Spotlight on Gravel Ridge Farms
At The Joyful Food Co., we love locally and ethically sourced ingredients. I also happen to really love chickens, as I had some backyard chickens and realized they have very distinct and funny personalities! Watching them graze around the yard and scout bugs was so fun and made me sad for the chickens who spend their lives literally cooped up. This is one of the reasons it was important to us to make the switch to free-range eggs. Also, we know that eggs from happy chickens just taste better! When we found Gravel Ridge Farms, we knew that their eggs (and philosophy) were in line with ours and we were thrilled to begin a partnership with them. We not only use their eggs in all of our baked goods, we now offer their eggs for sale in store!
As we slowly began to make the switch to clean and pastured proteins, we were having a very hard time finding "clean" and happy pork, so it was a relief to find out that Gravel Ridge Farms was expanding to include pigs. We are thrilled to be able to get more pastured pork from a trusted and local farm.
I recently talked with Dustin Smith about their operation and here is some of what I found out!
When did Gravel Ridge Farms start and how has it grown since then?
We started with about 200 chickens and about 100 dozen eggs per week in 2015. We saw the incredible potential for the business and decided to increase the scale in early 2016. We currently have 15,000 birds and will be producing over 5500 dozen eggs a week by May. We have 25 pigs and will grow about 3 acres of specialty produce.
Who are the farmers of Gravel Ridge Farms?
Daniel Wright is the full time farmer and grew up in agriculture. Dustin Smith helps with large events and the vegetable operation.
What sets Gravel Ridge Farms apart from other local farms?
We are cage free and free range. We never use antibiotics or hormones, and use feed without any animal proteins. We are particularly proud of the economic impact we make on our rural area. We have 3 full time employees and have 6 part time. Everything we use at the farm comes from Alabama. The feed comes from Cullman, egg cartons from Birmingham, and farm supplies from the local farmers cooperative.
Gravel Ridge Farms is just one of the local vendors that we are proud to feature! We hope you have enjoyed their eggs and pork as much as we have! Thank you for supporting local businesses like us--it is really such a more "personal" way to live and shop.