Laura and Robin Sage, owners of Red Bird Acres, are nice people and good farmers working to provide high-quality meat and eggs to Corvallis-area customers without compromising on ethics or farming practices. They raise broiler chickens, laying hens, hogs, sheep, and a few dairy goats all on green green Willamette Valley pasture.
Recently I visited the Red Bird Acres farm and talked to Laura and Robin in depth about their farming methods and the ethics of raising animals for food. A few different parts of their program stood out to me as being somewhat exemplary even in this local-food-obsessed community.
The “red birds” at Red Bird Acres are ‘Freedom Rangers’, a French breed of chicken know for excellent foraging abilities and good meat flavor. They are much slower growing than the industry standard ‘Cornish Cross’ broiler chickens, but they thrive on pasture and experience fewer health problems than ‘Cornish Cross’. (I wrote a little more about this here.) Laura and Robin also raise ‘Idaho Pasture Pigs”, another breed that does well with the extra room to roam and grass of the Red Bird Acres farm.
All the animals at Red Bird Acres are fed non-soy, non-GMO feed custom milled by Union Point Custom Feeds in Brownsville, Oregon. They are NOT fattened up with GMO corn and soy-based feed shipped in from Iowa.
Laura and Robin do all of the animal butchering themselves without the help of volunteers or low-wage laborers. They personally ensure the quality of all their products and are with their animals all the way from field to market.
Laura and Robin are at the tail end of a Barnraiser campaign to raise funds for purchasing new chicken processing equipment. They’re not asking for a lot, but a small lump sum of donations would be invaluable for furthering sustainable meat production in this area. I would encourage you to learn more about their farm and then send a few dollars their way. They are so close to reaching their goal with just a few days left, and I know that I will be personally super bummed if they miss out on this opportunity because they came up just a little bit short. (If you’re like me, you may be kind of annoyed by so many Kickstarter-type campaigns, but this one is legit, especially at a time when more traditional forms of capital are simply not available to farmers of this scale, and supporting small farmers has never been more important.)