Author Archives: Caitlin Moore

We’re in Parent Map!

Here’s an excerpt:

Raising Urban Farmers at the Seattle Farm Co-op

Dreaming of raising chickens, rabbits, goats and bees right in the city? Here’s your source

“Seattle loves its urban agriculture. Thousands of Seattle families grow their own food. Through the city’s community gardening P-Patch program alone, more than 2,000 plotholders cultivate around 32 acres of land. This is in line with a global trend: The USDA reports that around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas, including backyards, vacant lots, balconies and parking strips.

Increasingly, Seattle’s urban farmers are also taking on an area usually associated with rural farms rather than kitchen gardens: animal husbandry. We’re all familiar with the urban chicken movement, but local families are also raising ducks, goats and rabbits, and keeping bees. And an organization that is helping these families access what they need to thrive is the Seattle Farm Co-op.

Founded in 2009, with a retail warehouse and educational center in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood that opened in the spring of 2015, the Seattle Farm Co-op supports and fosters urban farming, with a mission of serving as a resource for both material supplies and knowledge, especially for urban farmers raising animals.”

To read the whole article, click on this link:

Feed and Fines: Maximizing Value with Fermented Feed

We’re reprinting this great post from Scratch and Peck Feeds about getting the most out of your feed.

Boost Your Feed Benefits with Fermentation!

Ferment toolsOne of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, “Why are there all these fines in your feed and how do I get my chickens to eat it?”

This question is important as it identifies one of our core philosophies as a company; we believe that a raw, whole grain feed is nutritionally superior to highly processed products. Most mills producing poultry feed use a combination of heat and water to process their products into pellets and further into pellet crumbles, reducing the shelf life and nutrient content of the grains. At Scratch and Peck Feeds, we focus on providing a product that is as raw and natural as possible; something we would want to feed our own animals.

The ‘fines’ in Scratch and Peck’s balanced feeds consist of the added protein, probiotics, vitamins and minerals that support an animal’s health and development. Although fines can sometimes accumulate, many of our customers feed our products dry, as is, without issue. Recommendations for helping the flock to eat all the fines include: Adding the accumulated fines to the top of the newly added feed, using a trough style feeder rather than a gravity feeder, raising the feeder to the height of the bird’s back, collecting fines to include in yogurt or an oatmeal treat, or simply adding moisture to the mix prior to feeding to help the fines bind to the whole grains. For even better results, we recommend taking these recommendations just a bit further and fermenting the feed!

Lacto-fermentation has been used for thousands of years for human and animal nutrition. Lactic acid bacteria, like the probiotics you find in Greek yogurt, is beneficial in making the feed easier for the chickens to digest and it improves the overall bioavailable nutrients. Studies show fermented feed has been found to have increased levels of Vitamins B, C and K, along with increased protein as well! The simple process of soaking the whole grains before feeding helps to release the stored nutrients by breaking the dormancy in the now softened, potentially sproutable whole grains. Because digestion becomes more efficient, fermenting the feed stretches your feed dollar further as the birds are able to get more from the same amount of feed, reducing the volume of feed required to satisfy their caloric needs. Whether fed daily or used as a treat, the fermenting process for Scratch and Peck poultry feeds is as easy as adding water and letting the feed soak for about 3 days. Really – it’s just that simple! Nature has the amazing ability to create complex nutrients from very simple ingredient combinations. As an added bonus, providing wet, fermented feed instead of dry feed helps your flock with better water management as less additional water will be needed for the digestion process!

Getting Started: Container Selection –

To get started with fermenting feed, you will need to choose containers based on the number of birds you are feeding. If you have a smaller flock, you will likely do just fine long term using quart or half-gallon sized Mason jars, or even a repurposed water pitcher. If you have a larger flock, food grade buckets or bins will be a better choice once you get the hang of the fermenting process. We even hear some larger farms simply use clean 55 gallon bins or barrels! As CO₂ gasses are a natural by-product of the fermentation process, the fermenting feed should never be tightly sealed or pressure will build up, damaging the container and creating a potentially explosive mess. Whatever type of container is chosen, some experimenting will be necessary to get the best results as the fermentation process will be faster in warmer environments and much slower if it is cold.


