Paradise for the Chickens: Heritage Hen Farms in Boynton Beach
If only you knew just how hard Svetlana and Marty Simon — and their few hundred chickens — worked for each egg they harvest, you’d never look at breakfast the same way.
The Boynton Beach farmers are up at 4 a.m. to feed the animals at their Heritage Hen Farms, change their water, chase the goats to the pasture, clean out the coops, collect eggs, find rogue egg layers, scrub the duck tubs, check the bees, check the fences. Then they go to their day jobs, only to return later for more farm work.
“To produce nutritious food like this takes so much labor,” Svetlana says.
Yes, but it’s paradise for the chickens. The Heritage hens (and geese and ducks and guinea hens and one lone turkey named Thomas) live a truly free-range lifestyle. (Photos by Libby Volgyes)
A sign welcomes visitors to the coop, where families can see firsthand where the eggs come from.
Svetlana Simon packs an herbal tonic into donated dried fruits and nuts early in the morning to feed the animals. The tonic is a mixture of Buffalo Herb, Coltsfoot, Corlander Seed, Elder Flower, Fennel Seed, Irish Moss, Juniper Berry, Mullen Leaves, Sunflower Seed and Yarrow Herb.
Svetlana sifts Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth around the farm early one morning. It is an organic feed additive that can make the poultry healthier.
Chickens and roosters peck at a watermelon for dinner one night.
Marty Simon carries in water dispensers filled with fresh water early one morning.
Marty cuts off lettuce for the chickens. Publix Greenwise donates their produce for the animals.
Hailey Grumbar, right, 10, collects eggs in the hen house.
Some of the poultry that calls Heritage Hen home.
The eggs at Heritage Hen, freshly collected.
Marty Simon carefully places one of his goats on the shoulder of a young visitor at the farm on Saturday morning. The Simons believe that direct contact with animals and the foods they produce can make a lasting, positive impact on children.
Marty balances one of their goats on his shoulder and shows a Saturday morning crowd how goats graze upwards.
Hailey Grumbar, 10, picks up Thomas the turkey. “She loves the turkey and the turkey loves her,” said Svetlana. Hailey is a volunteer at the farm, helping with the care of the animals.
This sign is posted in the farmhouse where people buy the products.
Svetlana Simon sells her goods on a Saturday morning.
Inside the farmhouse where Svetlana sells the eggs are bins of chicken feed nestled on the table.
Svetlana, left, sells her goods on Saturday morning.
A curious goat eyes a young child Saturday morning at the farm. JoJo Milano from Goodness Gracious Acres visited to show the children how she milks her goats.
Sophia Yaralli, 2, of Boca Raton interacts with a goat as she explores the farm on a Saturday morning.
JoJo Milano from Goodness Gracious Acres in Loxahatchee demonstrates to a large crowd of visitors how she milks her goats at Heritage Hen.
Marty Simon closes the gate as he drives his truck to compost the leftover produce.
Marty cuts up produce for the goats early one morning. The previous night, they had slow-baked the potatoes on the table for the goats.
Svetlana carries one of the goats out to graze in a different part of the farm as she tries to encourage the other goats to follow. They rotate grazing areas all around the farm.
Svetlana and Marty Simon pose for a picture with the volunteers who help out around the farm.