From the category archives: NOMAD

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Holy Kisses. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.7

Yesterday we had the privilege of joining the Elderberries Class for a luncheon at our church.  Mark was the speaker so Ellis and I went to listen and fellowship with the older-souls.  A certain scene keeps repeating.  A white haired gentleman beckoned ten year old Ellis over to where he was seated at the dining table.  Without solicitation Ellis gazed in his eyes not two inches from his face.  I thought she was going to kiss him but then she gave him a tight hug.  The look of sheer delight on his face while Ellis was holding his neck.  That's where the ten second clip ends and then replays.  Incidentally the following pictures have been flashing on our screen saver for the last couple of weeks.  One of them appeared a few minutes ago and that was my prompt to write this blog.  No need to search the picture archives.  I'm just going to call this holy kisses and leave it at that. We lived across the street from an old folks home.  We got to know ...

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Nomad Tibetan Mastiffs 2015 Litters Just Born!


This was a big weekend for NOMAD Farms and NOMAD Tibetan Mastiffs. 


Many of you know that when we moved to North Carolina after a ten-year tenure on the “Rooftop of the World” in “The Land of Snows,” three beloved Tibetan Mastiffs boarded the plane for America with us.  It had taken more than two months of standing in China lines for physical exams, permission slips, stamped papers, and dog passports to pull off this immigration.  So August 7, 2013 was a fine day when we let the dogs out of travel crates to potty on American soil in the RDU Airport cargo terminal.  From Tibet to Tobaccoville, Nora Sangje (red dam), Earnest Shackleton (gold sire), and Burleigh Heads (traditional black sire) were beginning life in their New World.  Earnest’s sister, Jashie (name means “blessing” in Tibetan), had flown ahead of the other three five months earlier and was waiting at NOMAD Farms on the day we drove from the airport to take residence. 


Fast forward to the present.  Based on our first sight of Nora and Burleigh’s “getting together” and by my calculation, Nora’s puppy litter was due last Friday.  We could not be so sure about Jashie’s due date as Burleigh chose a more private time for their rendezvous.  Friday passed without signs of labor but Saturday morning we awoke to find the first three of Nora’s pups already born and tucked in the back of the dog house.  With gentle coaxing, Mark was able to lead Nora into the whelping box (a kind of crib that Bowen and David had built for birthing and nursing puppies under the house) and this just before number four emerged, sealed in her amniotic sac.  Nora methodically tore away the sac, carefully snipped the umbilical cord with her teeth and began cleaning the next of what would be eight healthy pups.  Nora’s mothering instincts are sharp.  She labored long and then napped and fed her babies for the rest of the day.


Late afternoon we discovered Jashie had started labor.  Pheromones are for real!  Jashie settled in her personal whelping box where she would deliver her first litter of five thriving puppies.  Nora’s eight plus Jashie’s five equals a proud papa of all thirteen puppies.  Burleigh says, “ Cigars to all hearty congratulators!”


A year ago we were delighted to welcome Nora & Earnest’s first litter of eight pups.  These TMs are now spread out across the USA (+1 in Canada) where, by all reports and pictures from nurturing families, they have grown to an average 125 lbs of world class splendor.  It is awe-inspiring to see how such a tiny bundle can grow to lion-stature in a year’s time.  Cells multiply, manes and tails grow, colors change, and distinctive personalities develop in just a few months’ time.  In the winter issue of Modern Farmer I read an interview with B.J. Novak, the actor who plays an intern on the sitcom, “The Office.”  Well, the guy is moving to a farm in real life and said this about it: “A friend of mine has a theory that those who live closer to where food is grown are more religious.  Because when you see how food is actually created, instead of just seeing it in a package in a store in a city, it gives you a real sense of awe.  And I love that and would like to be closer to that.”  This observation may resonate with visitors to NOMAD Farms.  And the same sentiment expressed about the source of food can apply to the untrained and intricate knowledge of a mother dog to care for her pups and the transformation of these from birth to adulthood in less than a year’s time.   Awe-inspiring.