Mad Scientist: Chicken Feed Mixology –

Once a container has been selected, simply measure out the estimated amount your flock will consume in one day and place it into the container. (We estimate an adult chicken will consume approximately ¼ – ⅓ lb of dry feed per day.) Add unchlorinated water at about 2-3 parts per one part feed. Especially for the first few batches, it is important to check the mixture after 30 minutes to make sure enough water is being provided to cover the feed after initial absorption. Once the ferment batch has been prepared, move the container to an area with a consistent, moderate temperature away from sun exposure. For the next 3 days, let the mixture sit with a loose fitting cover, stirring the mix 1-2 times each day. You will know the fermenting process is working when little bubbles start appearing on the surface!




Picky Chicky: Feeding Consistency and Feeder Type

After a few days, the fermented feed should smell slightly sour which is a good indication that the process has been effective and is ready to serve to your flock. Before feeding, drain off any excess water before stirring to reduce the soupiness of the ferment – the extra liquid can then be used to jump start the next fermentation batch! If the mix is still too runny, try adding a little dry feed or even a small scoop of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to absorb the excess moisture. Keep in mind, if the fermented feed is too soupy, the chickens will not want to eat it. Ideally, the texture will be closer to clumping than runny. In our experience, a trough or open bowl will be easier to use for feeding a fermented mash rather than a gravity style feeder.



While many birds will have no problem transitioning to fermented feed, we do hear from time to time that some owners may have a difficult time convincing their flock to eat wet feed and may choose to stay with a dry feed. Even chickens have opinions and can get set in their ways! Fermenting feed may not work for every flock or situation but it can be a great way to add additional nutritional benefits to your flock and help to save on your feed bill over time. Give it a try!

Fermenting Feed Tips:

• Start small! Even if you have a large flock, practice with a small batch or two to get a feel for the ferment process and feeding texture before moving on to using larger containers.
• Do not use chlorinated water! If you only have access to chlorinated water, fill a container with just the water and leave it sitting on a counter for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
• Always use clean containers and stirring implements to prevent mold and contamination.
• Do not put fermenting feed in a sealed container.
• For best results and to prevent mold, make sure there is enough water to cover feed during fermentation process.
• Stir or shake the fermenting feed mixture 1-2 times per day.
• Can’t tell if it’s fermenting? During the fermenting process, small bubbles will move up through the mix! If there are no bubbles occurring, try adding more water as the consistency may be too thick.
• Too runny at feeding? Drain off the extra moisture before stirring the batch for final feeding; add a little dry feed or Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to absorb access liquid.
• Mixing prior to feeding is important as fermented feed will naturally settle with fines at the top and heavier ingredients, like Oyster Shell, at the bottom.
• Ground mash feed, like Naturally Free Starter, will absorb more water than a whole grain mash product and may involve more trial and error to get the best results.
• Don’t worry – the 3 days it takes to lacto-ferment the feed will not lead to intoxicated chickens! Lactic acid fermentation is not the same as alcoholic fermentation.


To download our Fermenting Feed Guide or Fermenting Feed Slideshow, select ‘Helpful Guides’ at:

Fermenting - Dry FeedFermenting - Feed soaked 3 hoursFermenting - Feed soaked 3 days


  1. Dry Feed
  2. Feed Soaked for 3 Hours
  3. Feed Fermented for 3 Days

Chick Sale 2016 sold out, but wait… there’s more!

We hope there is more. If you want to get on a waiting list for chicks, give us a call at 206-258-1669 between 10-4pm Friday, Saturday, or Sunday or pop by for a visit. We might be able to get some more ordered from our hatchery.

