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2016 Farm Events at Red Gate Farm - Classes and Clinics
January 26, 2016
Do you want to see a working, sustainable farm in action? Interested in using livestock to clear your forests, or raising free-range chickens? Do you need ideas for edible landscaping or gardening? Have you wondered how draft horses are used in a farm setting today? Perhaps you'd like to learn more about intensive management rotational grazing, or how to keep animals without turning your yard into a dusty, smelly, manure-filled lot?
Red Gate Farm, which is located in central IL, Petersburg, has lots of exciting opportunities available this year! Because all calsses and clinics have limited registration slots in order to maintain the quality learning and experience for each attendee, Red Gate Farm requires the registration fee up front in order to reserve your slot.
You can find more detailed information on their website:
The following events are scheduled for the 2016 season
Meat Rabbit Raising Class ......................................................................$20/person
If you've ever considered raising meat rabbits, this is the class for you! By the time you leave, you will have the basic knowledge you need to set up goals and plans for raising meat rabbits, whether to sell as a business or to provide meat for your dinner table. Topics include:
Meat rabbit breeds
Selecting breeders for your starter herd
Culling and selecting rabbits for replacement breeders and meat
Handling weather extremes
This class is held partly outdoors in our "Rabbitat", so you will see and handle real rabbits and not just photos. You will get to observe the breeding process, try different techniques for holding rabbits, and more. You will leave this class ready to start your own rabbitry, and take a step toward self-sufficiency. Class size is limited.
Dates: March 18 (4-6 pm), June 2 (5-7 pm), August (5-7 pm)
Chicken Raising Class ........................................................................... $20/person
If you've ever considered raising backyard laying hens, meat birds, or just a few fun pet chickens, this is the class for you. Even if you're already raising chickens, you will find all sorts of useful information and insights in this class. Topics to be covered include:
Different methods, pros and cons, for raising chicks
Different breeds of chickens
Pest and predator control
Differentiation between birds from different years
Identifying active layers
Pests and Disease
Mixing Poultry species
After the class session, we'll take you on a first-hand tour of our chicken facilities, including our chick brooder, portable meat bird tractors, and layer coop. We will discuss the reasons and risks involved with the way we raise our chickens, and the many services and products that derive from home-raised chickens. Class size is limited.
Dates: April 1 (4-6 pm), April 22 (5-7 pm), and May 27 (5-7 pm)
This class is a great opportunity to really learn the details about raising pork in an unconventional manner! When most folks think of raising hogs, they often think of the overwhelming stink, flies, disease, pollution and filth that accompanies it. This class proves that there is a better way, where raising hogs can actually be a very fun and enjoyable experience! Topic of this class include:
Breeds and types of hogs
Sources for pigs
Choosing a location to raise your hogs .... or not!
Reduce or eliminate flies and stink!
Using hogs for land improvement
Knowing when to process
After the classroom session, you will get to tour the farm and see first-hand how we raise our hogs. You will see how we have used hogs to convert portions of our woodlands into other uses. Note that this class does NOT cover the topics of breeding and farrowing. Its focus is limited to raising feeder hogs and pork production. Class size is limited.
Dates: June 28 (5-8 pm), July 28 (5-7 pm), August 14 (5-7 pm)
Rotational Grazing Class ....................................................................... $20
This class dives into the nitty gritty details of Management Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG). Whether you are considering switching your livestock over from traditional pasture grazing to MIRG, just getting started with grazing livestock, needing to find a way to improve your current pastures, or just want to explore the concept of MIRG, this is the class for you! This class involves a walking and driving tour of our grazing pastures. You will see before and after photos of land healing using grazing animals, and observe the animals at works. Discussions will include:
Benefits of MIRG for livestock, soils and plants
Seeing the unseen
Listening to your forage
Life below the surface
Transiting stock to MIRG
Animals per acre
Using portable fencing
Developing a grazier's eye
Encouraging diversity in flora and fauna
Stacking to get the most from your land
Forming your plan
This is unique opportunity to really see pasture land and grazing from a new perspective. After this class, you will leave much more prepared to go home and start designing your own MIRG program!
Have you considered adding (or maybe already did add!) a few goats to your homestead, but aren't sure where to start? Are you interested in drinking raw goat milk, or supplying your family with goat meat? Do you have thick brush or the dreaded Illinois honeysuckle you'd like cleared, but don't have a lot of time? If you answered "yes" to any of these, this class is for you! Topics include:
Breeds of goats and their practicality on the small homestead
Miniature, Standard, and large breeds
Selecting your goats
Breeding and kidding
Culling to meet your goals
Using goats for brush clearing
Kid goats and their requirements
Milking dairy goats
Management to prevent "off" or "goaty" flavors in your milk
Using dairy goats for meat
This educational class involves hands-on opportunity to play with kids, milk dairy goats, test your hoof trimming skills, and witness the practicality of goats on the homestead first-hand! You will leave this class well-prepared to add goats to your homestead or farm. The class concludes with an opportunity to sample different items made from goat milk. Class size is very limited.
Most folks would agree there is nothing as heartwarming as a warm slice of fresh, homemade bread! Have you ever wanted to learn to bake bread from scratch? This clinic is your chance. We will make several types of breads and rolls, using a variety of tools (including your hands!). Discussions will include:
Types of common grains
Grinding grains into flour
Types and purpose of flour
Whole grain vs. processed flours
What's so great about gluten?
Using fresh dough
Storing and again dough
Using the same dough for different breads
Using loaf pans and baking tools
Converting bread into other useful kitchen foods
Storing homemade bread
Tips for increasing health benefits
This clinic is designed for beginner to intermediate bakers. It is very hands-on, so you will leave mentally prepared to go home and start baking! Between this and the Dairy and Cheese Clinic, you can serve up some real treats for your family and guests! The best part is after the clinic, when you get to sit down and taste different bread creations. You won't even have to feel too guilty, since homemade is almost always healthier than store-bought!
Dates: March 5 (9am - 12pm), May 28 (9am - 12pm), July 9 (9am - 12pm)
Dairy and Cheese Clinic ... ................................................................... $30/person
Who can refuse a pad of fresh, homemade butter?! Maybe you'd like to find that perfect soft-cheese topping for your crackers. What if you could stop paying the high prices for yogurt and just make your own?! You can learn all this and more at the Dairy and Cheese Clinic. We will work with both store bought and farm-fresh, raw milk to create a variety of delicious treats, using standard kitchen tools that you likely already have at home. Clinic topic include:
A brief discussion on proper, hygienic management of dairy animals
Safe handling of milk and dairy products
Store bought milk/cream vs. raw milk/cream
Separating cream to make butter and other cream products
Methods of culturing cream for flavor
Best ways to store butter for best flavor
How to make butter, yogurt, and soft cheese start to finish
Tips to increase health benefits of dairy items
You will be directly involved in making the items, so you will be mentally prepared to go home and try it on your own. This class concludes with an opportunity to sample your creations of the day! This is a unique clinic you don't want to miss! Between this and the Bread Baking Clinic, you can serve up some real treats for your family and guests! Class size is very limited.
Dates: April 23 (9am - 12pm), May 14 (9am - 12pm), July 16 (9am - 12pm)
We will be processing several Cornish-cross meat birds, and you will have an opportunity to be directly involved in the experience. Clinic includes discussions and demonstrations for:
Minimal-stress, humane killing using cones
Proper scalding technique
Hand-plucking and using a mechanical plucker
Keeping the work area clean and safe
Options for packaging
Legal issues related to home processing
Best of all, you will select and harvest a chicken. At the end of the class, you get to go home with the chicken YOU harvested, so you can show off your handywork by serving it at your next meal time! Class size is very limited.
NOTE: This has proven to be our most popular clinic. Don't delay registering if you've been hoping to attend this clinic! Also be sure to allow yourself extra time, as these clinic occasionally run a bit longer than stated.
Dates: May 9 (5-7pm), June 13 (5-7pm), July 25 (5-7pm), October 2 (5-7pm), November 7 (5-7pm)
We will be processing several meat rabbits during the clinic, and you will have the opportunity to be directly involved in the experience. Clinic includes discussions and demonstrations for:
Minimal-stress, humane killing
Proper skinning technique
Inspecting organs for infection or disease
Keeping the work area clean and safe
Options for packaging
Legal issues related to home processing
Best of all, you will select and harvest a rabbit! After the clinic, you get to go home with the rabbit YOU harvest, so you can show off your handywork by serving it at your next meal time! Class size is limited.
NOTE: This has proven to be a very popular clinic, and slots are limited to ensure you get the individual instruction you need! Don't delay registering if you've been hoping to attend this clinic! Also be sure to allow yourself extra time, as these clinics occasionally run a bit longer than standard.
Dates: May 2 (5-7 pm), July 11 (5-7 pm), September 26 (5-7 pm)
Standard Tour Group Event ................................................................. $10/person
If you are interested in our standard Farm Tour, but wish to share the cost with others, this event is for you! You still receive all the education benefits during our walking tour, and sometimes again even more by listening to questions, answers, and information from other participants. We must have a minimum of 6 people to offer this tour.
Dates offered: June 20 (5-7 pm), August 25 (5-7 pm)
FARM DAY ............................................................................................. Donation
Our annual Farm Day is the biggest event of the year here at Red Gate Farm, and definitely our favorite! It's the day where customers, homesteaders, city folk, health nuts, and others who are just curious about farming, all get together and learn about what we do here and why we do it. The day is full of fun, hands-on experience, education, and food! As we tour the farm, discussions are designed to be family-friendly summaries of our more in-depth, topical classes and farm tours and include brief discussion on:
Milking Dairy Goats
Raising Pork in the forest
Using animals to clean up and convert woodlands
Farming with Draft Horses
Horses in a Pasture Paradise
Growing Food in otherwise useless spaces
Healing Pastures and forage lands
Creating savannahs and silvo-pastures
and so much more!
The day includes a draft horse pulling demonstration, an optional horse-drawn wagon ride ($2/person), samples of some of our farm products, opportunities for the kids to play with baby animals, and so much more! While this is a family-friendly event, this is still a working farm, and there are dangers that inherently exist. Children MUST be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times! While we do provide samples and light refreshments, we encourage you to bring sunscreen and a sack lunch to enjoy after the tour, listen as we share the story of our life journey and the real basis for why we farm the way we do, mingle with others of like-mind, and just spend some time enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Red Gate Farm.
Note: Although there is a no charge for this event, we ask that you consider a donation to help support the many costs involved in hosting this event. Also, it is considered a private event, so registration is required in order to attend, and to us ahead count.
Every year, on the first Saturday in May, Lincoln's New Salem State Park in Petersburg holds an antique farming day, which includes preparing the fields for spring planting using draft horses. In 2014, we began using our team of Belgian drafts at this event. We hope to do the same this year. The park requests a donation for entering, but the plowing demo is FREE! Come join us for a great day of fun and history!
Date: May 7 (10am - 4pm)
Date and times are subject to change and event is weather-dependent. There is no registration required for this event.
Are you considering purchasing a farm but need some advice? Do you have a farm and want to make it more sustainable or permaculture-oriented? Do you dream of homesteading, but need ideas to help you get set up efficiently? Are you stuck in a rut with your farming beliefs and desire assistance to get you thinking "outside the box?"
Whatever you desire, we can help! We have been studying and involved in permaculture and sustainable farming for over 10 years. Sean has a degree in engineering, and Danielle even has a degree in farm management. We can come to your farm, take a look around, give you a feel for your options, and help you develop short and long term plans to help you get started on the right track to be successful in your dreams!
Consulting services is arranged by appointment, so CONTACT US today to get started!