chicken 1_photo credit Lynne GoldmanLast July I wrote about Hershberger Heritage Farm, a new farm in Chalfont raising chickens. It is so exciting to have one more farm offering fresh chicken and eggs from free range birds.

Now farmer Nathan Layton tells me he and his wife, Shelah, are offering a Chicken CSA. You are probably familiar with the term, CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, as it applies to farms growing produce. But other kinds of CSAs—meat, bread, fruit, seafood—are popping up around the country. In Bucks, for instance, the Bread Box & Bakery in Perkasie just started a Bread CSA.

“Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows farmers to establish dependable relationships with customers early in the year when upfront costs are highest,” Layton explains on their website. The farmer can then generate income at a very important time in the growing season and the customer guarantees their access to fresh, local products, often grown using organic standards.

On the Hershberger farm, the birds are moved to fresh pasture every day to ensure they get to forage and eat a truly omnivorous diet. Their diet is also supplemented with non-GMO feed.

Roasted ChickenHershberger’s Chicken CSA will give members easy access to fresh chicken on a weekly basis. The CSA season will run for 26 weeks (6 months) from mid-May through mid-November. There are three share sizes—large (4 chickens/month), medium (2 chickens/month) and small (1 chicken/month). Check their website for pricing information.

Want fresh eggs from your own backyard? The Laytons have come up with another great idea called Chicken Lenders. It is a backyard chicken rental service complete with everything you need to raise 2 – 4 chickens, including a small mobile coop, the actual chickens, all the necessary supplies, and non-GMO feed. Also included in the rental is support and expertise from the farmers. They offer different rental lengths, in case you’re not ready to become a full-time chicken farmer.

Hershberger_in the chicken tractor_photo credit Lynne Goldman“We offer as little as 4 weeks to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for your family, all the way up to jumping right in and enjoy the experience all season long,” says Layton. “It’s a learning experience for the whole family while evoking a unique bond with your food and the environment,” he adds. To learn more about the Chicken Lenders program, see their website here.

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