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 free-range 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 current laying flock is comprised of Rhode Island Reds. We plan to purchase new layers every spring and each year we will rotate between the two most popular American heritage breeds; the Rhode Island Red and the Plymouth Barred Rock. Both breeds are 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 electric poultry netting that we use to protect them from predators out on the pastures. This method of containment also allows us to constantly move them to fresh areas of the pasture where they can supplement their feed by foraging for grass 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 an 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 egg producers have no common standard on what the term means.
When you buy eggs from Porter Valley Farms, you can rest assured your eggs are coming from happy, healthy hens that are thriving on quality feed with clean water, ample amounts of fresh air, sunshine, and natural forage such as grass and insects.
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 free-range eggs. You can see the difference and you can certainly taste the difference, but did you know that free-range 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 free-range. Know what you are eating! Call and arrange a visit to our farm. We’d love to show you our operations!
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 of Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Barred Rocks. 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 mobile outdoor pens that are moved to fresh patches of grass each day. 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 (rooster 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.
339 Concord Church Rd, Pickens, SC 29671, US