Connextions Magazine first featured the Foggy Bottoms Boys on issue 17: Love Around the World, and we reported on how Cody & Thomas became a couple. The couple currently lives in the town of Ferndale, which is about 5 minutes from the farm.
The Foggy Bottoms Boys (FBBs) had the opportunity to grow up on farms and they truly believe it is one of the greatest ways for a child to grow up and they would like their future children to have the same opportunities. The couple has a strong desire to build a family, and are considering adoption as a priority. One of Cody’s goals is to become the awesome farmer/4-H/soccer dad. Family plays an important role in the Foggy Bottoms Boys’ lives, their family’s dairy legacy was started by Cody’s great-great-grandfather Milton Nicholson who founded the cow herd, now known as Foggy Bottoms Jerseys. The land, business and cattle have been passed from generation to generation and now finally coming to Cody and Thomas. The farm is now run in conjunction with the previous two generations giving it a multigenerational dynamic, with more and more responsibility shifting to the youngest generation.
There are 120 acres on the dairy with a couple hundred additional acres being leased for the heifers and beef cattle. The dairy itself is a purebred Jersey dairy that is certified organic, free-range, and humane, verified GMO-Free. The FBBs place the highest value on the health and well-being of their cattle with a focus on quality over quantity. The cows at Foggy Bottoms are grazed on pasture 365 days a year, only ever confined to the barn in major inclement weather events, which being in Humboldt County is truly rare. Rather than making a final product, they produce milk for Rumiano Cheese Company, which according to the FBBs, it has an incredible green and sustainable philosophy. The milk from their cows becomes part of their line of organic award winning cheese that is now sold at Whole Foods nationwide, in all 50 states, and in 7 different countries on 3 continents.
The FBBs continuously implement new and improved practices with the hope of limiting their environmental foot print and adjust our herd size in accordance with droughts and decreased feed. On average, they milk around 100 cows at any given time of the year. While the dairy cattle remain the predominate aspect of the farm, the chickens, rabbits and goats each play a role in the intricate workings of the operation. The chickens dubbed “Little Peckers Pest Patrol” are Thomas’ passion and serve as a form of biological pest control here on the dairy. As the milk cows leave one pasture to graze another, the hens move in behind and go to work cleaning up. They spend several days ranging about the field scratching at manure helping to quickly return the nutrients to the soil and eating the fly larva that are growing within it, thus reducing the number of flies on the farm and creating a more comfortable environment for the cattle. The happy byproduct of this process is amazing farm fresh eggs, with a high demand for organic farm fresh eggs, the Little Peckers are perhaps the enterprise’s future.
The rabbits are also dual purpose, the FBBs have chosen to raise rare and heritage breeds including American Chinchillas, Cinnamons and Satin Angoras. The Angoras are the predominate breed the farm raises at Foggy Bottoms and they provide amazing angora fiber and meat. The fiber is humanely sheared from the rabbits every three months and sold either raw or as yarn. Most of their product is presold privately, through Facebook, Etsy and local farmers markets. A number of rabbits are raised for meat, sold locally.
The FBBs are very strong advocates of transparency in agriculture and are more than happy to show what they do and how the dairy runs. For now, the FBBs share through the use of social media pages and occasional tours. The town of Ferndale is an interesting and unique destination, a small Victorian Village surrounded by a valley of dairy land nestled behind the redwood curtain. Along the coast, it offers incredible views, hiking, fishing and some excellent food. The locals are particularly hospitable and accepting with a live and let live philosophy.