In other news, Christy is presenting another chick care workshop on Thursday March 3rd from 6:00-7:00 pm at the warehouse. Please RSVP if you are planning on coming:

bees, seeds, and chicks

Hi folks,

As I sit here in the warehouse office while the rain pours outside I’m thinking about my garden and all the plants and animals that are waking up. Yesterday I spent an hour pruning and cleaning up my raspberry patch before the leaves emerge. As I cut the old canes down, I made sure to leave several inches of each cane in the ground to be used by solitary bees this spring. Many important pollinators including mason bees create habitat in places we don’t even think about. With caneberries like raspberry, elderberry, and marionberry, some species of bees will bore a little hole in the pith of cut canes, and will lay their larvae inside.

All of the solitary (non-hive) bees are important for a healthy garden, including the mighty Mason bee. We’ve got some Mason bees in stock right now, 10 bee cocoons for $12.00, or $10.56 for members. If you purchase Easy Tear Tubes or Natural Reeds, you get $2.00 off a box of bees.

Speaking of animals and spring, we are sold out of chicks!! If you are still interested in getting some, come on down and get on our waiting list, we might be able to order some more from our hatchery. In case you missed our free chick raising class last week, we are hosting another one on Thursday, March 3rd from 6:00- 7:00 pm at the Farm Co-op Warehouse. Please RSVP to if you plan to intend.

For you gardeners out there, we have garden seeds from two local, farmer-owned companies. Please support independent farms and seed companies, and come on down for some great Northwest varieties!

By the way, since I know many of you have been to our new location, you’ve noticed we share the space with the Seattle Tilth Food Hub. Our friend and space-mate Chris Iberle, who has been managing the Food Hub is moving on and we just wanted to say goodbye and good luck to him on his new agricultural adventure!

Speaking of Seattle Tilth, they have a Master Composter program coming up starting in March. If you’ve been meaning to gain some skills in the art of organic matter, I highly recommend this program. Details can be found at, or by calling 206-633-0097.

Okay, that’s all for now. See you at the warehouse!


seeds, chicks, and bees

Happy Friday folks!

It’s the end of January and I’ve got lots to talk about for this week, so here goes!

We are starting to get our seeds in stock! Right now we have a few select varieties from Root and Radicle Seed Co. (that’s me) and next week we’ll be getting a nice selection from Deep Harvest on Whidbey Island.

Next up: bees. We just got some mason bees in, as well as some straws for the mason bee houses and a little booklet on how to have and care for your bees. On Sunday there is also a free class here at the Co-op Warehouse all about Mason bees. Please sign up at!

In preparation for chick season, we brought in some new waterers and feeders. Also, for all you procrastinators, it isn’t too late to order chicks. We still have plenty of Black and Gold Sex-Links and White Plymouth Rocks left, and a few Australorps, Wyndottes, and Buff Orpingtons. Ordering deadline is February 16th!

Also, for those of you who have been asking for large mason jars, we just got half gallon wide-mouth jars in. These are the perfect size for making yogurt, kombucha, or other fermented vegetables. Jars are $3.38 each retail/$2.97 member, or $16.24/$14.29 per case. That’s a savings of $4.04 if you buy the whole case!!

Last on my list today, we have two upcoming Yard to Table workshops at some local libraries. The first one is Saturday, February 6th at noon, at Boulevard Park Library 12015 Roseberg Ave. S. The other one is at Renton Public Library 100 Mill Ave. S. on Sunday, February 14th at 2 pm. You’ll learn about chickens, goats, bees, and veggies. Come one, come all, they’re free!

Okay, I’m sure there is more to say, but really… how many of you are still reading this post?


Celebrating the Sun’s rebirth

by Rachel Cardone

We’re a few days from achieving the end of year hat trick of American holiday season: we binge on candy at Halloween, then food at Thanksgiving, and Christmas, oh! Sweet Christmas! When we binge on stuff.

A quick Google query reveals that Americans spend an estimated $465 billion during the Christmas season. That means retailers can count on Seattle to spend around US$463 million. Yes, retailers count on us to spend money to stay in business; our economy and social order is premised on consumption. And yes, I like to give and receive gifts. But the numbers still make me a bit queasy.

