Q & A
This is where we answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Contact us if any of your questions are not addressed on this page.
Q: Do I clean and return jars and lids?
A: Yes clean and return the empties. We deliver milk in half-gallon mason jars, and cream in pint jars or quart jars. When the jars are empty, please clean them for return. To save your milking team time, scrub off ALL the sharpie (a green scotch scrubby does it or baking soda on a sponge) making sure to put the lid back on the clean dry jar. Nirvana for the milking team is a place where we efficiently load clean dry jars into our sterilizing dishwasher. Washing them in your dishwasher is fine, but scrub off ALL the sharpie. If you break, chip, or crack jars, then discard the jar and return the lid. If you break the lid, discard it. Your $10 annual bottle fee per herd share covers accidental breakage. If you keep clean dry jars flowing back to your farm, then we have someplace to put all of the milk the cows so generously produce. Storing up jars at home for a few weeks generally does not help your farm.
Q: Do I return egg cartons?
A: Yes. Each labeled carton returned that we reuse saves your farm about a buck. So it's worth it.
Q: What are your hogs fed?
A: Our hogs are fed a GMO-free, soy-free diet. Their diet is free from additives, preservatives and chemicals and consists of select rolled grains and legumes, clabbered raw milk, garden vegetable matter and whatever they forage in their wooded pastures.
Q: What are your laying hens fed?
A: Our egg laying hens are fed a GMO-free mixture of soy-free legumes and grains, clabbered raw milk, salt, kelp and pasture forage. They also benefit from our on-farm butchery services receiving regular servings of scraps from the butchery.
Q: What are your beef cattle fed?
A: All of our cattle are exclusively grass fed, supplemented with spray-free hay and haylage. They are rotated on fresh, diverse and spray-free pasture during the spring and rainy fall seasons.
Q: What are your dairy cows fed?
A: All of our dairy cows are on pasture spring through fall. They are rotated daily on fresh, diverse and spray-free pasture spring and fall season and are supplemented with spray-free hay and haylage from local fields. We also supplement them with organic alfalfa pellets when we milk them and offer them organic kelp and redmond salt as mineral supplements year-round.
Q: Are all of your livestock free-range?
A: We use rotational grazing methods described by Joel Salatin in his books, “Salad Bar Beef,” and “Pastured Poultry.” Come visit the farm and we love to show farm-share owners our farming methods.
Q: How does your rotational grazing program work?
A: Our cows are moved regularly to fresh pasture to maximize the productivity not only of the cows but of the pasture itself. We rotate our poultry behind the cattle and use them to spread manure and clean up the bugs and grubs.
Q: Where do we pick up our food, and what are the pick up details?
A: We have drop sites at many convenient places from Roseburg up to Portland. Each drop site is a little different. Some are cooler based, some have refrigerators, some are CoOps or farm stands. Give us a call, or text us, to find the Helios Farms drop site near you.
If you are picking up milk, there are COW NAMES ON THE JARS (like Sadie, Molly, Anna, Nora, Dena, and so on). You can take ANY cow's milk. Single-Moo Milk means that you know which cow produced your milk that day. We do not put farm share owner names on jars of milk.
There is a checklist in a ziplock bag with a pencil at most drop points. Please check off your name when you take your goods. When you pick up, make sure to return your big jars, small jars, lids, and other reusable containers like egg cartons that came from the farm.
Q: Why aren't you certified organic?
A: We advance traditional farming techniques and practice family-friendly farming at Helios Farms. That means no chemicals, no antibiotics, no hormones, no preservatives, no additives. We work on contract with our farm share owners and are "farm-share-owner certified." We have an open door, open farm policy at Helios Farms and our farm share owners are invited to visit any time, and are asked to review, learn, question, contribute to and approve our practices.
Q: I'm a full-farm-share owner. When do I receive my meat?
A: As a full-farm share owner, you own half of a live hog, a quarter of a live steer, shares of our dairy herd, laying hens, and more, and you hire us to take care of your shares of the livestock and harvest and deliver the foods they produce. Pork arrives as soon as your half hog is harvested. To harvest your hog, we arrange a date with you to come to the farm for an overnight stay while we all work together to harvest your hog the first day and cut and wrap it the second day. When you leave, you take home a cooler full of fresh pork. Hams and bacon are cured and smoked on the farm using no nitrites and using applewood from the old trees on the farm. Beef is harvested once or twice a year. We let you know when your steer is going to be harvested. We work with a local custom butcher. At the time of harvest will provide cutting and packaging instructions and pay the butcher fee. Usually you will get all your beef at that time if you have freezer space, or we can keep it and deliver it in portions to your drop point.
Q: What are the details of the hog harvest farm stay?
A: We harvest all the hogs here on the farm. Kira is the chief butcher, initially self trained and then finish-trained by a German butcher who taught her unique European cuts that just aren't available in the U.S. When your hog is ready, we arrange a date with you for your hog harvest farm stay. Best to arrive in the early afternoon the first day for a tour and farm activities. We harvest the hog in the late afternoon or evening on the first day. We scald the hog and remove all the hair, which is the traditional method, appropriate to the gourmet "skin-on" cuts that you want from Berkshire pork. The hog is eviscerated, which is a great biology lesson for the whole family, split into sides and placed in the cooler overnight. Then we all sit down to a farm-fresh dinner (usually pork from a farm harvest, so you get a taste of what's coming) and settle in for the night. We have limited accomodations in the farm house, and during the spring, summer, and fall, camping here is great. Some farm share owners nearby go home and some spend the night at a nearby motel. The following day around noon, we cut and wrap your pork, prepare the hams and bacon for curing and smoking, and you are on your way home around 3 with a cooler full of pork chops, roasts, and steaks. The cured meats are delivered later to your drop point. Yum!
Q: How much freezer space do I need for my meat?
A: Cut and packaged, a half hog fits in about 2 cubic feet of freezer space. A quarter beef takes about the same. We say a half hog will be about 100lbs of cut meat and the same for a quarter beef. That weight can vary quite a bit. Participating in Helios Farms means that you recognize that you are purchasing a live animal that is (locally and ethically) grown and harvested to provide you with meat, This is different than buying meat that is packaged and sold by the pound. The quantity of meat varies based on many factors relating to the individual animal, weather, and farm variables.