It was a pleasant, almost calm evening when around 55 people rolled up to a farm northeast of Protection to learn about farming, dine on some home-grown food, visit, and enjoy some live music. Dale Family Farms welcomed visitors to their spread as part of this past weekend's Big Kansas Road Trip. Dale Family Farms […]

It was a pleasant, almost calm evening when around 55 people rolled up to a farm northeast of Protection to learn about farming, dine on some home-grown food, visit, and enjoy some live music.
Dale Family Farms welcomed visitors to their spread as part of this past weekend's Big Kansas Road Trip.
Dale Family Farms is not your typical Kansas farm, as the Dales are part of the farm to the table movement, which has been growing in recent years. Rather than have their farm products pass through multiple hands before it finally reaches the table, the Dales deliver grass-finished beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry, and even goat meat (upon special request) across Kansas, primarily at farmer's markets or at designated stops along the way. From Liberal to Olathe and at many points in between, just look for the bright red Dale Family Farms van at a farmer's market near you (including the Pratt Farmer's Market).
After receiving his degree from K-State in 1992 and working for a few years as a grain merchandiser, Kurt Dale returned to farming on his family's acreage near Protection in 1995. He's a fourth generation farmer of this land. He and his wife Andi, who he married in 1997, physically moved the family onto the farm in 2006. Unfortunately, a fire burnt their home to the ground in 2014, but they rose from the ashes, thanks to the help of family, friends, and neighbors. 'If you have to go through anything like that, a small community is the place to do it,' Kurt said.
Kurt and Andi Dale have been selling food directly to the consumer since 2007. Andi said that raising crops was 'getting more and more expensive, due to the rising cost of steel and fuel. We started researching the benefits of grass-finished beef in a more natural production model.' The couple started with beef and then added chickens, turkeys, and hogs. 'We don't sell anything that we don't feed our family,' Kurt added. Their farming philosophy is to 'do things as nature intends,' Kurt said, adding, with a smile, 'except for 4H projects.' He said their goal is to recycle the nutrition that passes through a cow so they keep their cattle on the grass (or other forage crops). 'The goal is always to finish on green growing grass or forage,' said Andi.
Kurt notes that since the drought of 2011 their cattle herd has shrunk to about 1/3 of what it was previously.
For 2018, the Dales anticipate having the following product 'in the freezer,' or ready for market: 50 head of cattle, 70-80 hogs, 1,200-1,500 chickens and 150 turkeys.
While the Dales follow regular routes that take them throughout the state, they will gladly accommodate customers at pre-arranged stops along the way.
Anyone interested in learning more about Dale Family Farms, including contact information, should visit their website, www.dalefamilyfarms.com.