Dave Borkowski raises chickens and pigs and grows vegetables on his 36-acre Changin’ Ways Farm, just a couple miles off the Intracoastal Waterway outside Holly Ridge.
Changin’ Ways Farm presents a bucolic scene on a sunny, spring day. A dozen or so chickens scrabble in the grass, clucking contentedly around two fancy-looking Caribbean-blue chicken coops. Beyond the pond, Berkshire hogs root in a pen. In fields on the far side of the new barn, red and green lettuces shiver in the light breeze, and green leaves of elephant garlic stand tall nearby. The greenhouses are full of tomatoes, beets, spinach, carrots, kale and bok choi, and in the tidy fields are planted with potatoes and onions.
Farmer Dave Borkowski’s chickens roam around the yard outside their Egg Mobiles, as he calls his chicken coops built upon an old boat trailer. The trailered coops provide a flexible way to free-range the chickens. Inside the newly built brood barn, Dave has several hundred young chicks in tiered pens, keeping them warm and fed until they can move outside. Once outside, the youngsters spend time in a second home, a protected pen, low to the ground like an old roadside motel, before moving to Egg Mobiles inside a large, fenced yard.
“We can rotate the hens around the pasture, which allows the ladies access to fresh grass and insects on a regular and routine basis,” he says. The pens are moved every two weeks, or so, depending on the chickens’ needs for fresh grass.
After retiring from the Marines, Borkowski was looking for his “second stage in life” activities.
The self-proclaimed city boy had no farming experience, but volunteer work and an internship convinced him that he could help meet a need in the pasture-raised pork and chicken market. He incorporated Changin’ Ways Farm in 2016, bought property near Holly Ridge and a year later began offering products at the Wilmington Farmer’s Market at Tidal Creek.
A philosophy of local, fresh and sustainable guides the farm’s pasture-raised hens, hogs and produce. Borkowski and his three farm hands maintain highest quality produced in a manner that is not only environmentally conscious but also cost-conscious.
“Our food is grown following organic practices and methods that improve soil health and biodiversity,” he says.
“We may not always be the cheapest, but we will always strive to be the best balance of cost and quality you have ever seen. I help people understand what is available locally, why local is better and demonstrate that local products in many instances are superior to non-local ones they now use.”
Changin’ Ways has two types of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. With a CSA, customers pay in advance for a weekly food box and receive fresh, local products. Changin’ Ways offers seasonal CSA boxes of meat/eggs and produce.
The Meat/Egg CSA is a weekly box with the consumer’s choice of pork, chicken or beef from a local farmer and eggs.
The variety in the share changes as different meats are rotated. The vegetable CSA offers a selection of fresh produce. A recent box contained lettuce, carrots, kale, chard and onions. Both CSAs run for 11 weeks. CSA boxes can be delivered to your home or picked up weekly at the Wilmington Farmers Market at Tidal Creek.
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