The same pup from four days to eleven months old





 If interested in pup for purchase, write  


An Eye-Opening Comparison

Small farm hero Joel Salatin, in his 1993 blockbuster book Pastured Poultry Profit$, included a chart comparing chickens from his clean-and-green family farm to those you can buy in a conventional grocery store.  Reading that chart took me aback, and now that we are providing pasture raised chicken, I have modified his chart to reflect what we are doing at NOMAD Farms--comparing our birds with grocery store birds.  *All entries listed in red below also apply to nearly all "Certified Organic" chickens.  Just because it is "organic" doesn't necessarily mean it is healthy!  Are you ready for this?


NOMAD Farms Chicken  Conventional Chicken
Unvaccinated                                                                                        Vaccinated (immuno-suppressant)                                             
Full, natural beak Debeaked (cannibalism a problem)
Probiotics (immuno-stimulant)                                   Antibiotics (immuno-depressant)
Composting litter in brooder (sanitized
   through decomposition)
Sterilized litter (toxic fumigants and sprays)

Practically no ammonia vapor (little smell) *Hyper-ammonia toxicity (stench)
Natural light *No natural light
Rest at night--lights off

Artificial lighting 24/7 (sleeping birds
   don't grow as quickly)
No medications Routine medications
No hormones Routine hormones
No appetite stimulants Routine appetite stimulants (arsenic)
Small groups (200 or fewer) *Huge groups (10,000 or more)
Low stress *High stress
Clean air

*Air hazy with fecal particulate (damages
   respiratory tract, pulls vitamins from body)
Fresh air and sunshine *Limited air, practically no sunshine
Plenty of exercise *Limited exercise (burns calories, slows growth)
Live on fresh grass 24 hours/day after first week
   of life, hand moved twice daily to new grass
*No green material or bugs

Animal friendly protective shelters that
   move around farm
 Packed tightly into longhouses

Short transport to processing (on farm) *Long transport to processing (stressful)
Killed by precise and small throat slit
   (per Biblical directives--see Leviticus)
 *Killed by electric shock (inhibits bleeding
   after throat is slit)
Carefully hand eviscerated and cleaned

*Mechanically eviscerated (prone to breaking
   intestines, spilling feces over carcass)
Customer AND NCDA inspection

*Government inspections only
   (customer forbidden to see)
No injections during processing Routine injections (tenderizers, dyes...)
Sick birds placed in isolation for second
   chance--most get well)
Sick birds destroyed immediately

Manure falls onto grass/soil to fertilize pastures
   naturally--efficient nutrient cycling)
Manure fed to cattle or spread in ways that cause
   water pollution and taxpayer clean-ups
Fresh air and sunshine sanitize processing area *Toxic germicides sanitize processing facility
Cooking loss ±9% carcass weight Cooking loss ±20% carcass weight
Low saturated fat High saturated fat
No chlorine baths Up to 40 chlorine baths (to kill contaminants)
No irradiation FDA-approved irradiation (label not required)
Environmentally responsible Environmentally destructive (toxic run-off, hidden costs...)
Promotes family farming Promotes feudal/serf agriculture
Decentralized food system Centralized food system
Promotes entrepreneurial spirit Promotes low wage/time-clock employment
Consumer-producer relationship Consumer-producer alienation
Rich, delicious taste Poor, flat taste
Edible  Inedible

(*Items in red above also apply to nearly all "certified organic" chicken.)

How about stopping by NOMAD Farms this week for some fresh, healthy pastured chicken?  Or see our What's Happening page to find out how to get chicken delivered free--with a free gift!

NOMAD Farms Chicken has a New Look

Our family of six woke up early and started processing part of the second batch of NOMAD Farms' fresh, pasture raised, better-than-organic chicken!  The biggest change?  Our packaging.  Stays fresher longer, and makes this chicken look as professional and high quality as it truly IS.  


Those of you who bought chickens our last go 'round got it in a zip-loc bag.  Not the statement we wanted to make with our packaging.  But it was out of necessity, as our freezer-quality logo labels were not yet delivered.  These labels, besides looking great, actually are a vital step to sealing in freshness.  


