Cornering the Market
Blue Heron Farm makes their home known through duck and goose eggs
The moment you pull into the drive of Blue Heron Farm in Marshfield, Mo, your eyes are drawn to their large farm pond, and the vast flocks of heritage ducks and geese that inhabit it.
These water-loving birds are the backbone of Blue Heron Farm, and have helped farmers James and Jennie Boosey make an impact in their region’s local food scene.
James and Jennie started their 50-acre farm in 2015.
They began their farming enterprise with microgreens, a market garden and a large flock of chickens, along with a few ducks, selling their products at a local farmers market. Today, they have traded their chickens for several hundred free-range ducks, a few dozen geese, a flock of Katahdin sheep, a herd of Scottish Highland cattle, a few livestock guardian dogs and a garden. Their products are marketed through Mama Jean’s Natural Market, numerous local restaurants including Farmers Gastropub and a thriving CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
“We strive to operate a rich and diversified farm that focuses on producing staple foods that we consider everyday kitchen essentials,” James said.
Out of their varied farm products, the duck eggs and the goose eggs are their best sellers – they are one of the few farms in the region to produce these types of eggs.
Blue Heron’s flock of ducks is comprised of Indian Runners, Khaki Campbells and Muscovies. Khaki Campbell ducks can lay up to 300 eggs a year and Indian Runners can lay up to 180 eggs a year, while Muscovies are an excellent all-purpose duck for both meat and eggs. Their chosen breeds of geese are Toulouse, African and White Chinese.
All birds are free range, and closely guarded by their Great Pyrenees and Anatolian dogs.
Each morning, James lets the flock out of their poultry barn and everyone makes a beeline for the pond. The ducks and geese spend the day swimming and foraging for grass, seeds and bugs, and then, at dusk, they head back to the barn. The Booseys’ feed a non-GMO ration to supplement the bird’s diet. Generally, the ducks and geese lay their eggs at night in the barn, and James, Jennie and their two boys, Dylan and Jake, gather the eggs during morning chores and then hand wash and package them.
“We work as a team,” Jennie said.
Duck eggs are sold retail by the half dozen, and gigantic goose eggs are sold as singles.
Chefs love to utilize Blue Heron Farm’s eggs on their menus. Dishes such as Scotched Eggs and Pho have had duck and goose eggs as the star in restaurants all around the Ozarks.
The ducks and geese that call Blue Heron Farm home don’t just provide the Booseys’ with a profitable product, they also are an integral part of the Booseys’ sustainable and holistic farm management practices.
The birds help manage pests through their foraging, and they fertilize the farm pastures for the sheep and cattle that graze after them – not to mention how aesthetically pleasing it is to see flocks of happy ducks and geese contentedly wandering the farm.
This year, James and Jennie plan to continue raising their birds and marketing the eggs. They also want to keep connecting with their customers and sharing their agricultural passions.
“It’s important to know your farmer so you can ask them how they do things,” James said.http://www.ozarksfn.com/2018/03/12/cornering-the-market/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/BlueHeronFarm_1-1024x695.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/BlueHeronFarm_1-150x150.jpgMissouri NeighborsNeighborsBlue Heron Farm,duck,Eggs,goose,James Boosey,Marshfield,Missouri,PoultryBlue Heron Farm makes their home known through duck and goose eggs The moment you pull into the drive of Blue Heron Farm in Marshfield, Mo, your eyes are drawn to their large farm pond, and the vast flocks of heritage ducks and geese that inhabit it. These water-loving birds...Klaire HowertonKlaire Howertonklairebruce@gmail.comAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper