Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Aug

From an Auditor’s Cubicle to Real Life Shepherd – My Primal Success Story

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Hi Mark,

Let me start with a massive “THANK YOU”.  I’m a longtime reader and fan and you have truly inspired me in multiple ways. It’s not likely I would be where I am today without your insights, advice, and expertise.

My name is Paul and I’m a 28 year old shepherd in Southern California.  Yes, you read that right – I own and farm Primal Pastures, the largest 100% pastured, grass fed/grass finished lamb farm in Southern California, about an hour away from Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego in the city of Temecula. In addition to “Primal Lamb”, we also raise pastured chicken for meat and eggs. But things have not always been this way…

I grew up in the city (Seattle, WA), about as opposite from an agricultural upbringing as possible. In college I was an All-American spear thrower and found my 22 year old body in a degenerative arthritis state with increasing pain in my knees and shoulders from heavy Olympic lifting combined with lots of beer and pasta. Ice baths and Motrin were the prescribed fix-all, but it wasn’t working and things were getting worse.

After college I went on to become an Intelligence Officer in the Marine Corps. I was trained in infantry tactics, sniper command, and some spycraft and interrogation skills. After a deployment to Southern Iraq I learned about paleo from some CrossFit buddies. I was immediately hooked on all things Primal, and my entire worldview was affected by this revelation of health, wellness, longevity, and happiness.

PaulMarines5

After having the opportunity to lead a 500-man Amphibious Tank unit, I departed the Marine Corps and dove headfirst into corporate America. I proceeded to stare at a computer screen for a few thousand hours (stand up desk of course), and three years later a CPA license popped out. What a change from the Marine Corps days, I thought to myself. Obviously I had no idea what was coming next…

My entire family’s lives were affected by Primal principles. My father-in-law Tom lost 80 pounds, and my brothers-in-law Jeff and Rob trimmed down significantly back to their days as college basketball players. We were on board and feeling great with the Primal plan, but kept struggling to find a good clean source of real, pastured, soy and GMO free chicken here in Southern California. Finally after some discussion, Rob walked into the living room beaming as he stated that 50 chicks were on order and would be delivered in less than two weeks. So in April of 2012, we received our first 50 birds and raised them the way we believed they should be: outside, on grass, with room to roam, picking and scratching for bugs and worms, and when supplemented, fed an all-organic, GMO-free, soy-free feed.

PPKS050313614 blog

We really didn’t know what to expect demand-wise, but we were shocked when the birds completely sold out even before harvest. By the time we harvested (a skill we picked up via Youtube) and had birds ready for market, “Primal Pastures” had a waiting list of over 100 families. The company grew organically – going from 50 birds to 100, to 150, to 200 per month. People were ecstatic about the product (I remember one lady jumping up and down and dancing in excitement) and enjoyed being able to visit the farm and see things for themselves since we are within an hour of the major urban centers of LA, OC, and SD. We provided tours, spoke at local events, interacted with gyms and CrossFit boxes, and constantly posted updates, photos, and stories to our social media sites.

The farm continued to grow through 2012 and 2013, but we were all still working full-time jobs. As a CPA I was working 10 hour plus days and running the farm business on the side. I also started the MBA program at UCLA Anderson and my wife and I were blessed with our first child during this time. Tom was running a construction company, Jeff was teaching full0time, and Rob was working full-time as well. Our combined “plate” was overflowing.

Just when we thought our capacity was maxed out, we received a call from a neighboring farm. Before this phone call, we considered venturing into grassfed sheep and were trying to decide between starting with 10 or 15 head, but definitely not more than 20 head. This would be a manageable number that we could get comfortable with before expanding, we thought. However, fate had other plans and this neighboring farm had 100 head of grassfed sheep and they were leaving town the next month, needing to sell everything quickly. They loved the way that we operated and even though they had multiple higher offers for the herd they made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, and that night we became shepherds in addition to chicken farmers.

RegenerativeAg

Now things were really moving along, and right at the same time we were introduced to an excellent cattle rancher in Southern California. Previously, we hadn’t re-sold beef products because we did not feel comfortable with the quality or locality of our options for doing so (we don’t have our own cattle…yet). We have built Primal Pastures around the concept that we will provide the absolute highest quality meat products in and from Southern California. This old rancher is less than 2 hours away with 4,000 acres of free-ranging cattle that have access to 4 miles of running river and only grazed on local, seasonal, native forage. We inspected the ranch and confirmed that this was all true and the highest quality beef we had ever seen. After a taste test we decided to add grassland beef to the Primal Pastures lineup of product offerings, and it is excellent.

