Featured #SwampFarmer: JBo Ranch

Farmer Billy! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

JBo Ranch is one of the newer farms we have added to our #SwampFarmer family and we were SO excited to have a chance to see the beauty of it ourselves! Driving to the farm through lush winding countryside, we ended up in  Honea Path, SC, where Billy and his husband Jason started the farm at its current location in 2014. On the South Carolina Certified farm, about 1 ½ acres are dedicated to pasture-raised chickens and 3 ½ acres are for growing beautiful vegetables. Have you tried some of Billy’s local onions yet? If not, then you HAVE too!

Yummy Spring Onions…Photo: Chelsea Peeples

The name JBo comes from the first letter of Jason’s name and the nickname that Billy’s younger cousin deemed him, Bo Bo! Billy and Jason have lived in the Upstate since 2005. They were in Greenville for 7 years and then moved to Greer for 2 years. While in Greenville and even before, Billy worked as a Veterinary Technician for 11 years, with a short job advertising. Needless to say he couldn’t stay away from his love of animals and nature. Billy has always raised chickens for fun and eggs! Moving to Greer meant that Billy could up his coop size to 15 chickens and even adopted a goat. The move to Honea Path provided the opportunity for JBo to grow even more! Right now Billy and Jason still raise goats and cows for fun, raise chicken for eggs, and also have a bunch of veggies, including LOTS O’ HEIRLOOM TOMATOES right now and Okra so soon! YUM!

O, HHHEEEYYYY!!! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

A Golden Comet on the Playground!

Billy takes pride in raising his Golden Comet Chickens with lots of love and sunshine! We got the opportunity to tour the barn that he has renovated to be the large space where the chickens can roost at night. He even built a chicken playground in it! He chose the Golden Comet variety of hen for the beautiful natural brown and chocolate colored eggs they produce. The yolks of JBo eggs are a beautiful deep yellow color that we learned from Billy is because of all the Vitamin D the chickens get from being able to roam outside.

 

Look at those COLORS!! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

Super Cool Chicken Barn… Photo: Chelsea Peeples

To prevent predators from eating his chickens and to make sure they don’t get lost, Billy sets up fence netting to secure a large area where all the chickens get to happily wander and peck the day away. He will move this netting every two weeks so the chickens always have fresh plants and bugs to eat. Billy is currently in the works of growing a chicken garden too that will include a bunch of tasty and nutritious sources of greens that chickens go nuts over! When needed, Billy gives all of his chickens access to a non-GMO supplemental feed to make sure their bellies are always filled. Billy has never given any of his chickens antibiotics and has never ever had a problem with any of his chickens getting sick, probably because they are so happy! Try some of his tasty golden eggs on our Swamp Pizza or buy a dozen to whip up an omelet for breakfast!

 

Homemade Lady Bug Houses! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

The vegetables that Billy grows are just as beautiful and nutritious as his eggs. Currently, his land is the perfect grade to be able to utilize water efficiently and create a landscape that allows for no need of chemicals. Most of the vegetables that he grows are completely chemical-free, including those huge, sweet, and stunning heirloom tomatoes, thanks to the soil being rich with minerals. There is a new plot of land that Billy is currently cultivating to regenerate the soil and grow even more crops. The new area of land is only spot sprayed when absolutely necessary, with Billy choosing to grow things as organically and naturally as possible. He recently had a problem with the leaf-footed stink bugs, those super pesky insects that somehow always find a way into our houses. He decided to plant Sunflowers to deter them from eating all of his newly sprouting veggies instead of spraying pesticides. It was not only functional, but made a beautiful addition to his farm!

 

In supporting JBo Ranch by buying nutritious, GMO-free eggs and beautiful local vegetables, you are not only supporting a local farm and 1 local business, but 2! We buy all of JBo’s eggs and veggies through The Farm Cart, which is a local food distribution company that follows our same passion for making local food affordable and available to all! Another fun addition is that Billy and Jason also own the Melt Pizzeria in Honea Path. All of the toppings are sourced from their farm! Did we just give you a reason to make it totally reasonable to eat pizza every day of the week? YUP!

 

PIZZA! PIZZA! And VEGGIES and EGGS!! We love LOCAL!!!

 

BONUS!! A super cool 24-YEARS-OLD Kiwi Plant! Photo: Chelsea Peeples