We've compiled the answers to many of the questions we've received over time here and hope it's helpful! By no means is it exhaustive and we love to chat with folks so if you prefer to speak with us instead just give us a call or email - you can get our contact info HERE!
The Q & A is organized by subject area:
- A. Icelandic Lamb/Sheep/Fiber/Yarn/Pelts
- B. Turkeys
- C. Chickens/Eggs
- D. Garden/Vegetables
- E. The Farm/ Farm Visits
- F. The Farm Stand
A. Icelandic Lamb/Sheep/Fiber/Yarn/Pelts
1. Why Icelandic sheep/lamb?
Icelandic sheep are a primitive breed. In other words, their original characteristics have been preserved over time (since the Vikings!) as opposed to some which have evolved via breeding programs focusing on certain characteristics (e.g. big and stocky, soft fiber, etc.) Talk about history!
They're full of personality and are incredibly hearty which comes in handy with Colorado's wacky weather. The ewes are fabulous mothers! And they are truly a triple purpose breed - meat, fiber and milk. You can learn more about each of these specific items below!
2. How are your sheep raised?
Our sheep are raised their entire lives on pasture, supplemented with hay from the neighboring fields as needed. Over winter the sheep primarily munch on hay from our pasture and that of our neighbor, however, even when there's snow on the ground you'll find our sheep nibbling out in the field! Treats are in the form of veg' from the garden (nothing like leafy green kale or a sweet butternut squash when there's snow on the ground!) or alfalfa.
3. How does Icelandic lamb taste?
Yummy :) Seriously, it's delish'... Very mild which is why many people who have historically not liked lamb change their mind after tasting Icelandic lamb. If you're on the fence and would like to try before you buy drop us a line!
4. What is Icelandic wool like?
Icelandics have 2 layers within their coat - the top/outside layer called the tog which is longer than the rest, almost hair like, and more waterproof. The bottom/under layer is called the thel (I'd put the official Icelandic word for it here but not sure how to get my computer to type the Icelandic characters! LOL!) It is soft, fluffy and oooooh so warm. It's what insulates the Icelandics!
5. What is Icelandic sheep's milk like?
Honestly, I don't know! We've not milked our ewes yet. We're considering it in the future and will definitely let you know as and when that happens!
6. When is lamb for the table available?
Lamb for the table is available once a year, in the fall. Once a year you may ask?! Yup.... Icelandics breed such that their lambs are born in spring when the weather is warmer and more conducive to raisin' a babe! Springs lambs are raised on pasture through the summer and into fall at which point in time they're ready for the table. If you have a need for lamb outside of the fall time frame give us a call and we can discuss options. While we typically don't overwinter lambs we can make special arrangements.
7. How do I order lamb for the table?
You'll find all the info you need HERE! Be sure to get your reservation in early so you don't miss out!
8. Do you have lambs or sheep available for purchase for breeding, fiber or pet purposes?
You betcha! Non market lambs and sheep available for purchase are listed HERE.
9. Are your sheep registered?
Yes - we have registered and non-registered sheep. Lambs suitable for registration can be registered with ISBONA/CLRC if desired.
10. How do I purchase a lamb/sheepfor breeding, fiber or pet purposes?
Give me a shout (our contact info is HERE) as the process differs depending on whether you're purchasing a lamb not yet weaned and/or will be travelling out of state.
11. How do I purchase a fleece?
All fleeces currently available can be found in our Etsy store HERE.
12. How do I purchase a prepared fiber and/or yarn?
All prepared fiber and yarn currently available can be found in our Etsy store HERE.
1. When are turkeys for the table available?
Currently we raise turkeys for fall and winter consumption. If you are interested in turkey for your table outside of that window let us know - we can accommodate!
2. Are your turkeys free range?
Our turkeys have the run of the farm during the day but are tucked in to their coop and run (which is very large) at night so they stay safe - while they can and do roost in the trees that does not keep them safe at night with the clever predators we have around here (personal experience talking - ergh). And so nightly tuck ins are a thing around here complete with a bedtime snack.
3. What types of turkeys do you raise?
We MUCH prefer to raise heritage turkeys versus the broad breasted varieties (white and bronze) which are what folks are used to purchasing in the grocery stores (think Butterball). Why?
- Heritage turkeys can reproduce naturally. The broad breasted varieties have been bred so big for white breast meat that they simply can't mate naturally and have to be artificially inseminated in order to reproduce. We're not passing judgement on AI here - it's just that for a small farm such as us, having to purchase and ship baby turkeys is very expensive (and stressful for the babes).
- Heritage turkeys don't have the health issues that the broad breasted varieties do resulting from their super fast, over sized growth.
- Heritage turkeys are beautiful - both physically and in personality. Not only do they provide delicious meat they're fabulous lawn ornaments and incredible personalities in the meantime!
4. Can I purchase baby turkeys to raise myself?
You bet! We'd love to help you set up a flock! Give us a shout - you can get our contact info HERE.
1. Are your chickens free range?
Our chickens have the run of the farm during the day but are tucked in to their coop and run (which is very large) at night so they stay safe. We've had predator attacks mid-day but feel the risk is worth the reward.
2. Do you have eggs year round?
We do, however, our supply is significantly lower in the winter as we do not 'keep the light on for them' so that the hens keep laying. Chickens respond to day length so they will lay eggs as long as there is a certain number of hours of light daily. Production outfits will keep a light on to do just that. We don't as we think it's best to give them a break and reward them for a job well done with some vacay time.
3. Can I purchase baby chicks to raise myself?
You bet! We'd love to help you set up a flock!c
1. Is your garden organic?
We manage our gardens in an organic manner, however, we aren't certified organic. That would be just too costly for a small farm like us.
2. Is your garden GMO free?
Our seeds do come from GMO free companies - they tend to have the most fun varieties! Some of our favorite suppliers are Johnny's Seeds, Territorial Seeds, Baker Creek Seeds and Botanical Interests (which is a local company here in the metro area - very cool :).
3. I'd love some of your veg' - how do I buy some?
We're your neighbors so just drop us a note and we can work out a good time - one day a week, multiple days per week, etc.
4. How do I know what's ready for picking?
We will post what's being picked HERE but you can also give us a call, text or email!
E. The Farm and Farm Visits
1. Do you do farm visits?
We do! We love to get to know our 'neighbors' and introduce folks to the animals and gardens. We prefer to schedule farm visits on an adhoc basis since life happens and our schedules change with the seasons. Give us a shout if you're interested and we'll find a day/time that works well for everyone!
2. Is your farm organic?
We manage the farm in an organic manner, however, we aren't certified organic. That would be just too costly for a small farm like us.
F. The Farm Stand
1. What is the Farm Stand?
The Farm Stand is a small shelter at the entrance to our driveway (right off of 95th St) where we stock the day's eggs and fresh produce for you to purchase. We'll do our best to note what's in season and available on the FARM STAND page, however, if you don't see something posted stop by anyway - you never know what might appear!
2. How can I pay for items at the Farm Stand?
- Cash: a cash box is available to deposit your cash in
- Paypal: paypal.me/bigashfarm
- Cash App: $bigashfarm
3. Is there parking?
Yes indeed! Feel free to park in the driveway while you shop. We kindly ask that you stay on the road side of the red livestock gates (unless we've made alternate arrangements) for a few reasons - 1. we have free range livestock that we want to keep safe and 2. the farm is also our residence and while we love visitors we need to balance that with our need for personal time and privacy. thanks so much!