Jenny Brizal farms five acres in Buena Vista, a small community in the Mora County, New Mexico, which she calls Grandioso Organics LLC. She inherited the land from her father, Juan Brizal, who acquired it from his father, Emilio Brizal, before him. Jenny credits her father with her commitment to continuing the family tradition of small-scale farming and to caring for her land and animals in the traditional way. Although five acres may not sound grandiose, as the farm’s Spanish name indicates, she can produce a surprising amount of food from her family’s land. Today, her mother, Hendrey Martinez, is the farm’s official egg collector.
Jenny currently raises around 25 laying hens on half an acre of pasture. She established her flock in 2011 with just five Buff Orpington pullets (or hens less than one year old). Having mastered just five hens, she added 25 mixed breed pullets to the flock in 2012. Now her flock consists of Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Lanshan, Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, and Austrolorp breeds, which have fared well in the variable temperatures of northern New Mexico. The hens are raised on pasture, allowing them to perform their natural behaviors, scratching and pecking for seeds and grubs and keeping themselves cool with dust baths. Jenny thinks it’s important that her animals have a healthy lifestyle, getting more nutrients than industrially-raised hens. As a result, they produce healthier eggs and nutrient-rich manure that adds natural fertility to other parts of the farm. Scientific research shows that pasture-raised eggs contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the amount of omega 3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
Receiving AWA certification for her laying hens allows Jenny to communicate to customers that her hens are well-cared for. “I feel a real sense of accomplishment by gaining AWA certification for my laying hens. Being AWA certified lets anyone who sees my product know that my animals have a loyal caretaker who provides a natural environment for them and sees that they are healthy,” Jenny states.
Jenny plans to expand her flock further in the coming years and hopes to introduce more species, in addition to plans for expansion of her farm garden. Grandioso Organics LLC is part of the Los de Mora Local Growers’ Cooperative, Inc., a producer-owned cooperative made up of 35 small family farms and ranches. Selling through a cooperative offers many advantages: By aggregating and coordinating supply, for example, Los de Mora Cooperative has been able to secure larger market opportunities for individual family farm members that would be impossible to achieve on their own, such as two egg accounts with local supermarkets in Mora, Las Vegas, and Taos. For more information, contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or (575) 387-6758.