Diane Peterson, SONOMA MAGAZINE
Meet the new generation of chicken ranchers raising heritage birds such as Delawares and Rhode Island Reds for both meat and eggs, often as a side business to a dairy or cattle ranch or as a second job. Like their grandparents and parents, these young farmers are finding there’s a niche for producing a food that provides a high-quality and affordable source of protein.
In the first half of the 20th century, the explosion of chicken farms amid the sunny, fog-kissed hills of Petaluma lined residents’ pockets with a feathery fortune and gilded its reputation as the richest little city in America. Dubbed “Chickaluma” and the “Egg Basket of the World,” Petaluma produced 612 million eggs in 1945, from an estimated 6 million hens.
The region had the rich, alluvial soil, cooling fog and sunny hillsides required for chickens to thrive. On Petaluma’s southern end, a series of sloughs allowed the eggs to enjoy smooth sailing on boats heading south to the Bay Area market, where they arrived unbroken and unspoiled. The area developed into a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly with the invention of the world’s first incubator.
Read more via Eggs & Farmers | Sonoma Magazine.