Grassfed beef, grassfed lamb, pastured chicken and eggs – this was becoming a real farm, not just a backyard hobby! Primal Pastures continued to grow and word of mouth spread like wildfire as people continued to demand high quality meat that they could trust. Something had to give, and Farmer Rob was heading off to PA school in a couple of weeks. The opportunity was there, I loved everything about farming, and business was growing exponentially. I was awarded the Larry Wolfen Entrepreneurial Spirit Award out of more than 100 applicants through UCLA Anderson which allowed me the financial flexibility to chase this dream. After some thought and discussion with my wife, we decided to “take the plunge” into full-time farming.

As you might imagine, life on a beyond organic sustainable farm is incredible. I feel a patriotic sense of importance, meaning, and purpose for my work that I hadn’t experienced since service in the Marine Corps. I am excited to wake up in the morning and see what the day is going to hold. Instead of spending 13 hours per day away from my family, they can now accompany me out to the fields for daily chores or give me a hand with projects. It is certainly not easy, and my workload has increased if anything, but the satisfaction, amazement, and beauty are nearly incomprehensible. The greatest satisfaction has been developing relationships with our customers through local drop sites. We always offer product pickup on the farm in Temecula, but also provide monthly drop sites in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Orange County, North San Diego, and Downtown San Diego.

So what’s next for Primal Pastures? We want cattle of our own! We also want to add pastured turkeys and pastured ducks (meat and duck eggs) to the farm. There are incredible synergies that take place when running all of these animals together. The trick is – we don’t have grandpa’s cattle herd to fall back on. We don’t have investors with deep pockets, and cattle are expensive! We have budgeted out the cash requirements for animals, fencing, and infrastructure and $40,000 is the golden number. We hope to add cattle both for grassfed beef as well as raw grassfed dairy products like milk and cheese.

So what’s a millennial to do? You probably guessed: On August 9, 2013 we launched our Kickstarter campaign. The community has come out in full force and as of August 22 we have already raised over $26,000! We are beside ourselves with the support that we have received from the Primal community so far. Now we are asking for your help to push us the rest of the way to our goal. If you aren’t in Southern California I would encourage you to still consider supporting this project – interested farmers from across the world are watching, reading, and planning, and our success will undoubtedly inspire new pastured farms to spring up everywhere. And if the time isn’t right financially, simply sharing this project with your network will be the difference in building this farm or not. Here’s that link again: http://bit.ly/primalpastures

kickstarter

Drawing on inspiration from guys like Mark, my goal is to start a food revolution. After learning about the horrors of CAFO production methods, I want to flip the US factory farming industry upside down and reclaim health in animal based foods. I want to change the direction of meat in America. I want Primal Pastures to be a place that you can bring your friends and your children and show them what real food farming looks like in practice. And most importantly I want to feed families with nourishing food that they can feel good about eating.

Mark, like I said, this probably would have never happened without being inspired by you, the staff, and the readers of MDA. Thank you and GROK ON!

FarmerPaul

Farmer Paul

Primal Pastures

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Chong

Help Farmer Paul Kickstart a Pastured, Beyond Organic & Sustainable Livestock Farm Before the Campaign Ends!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. How awesome is that?

    Gives me hope while I stare into the biege walls of my cubicle.

    BigD wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you! I am so stoked to inspire anyone who finds this interesting. All the best!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • Haha are you hiring? Semi serious here, but I have no experience of course, bring a desk jockey myself.

        Andrea wrote on August 25th, 2013
        • hahaha I was seriously thinking the same thing – I would even volunteer!!!

          Sue wrote on August 27th, 2013
        • Andrea we aren’t exactly “hiring” but we do have a lot of great volunteer help! Anything from working on the farm to helping us update web stuff can be a huge lifted burden. You can shoot us an email at info@primalpastures.com if you’re ever interested! Thanks!!

          Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
        • Sue that is awesome!

          Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
      • Dude, you are an inspiration. Thank you for all you are doing.

        Joanne Hope wrote on September 4th, 2013
  2. What an amazing testimonial! Best of luck to you.

    (Maybe I’m just biased because lamb is my favourite meat….)

