Today, we spotlight one of our organic farmers in Illinois. Harold has been farming all of his life and he is committed to farming the way his family has for generations. He says that the most important part of his job is keeping his hens healthy and happy.
Tell us a little about your farm.
My family has lived on the farm since my father bought the land in 1943. We run a small family farm and try to produce healthy food that is beneficial to mankind. In addition to producing eggs, we have a big garden and grow a lot of our own vegetables. We enjoy fresh greens and have our own strawberry patch.
Why did you become a farmer?
My father and grandfather were both farmers, so I have been farming all of my life. I was born and raised a farmer. As a small country boy, I remember helping my parents gather eggs before going to school. We also had dairy cows and pigs as well as corn and soybeans.
Why do you farm organically?
Dad started farming organically by 1950 because he didn’t like the idea of using chemicals on our family’s land where we lived and ate.
What makes your eggs special?
Our eggs are organic and the chickens are free to roam outside. They love to play and scratch around outside.
What is your favorite part about taking care of the hens?
At 72 years old I really enjoy gathering the eggs. This is easier work than shearing sheep, which I used to do on the farm.
What is your favorite way to enjoy eggs?
I love scrambled eggs with lots of spices and red pepper. We often mix in some mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00. I eat breakfast, check the wood stove and then go gather eggs. I walk through the chicken house twice before noon. At age 72 I feel entitled to a nap, so right after lunch I go take a nap. I often cut some firewood in the afternoon. I heat both the chicken house and our home in the winter with wood. Then in the late afternoon, I walk through the chicken house again and finish gathering the last eggs.