Friday, February 6, 2015

Starting from scratch...A trip back through time.

George Bass Founder of The Country Hen
with a few of the girls
In the beginning George Bass envisioned a new concept of a farm that would be a haven for healthy hens to produce healthy eggs for humans. George was primarily interested in the human health aspect of the egg when he first started The Country Hen.  His interest in the health aspects and organic farming arose when George learned of the deadly nature of pesticides first hand. George learned the sad, hard lesson after a gardener and acquaintance of his named Alfonso died of accidental poisoning from pesticides used in the vegetable gardens. George learned these dangerous pesticides and herbicides were commonly used by the commercial agricultural industry growing crops used in feed for chickens. George also knew that toxins consumed by birds would become concentrated in the yolks of their eggs. George became dedicated to the ideal of starting a farm that produced eggs containing no dangerous pesticides or herbicides.
George purchased our little chicken farm located in Hubbardston, Massachusetts from the former farmers, Mr. & Mrs. Maitland Hill. The farm at that time was a modest, tiny property consisting of just a few buildings. One barn served multipurpose as hen house, production packaging, and business office all crammed under one roof. One farmhand by the name of Scott White came as a bonus with the purchase of the property. Scott was the Fire Chief of Hubbardston’s Volunteer Fire Department at the time.  The very first thing George insisted upon was getting rid of all cages so the hens could roam about freely. Imagine what any business office in any industry would be like with loose hens running about all over the place! The four employees (including George) didn’t seem to mind in the least.
The most modern technology in the “office” here at that time consisted of little more than a telephone and electricity, not much in the way of modern conveniences to work with. Everything was about as primitive as it could be. George’s first desk was a re-purposed wooden door on two oil barrels. The old saying “Great oak trees start as tiny acorns” comes to mind as I revisit this history with you.
George’s next step toward bringing his ideal farm into being was to research and develop the best organic feed possible. Here is where another old time favorite quote comes to mind; “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” George wanted the feed done right and so he brought in the mill and worked diligently with a team of nutritionists specializing in human nutrition and poultry nutrition. We began making our proprietary formula of organic feed right here on our farm. Scott became second in command and in charge of running the mill.
George knew all of the benefits that come with direct natural sunlight and so he insisted that new Thermopane windows be installed. Scott helped build all the new benches, he installed our beautiful windows, and took care of the mill. Once this was all in place, the first of the chickens arrived and Scott became their caretaker as well. 
            Truth be told, it wasn’t all as simple as that.  There was a great deal of work involved in each of those improvements made to benefit our beloved hens. Those improvements took a lot of time, manpower and money to bring them into being.  Why would anyone go to all that trouble? The answer is simple. All of this was done to create the safest and most comfortable, biosecure living environment for the hens. The results speak for themselves. Country Hen eggs are great tasting, loaded with Omega 3s, and packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals. They might just be nature’s most perfect source of protein. We all take a lot of pride in our exceptional eggs and all that we do to nurture our healthy hens. George’s tireless efforts were a most admirable labor of love and a model worth continuing.