    PrimalParkGirl wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you so much! Lamb is really good. We also raise a special breed from South Africa called “Dorper” which is really tender and does not have that “gamey” lamb aftertaste. If you’re ever in SoCal you’ll need to stop by!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • As a South African farm girl (and a true Primal believer!) I agree with Farmer Tom on his excellent choice of the ‘Dorper’ lamb race for the best quality lambs meat ever! Succulent, tender and grass fed in the Karoo region of beautiful South Africa! Yum :D

        Ronel wrote on August 24th, 2013
        • Oh that’s so awesome to hear! We are definitely pleased with the dorper breed so far.

          Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  3. Your story and vision is inspiring. I love your use of the word “shepard”.

    Colleen wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Oh thank you, I am so happy to be an inspiration. You guys are totally inspiring me with these comments, can’t wait to get out there and keep this story going strong :)

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  4. Way to go Farmer Paul and family! I love what you are doing and have shared your Kickstarter campaign and farm info with my social network. Next time I am visiting the in-laws in Glendale, we will make a trip out to Temecula.

    Richard wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you Richard, and I’m so glad you mentioned “and family”. I am just a small part of this story really, each one of the farmers and our families have a crazy, unique story to tell. You will definitely have to come down next time you’re that close!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • I’ll come visit when I make my Xmas pilgrimage to OC. :-)

        Darcie wrote on August 23rd, 2013
        • from Seattle! :-)

          Darcie wrote on August 23rd, 2013
        • Awesome! What part of Seattle?

          Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  5. Good Luck with the campaign. I live in KC but pledged anyway. I’ll be out in California in December and might have to come visit.

    Steve wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hi Steve, I so appreciate your support. We have had several folks from out of state or even internationally that have backed us, it has just blown my mind. I think that if this project is successfully funded, it will inspire a lot of other folks who are on the fence to get out and build a farm. Very cool stuff, thanks again!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  6. “I was trained in infantry tactics, sniper command, and some spycraft and interrogation skills. ”

    Sigh… I think I missed my calling…

    Great story — more power to you!

    Scott UK wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Some of that probably sounds cooler than it really was. Maybe not though, it was pretty cool. Haha! Thanks so much for your support!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  7. Can someone explain how people who contribute to Kickstarter benefit? I’m just curious. Is it an investment or a donation?

    Mary Mac wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • It’s not an investment, per se, Mary. Kickstarter campaigns are set up with tiered rewards for investors, based on how much is donated. (An example might be a private showing of a movie, or an autographed copy of a book.) You’d have to look at the specific campaign to see what the reward is.

      Stacey Kerr wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Practically, it is often like a prepayment. Usually the project sponsor identifies specific things that you will get depending on how much you contribute–it may just be a thank you or it may be a year’s supply of chicken (like this one). But if they fall through and don’t provide, it isn’t really clear what you can do about it. So there is a speculative/donative aspect to this as well.

      John wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • It’s at heart a donation, but each stage of donation has it’s rewards, so it is mutually beneficial to both. I pledged $250 which gets me a chicken every day for a year!

      Josh P wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • That’s a chicken a month for a year. I think he’d run out of chickens pretty quick and you’d get pretty sick of eating chicken if it were one a day.

        Mantonat wrote on August 23rd, 2013
        • Haha yes, it’s one per month for a year.

          Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  8. Fabulous work, Paul! I’m about as far away on the continent as I can be, but I support local farmers who have a similar mindset.

    I’m so glad that a success story has addressed the issue of how are food is produced and by whom. You are a wonderful example of the overlap between eating primally and working primally. Man did not evolve to work in an office! I wish you the greatest success in becoming a full-time shepherd and farmer.

    I hope you have looked at Joel Salatin’s books and the new book by Mark Shepard, Restoration Agriculture. There are some great methods of permaculture (permanent agriculture) that are a great fit with your goals. They can increase production while lowering input costs enormously.

    One of Salatin’s methods is to move cattle from one patch of pasture to another on an almost daily basis, followed by poultry a few days later as a pest-control system. They key is the use of electric fencing, which costs way less than conventional fencing. This approach actually builds soil fertility very rapidly, improving the quality of the pasture, drought resistance and the health of the herd. See Allen Savory’s TED talk on high-density grazing methods and holistic management.

    Using permaculture methods, you will not only help to heal the people who buy your products, but you will also help to heal the planet.

