Porter Valley Farms
339 Concord Church Road
Pickens, SC 29671
We are a small startup family farm, located on 50 acres in the beautiful lake and mountain county of Pickens in upstate South Carolina. Our farm is in a secluded valley with rolling green pastures, streams, and hardwoods. We are starting out slow with pastured eggs. From there we hope to branch into pastured chicken, pork, lamb, and beef. We will offer our products at local stores and farmer's markets, but we hope to one day have an on-site store where we may sell anything farm related. We also hope to build an event barn and get into the entertainment side of agriculture with farm tours and on-site events. We want our farm to be an experience we can share with our customers, one that connects them to a time and place in the past when life moved at a slower pace and things were simple.
We are also in the process of getting our social media machine rolling. Be sure to follow us on instagram @portervalleyfarms, follow our blog at https://portervalleyfarms.blog/ and look for us later on Facebook. This journey will be a marathon, not a race, and we hope that you will join us on this adventure as we grow our farm.
Our eggs are now available each week on the Clemson Area Food Exchange (CAFE). The CAFE is an online market place of locally grown and produced food that makes it possible for farmers to work together to meet the growing demand for local, sustainable food in upstate South Carolina.
Farmers benefit from the marketing, packaging, selling, and delivery of their produce and prepared foods, while consumers get to shop dozens of farms within a 50 mile radius of Clemson, right from the comfort of their own home.
Check them out. There's no commitment. Buy what you want as often as you want. You don't have to order every week. Individual farm orders will be combined for easy pickup in Clemson, Anderson, Seneca, Easley, and Pickens.
Our eggs are now available at Bee Well Honey Natural Food Market, a division of Bee Well Honey Farm & Bee Supply, a family owned company servicing local foodies with natural foods, Bee Well Honey, soaps, skin care products, vitamins, supplements, and Bees Beans coffee. Give them a call at 864-897-9955 or , better yet, drop by for a visit. They are located at 205 Hampton Avenue in Pickens, SC.
This year, in addition to our brown eggs (a customer favorite) we are now offering colored eggs. Our eggs are gathered daily, hand washed, towel dried, inspected for cracks, then packaged and refrigerated until delivery.
In addition to forage, our laying hens are fed NatureCrest Layer Pellets, a no-soy, GMO-free pellet manufactured by Tucker Milling.
See next article for more details on the feed (layer pellets) our hens consume.
Our eggs are now available at The Farmacy, a local grocery and natural market in Easley, SC. The owners are passionately driven to create access to fresh, local produce and goods for people in the Easley area. Veggies, meats, dairy, eggs, coffees, teas, natural bath, beauty, and cleaning products are just a few of the products offered in this specialty grocery store. Their phone number is 864-442-6777. Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thefarmacyeasley/
or visit them in person at 508 S B St, Easley, SC 29640 .
We feed all of our hens NatureCrest layer pellets from Tucker Milling. These pellets are formulated with wheat midds, milo, and black sunflower seeds as the main ingredients, with diatomaceous earth added. It is also a no-soy formula utilizing menhaden fish meat for supplemental protein.
Tucker Milling is located on the Tennessee River in Guntersville, Alabama. All of their products are manufactured with grains and ingredients grown and sourced in North America.
Our farm is registered with Local Hens and will soon be proudly packaging and selling our eggs in their cartons. Local Hens helps farmer connect with consumers across America. They also offer farmers egg cartons and other merchandising material to help them bring fresh, wholesome goods to local markets. Just go to their website and enter your zip code to find farms near you.
If you live in the upstate area of South Carolina, I want to encourage you to check out the Clemson Area Food Exchange. It allows members to shop local farms from the convenience of their own home. Participating farms are located within a 50 mile radius of Clemson, SC and adhere to strict standards to ensure that everything produced is chemical-free. All member farms are dedicated to supplying their customers with the freshest and highest quality vegetables, herbs, mill products, dairy, eggs, meats, fruits, flowers, and transplants. Producers post their goods for sale and orders are taken from 9:00 pm Friday night through noon the following Monday. Goods are delivered on Tuesday and then distributed to customer pickup sites in Clemson, Anderson, Pickens, Easley, Seneca, and Salem. What better way to support your local farmers and at the same time, promote a healthier lifestyle by eating fresh local foods and minimizing your exposure to COVID19 by avoiding large, crowded supermarkets? It makes sense and it is really catching on. Orders are at a nine year high and membership is literally growing by the hour. What are you waiting on? There is even an app you can download from the app store that will let you shop from the convenience of your phone. Sign up today!
