Co-Owner & Operator
Co-Owner & Farm Manager
Before founding Feisty Acres, Abra & Chris acquired their farming chops working for a variety of different agricultural operations both domestic and abroad. Abra was first introduced to agriculture on a large scale while serving as a volunteer for the United States Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa. Chris spent time at Fort Hill Farm in Connecticut and worked on dairies in Alabama. It wasn't until 2012, however, that Abra & Chris crossed paths as apprentices at a commercial organic vegetable farm on the North Fork of Long Island. While they worked together moving irrigation pipe, running tractor mounted transplanters, and harvesting vegetables for market, they shared their farm and business ideals and realized there was a lot in common between them. As they continued to work and manage other people's farms, they couldn't shake the idea of one day striking out on their own.
Since 2015, Farmers Abra & Chris grow and care for pasture raised game birds and specialty poultry. It first began with quail, but has now expanded to include other species such as: French Guinea Fowl, Chukar Partridge, Silkie Chicken, heritage breed ducks, heritage breed chickens and various heritage breed turkeys. All birds live their lives on the North Fork of Long Island. They are also processed here on Long Island and marketed directly by the farmers. The farm prides itself in offering the highest quality, best tasting game birds and eggs that you can get, well, anywhere. From chick to your plate, they're there every step of the way.
In the spring of 2016, Feisty Acres began their Bobwhite Quail Release Program with the intention of helping to re-invigorate the native population of Northern Bobwhite Quail. The farm holds release events multiple times through the year and reaches out to local community members and organizations that are interested in working with the program. Along with raising and releasing these native birds, Abra & Chris also emphasize the importance of managing land that promotes natural habitat for Bobwhites and bringing to light the issues facing these birds such as urban over-development and loss of genetic diversity.
WHY WE WERE CERTIFIED ORGANIC—AND WHY WE AREN’T NOW
Please see below our official statement as to why we chose to relinquish our certification at the beginning of 2019. This is in no way an attack on small, organic farms but rather a attempt to bring to light the inconsistencies in enforcement for industrial scale poultry farms that are certified organic by the USDA and the NOP.
The “USDA Certified Organic” label is “on a descent to irrelevance.”
The organic poultry and egg standards, as currently enforced by the National Organic Program and the USDA, equate “organic” confinement poultry practices with pasture raised organic poultry practices in the marketplace. “Certified Organic” poultry no longer means that a bird foraged for bugs and vegetation during a majority of its life to produce eggs or meat. “Certified Organic” poultry no longer means that birds must have a minimum requirement for spacing, so that they might naturally carry out their instincts to hunt and peck or take dust baths. “Certified Organic” poultry no longer means that birds must be slaughtered in a humane fashion, which includes short travel times to processing facilities and a quick end of life.
Being a “Certified Organic” poultry farmer in 2019 means dirt. No, seriously. To quote a statement released by the American Pastured Poultry Producer Association, “When the government has to define the meanings of ‘soil’ and ‘the outdoors,’ it’s clear that the intent of organic poultry production has become adulterated.” In March of 2018, a finalized set of rules titled Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) was struck down by the Trump Administration and not implemented into the National Organic Program. These rules would have clearly set forth precedents on what “outdoor” space really means and that concrete “porches” would no longer be considered sufficient outdoor space.
That “Certified Organic” chicken you bought at the grocery store last week never ate a blade of grass in its life. But under our current NOP regulations, a bird raised on pasture at Feisty Acres is equivalent to that sad, tasteless Cornish Cross that never stepped foot outdoors.
That was the last straw for me and Chris.
Our decision to end our “organic certification” status was not made lightly. For the past two years, we’ve debated back and forth the pros and cons about being certified organic. In 2015, when we first began, we saw it as an opportunity to reach more markets and customers. We both worked years on other organic farms—that stuck firmly to their principles—here in the Northeast and at one time believed that the small green and white icon stood for something.
Its hard to fork over your hard earned money to a certification, which has become so diluted over the years that barn raised fowl are now equivalent to the robust, pasture raised birds we supply to Long Island and the New York City Markets. Because so much of our business is based upon direct relationships with our customers, we are comfortable in relinquishing our “certified organic” status because our standards now exceed those set forth by the USDA.
We know it. Our customers know it.
Our customers visit the farm. They ask in-depth questions.
And we answer.
We stand firmly upon the integrity of our meat and eggs. You can always be assured that our birds live their lives outside on pasture, have adequate space to thrive, eat a healthy & varied diet, and are processed in a way that respects the life they lived.
We don’t need to put a label on it. Just come see for yourself.
Eating is a conversation with nature, and nature has a strong voice in what is said.
- Amy Halloran
“On the North Fork, a Model for Repurposing Food Waste Emerges” - Edible Long Island
“Poultry in Motion” - Newsday
“Alternative Poultry: Getting Creative” - Acres USA
“Pecking Order” - The New York Post
“Quail Gets the Spotlight at Le Coq Rico” - Michelin Guide
"The Chickens Come Home to Roost on Long Island's North Fork" - The New York Times
"Girl Scouts Raise Bobwhite Quail to Help Prevent Lyme Disease" - Riverhead News Review
"Here's What Its Like to Be a New Farmer on the East End" - Riverhead News Review
"Long Island Farmer Releasing Birds That Eat Ticks" - Fox 5 News