We now have fresh chicken available at any time.  Drop by the farm Mon- Sat, 9:00 - 5:00 (call ahead to make sure we are here) and see what we have in the NOMAD Farm store.  These chickens will sell out, and we will have to process again soon.  T-shirts, compost bins, logo bumper stickers and more await you in the farm store.  Both whole chickens and butchered chickens (conveniently cut into two boneless, skinless breasts, two tenders, two quarter chickens (leg & thing),  two wings and a back for stock) are in the never-frozen section.  Hearts and livers sell for $2.50/lb.  Gizzards, necks ($1.50/lb) and feet (FEET?  YES!!!!  Add them to your backs and necks for a SUPERIOR stock flavor--no kidding!) separately packaged as well.  


One last note...tomorrow (Friday morning) we are hosting a huge educational farm tour at 10:00.  We expect over 50 people.  This is fun, informative, and relaxing.  Great for kids.  We may start doing tours every Friday morning on a sign-up basis.  More info to come.


Many thanks, from your clean food processing team!

Why Does NOMAD Charge $18 per Chicken?

Warning:  I am prone to this.  Those who know me best are familiar with my propensity to soapbox on the subjects that most inflame me with passion.


Clean, healthy food is one of my passions.


Someone who loves me very much sent a kind-hearted and gentle email this morning to let me know of her concerns that we cannot sustain our business in the long term selling chickens for $18.  She compared our chickens to the ones she is buying at a health-conscious grocery store—let’s use the letters WF to represent that store—and essentially communicated that we are charging a higher price than our competition for what must be an inferior product. 


If I can get you to finish reading this blog entry, I think you will understand that exactly the opposite is true: we are selling a superior chicken for a lower price.


I am NOT in this blog entry comparing our chicken to the cheap, low quality stuff you fish out of the bargain freezers at Costco and Food Lion.  Those Tyson or Perdue chickens are not the same product.  They are intentionally low cost, low quality, steroid-laden, antibiotic-riddled, unethically raised, environmentally destructive junk food chickens raised to get the most bang for the buck in the short term.  You see the long term costs of these chickens in your checkbook, and in headlines like: “Health Insurance Jumps Again—rate increases due to skyrocketing incidence of cancer, disease and obesity” or “Tax Hike—taxpayers responsible for bill in latest chicken sludge environmental disaster” or “ERs Overworked—Salmonella outbreak kills 6, sickens thousands.”  Our chicken has nothing to do with this stuff.


Our chicken is more comparable to the better products sold at stores like WF.  Chickens there are fresher, many raised on organic feed with few or no antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, etc.  They are overall good for you.  I am not opposed to folks buying their chicken at stores like WF.


But how does our chicken compare?


1.       (Most importantly) We are local.  I spoke at a party with a nutrition expert this week who says she tells people “Local first, organic second.”  Local food is superior for myriad reasons.  It makes sense.  When you ship something across the country or across the ocean, you must do bad things to it.  The chickens at WF may or may not be “locally” sourced . . . at our WF, the local chickens come from Texas.  They are ten days old before they leave the shelves.  They are packaged in about half a pound of water.  Still, this is better than Tyson.


Was your chicken from WF raised in a dark room with poor ventilation, no exercise, in a cage with little space (while eating organic grain)?  How can you know?  What does “access to outdoors” mean?  Who oversees it?  Come to NOMAD Farms and see every step of the process.  Hold the chickens.  Read the ingredients on the healthy, no animal byproduct, medication-free, high protein feeds we offer.  Watch our healthy chickens eat bugs and grass, run in the sunshine and enjoy fresh air.  Local foods can be seen and touched.  WF cannot offer this. 


2.       We are healthier.  My guess is that one in fifty people who buy organic meats can articulate what organic means in an educated manner.  Without going into what “organic” means, it only refers to what the chicken ate while it lived.  “Organic” does not insure ethical treatment, clean facilities, or even healthy air.  “Organic” does not necessarily mean “healthy”—or even “healthier”!  Most organic chickens are slaughtered at the same types of unclean and unethical processing plants Perdue and Tyson use. When people ask, “Is it organic?” the true question is “Is it healthy?”  It’s only healthy if it is healthy from the hatchling to the farm to the slaughter to the packaging to the consumer.  We can provide that.


This article: clearly articulates why “pasture raised” is better than “organic,” given a choice between the two.  This is where I would differ from the nutrition expert I talked to at the party—I would say local first, pasture raised second.  The data on the health differences between organic and non-organic indicate a slight jump in nutrition quality.  But the data says the difference between pasture raised and non-pasture raised is a HUGE jump in nutrition. 