    Chica wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Oops!

      “how OUR food is produced”

      Chica wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • Chica you are right up my alley with all of the names you are dropping. We are huge Salatin and Alan Savory fans and try to implement many of the concepts that they preach. Salatin was actually one of the key inspirations for me to go from office job to farming. I love the term “working primally” too, that’s awesome. Thanks so much for your support and keep in touch!!

        Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
        • I love listening to Salatin when he talks about farming. I wish every farmer out there had his passion and principles. Hearing people like him and others almost makes me want to raise my own food except for the fact that I have zero interest in being a farmer. I’m so glad that there are people like you out there, who are starting primal, ethical businesses so that we who are not agriculturally inclined could buy from you. Stay cool and don’t lose sight of your message!

          Agi wrote on September 1st, 2013
        • Will do! Yes, there is definitely a growing movement of folks who are interested/inclined on agriculture. It’s a lot different than the stereotypes that we may have culturally – but it’s also not for everyone. Keep on keeping on!!

          Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
    • That Ted talk is wonderful.

      Emma wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • Oh I totally agree. One of the best ever in my opinion!

        Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  9. How I love this story!

    Julie wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thanks Julie! So glad you enjoyed it. Now come on out for a visit, would ya?

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  10. These pictures are incredible. Thanks for sharing, and here’s to your continued success!

    Anne wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  11. As an employee of the Good Shepherd, i loved this story.

    Returning to the natural Paul– it’s incredible what you have begun! I don’t think you’ll have any trouble reaching all your goals especially having the MDA story reaching thousands of like minded Grokkers!

    Rev. David Deppisch wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you Reverend Deppisch! You are right, I have also worked for a Shepherd before now that I think of it. Great insight!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  12. How exciting! I think what you’re doing is awesome! I think I’m a bit too lazy to do it myself :).

    Debbie wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Debbie it has been an incredible amount of work just to get it where it is today. Anything but easy and not for the faint of heart. Thanks so much for your encouragement!! You can always come “get your farm on” here for a day or two if you need!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  13. I just went to your website and watched your kickstarter film. I see you are indeed onto the Joel Salatin/Mark Shepard/Allen Savory paradigm! Wonderful!

    Chica wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Oh absolutely! They are hugely responsible for the starting of Primal Pastures.

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  14. Wow, this is really awesome. Unfortunately, I live in northern California in the Bay Area too far away to enjoy the fruits of Paul’s hard work. Has anyone found a farm similar in philosophy to Paul’s up in the Bay Area?

    Wayne wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Check out Tara Firma Farms (in Petaluma). Similar story, also big fans of Joel Salatin. I got my CSA box through them when I lived in the Bay, and they are amazing. Slightly more removed, you might want to look into Good Eggs. http://tarafirmafarms.com/

      Lady Grok wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • Tara Firma is a fantastic farm as far as I can tell. I have talked with them and listened to her on several podcasts, and she is on the exact same path that we are. I’d love to visit them someday!

        Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
    • Thank you Wayne, that is very encouraging. I definitely recommend looking at http://www.eatwild.com, they have a plethora of pasture based farms and a map so you can find what’s local to you. Good luck, and let me know if you find something great!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • lovely stories. thanks!

      i’m also in SF bay area

      incidentally, both farmers in our local farmers market are fans of Mark Sisson.

      cheers

      pam wrote on August 31st, 2013
      • Oh thank you Pam! Wow, consider yourself LUCKY!!

        Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  15. Wow, great story! All the best to you in the future!

    Dianne wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  16. Wow, how amazing! I think I’m probably like many who think “wouldn’t be cool if I could….” you guys are really doing it!

    While my networks is small, I will be sharing your kickstarter campaign on my website, and with my personal clients!

    As a San Diego resident I hope to order some food as well!

    Feeling inspired today, thanks!

    Luke wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hey Luke, I’m grateful to be an inspiration for you today. It’s all about taking that first action step towards a goal. It’s like running a marathon, showing up to the race and taking that first step puts you 90% of the way there. That’s awesome that you’re local, you will definitely have to make your way up to Temecula for a tour, and pick up some meat! Thanks again.

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  17. Wow, what a GREAT story! It’s amazing how much you’ve learned and done, and how much you’re benefitting people through your farming!

