Hallsome Farms

Sustainability, aquaponics yield results at Bob Hall’s farms

If you’ve eaten at The Hollow or Galaxy Bakery recently, you’ve probably eaten something grown at Bob Hall’s Hallsome Farms. Galaxy Bakery purchases all their eggs from Bob, and The Hollow buys his lettuce.

Bob’s chickens receive no supplements or medicines. They pasture in a chicken tractor, which is a contraption ten by twelve feet wide and two feet high. Each day the chicken tractor is moved to fresh grass. “So basically they get a new salad every day with bugs and grass and weeds,” says Bob, who also gives them organic feed. He hopes to begin producing his own organic feed soon.

Shelly Gallini, a Round Rock physician assistant and mom, buys two dozen eggs from Bob weekly. “I’m pretty picky about what I feed my kids,” she says. “With the Halls, I know what I’m getting was raised by great people who really care and stand by their product. [Their eggs] taste incredible. The yolks are dark and creamy. Even my kids can tell the difference.”

Customers who buy his whole chickens also compliment the taste. Currently, Bob can’t sell his chickens for meat commercially, but he can sell them for private consumption. His chickens are humanely bled, which Bob says is the key to the butchering process, and are butchered at eight weeks old when they weigh four to six pounds dressed.

Besides his chickens, Bob has greenhouses. With plans to add six new greenhouses, he says, “My goal is to be able to produce anything people would want to make a good salad.”

His lettuce is crisp, fresh, and green and is grown aquaponically. Some people confuse aquaponics with hydroponics. “The set-up is almost the same,” Bob explains, but hydroponics uses man-made chemicals to feed the plants. “Aquaponics is taking hydroponics and aquaculture, [which is] growing fish, and combining the two technologies.” Bob raises catfish in a building next to a greenhouse. Water from the catfish tank is pumped into the greenhouse, where rocks and plants filter the water. The plants use the water as fertilizer; then the purified water is returned to the fish. One pump runs the whole operation, contributing to the sustainability of the farm.

Bob has many plans to enlarge Hallsome Farms, but one thing at a time. “I’m small, but everything I can produce, I’m selling. I’ve got more demand than I have supply, which is a nice problem to have.”

For more information, contact Bob at Bobf.Hall@gmail.com or join him and other “aquaponeers” at www.meetup.com, the Georgetown Texas Aquaponics and Sustainable Farming Group.

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