Submitted to the Williams Pioneer Review
Wise Acre Farm in Arbuckle has recently been certified as an Animal Welfare Approved farm. Wise Acre Farm produces farm fresh eggs from free-range hens, along with a variety of fruit and vegetables for fresh market sales. The Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) label assures consumers that the animals at Wise Acre Farm are raised humanely on pasture and allowed to exhibit natural behaviors.
“There is a lot of deceptive labeling on food these days, especially eggs,” said Mary Fahey, Wise Acre Farm’s owner. “Even eggs that are labeled as ‘free-range’ are not necessarily from hens that are out on range, or living a natural life.” USDA’s definition of FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING is simply: “Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.” All this means is that the hens’ housing facility must have a door that allows the chickens to go outside if they choose. “Outside” could be a small concrete slab or bare dirt and the hens may never go out the door. This definition is virtually meaningless, saying nothing about the quality of the eggs or the living conditions of the hens.
Animal Welfare Approved’s standards are the most rigorous and progressive animal care requirements in the nation, as recognized by the World Society for the Protection of Animals for two years running now. Given only to family farms, the AWA label verifies that participating farms are putting each individual animal’s comfort and well-being first. The program benefits all of us with the simple understanding that our own best interests are intrinsically linked to animals and the environment.
“There is no comparison in taste between true farm-fresh, free-range eggs and eggs that are mass-produced from caged hens,” said Fahey. “Free range eggs are packed with flavor.” Fahey currently has a flock of 45 laying hens and has plans to expand Wise Acre Farm’s egg production. The Animal Welfare Approved status she has earned has inspired her to take her egg business to the next level. “My customer base has been steadily growing over the past year as people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from, and with the AWA label, there is no doubt about the quality of the product. I plan to add more layers to my flock and incorporate moveable coups that will allow me to rotate my hens through a series of pastures. This will give the pastures a chance to rest and re-grow ensuring that the hens always have access to healthy range.”
Wise Acre Farm sells their eggs at a weekend farm stand, and at the Arbuckle Certified Farmers Market. The farm stand is open year round on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 6613 Harrington Avenue in Arbuckle. The Arbuckle Certified Farmers Market runs Wednesdays from 5 pm to 7:30 p.m. June – August.
For more information on the Animal Welfare Approved certification visit their website at: www.animalwelfareapproved.org.
For more information on Wise Acre Farm, visit their website at www.wiseacrefarm.com