    Tenny wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • The learning curve has been really really steep, but it has been such a blast so far. It’s almost like speaking a second language. Thanks so much for your encouragement, it means a lot!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  18. Thank you, Paul. It’s so important for these wonderful food sources to be available. For anyone in search of pastured chicken, eggs, beef/dairy and pork in PA, http://www.yourfamilyfarmer.com/ is a wonderful source. They have drop points all across southern PA. I am so grateful I found them.

    april wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • This looks like a great operation!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  19. I got goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes reading your story – your passion for your farm shines through! I live all the way across the country from you, but will gladly be contributing to your Kickstarter. I am lucky enough to have a handfull of small, organic farms in my area that follow a model of farming that I’m proud to support, and I think people in CA should have that opportunity as well. Best of luck to you!

    JennF wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hi Jenn, wow what a special comment. It is hard to contain my passion for what I’m doing with Primal Pastures. It’s amazing what passion + energy can combine into, nothing can stop it! I think it’s amazing that you are contributing even though you are not here in CA. I sincerely hope that there are some people sitting on the fence trying to decide if they should try this or not that are convinced today to GO FOR IT! Thanks again, and keep in touch!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  20. Wow! Wish there were folk like you in the UK! Maybe there are & they’re not vocal…How brilliant to live a life you love & love the life you live! Awesome! Best of luck in your endeavours!

    anna wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Plenty of organic, grass-pasturing farmers in the UK. The little guys were hit hard during the foot and mouth crisis some years back, but they’re making a come-back.

      Check out these guys as an example:
      http://the-organic-farm.co.uk/

      Let your fingers do the walking, and find what’s in your area.

      homehandymum wrote on August 23rd, 2013
      • Thanks Homehandymum! You are right, sometimes it takes a little extra time researching in the beginning but your efforts will be so worth it when you find a great local farm!

        Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
    • Thank you Anna! I am sure there are some great farms in the UK. If anybody has resources for a http://www.eatwild.com equivalent in the UK, would you mind sharing that here?

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  21. Keep up the good work! Now that I am single, gives me hope to see that there are men like you! ;)

    Katie C. wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  22. I’m big-time jealous! What a wonderful life you are creating for yourself and your family, and how amazing to be able to help so many others with healthy food choices at the same time. Grok on!

    Stacey wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thanks Stacey! It has been an incredible journey, not an easy one but I can tell you one thing – I have no trouble going to sleep at night. I am tired, I know that what I’m doing is making a positive difference, and I know the chickens need fed early in the AM!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  23. Outstanding post! Just shared your FB page. Best wishes to everyone there at Primal Pastures!!!

    Cheri wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you so much Cheri, that is awesome!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  24. Great story!!

    How/ where are your animals slaughtered?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    Karen W. wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hi Karen, thank you so much! We slaughter our chickens right here on the farm. We use the “Joel Salatin” process, which is considered the most humane way possible. It involves a cone, 2 slits of the carotid arteries, scalding tank, defeathering machine, and evisceration. The sheep are required to be slaughtered at a USDA inspected facility.

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  25. What an wonderful journey you’re on! I enjoyed reading about all of it even if it did make me feel like an underachiever. How in the world do you find the energy to lift heavy things will all of that going on? There isn’t that much bulletproof coffee in the world. Or, do sheep count as heavy things? Anyway, it might not be much, but I will cruise on over and donate to your Kickstarter campaign while wishing you and yours all the best.

    Tina wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Haha what a great comment. You know it’s crazy what you can muster the energy for when it’s something that you are truly passionate about and you feel like it’s your calling. It certainly wasn’t easy – there were 2 and 3am nights searching for sheep that had escaped followed by 4 or 5 am mornings for chores, yes that happened and yes it was as miserable as it sounds. But, at the end of the day you sit back in amazement at the beauty and incomprehensible sense of accomplishment and connection to nature. It’s so so worth it.

      Oh, and a lot of coffee.

      Thanks so much for your pledge, it means a lot to us!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  26. Wow. Thanks Paul for sharing your story. Very unusual, but I love that it has been published here and I am sure you guys will have no trouble securing the rest of the funds now. Best of luck to you all!

    Tobi wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Thank you so much! Yes, unusual indeed but what’s the fun in normal?

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 24th, 2013
  27. Some people have connections to inexpensive land deals, where farming is welcomed as the land won’t be used/zoned for anything else, and the owner is not interested in maximizing profit. Like, they may have a developed project (hotel etc, or winery) and have a few hundred acres available. A great way to make it!!

