Debby and Larry Ross left their home in Wildwood to begin raising poultry naturally in De Soto, MO. Now in its second year, Windy Lake Farm is expected to care for 3,000 broiler chickens, 250 turkeys and about 500 laying hens this year.
"We actually raise them out on pasture where the boys move them every day or two to fresh grass," Debby Ross said during an interview Friday.
Poultry and eggs from the couple's farm will be on sale Saturday at the Clayton Farmer's Market in . They also set up at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Saturdays and at the Schlafly Farmers Market on Wednesdays in Maplewood.
The chickens eat feed that has not been modified genetically, and they do not receive hormones or antibiotics. The couple also raise red wattle pigs and will soon be able to offer pork to customers.
The couple drive four hours into Illinois, where the poultry is processed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture Amish facility.
Larry Ross is the brains behind the operation, Debby Ross said. He initially learned about farming during visits with his grandparents, who had a couple hundred acres in northern Missouri.
Other farm hands are the couple's son, Sam Ross; their daughter, Sarah Grames; and their son-in-law, John Grames.
All told, Windy Lake Farm comprises about 30 acres. It gets its name from the lake that lies on the property and the wind that consistently blows, even amid the recent heat.
"Windy Lake Farms has established a very loyal following of customers in a very short time," stated Deb Henderson, manager of the Clayton Farmer's Market, in an email. "I think that gives testimony to the high quality of their products. Many market-goers have told me that Windy Lake's eggs are the best they've ever tasted and are now arriving early in the morning to make sure they get some before they run out.
"In the middle of last year I was looking for a poultry farmer for the Market and was very pleased when Debby gave me a call," Henderson said. "Their products are great, and every time they add something new, it exceeds everyone's expectations."