Our brown egg layers are Rhode Island Reds. We purchase new layers every spring and try to maintain a healthy laying flock of around 50 hens. We chose the Rhode Island Red because it is the most popular American heritage breed in our area and very possibly the most popular in the entire country. They are dual-purpose birds (meat and eggs) and prolific layers of large to extra-large brown eggs. We order our chicks from reputable hatcheries and when they arrive on the farm they are only two days old. We keep them in a brooder and feed them a chick starter/grower feed until they have feathered out. When they reach this stage, we move them to the hen house and keep them there until they grow too large to slip through the poultry netting that we use to protect them from predators out on the pastures. In our first year of operations we used a small enclosure and a mobile coop that allowed us to move the hens to fresh pasture as needed. We have since switched to permanent coops within very large enclosures. This is much less labor intensive, less stress on our hens, and still provides them with ample access to fresh grass and insects.
When you buy eggs from Porter Valley Farms, you are buying pastured eggs from hens that live within enclosures that are large enough to allow the birds to free-range for forage and insects.
Consider this. In the United States, USDA free-range regulations currently apply only to poultry and indicate that the hens have been allowed access to the outside. The USDA regulations do not specify the quality or size of the outside range, nor the duration of time the hens must have access.
The USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) requires that chickens raised for meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture and there may be access to only dirt or gravel. Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range and pastured egg producers have no common standard on what the terms mean. This is why it is important to know where your eggs come from!
Look at the picture above. The egg on the bottom is a certified organic egg purchased from a national chain supermarket. The egg on the top is one of Porter Valley Farms Rhode Island Red pastured eggs. You can see the difference and you can certainly taste the difference, but did you know that pastured eggs are healthier for you? They have…
So, be sure to buy local and be sure to visit the farm where your eggs are being produced. Find out if they are truly pastured or free-range. Know what you are eating! Call and arrange a visit to our farm. We’d love to show you our hens!
What is a stew hen?
A stew hen is simply an older chicken that has been processed for consumption.
Why are they called stew hens?
As the bird ages, the meat becomes tougher and best results are obtained when cooking the birds in stews and soups (they are also called soup hens).
Do stew hens taste good?
Absolutely! In fact, although the meat gets tougher as the bird ages, it gets more flavorful. Our stew hens are Heritage breed birds which are slower growers and therefore more flavorful than many of the crossbreeds used for egg production at other farms.
Where do your stew hens come from?
Our laying flock is comprised entirely of Rhode Island Reds. These are dual-purpose heritage breed birds. Dual-purpose means the birds are good layers and big enough to serve as meat birds too. Hens typically start falling off in egg production around the 2-year mark. We cull them from the flock between 2 and 2.5 years of age as new and younger layers are rotated into the flock.
Where can I get one of your stew hens?
Until we have an on-site farm store, we will sell these birds at local venues in our community.
How do I cook a stew hen?
There are many recipes out there. Just google “stew hen recipes” and you will have plenty from which to choose. Be sure to check back here too as we will be assembling a collection of our favorite recipes. We hope you will have some you can share with us as well! Until then, here is a link to over 138 stewing hen recipes on yummly to get you started…
What is a broiler?
A broiler is a chicken that is bred and raised specifically for meat production. Most broilers have a yellowish skin with white feathers and reach a processing weight in as little as 4 to 7 weeks.
What is a Cornish-Cross?
A cornish-cross is a broiler that we have raised successfully here at Porter Valley Farms with fantastic results. This particular breed is a cross between the Commercial Cornish chicken and a White Rock chicken. They were developed for the commercial meat chicken market and have been dominating it for the past fifty years. Although, these are the same meat birds you find at your local grocery store, when you buy from Porter Valley Farms, you may know you are eating a healthy, humanely-raised, top-quality bird.
How do broilers from Porter Valley Farms differ from commercial broilers at large chain super markets?
When our chicks arrive from the hatchery, we begin feeding with a quick-starter grower that is USDA certified organic, non-GMO verified, and stored in a certified safe food/safe feed facility. It’s an expensive feed, but we are attempting to raise the healthiest and tastiest chickens possible. Our chickens are also raised in large outdoor pens that provide ample access to fresh grass. This grass, along with insects, provides a natural forage that is healthy for the chickens and produces a more flavorful meat as well.
How big do these broilers grow?
The dressed weight of these birds will be determined by the processing age of the bird, the care and feed received by the bird, and the sex of the bird (roosters generally weigh more). We like to process them between 8 and 9 weeks of age as this makes for a good sized fryer. Our hens typically dress out between 5 and 6 pounds and our roosters between 6 and 7 pounds.
Where can I get one of your broilers?
Same as the stew hens, until we have an on-site farm store, we will sell these birds at local venues in our community.
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We love our customers and we feel like it is important to know where your food comes from. This spring, when our eggs hit the market, please call and arrange a visit. We'd love to introduce you to our chickens and show you our egg operations from collection to packaging.
NOTE: At this time, in response to COVID19, we are practicing social distancing. All farm site visits are suspended until further notice. Stay home and stay safe until this crisis passes. Take care and God bless!!!
339 Concord Church Rd, Pickens, SC 29671, US