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Benedict Builders Farm
"Benedict Builders Farm"-- it's a name that always makes people ask questions. Our favorite is, "well, what do you build?" because we can reply, "Do you want to hear the short version or the long one?" Yes, Calvin is a carpenter and generally has a project on the go for us or a customer. But our idea for our family farm name came from at least a partial realization of the many things we're building in our sustainable farming. We're building better soil, as we practice crop rotation with our vegetables and rotational grazing for our pastures. We're building better health for ourselves and our customers, as we eat clean food. We're trying to build better lives all around, since we believe that what we do with our small farm affects not only our family, but also our friends and neighbors. Did you know all this could be behind a name?
Our family consists of 1) the caretakers: Calvin and Laura Benedict and daughters Rhoda, Ida and Deborah, 2) the cows. 3) the hens, 4) the broiler chickens, 5) the vegetable gardens, 6) the flower garden, 7) the herb garden, 8) Buddy, the dog, and 9) numerous cats. Here are a few details about us all.
As caretakers of our family farm at Knob Knoster, MO, we try to nurture the land so it will nurture us. We think of ourselves as "grass farmers" and try to keep our "crop" of grasses as lush and diverse as possible, without using chemical or synthetic fertilizers or sprays.
Our herd of Angus cattle is transitioning to Red Angus instead of the traditional black, because we find red cows are better able to cope with the heat and humidity that MO's July and August can bring. We feed no grain at all, believing it unnecessary and unnatural. God made cows especially well suited to eating grasses. That's why we call it "Salad Bar Beef", a term of Joe Salatin origin, and used with his kind permission. A salad bar is the daily menu of our animals. We do not use growth hormones, antibiotics or pour-on wormers, even though some have been NOF (?) approved. Neither do we feed other cow parts, chicken feathers, stale doughnuts or bubble gum! Our cows are 100% grass fed.
Our hens free-range over the pastures behind the cows, gladly gobbling all the flies, grasshoppers and other bugs they can catch and promoting more grass growth by their scratching and fertilizing. As a bonus, they lay brown eggs with rich orange yolks which our customers never tire of.
The broiler chickens are moved across our pastures daily in small, floorless shelters. This gives them access to green grass and bugs, while discouraging predators who like chicken dinners, too. We feed organic grain, use no medications or growth hormones, and process them ourselves here on our farm.
The vegetable, flower and herb gardens (about three acres) are where we grow what we eat and sell, using no chemicals. We also don't use genetically modified seeds, believing that is a dangerous threat to our well being. Our veggies, flowers, and herbs are raised with a superior flavor and beauty in mind, rather than a superior shelf life.
We've added soap to our product line, using organic oils, our herbs and essential oils to make a skin care product we are not afraid to use. Skin is the body's largest organ. We believe we should treat it kindly.
Buddy, our guard dog, earns his keep by keeping our hens happily free of predator invasions, especially hawk attacks by air. His unbounded enthusiasm for his job, and life in general, makes us smile.
Our numerous cats are the farm's resident mousers, and their efforts keeps us relatively pest-free. We laugh over their antics and share their contentment, as they curl up in our laps and purr at the end of a busy day.
Besides what we raise ourselves, we also sell (and eat :)) our neighbor's pork, which is raised responsibly, outside. These hogs are not fed genetically modified grain, and the bacon, brats and hotdogs we make do not have MSG or nitrates in the recipe.
Another neighbor's product, which we sell and eat is cheese. Cheese-making is a time-consuming, labor-intensive art, and we cannot spread thin enough to do it all. The cheese we sell is made from Jersey cow's milk and aged at least sixty days. We think it is a superior product and are glad to make it available to our customers.
Our family business ca be summed up in a few simple words: Joyfully at your service raising clean food-- it's our pleasure!
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Benedict Builders Farm