Blue Gate Farm
Vision & Mission Farm Animals Farm Buildings
Our vision is to create an economically and ecologically self-sustaining homestead that provides an ongoing connection to the Beebout land for our family, our guests and ourselves. Fundamental to this vision are naturally based production methods including composting; rotational planting & grazing methods; integrated pest management; rainwater collection; prairie restoration responsible timber & wetland management; limited dependence on petroleum products and public utilities; and no synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.
Blue Gate Farm provides Certified Naturally Grown specialty fruits & vegetables, raw honey, free-range eggs and alfalfa hay, all sustainably raised on our small family farm for the benefit and enjoyment of our CSA members and Farmers Market customers.
Over time our flock (about 170 birds) has included Araucanas, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Gold Stars, Isa Browns and Rhode Island Reds that spend their days pecking through chemical-free pasture. Their diet is supplemented with non-medicated and hormone-free feed (primarily protein), scratch grains and waste from our produce operation (those bruised tomatoes or wilted greens we won't sell to our customers). We gather their fresh and beautiful brown, blue and green eggs daily.
We practice good husbandry and take bio-security measures with our poultry. This includes cleaning waters and feeders regularly, keeping the coops in fresh bedding, securing the birds at night, keeping migratory waterfowl from our pasture, and monitoring who comes in contact with our birds. Part of good husbandry is being vigilant and inspecting the flock every day (in reality multiple times per day) for signs of stress, illness, injury or predation. With signs of illness or multiple deaths in the flock, we would contact appropriate professionals to determine the cause and proceed accordingly. In April of 2015, we were interviewed by KCCI News on this topic. You can find a link on our In the News page
The magazine Mother Earth News has done research and run several articles comparing free-range eggs to factory farmed eggs. Visit theirChicken and Egg page to learn more.
All of our dogs work on the farm. Their primary jobs are protecting our livestock (chickens and alpaca) and pushing deer and varmints away from the gardens. They are also our "doorbell", informing us when any cars come onto our property.
Our first dog, Blue, was born in early November of 2006 at our neighbor's farm just south of us. Her mother was an Australian Shepherd mix and her father a Blue Heeler. Blue is the alpha dog and teaches the others manners and responsibilities. Our second dog, Luci, came to us in March 2010 at about five months old. She is a wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier.
Our third dog, Indigo, was born in February of 2014 and came to us at four weeks old (he was the runt of the litter and not getting enough nourishment - although you wouldn't know it today)! Indigo has a blue heeler mother and a red heeler father. All of the dogs get along well and Indigo often wrestles or plays tug-of-war with the two older dogs.
We adopted a mated pair of alpaca in the fall of 2013, they are beautiful creatures we keep for their fleece which Jill makes into yarn.
When Boris and Abigail arrived at BGF we suspected that Abigail was pregnant. Their first baby, or cria, was born on the Summer Solstice - June 21, 2014. We named her Suvi (an Estonian word for summer). Sadly, Suvi died from complications with bloat when she was just three months old. Their second cria was born on the farm August 14, 2015.
Like most farms, we have a number of buildings about the place which serve specific purposes and one or two that are a general catch-all.
In the fall of 2006 we added a high tunnel - a passive solar heated greenhouse in which we grow salad greens and cold hardy vegetables over the winter for ourselves, our CSA members and the fall & winter farmers markets. We assembled the 48' x 26' x 12' high tunnel from a kit we purchased from an Iowa manufacturer. The original high tunnel was destroyed by a tornado May 31, 2008 - we replaced it later that fall. We completed a second, larger, high tunnel in March of 2009 that measures 48' x 42' x 15'.
In 2010 Jill's father began construction on a new Packing Barn to replace the old packing shed. Spurts and stops but finally moved into fall of 2011. Steady improvements since - stairs to storage loft, real plumbing, stainless steel equipment and a flush toilet. Coming soon - a walk in cooler!