Above: Jacob Farley
Circle F Ranch is new to the East Lansing Farmer's Market this year, but Jacob Farley is no stranger to the farming life.
“My family has been on the same farm in Fowler since the 1930's,” says Farley. “Like many other family farms, we were diversified and raised many species of animals, but began to winnow down what we raised as time went on and the farming landscape changed. I've always felt called to farming, and meat and eggs have been an easy way to start on what bits of land my family isn't renting out, and a great way to get my foot in the door, both in markets and in business with the family farm.” He has sold goods at the St. Johns Farmer's Market, and worked the farmstand of the MSU Student Organic Farm.
Circle F Ranch sells non-GMO, pasture-raised chicken eggs, quail eggs, whole chickens, and whole ducks. Farley plans to have pork for sale by the start of July, and lamb later in the fall. He plans to offer eggs, chicken and ducks at the next Market (this Sunday, June 11), and says he’s most likely to run out of chicken eggs before anything else, although he’s working on increasing egg production.
Asked what makes Circle F special, Farley explains that, “at the simplest, Circle F Ranch is based in the three ethics of permaculture: Care of the Earth, Care of People, and Return of Surplus. We strive to produce meat and eggs in a way that minimizes external inputs, improves the land the animals are on, and produce a high quality product to benefit the farmer and the consumer.”
In addition to the Circle F Ranch, Farley works fulltime at the feed mill in Fowler as a delivery driver. “It is a way for me to have a regular income and benefits as I grow the farm and helps me to invest more back into the farm.”
How does he manage to run a farm in addition to working at the feed mill? “The short answer,” he says “is I don't know. Lots of unfinished projects, lots of late nights and early mornings, but at the same time, I've learned a lot about myself and devote time driving the truck to learning as much as I can by listening to interviews and podcasts.”
Above: Circle F Ranch quail eggs and chicken eggs
At the end of the interview, I was left with one burning question: What should I do with my quail eggs? According to Farley, “A lot of people have asked me what I like to do with quail eggs. I personally feel that quail eggs, bacon, asparagus, fresh cracked black pepper, and maybe some shaved Parmesan if you want, can't be beat no matter how you arrange those ingredients.”
Since asparagus is in season right now, you might want to try this salad including all of Farley’s suggested ingredients, or this recipe for bacon-wrapped asparagus topped with quail eggs after you get home with your market haul on Sunday.