    Spock wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Yes, leasing land has worked incredibly well for us so far. It’s all about explaining the huge benefit that the land owner gets from renting to you, way more than just the rent payment!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 24th, 2013
  28. makes me feel hopeful about my children’s futures. – - Thank you!!!!

    Rene Lopez wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • That is so awesome – thank YOU!

      Farmer Paul wrote on August 24th, 2013
  29. Great story! Thanks for sharing and thanks for promoting your kickstarter. I just pledged – Good luck! I live in LA, so I’m looking forward to ordering from your store as well.

    aliseya wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Wow that’s awesome! Thank you so much for checking it out and of course for your pledge! Looking forward to meeting you soon!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  30. Go Shepard, Go! I really appreciate your passion and creativity. I’m sharing this on facebook in hopes that others can feel the same inspiration that I felt while reading your story, Paul. Carry on!

    bryan wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hey Bryan, thank you so much! If this post can just inspire one person to start farming, or even change their mindset a little more toward supporting a local farm – I consider it well worth the effort!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  31. Good for you! I’d love to be able to do what you are doing. We have a beef/dairy cross that destined for our freezer when he shows signs of filling out. He’d probably be bigger on grass if he was full beef.

    Unfortunately, we won’t know what he tastes like until he’s processed, cooked, and we take our first bite. We don’t have the best pasture atm, so I’m worried he’s going to not finish well on grass and taste bad. I do supplement with alfalfa pellets, and sunflower seeds to add some fat into his diet (gives him a nice shiny coat). If our pasture had long enough to establish before the drought, he probably would be a lot fatter now.

    I’d like to get some chickens, but I’m afraid they’d all go to feed that hawks I see circling our pasture all the time, or possibly the dogs that the neighbors let roam (I already had unwanted puppies that I had to spay and neuter within the first year of living here).

    Chickens would make great fly control, and great eggs as a by-product. If I can get a nice chicken coup built for night time protection from predators, I’d still probably try it.

    Jane wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hi Jane, interesting comment. Yes, that is challenging having no idea what the beef will taste like. Regarding chickens, you may want to look into a “Joel Salatin Style Chicken Tractor”. You should be able to Google this and find the plans. It is overhead predator proof. Otherwise, yes you will certainly be feeding hawks. Other than that, you can look at Livestock Guardian dogs or even guard llamas (seriously)! Good luck and just let me know if you have any questions.

      Paul

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  32. YES!

    Jerome Acosta wrote on August 23rd, 2013
  33. Love it…. I’m moving from the UK to Ottawa, Canada… i need to start my food sourcing plan from ground zero which i’m excited about…. Anyone know a place like this near Ottawa? Or any other tips?

    Ian wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • This is my first post since visiting this website for a year now and I felt since you are moving so close to where I am I thought I would encourage you to continue in your excitement. I too think it is amazing what life can throw at us. Looking forward some day to growing my small garden into a farm. I’m dreaming and who knows.

      Flying wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hello Ian

      In the Ottawa region, I know of one in Embrun, within a 30 min. drive.They produce organic meats and veggies.

      Robert

      Robert wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hello Ian,

      There are a number of farm sources, that you can check out at the farmers markets. Check out this website which lists a few of the main ones, but not all. It may help you in choosing a place to live. http://ottawafarmersmarket.ca/

      Here’s a link to a meat producer Bearbrook Farm to the east of Ottawa: http://www.bearbrookfarm.com/

      James wrote on August 25th, 2013
    • Welcome to Canada Ian.

      I’ve lived in Ottawa for about 10 years. It’s still difficult to find perfectly primal food (no gmo soy etc) here, but there are excellent options, if you are prepared to dig deep into your wallet. The best place to start is at one of the many farmer’s market in Ottawa. They are mostly held on weekends during the summer. There is a permanent outdoor market downtown, but it’s not what I consider a “real” farmer’s market. At my local market, I buy organic vegetables, grassfed lamb, heritage breed pork. Getting grassfed beef isn’t very difficult here either, and there are many CSA options. There are many farms that offer pastured pork, poultry, lamb and beef, although I’m not aware of any that produces all of them. The Bearbrook farm sells deer, elk, buffalo, wild boar, llama, ducks, geese, camel, kangaroo and peacocks. All of these producers have a presence at the local weekend farmer’s markets. Pastured eggs are still a bit difficult to get regularly, although you can get lucky and find a local hobbyist to supply you, or get a CSA that include eggs. The only thing that is pretty much impossible to obtain is pastured raw dairy, as selling raw dairy is illegal throughout all the provinces, although you can find raw cheeses. I haven’t encountered any dairy farm that advertise their product as pastured, although my guess is that most small producers will have their animals out on the pasture, during the summer months. Obviously, that’s not possible in the winter. Sadly, I have yet to find a source for pastured butter, local or otherwise.

