North Star Kids | TheFencePost.com

North Star Kids

Barbara Ann Dush
Fullerton, Neb.

A new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged in the rural neighborhood of North Star, Nebraska.

Three young producers have formed a market of their own, naming it the “North Star Kids.”

Sisters Jennifer Knopik, 14, and Ellie Knopik, 12, along with their cousin, Quinton Knopik, 11, are doing their own marketing on two projects: raising turkeys for customers’ holiday platters and raising chickens for egg layers along with selling the eggs.

The initial ground work was laid a number of years ago by the North Star Neighbors. Now, the North Star Kids are working to develop a market locally through the North Star Neighbors, a group of small family farmers who live near an old town called North Star located ten miles west of Fullerton. Although the town itself no longer exists, North Star Neighbors pride themselves on “holding true to the tradition of quality and stewardship instilled in them from days gone by,” selling only the highest quality of naturally raised meat products.

The local co-op also sold eggs from naturally raised chickens, managed by Jim and Carolyn Knopik’s daughter, Becky. After Becky graduated, co-op partners continued the operation.

Then last May, Jim came up with the idea of passing the egg operation on to three of their grandchildren; however, he decided to present them with a two-fold opportunity that also included raising turkeys. “It was time for me to have help with raising the turkeys because I’m gone a lot with the North Star Neighbors and Nebraska Food Co-op,” he said, “and the kids had already been helping since they were little.”

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THE THREE YOUTH were quick to follow in the North Star footsteps.

“North Star Kids” started in May 2010 with 175 freshly hatched turkeys and over 200 layer hens.

And they are doing all the work.

“They’re pretty dedicated,” Jim said of his grandkids. “They did most all the work to get started, too. There wasn’t much help from anybody else.”

“And turkeys are the hardest things to raise when they’re babies,” Jim’s wife, Carolyn, added. “They’re not like laying hens that have a great success rate. The kids dressed the turkeys in October, before it got too cold. Ellie and Quinton did all the cleaning because Jennifer had tests at school. It was a little hard on them the first time, but they did it.”

Because of predators, the final count of turkeys processed went down to 97.

“We lost a lot of them to that badger,” Jennifer explained. “It came in one night and dug a hole under the corn crib and got 43 turkeys.”

The badger then dug a hole deep inside the pen and had a turkey lunch whenever it desired before they were aware of the badger’s tunnel and was able to eradicate it.

Although the kids were familiar with farm predators, it was a first-hand experience in business survival.

“Badgers are fast diggers,” Quinton added. “After that, Grandpa figured out we have to put panels around the house the turkeys are in.”

BECAUSE THE EGG operation is a 24/7 job, these young poultry raisers have also developed good communication skills.

The three usually alternate chores because of school activities and other responsibilities.

“We either talk to each other in school or just call each other on the phone to see who’s doing the chores,” Ellie said.

And chores include more than just picking an average of five dozen eggs a day. There’s the feeding and watering and general work that comes with raising their flock of 200-plus, not to mention getting the eggs ready for customers.

“The first thing we do when we come home from school is put our work clothes on,” Quinton noted. “If you start chores right when you get home from school, it takes until dark to finish.”

The operation is located on Jim and Carolyn’s farm place, so the grandkids either walk or take a four-wheeler from their homes, which are just a half-mile from their grandparents.

Eggs are picked fresh every day, then washed, candled for cracks or blood spots, and weighed. The eggs are then placed in the proper carton and labeled according to their gathering date.

IF YOU ASK the North Star Kids why their products are special, they’re quick to answer it’s because the turkeys and chickens are raised locally. “You get to know exactly who and where they come from, and knowing where food comes from is important to us.”

Reasons for the rich orange egg yolks are because most of the time the chickens are pastured birds that run free except for the winter months, and fifty percent of their diet consists of insects, grass or green plants. The rest of their feed consists of NON-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn, oats, soybeans, alfalfa and an organic premix for minerals and vitamins.

“The chickens grazed about 20 acres this summer,” Jim said. “I couldn’t believe how much grass they can eat.”

JENNIFER, ELLIE AND QUINTON all agree the chores and management are a learning experience.

“I’ve learned to take responsibility,” Ellie was the first to comment.

“I’ve learned a lot doing this – about chickens, turkeys and poultry and what they need to eat,” Quinton said. “Like the turkeys need fish meal; it’s healthier for them.”

Jennifer recalled when they started the turkey operation: “When we first got them, we couldn’t leave them very much; we had to have someone watching them pretty much all the time, but it’s fun.”

And their dedication didn’t go unnoticed.

