How a Midwestern family with no agriculture experience went from a few backyard chickens to a full-fledged farm--and discovered why local chicks are better. When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he'd tell her over dinner--that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits ) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg. To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens--all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man's-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America's local food system. With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple's ag adventure--and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.
About the Author
Lucie Amundsen is a writer, marketer, and reluctant farmer. She co-owns Locally Laid Egg Company, a farm that provides pasture-raised eggs in Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana. She sits on the Hartley Nature Center board and is an active volunteer with Duluth Community Gardening Program. Amundsen also holds a master's of fine arts in writing from Hamline University. A former contributor to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and former editor at Reader's Digest Association, Amundsen has written for scores of publications during her freelance career. She lives with her husband and two children in Duluth, Minnesota.