      Martine wrote on August 25th, 2013
      • Wow, Ian you struck it big! Lots of great info on meat in the Ottawa area, enjoy!

        Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  34. Wow – you are amazing! It must feel great to be helping to start the food revolution at the grass roots level. Fantastic, inspiring story, please keep us updated. (I feel like I want to go and buy some chickens!)

    Kazz wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Kazz, it is seriously my pleasure to do this kind of work. It is truly amazing and I feel like I am doing something that really matters and is having a real, tangible impact on our world in multiple ways. Very fulfilling!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  35. What a pick me up.

    I too, have left a cubicle to start a deep-organic, pastured-based farm and raise my family, just outside of Vancouver, Canada. We are just about upon our first anniversary. We raise pastured chickens, eggs and muscovy ducks. (I highly recommend muscovies, by the way. Very low maintenance, great mothers and excellent foragers. Hands down our best return on investment.)

    It has been a challenging year getting established with a wee one and a run-down, 120 year old farm that needs lots of love, fencing and money, while pregnant and working off farm! It’s been wonderful, but also daunting to face the very real challenges that come with actually living your dreams.

    Your story is a much needed reminder that no matter how difficult it is to farm like this, our passion is infectious. So many days I want to give up (like when the “livestock guardian dog” gets YET ANOTHER chicken and my obscenely pregnant self can’t catch her), but it warms my heart to know others are out there, making a go of it and succeeding against all odds.

    Hats off to you.
    In solidarity from Canada
    Stacey
    Coghlan Cottage Farm

    Stacey wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Stacey, what an amazing comment. It’s been so awesome meeting other small pasture based farmers through all of this. I couldn’t agree more, there are some days that are just so difficult. We recently lost over 50% of our meat bird flock to predators in the span of a couple weeks. The thing is that we can’t give up and must push on to provide people healthy alternatives to what’s currently out there. Oh, and thanks for the Muscovy recommendation!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  36. I am BEYOND excited! I live in San Diego, and I know several people in San Diego and Orange County who will be very happy to hear about this farm. I’ll post a link to this story on my Facebook account – I want to really get the word out about you guys.

    Best news I’ve had in a long time. Can’t wait to get (eat!) my first order!

    Casey wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hey Casey, that is amazing thank you so much!!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  37. I also shared with my network and “kicked” in! I hope you raise the funds. Kudos to you, awesome story!

    candidar wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Candidar, thank you so much!! That is awesome..

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 1st, 2013
  38. Hate to be the one to spoil the party, but with those prices I don’t know why you would need ‘donations’ for anything else. WOW. I can get grass fed meat from local stores (i.e. with a middle man) much cheaper. Local farms even better.

    Jim T wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hey Jim, thanks for your comment. Yes, we are not trying to compete as a low cost leaders and high quality is our most important fundamental. Also, prices in Southern California reflect the higher rent, insurance, water, etc. here!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 2nd, 2013
  39. Hi, I live in Hawaii, but my mother grew up on a farm in Alpine, back when there were farms there. Your story is inspiring and kicked in enough for a T-shirt. Best of luck to you and your venture.

    Rachel Funk Heller wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Wow, thank you so much! You will love the T’s, they are amazing….

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 2nd, 2013
  40. What an interesting life you have lead.
    Your story gives me hope for the future. We need more people like you and your family. I might have to wander over to Kickstarter…
    No matter what, don’t give up. Your vision has the potential to better the world as we know it.
    Best of luck from Australia, Farmer Paul and Primal Pastures.

    Nathan P wrote on August 23rd, 2013
    • Hi Nathan, wow what a compliment. Thanks for your comment. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to do something like this but are very afraid of the unknown!

      Farmer Paul wrote on September 2nd, 2013

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