Consider what US$463 million could do to bridge Seattle Public Schools’ budget gap. Or to improve school lunches: imagine the possibilities to ramp up integration of locally grown, organic produce into kids’ diets, while strengthening our local food economy. It could buy affordable housing units for over 8,000 Seattle-based homeless and low-income people, including families, so that they could celebrate the season at home.

I realize that these numbers are useful but not realistic. Homelessness, after all, is not merely a function of lack of housing. And I also realize that it’s dark outside. Very, very dark. Which makes me want to eat carbs and be inside somewhere, whether in my house or meandering in a shopping center somewhere. It makes me want to put lights all over the place, which is what I’ve been doing for several years until this one, when my eldest daughter became savvy.

The first request was a tree. “I want a huge tree just like the one (our friend) has.” Most of our friends have sizeable living rooms that can accommodate large trees. Unless we eliminate our couch, there’s no room in ours. And anyway, around 33 million Christmas trees are cut down every year – 9 million in Cascadia. We don’t want an artificial tree – leaving aside the unnecessary waste of plastic, we don’t have storage space for it during the other 50 weeks of the year. To the nursery we went, and I gave my daughter a choice between two living trees. To her credit she picked one, and said in the sweetest voice that it was the most wonderful, perfect tree ever. It is also living, in a pot, and we will return it after the holidays for salmon restoration. I count that as a huge win.


Then came Santa. “Santa Claus is real,” she insists, “because he’s everywhere.” She is so earnest about it, she’s already convinced her 2-year old sister, and some days I imagine them as present-demanding zombies. And suddenly I understand why parents buy into the idea. Why not? It keeps kids excited and promises to carry us through to the other side of January. Still, I’m tepid about it, not explaining it to her, but not hyping it, either. For example, to dilute her expectations of Christmas morning, we opened a few presents on the solstice – the real reason for the season. And you know what? She flashed from giddy to disappointed because what was under the wrapping paper didn’t meet her expectation. She quickly composed herself. “Can we open more?” We’re hard-wired to be consumers, I suppose.


My sister suggested we introduce the concept of Krampus or Elf on the Shelf, but why create more work for myself when I’d prefer to slow down and reflect on my life? Enforceability is also a challenge: I can’t quite call the monster with claws to take them away. No, we’re not doing Krampus or Elf.

Santa also leaves a lot of room for gift inequality among groups of friends and neighbors. The average US family spends $700 per year, which is far more than I spend, or even want to spend. A friend suggested Santa-lite: he can exist but can’t give the “best” gifts. If widely adopted, it would resolve the challenge of inequality and, one hopes, increase gratitude and appreciation for the gift-giving people who actually exist. Because let’s face it: one day, my kids will see what others kids get and wonder why Santa stiffed them. And other kids will look at my kids and think the same damn thing. If my kids are going to resent someone, I’d prefer they resent me, not some mythical creature on whom they’ve placed their hopes and dreams (for stuff).

Before I had kids, it seemed cut and dry to focus on the solstice, and not much more. This year the girls got on board with a living tree without much fuss, but it hasn’t even been a full Santa season and it’s clear he’s not going away quietly. I want my kids to appreciate the magic that I see and feel in the winter solstice, and I hope some day to reconcile all that is beautiful about lighting up the dark with cultural practices that can get ugly. I want to celebrate the shift towards the season of the Sun, not celebrate the birth of a Son. I’m learning that’s easier said than done, even in our non-religious household. I suppose the good news is, I’ll get another chance to figure it out next year.

Chick Sale! Sold out 2/19/16

Every year we have a spring chick sale and 2016 won’t be different. We have ordered Black Sex Links, Gold Sex Links, Buff Orpingtons, Silver-Laced Wyandottes, Easter Eggers, and Black Australorps. We recently added some White Plymouth Rock, Brown Leghorns and Runner Ducks to the order but as of this morning (1/21/16) the ducklings are sold out!  The sale will be in March, but you must pre-order by February 16th right HERE.


Chickens are flock animals – That’s why we require you purchase a MINIMUM ORDER of 3 chicks. The City of Seattle allows backyard flocks of up to 8 birds – NO roosters.

