Raising Chickens & Making Wine In A Northern Climate At Hastie Hen Farm

Katelyn Posego from the Washington-based homestead Hasty Hen Farm tells us about the intertwined nature of becoming self-sufficient.

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by Phillip MlynarOctober 28, 2021
PHOTO: Hasty Hen Farm

“One day I will have an escape artist hen to deal with and the next I’ll find a hidden nest of eggs that were being laid under a building,” says Katelyn Posego, who runs the Hastie Hen Farm on Whidbey Island, Washington. “They certainly keep you on your toes.”

Originally inspired by the goal of becoming self-sufficient and taking control over the food her family eats, Posego started her farming journey by taking small steps. Five years later, Hastie Hen Farm now fuels Posego’s own family. It also supplies other members of the community.

We spoke to Posego about olive-colored eggs and the intertwined nature of a self-sufficient homestead. We also touched on wine making at home.

Embracing Northern Climes

Situated on Whidbey Island, Posego says her family can see the ocean from their homestead. “This certainly has its challenges in the construction of the ground,” she explains.

“But our garden area was worked for generations before we bought our home. We continue to work the soil and have added many raised beds to help.

“We are very far north and have shorter, cooler summers,” she continues. “This also makes our summer growing season shorter but offers the advantage of many native plant species due to the moderate climate. Apple trees, cherry trees and blackberries are just a few fruit-bearing plants that do exceptionally well in our region with no human interaction.”

Egg Carton Organization Tactics

When it comes to collecting and presenting the eggs produced by Hastie Hen Farms’ resident poultry, Posego has a go-to tactic.

“I organize the carton of eggs in groups of three of the same color. This means each dozen has four different colors of eggs,” she says. “This is always quite a surprise for new customers!”

When it comes to personal favorite egg colors, Posego plumps for “a good speckled egg.” She spotlights one hen who lays “the most beautiful olive, green eggs with brown spots.”

Finding a Chicken Friend

If you’re weighing the decision to raise chickens, Posego says that finding a “chicken mentor”—or consulting a local veterinarian—can be a huge help during the early days.

“Chicks are definitely the easiest livestock to just pick up and bring home,” she explains. “But I wish I had read a book or picked the brain of a chicken friend before pulling the trigger.”

Getting into Wine Making

A decade ago, Posego started to try out making her own wine at home. “You don’t need a large scale processing environment to make your own fermented beverages,” she says. “Wine can really be as simple and small scale as you like.”

Posego’s own wine adventure started with making mead. She then expanded to hard cider plus red and white wines.

“If you are interested in wine making, it’s much like any other homesteading activity—just do it!” she says. “There are so many kits available that take all of the guesswork out of the process. As you go you will learn what you like and dislike, further refining your winemaking ability.”

Respecting the Process

“Whether you are growing your own vegetables, raising your own meat or gathering eggs, you witness the work required for every item,” reflects Posego as she sums up the joys of her homesteading lifestyle. “You know the effort that goes into every egg a hen lays, how much food and water they need and what they do in their daily life.

“For each part of your homestead, you are intertwined in the workings,” she continues. “I think this deepens the value of every item and teaches a respect that can only be earned through that day-to-day knowledge.”

Follow Hastie Hen Farm at Instagram.

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