the works for Coyote Creek?
Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm will soon be expanding into the South! We have recently purchased property in Georgia, and will be opening an organic feed mill and pastured egg farm there. It will follow the same model as our Elgin, TX farm and mill, and will provide organic eggs and animal feed to a new community!
Thanks to the following folks for answering our questions:
Cameron Molberg, General Manager/CEO
Jenny Myers, Farm Manager
Emily Erickson, Community Relations & Sales Manager
Rob Cunningham, Owner
Learn more at: http://coyotecreekfarm.org/