I expected the typical small-town farm, cows all over the place, strong manure stench, chickens crowding the dirt roads. But when I got out of my hatchback at this Harris County farm, I could see some cows far in the distance, I couldn’t smell them. I saw rolling hills, no chickens, and I was greeted with a modest market, filled with fresh meats, eggs, handmade pottery and yogurts. There, I met farm manager and Columbus, GA firefighter, Daniel Hord, and began my introductory lesson in beyond organic farming.
Organic has become a buzzword in the 21st century. It’s often used to confuse consumers and make us think we’re purchasing a safer, better quality product; a term now known as “green washing.” Even though a product may be certified organic, it doesn’t assure the quality of the animals and their upbringing. “Our grass is organic in the sense that it’s just grass. It’s given fertilizer from the animals’ manure and urine but it isn’t sprayed with any chemicals,” explains Hord. “You can buy a whole organic chicken from a supermarket and it may have never seen the light of day. It can be considered certified organic because it ate organic feed.”
Turntime uses a process called mob-grazing, meaning their cows change field locations every day. Their chickens, every five days. This rotation helps to keep the ground fresh and the grass growing. By using these sustainable and regenerative practices, Turntime raises its herd completely antibiotic and hormone-free, with grass as their main source of nutrients.
Industrially farmed cows for supermarkets are mostly fed a corn-based diet. However, a cow’s stomach is unable to process grain and it will ferment in their gut and start to produce e-coli. “The feed creates much larger cows at a faster rate,” Hord shares, “but the beef is much lower in vitamins, omega 3s and the antioxidants are reduced.”
Turntime is passionate about its customers and helping to give them nutrient-dense, locally grown products in the area. “We love to know our customers, know their names, their children’s names and know their habits.” Hord elaborates, “We want them to know what we are about and know our belief system, that we have integrity.” Hord also notes, “I see the difference when people change their eating habits and have options for eating more nutrient-dense, well-raised animals. It makes a difference in people’s health,” he continues, “It’s not easy, I’m not naive to the fact. Oh, everyone should just eat natural all the time. It’s hard to make those changes. If we can make any small change, it makes a difference.”
Fun Fact: Turntime offers white, brown and green eggs. Producing 35-40 dozen a day!
Fun Fact: Turntime raises and processes chicken on-site. The chickens arrive from the hatchery at two days old and in ten-to-twelve weeks are processed in an open-air processing facility. They process 250 chickens in one day!
Fun Fact: Turntime raises mostly Angus/South Poll cross cows. They found them to be most resilient to Georgia’s high temperatures.
Turntime Farms is located at 150 Mayo Road, Ellerslie GA. Catch them at Market Days on Broadway in Columbus the 3rd Saturday of each month. Their on-farm market is open Wednesdays, 12pm-5pm and the first Saturday of each month from 10am-12pm or by appointment. The farm will be offering tours this spring.
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @turntimefarms.