We buy our best estimate of the number of chicks of each breeds that we will sell. Chicks are reserved on a first come first served basis.ORDER EARLY right HERE to insure that you get the breed of your choice.

A chick class is REQUIRED … unless you have had chickens before – or take a SEATTLE TILTH or similar class. The Co-op will offer a FREE class. – dates to be announced

The hatchery tries very hard to accurately “sex” the chicks and are 90% accurate. So, though we’d love to say there will be no roosters, you may get a rooster UNLESS you order Gold Sex Link or Black Sex Link chicks where 99.9% of the hatch are hens.

Chicks are immunized – We have chosen to sell chicks immunized against Mareck’s disease, a virulent contagious killer of chicks and chickens.

Up-cycling Traditions

By Rachel Cardone

I think it started because my father hated Halloween. He was a teacher, it was the seventies, and we lived in rural Long Island. Our house got egged and toilet papered. So, my mother would make all of our costumes, put candy in a bowl outside, and while we were out he would turn out all the lights and sit in a back room, reading. Then, three weeks later, Halloween candy devoured, we would look forward to the arrival of the Thanksgiving Turkey.

You may think I’m talking about the bird. I’m talking about the Turkey. You know, the one who shows up about an hour after peak food coma, alerting you to his presence with a sound not unlike a football hitting a roof. Who hides bags of candy for good kids – outside if the weather’s nice, inside if it’s raining or snowing. No?

As an adult, I can imagine the confusion caused when guests participated with us, or when we’d talk about the Turkey at school on Monday. What amazes me to this day is nobody – nobody – ever told us we were idiots. Nobody told us it wasn’t real. Everybody sort of shrugged, as if to say, “Well, if that’s your tradition …”

As we got older, the Turkey went from real to quaint to a joke we never quite understood. Once I left for college in Ann Arbor, I didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving. Traveling home was too expensive, and in my early 20s piety, the holiday reeked of American gluttony. Then more excuses: I became urban, and it was too much effort to get home. My concerns were not their concerns. My politics and religion and work and life choices were different enough to make the day feel like an obligation to be backed out of, if I could find a good enough excuse.

I didn’t start enjoying the holiday again until my thirties, when, as a newlywed, our neighbors invited my husband and me over for “pre-Thanksgiving dinner with people we like”. Food, gratitude, laughter, and community became the new tradition. And Thanksgiving became my most favorite holiday of the year.

The essence of Thanksgiving it to create a harvest dinner, and create space to express gratitude for all the blessings in our lives, no matter how easy or hard the year has been. It captures the essence of being human: what’s more human than sharing a meal? And it accommodates all heritages and cultures that contribute to the American experience. As a kid, we ate an Italian antipasto with cured meats, cheeses, olives and pickled vegetables at ours. My husband’s family had hummus and labneh at theirs. We’ve had salmon out here in Seattle. I’m sure you have a special side dish or main that takes you right back to simpler times, and new tweaked recipes that keep you present. We bring our diversity and personal style to a tradition that creates space to reflect on who we are as families, communities of individuals, and as a nation, if we let it. It can be a beautiful thing.

Last year, my dear Uncle Tommy died on Thanksgiving Day. Strangely enough, on Thanksgiving Day two years ago, my beloved Uncle Vincent passed. The holiday has evolved from a day of food and candy, to a day of gratitude, to a day of remembrance. And yet…

A few weeks ago, tired of telling Halloween stories to my nearly 5 and 3 year old daughters, I started to tell the story of the Turkey. As a joke, really. As an, isn’t Grandpa super silly, sort of story. But they keep asking me to tell it, over and over. They wonder if the Turkey will leave candy for them. They wonder if they’ve been good enough. I don’t like that framing, so I’m evolving the story to be more about gratitude and love. I’ve pulled in elements of sweet and bitter, borrowing from Jewish New Year traditions, to reflect the aspiration that gratitude be a constant in our lives, across our highs and lows. And I think I can get behind the Turkey visiting our house this year, moving him from a joke to something magical and real. And with that, an old family tradition has been renewed for the next generation.