Tai Johnson-Spratt and Tom Spratt
Tai Johnson-Spratt began raising poultry at Foxhollow Farm five years ago as a hobby.
“It grew exponentially,” Johnson-Spratt says.
What began as a small production turned into a thriving business. Johnson-Spratt now sells cage-free chicks, turkeys, ducks and geese to multiple restaurants around Des Moines. You can find her products from the deli of Gateway Market to the tables of Sbrocco restaurant.
While Johnson Spratt’s business blossomed out of a recent hobby, her ties to the land go back many years. Johnson-Spratt’s family is French and a zest for cooking has always been a part of her life. Her great grandfather owned the largest egg production house in Rhode Island, her husband’s family has owned his farm for 31 years and her son is now a culinary student at Des Moines Area Community College.
“I guess you could say it’s a family heritage thing,” Johnson-Spratt adds.
As a small farmer, Johnson-Spratt is passionate about selling her products to restaurants. She hatches chicks, turkeys, ducks and geese at her own facility and raises them humanely, creating a quality product. Furthermore, Foxhollow Farm is an Animal Welfare Approved Certified farm. With such a high-quality product, Johnson-Spratt says one of her biggest problems is not being able to keep up with demand. For other chefs, high prices are an issue.
“For some chefs it is the higher price that we charge for pasture raised poultry vs. commercial confinement raised,” Johnson-Spratt says. “Some restaurants cannot afford the difference in pricing.”
While Johnson-Spratt may have run into demand issues in the past, she’s working to match-up her supply with restaurants’ demands. After five years selling to chefs, Tai is currently expanding her business even further to Amish producers in Iowa under the label Valley View Poultry.