Member Spotlight: Alchemist Farm

Happy 2022! This year we want to start strong by highlighting the amazing farmers that are essential to the work we do at CAFF. This month, we want to introduce you to Franchesca and Ryan Duval owners of Alchemist FarmWhen asked, “Why did you join CAFF” Franchesca said’, “As the world shifts ecologically I see the extreme benefit of joining our voice with the voices of local farmers for a common good”. Together we go further in creating a more just, sustainable and diverse food system! 

Their Story


“We started raising chickens because we loved having chickens keep us company while we gardened. When we moved to a larger piece of land we were able to have a larger flock. I went to place my order for chicks with a large hatchery and found out that they killed all of their extra male chicks upon hatch. It was knowledge that hit me so hard in my heart, I knew I could not support it so I looked into hatching our own chicks. One hatch led to another and now we have a fully integrated humane chicken hatchery. We work with 14 breeds and select for robust health, sweet temperament, gorgeous egg color, and climate resilience.”

Proud & Challenging Moments

“Our greatest challenges have been working through the growing pains of building our farm and hatchery from scratch. With each expansion of our offerings we had to get creative with how we streamlined our chores, customer service and family time. Automating our water delivery system for the chickens and not carrying 5 gallon buckets of water everyday was a huge shift! We are finally in the place of finding our groove with the work family balance and it is an incredible experience.

Every business decision we made had the ecological betterment at the forefront of it and every “problem” we were presented with felt like an invitation to get creative so we did! Too many bags of chicken feed? Get a silo. Too much plastic waste in the shipping process of our chicks/hatching eggs? We found solutions to be plastic free and 100% biodegradable. Our proudest ecological moment was erecting a solar array that powers every aspect of the farm. Every chick hatched is hatched by clean solar energy. We are the only hatchery in the United States doing this currently and we hope to lead by example and inspire others in our industry to care for this beautiful planet we have been given.”

The Change They Hope to Be

“I would change the way chickens are treated. Chickens per capita are the most abused animal in the world. Be it for eggs or meat, billions of chickens worldwide are born and die in warehouses. Another way can exist, chickens can be a valuable part of the equation when it comes to regenerating our depleted soils. Many folks look to cows for rotational grazing but I believe chickens could have a place in that conversation if given the chance. 
 Every colorful egg laid by one of our hens is a conversation starter, a reason for a customer to pause and think “why do I only see white and sometimes brown eggs in the grocery store?” Our eggs invite folks to ask questions about where our food comes from and how the animals that produce it along the way are treated.” 

Hope for the Future

“In 5 years I see us continuing to build up our soil fertility and zero in on pasture management.  We will continue to be outspoken and shine a light for others in our industry and ANY industry to look at their waste and change the way they consume to be more conscious of the natural world. If we can make changes to create a zero waste farm, we know many other industries can do the same. 
 In 10 years we hope to increase educational outreach for positive climate solutions while continuing to advocate for better treatment of all farm animals and specifically chickens. I see having conversations with our children about handing the farm to them if they want to continue the work we have started. 

 In 50 years my husband and I will be well past our 80’s, if our children continue with the farm we will be there to guide them – if they have let the farm go we will hopefully rest knowing that we did everything we could to better the world around us. It is a daily practice, as new things to improve on ecologically are revealed we rise to the occasion. There are so many layers to the issues we all face, may we all meet the challenges with open hearts and creative minds.”