Hi there! I'm Farmer Paul, and I'm grateful that you're here to read my story. As a native of Seattle, WA, I grew up playing sports my entire life. When I graduated college as an All American Track and Field athlete (ask me about race walking sometime), I jumped head first into the United States Marine Corps as an Intelligence Officer. I spent 2 years in Virginia and then deployed to Southern Iraq for OIF in 2009.
Throughout my athletic career and physically demanding job in the Marine Corps, I always had achy joints that seemed to get worse and worse. What started out as ice baths in college led to Motrin (Vitamin M) in the military and then full blown arthritis symptoms in my early 20's.
When I got out of the military in 2011 and became a Certified Public Accountant, I decided to do something about it. As a Crossfitter, I'd heard the hype about Paleo but never committed to trying it out. I finally gave it a go and after two weeks felt like a kid again. I could breathe through my nose, joint pain was gone, energy levels were up, and my sleep came back to normal. I'd never look back.
My wife and her whole family even jumped on board. People were losing weight, feeling better, and just overall healthier and happier. We were working hard to find good, clean foods and spending a lot of extra money on fancy labels like "grass fed", "free range", "organic", and "antibiotic free".
The problem was, the more we jumped into these labels the more we learned that they were complete BS. Free Range chickens never actually went outside, and Antibiotic Free birds actually got a bunch of antibiotics. Oh, and organic, that just dealt with a single certification for the feed. Wait what?
We were pissed. Honestly. We felt cheated, misled, and lied to.
So in April of 2012, we were sitting around over Easter with the family joking around about getting some chickens for the backyard. Nobody had any type of a farming or livestock background, so I thought it was just a big joke. But sure enough, my brother in law Rob disappeared from the room for about 5 minutes and returned with a big grin on his face.
"Guys, I just ordered 50 chicks and they'll be here in 2 weeks" Rob said.
"You WHAT!?!?" we all exclaimed.
And sure enough, the business was born.
Over the next few years we continued to realize that there was a huge gap in the market for pastured poultry into wholesale accounts like restaurants, grocery, butcher shops, and online retail. People wanted it, but the actual product didn't really exist. So we grew. And grew. And grew. And now, we're the largest pastured poultry producer in the USA (and maybe even the world).
My vision has less to do with size and more to do with impact. I want to leave a positive mark on global agriculture. I want to see environmentally destructive factory farming come to an end. I want to see antibiotics, especially prophylactic antibiotic use, come to and end - preferably before a major outbreak of antibiotic resistance caused by livestock. I want to see a future that's regenerative, where manure is an asset and not a liability. Where we're building soil organic matter, producing a nutrient dense chicken, and giving animals a high level of welfare that we can be proud of and transparent to.