Ben Lyons raises laying hens on pasture at Lockewood Acres, a 10-acre family farm in Vacaville, California. Ben and his wife, Denise, moved to the property from southern California for Denise’s work in April 2010. Inspired by a 1954 worm composting publication that highlighted a farm called Serenity Acres, they began to develop their own self-sustaining family farm that would be not only economically viable, but would act as a one-stop shop for local customers who can come to their farm for fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat and milk before going to the grocery store.
Now, in addition to growing fruits and vegetables for their Community Support Agriculture (CSA) program, the farm focuses on raising traditional chicken breeds which are better adapted to pasture-raising than those bred for high egg production in industrial farming systems. Ben raises Welsummer, Ameracaua, French Black Copper Maran, Rhode Island Red, Buff Rock, Partridge Rock, Delaware, Speckled Sussex, and Cuckoo Maran, resulting in eggs that range from a light brown, to chocolate, to blue green.
Ben first discovered the AWA program in a search for information about high-welfare animal husbandry practices. He has used AWA’s strict standards as a guide to design his own systems. His AWA-certified laying hens are raised on pasture. This is not only better for his chickens, who are able to peck and scratch for bugs and insects, but it’s better for human health, too. 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. “As a farmer and a businessman, making money is important,” Ben explains, “but making a quality product for consumer is just as important. AWA helps consumers know exactly what they’re getting—that our chickens aren’t raised in cages or barns. And you can see the difference in the eggs. The chickens have access to plant matter and bugs, so the eggs have a lot more color. Plus, it helps with insect control!”
Lockewood Acres also benefits from the help of their daughter, Hayley, who does all of the farm’s graphic design work. Lockewood Acre’s pasture-raised eggs, as well as certified organic produce, are available through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, at the Lockewood Acre’s farm stand, or at local farmers’ markets. To learn more about the farm, visit www.lockewoodacres.com or contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 624-0831.