As a child, Greg Baker spent a lot of time with his grandfather, who seemed to have every type of plant and animal that Greg could imagine. It was an interest that rubbed off: after spending most of his adult life in town, Greg finally bought one acre in the Texas Panhandle in 2003. He established an orchard and garden immediately and, by the time he met his wife, Penny, in 2009, he was already planning to add chickens to his operation. The couple decided to call their small farm Honey’s Farm Fresh, both Greg’s nickname for Penny, and his mother’s name for him as a golden-haired child.
While Penny had always been an animal lover, as a city girl she was more familiar with raising house pets. “Farm animals were new for me,” says Penny, “but Greg wanted to raise his own fresh food.” A few years later, the Bakers’ flock of laying hens had grown to 120 birds, including Rhode Island Red, Australorp, and Ameraucana breeds. Having a flock of mixed breeds means that Honey’s Farm Fresh eggs have shells ranging from light brown to green. The Bakers have also begun their own breeding program, hatching chicks from fertilized eggs on the farm, which does away with the need to buy in chicks from hatcheries and will allow the couple to select the best birds for breeding.
Honey’s Farm Fresh laying hens are raised outdoors on pasture, where they are able to perform their natural behaviors, like pecking and scratching for grubs and seeds, and taking dust baths. Raising their birds outside allows Penny and Greg to provide them with a varied diet of chicken feed, garden scraps, grass, alfalfa, and rye, in addition to bugs and grubs they find on the farm. This diverse diet is not only better for the health of the flock, but scientific research shows that pasture-raised eggs contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
But the welfare and health benefits aren’t the only reason that Greg and Penny choose to raise their chickens differently: “Besides getting great tasting fresh eggs that we know come from animals that are raised humanely, we get to watch the antics of all the animals,” Greg explains. “They are a true blessing. All are entertaining and each breed and animal has its own personality.”
Honey’s Farm Fresh eggs are available at the Lubbock Farmers’ Market on the second and fourth Saturday of every month or direct from the farm. Contact Greg at (806) 676-9179 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.HoneysFarmFresh.com for more information.