Customers flock to ‘Good Life Farm’
ALBION – When Jules Bonafede saw the forecast for scorching temperatures this week, his chief worry was his flock of month-old chickens.
Bonafede, 29, didn’t want the animals to overheat. He set up a canopy over the birds, and placed fans on the ground to try to keep them cool. He thinks the contraptions have been working during this week’s heat wave.
Bonafede and Josh Trexler, 26, this year started Our Good Life Farm on Gaines Basin Road in Albion. The partners had been raising chickens, about 15 a year, for themselves and their friends the past three years. This year they decided to offer chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to the general public.
They have had a huge response. They expect to raise 1,000 chickens this year.
“We thought we’d grow a larger batch,” Bonafede said at the farm on Tuesday afternoon. “But it quickly turned into more than that.”
The animals are fed organic feed and they are pasture-raised. At least once a day, the caged chickens are moved to a new patch of grass.
Our Good Life is part of a trend of new small farms that are cropping up in New York. The number of farms in New York with revenue between $10,000 and $99,999 annually increased by 500 last year, going from 10,800 in 2011 to 11,300, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Trexler and Bonafede invite people to the farm to see the chickens and animals, and pick up the finished frozen product.
“People want to know where their food is coming from,” Trexler said. “They want a relationship with their farm.”
Our Good Life has taken a pledge to treat the animals as humanely as possible. They feed the animals grain that is grown without pesticides or genetically modified corn. Bonafede and Trexler butcher the animals, and they do it as quickly and painlessly as possible, they said.
Chickens are their top seller right now. The birds sell for $3.25 dressed. That compares to about $1 a pound when chicken is on sale in the grocery stores. Our Good Life has a waiting list of customers willing to pay the premium.
“They want the better-tasting chicken,” Bonafede said. “Our chicken has a different taste.”
Our Good Life has developed a local following in the Albion area. The farm saw demand really take off when it was invited to the Pittsford Farmers Market. Our Good Life expects to raise four cycles of chickens a year.
It takes about two months to grow a mature Cornish Cross chicken and 12 to 14 weeks to raise a Kosher, a heritage chicken.
Trexler and Bonafede expect to have their turkeys ready for Thanksgiving.
They are also juggling the Sports & Graphics business, a screen-printing and embroidery business.
“There’s always something going on,” Bonafede said.
For more information on Our Good Life Farm, click here.