Gettin’ fancy

COVID-19 skyrockets elderberry, poultry sales

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The youngest of four children, Nicole Mayfield holds a Faverolles chicken on the family’s Canadian County farm. Because of the breed’s fancy and frilly appearance, their farm is named the Fancy Feathered Farm. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

Eight years ago, her son was sick, and doctors weren’t coming up with answers. But a never-cry-uncle mom, Thania (pronounced Tonya) Mayfield found results on the farm. Now she has her state manufacturing license, and her Fancy Feathered Farm is serving up homemade elderberry syrup, poultry, and more. And COVID-19 is causing people to take notice.

Quick to say she’s wearing her mom hat and giving her personal opinion about elderberry syrup, Mayfield said, “It supports the immune system and is an immune modulator, and helps with allergies, and it wards off the flu.”

Her products sell year round and include: 16 ounce and 18 ounce elderberry syrup; elderberry syrup kit; elderberry tea; elderflower tea; elderberry lavender lemonade.

Mayfield ships some of her products, and people buy from her farm, and from stores.

“I have an Oklahoma Department of Health approved label,” said Mayfield. “Chiropractors buy my elderberry syrup from me. And I sell it to three retail stores: Conscious Community Co-op at 2900 E. Waterloo Road in Edmond; Conscious Community Cafe & Co-op at 2851 W. Edmond Road in Edmond; Farm Hippie Farmer’s Market at 1117 W. Main Street in Collinsville.”

September 5th is the last chance for people to buy Mayfield’s chicks. And farm guests may find a few other items for sale on that day. Plus, Fancy Feathered Farm is hosting a honey extraction demonstration that day, for those interested in driving out and watching. Justin Scott, owner of Sweet Stingers Honey & Aviary, will give a live demonstration.

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

The family doctor was out of town eight years ago when Mayfield’s son initially became ill. Mayfield cringed as four doctors and three emergency rooms misdiagnosed her seven-year-old’s health crisis. They navigated hospitals and treatments, and five antibiotics. Mayfield said, “But in the end, he still wasn’t right.”

When their family doctor returned, Mayfield wanted her to take a look. She immediately suspected Kawasaki Disease. An autoimmune disease, Kawasaki Disease is hard to diagnose. It’s a rare illness, and “if untreated, the disease manifests itself in the heart, and can lead to heart attacks and strokes,” Mayfield said.

One thing led to another, and Mayfield’s son ended up on medications for several years. And he was constantly battling illnesses. “He was still off,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield’s sister-in-law encouraged her to try elderberry syrup, and sent her an elderberry kit containing the herbs, supplies, and instructions so she could make the syrup at home. “I started giving the syrup to him every day,” Mayfield said. “Within two weeks, I could see a change for the better.”

With a proactive, inventive, and creative spirit, Mayfield went hunting for more answers. She spent one summer reading, and doing research. And she began looking at natural doctors, and homeopathic and chiropractic solutions, trying to find a full remedy for her son’s health.

She realized the need for a dietary change, a kitchen pantry clean out, and a lifestyle change. With all those changes in place, and one tablespoon of elderberry syrup daily, Mayfield’s son experienced good health like she had never before seen, and the normal color returned to his face.

“I’m not a doctor,” Mayfield said. “These are my ‘mom claims.’ And just because it worked for us, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. But also he was 1 of 12 students in his entire public school that did not get the flu during a really bad flu season. And he hadn’t had a flu shot. As a result, we use elderberry syrup to keep from getting the flu.”

But the elderberry kit price skyrocketed and became cost prohibitive. So Mayfield started looking at recipes, and found the supplies and herbs to make her own syrup without buying everything in a kit. She also planted elderberry on the family’s farm.

Word spread, and people were asking Mayfield for her syrup. “I wanted to help people. So, I was giving it away, and it was working for other people’s needs.”

One thing led to another, and Mayfield began selling a little syrup now and then. She enrolled in the Herbal Academy so she would know what she was doing. Mayfield’s success ramped up and her sales gained momentum by word of mouth. Next thing she knew, her syrup was selling so quickly that she was bottling a lot of it. “It has a shelf life of 12 weeks from the date I make it. The date on the bottle is the date I made it.”

“When COVID hit, my sales for March alone were insane because people were looking to take control. They weren’t waiting for doctors to tell them what to do,” Mayfield said.
“I’m not against traditional medicine,” Mayfield said. “It has its place. But you have to find a balance.”

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FRILLY AND FANCY

Mayfield and her husband, Hunter, live on five rural Canadian County acres near Piedmont. Hunter works in the oil industry, and he also owns Mayfield Metal Works, doing custom metal fabrication, machining, welding steel, stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron. He has a welding shop, and also does mobile work. They and their four children ride herd over a menagerie of plants and animals. And the son who became so ill? He’s now 16 years old.
With a family-run farm focusing on wellness, Mayfield said, “At the beginning, this was a duck breeding farm. It’s grown, and now it’s a hobby farm that pays for itself. And I still give away a lot.”

Walking the grounds, guests find Mayfield’s eclectic mix of chickens. She chooses some breeds because they’re cute or different in appearance. In fact, one of the first chickens she acquired, the Faverolles, has a puffy, feathery face and beard, and appears to be wearing fancy, feathery shoes. The chicken is so frilly and fancy that Mayfield named the farm the Fancy Feathered Farm.

Mayfield raises chickens and ducks, and hatches chicks. Her poultry free range, and they also chow down on non-GMO, non-soy feed. She breeds and cross breeds chickens, and she sells chickens, chicks, and duck and chicken eggs. And she’s got it all down to a science, with separate areas and cages for various purposes, including a breeding barn, and enclosed areas for different ages of chicks. “In this area, people wanted backyard chicken producers with colored eggs,” said Mayfield. “And I love color!” There are so many different chicken breeds on the farm, that it’s hard to keep up with the list. And mixed in with the noisy chickens are animated ducks and geese, and a whole lot of feathers. “We’ll have baby geese next April or May,” Mayfield said.

A work in progress, Mayfield’s medicinal plant garden is an obvious passion. She’s already growing passionflower which is great for anxiety and sleep when used as tea; ginkgo biloba; tulsi basil which is a relaxant for anxiety and stress; St. John’s wort; lilac, and more. And of course, elderberry! She’s growing American elderberry, ranch elderberry, and bob gordon elderberry. Her goal is to grow all her own elderberry, plus the additional needed herbs for the syrup, so that her elderberry syrup is totally birthed and bottled on the family farm.

Then there’s the separate garden with jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, loofah, and a volunteer pumpkin patch with fat, orange pumpkins peeking through the vines. Toward the back of the farm is a bee hive, providing all the needed pollinators, plus honey that Mayfield uses to sweeten the products she sells.

There’s no need for Mayfield to advertise. Word spreads quickly. Plus she gives updates and directions on Facebook, so those interested know what’s available and when, and where to find her.

“As long as there’s a need, I will continue to do what I do,” Mayfield said.
Connect with Mayfield, track what’s available at the farm, and get in on her giveaways, by liking the Facebook page Fancy Feathered Farm. Connect with Hunter’s Mayfield Metal Works on Facebook at Mayfield Metal Works.