We are not yet organically certified because of the expense and hassle related to that certification.  Our feed is high quality.  Our living standards are better.  Our health and sanitation standards are higher.  Nutrition comparisons between pastured poultry farms (like ours) and health food store chickens consistently show that we (the small farm farmers) sell the superior product.


3.       We are cheaper.  For most folks, this is where the rubber meets the road.  In the email, she told me she was paying $3.79/lb for her WF chickens, usually at about 3 lbs. for an average price of $11.37 for a whole chicken.  Ours are $18.00.  Aren’t ours way more expensive?  No, actually.  Our last batch of chickens dressed out at an average of 4.7 pounds per bird.  If we charged $3.79, that’s $17.81.  WF is charging tax on top of that.  And look how much water comes in the WF bag with the chicken!  Some of our birds are smaller, closer to 4 pounds.  Some, however, are larger, weighing over 5 pounds.  We are taking the weight variance guesswork out and charging a rate based on averages...consistent price is easier for everyone.  This keeps some people from having to pay over $20 for a large bird. 


Our pricing is consistent with fresh-food farm rates.  We have almost $7 cash invested in purchasing, feeding, processing and packaging each bird.   That means we processed our first batch of chickens at a rate of about $4/hour for my labor.  That does not even address what we have put into infrastructure.  We are new at this and will get better, but I can assure you we are providing a great product for a great price.


I could go on and on, but I think you get the general idea. 


Try one of our chickens.  Taste the difference.  See how much further it goes than your average grocery store chicken.  And know that it is good for you, ethically raised, environmentally responsible, and comes from a farm where integrity in all things is important. 


We sell a better product at a lower price.  I am confident there is not a more healthy chicken available at ANY store, farm, or restaurant in the Winston-Salem area than NOMAD Farms chickens.  

Farm to Table food on your menu for this weekend!

Having dinner guests?  Hosting a party?  Wholesome sit down (or on  the fly) family meal?  Come to NOMAD Farms this Friday or Saturday for fresh, never-frozen Pastured Poultry!  After you taste our flavorful chicken for the first time, you may determine that one is not nearly enough.  Are you going to eat mostly factory chicken with a wholesome chicken every once in a while or mostly wholesome chicken that you can feel good about feeding your family on a regular basis?  Would you rather risk eating the cheap chicken and wait decades to determine the impact or go ahead and invest in the toxin-free, nutritious alternative?

True, it's a decision that may affect your budget but could you consider eliminating a couple of splurge items to make even the trade-off for good health?  Skip one package of cookies or a bundle of sodas and you've made up the difference.  Besides, isn't the extra cost worth the avoidance of factory meat that was injected with antibiotics to keep it alive in toxic conditions?  For years you've been talking about animals pumped with steroids to speed growth and production and how our ingestion of all that can't be good for the human body.   NOMAD Farms is making it possible for you to DO SOMETHING about that atrocity!

Come on out for a NOMAD Farms educational tour!  There's a BIG GROUP with children (young and old) gathering this Friday at 10:00 am.  Bring a picnic lunch for afterwards.  Mark makes the learning FUN!  Your young'uns will be primed for a solid nap on Friday afternoon - dreaming of sheep, chickens, cows, horses, pigs, and their pastures.  You'll have fresh chicken in your frig and peace in the initiative you've taken to care for your family's health.  Maybe you'll consider a transition to 100% straight up local meat products.  Okay, okay.  I'll not insist on such a sudden revolution.  "Man, man lai" (lit "Slowly, slowly come along," as they say in Chinese).  Not this time, but next time we'll talk about investing in a deep freezer.  He he!


  1. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    good post

    -- replica Cartier watches

  2. Re: NOMAD Farms Chicken has a New Look

    "Pastured Poultry" I love it! Continued best wishes to you guys.

    -- DC

  3. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    Wow thank you for sharing this comparison. Very eye opening and disturbing!!!!!!!

    -- Tina

  4. Re: Why Does NOMAD Charge $18 per Chicken?

    Great article, Dana! You really broke things down well!

    -- Denys