“You have to wait until after dark to shut (the turkeys and chickens) up, and they never failed. It takes courage to go out there in the dark in the pasture and do that. That impressed me,” Jim said of his grandchildren’s work ethics.

NOTHING COMPARES IN taste and nutrition to the home-grown chicken egg; consequently, the market for these eggs expands across Nebraska. North Star Neighbors buys some of the eggs from the North Star Kids for customers who want eggs in addition to the meat products, many of the deliveries going to customers in Lincoln and Omaha. North Star Kids also deliver eggs in their local area every week.

“We have some people that will order five or six dozen at a time just because they don’t want to run out,” Jim said. “And some won’t use any other for baking.”

Though the business keeps their days occupied, the North Star Kids already have plans to expand by implementing new ideas.

“We talked about selling some chickens to people who would want some for their yards and they could have their own eggs,” Jennifer said of one idea.

Quinton added: “We were thinking, too, of building chicken houses for people in town. We call them chicken tractors. They’re not too big and we can make them where there’s four nests and an area for the chickens to walk around in.”

The threesome has also designed a business flyer, and are also working on a design to add their business to the North Star Neighbors website at northstar@hamilton.net.

It’s with the continued determination, cooperation and communication that this latest generation in the Knopik family residing at North Star have proved themselves to be very responsible partners … as well as the solid future of Nebraska.

NOTE: For deliveries contact Quinton at (308) 357-1018 or Ellie or Jennifer at (308) 550-1804 after school, or Carolyn at (308) 536-2475.

– 1 or 2 dozen – $3.50/doz.

– 3 to 5 dozen – $3.00/doz

– 6 dozen or more – $2.75/doz.

Or contact the North Star Kids at northstar@hamilton.net

A new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged in the rural neighborhood of North Star, Nebraska.

Three young producers have formed a market of their own, naming it the “North Star Kids.”

Sisters Jennifer Knopik, 14, and Ellie Knopik, 12, along with their cousin, Quinton Knopik, 11, are doing their own marketing on two projects: raising turkeys for customers’ holiday platters and raising chickens for egg layers along with selling the eggs.

The initial ground work was laid a number of years ago by the North Star Neighbors. Now, the North Star Kids are working to develop a market locally through the North Star Neighbors, a group of small family farmers who live near an old town called North Star located ten miles west of Fullerton. Although the town itself no longer exists, North Star Neighbors pride themselves on “holding true to the tradition of quality and stewardship instilled in them from days gone by,” selling only the highest quality of naturally raised meat products.

The local co-op also sold eggs from naturally raised chickens, managed by Jim and Carolyn Knopik’s daughter, Becky. After Becky graduated, co-op partners continued the operation.

Then last May, Jim came up with the idea of passing the egg operation on to three of their grandchildren; however, he decided to present them with a two-fold opportunity that also included raising turkeys. “It was time for me to have help with raising the turkeys because I’m gone a lot with the North Star Neighbors and Nebraska Food Co-op,” he said, “and the kids had already been helping since they were little.”

THE THREE YOUTH were quick to follow in the North Star footsteps.

“North Star Kids” started in May 2010 with 175 freshly hatched turkeys and over 200 layer hens.

And they are doing all the work.

“They’re pretty dedicated,” Jim said of his grandkids. “They did most all the work to get started, too. There wasn’t much help from anybody else.”

“And turkeys are the hardest things to raise when they’re babies,” Jim’s wife, Carolyn, added. “They’re not like laying hens that have a great success rate. The kids dressed the turkeys in October, before it got too cold. Ellie and Quinton did all the cleaning because Jennifer had tests at school. It was a little hard on them the first time, but they did it.”

Because of predators, the final count of turkeys processed went down to 97.

“We lost a lot of them to that badger,” Jennifer explained. “It came in one night and dug a hole under the corn crib and got 43 turkeys.”

The badger then dug a hole deep inside the pen and had a turkey lunch whenever it desired before they were aware of the badger’s tunnel and was able to eradicate it.

Although the kids were familiar with farm predators, it was a first-hand experience in business survival.

“Badgers are fast diggers,” Quinton added. “After that, Grandpa figured out we have to put panels around the house the turkeys are in.”

BECAUSE THE EGG operation is a 24/7 job, these young poultry raisers have also developed good communication skills.

The three usually alternate chores because of school activities and other responsibilities.

“We either talk to each other in school or just call each other on the phone to see who’s doing the chores,” Ellie said.

And chores include more than just picking an average of five dozen eggs a day. There’s the feeding and watering and general work that comes with raising their flock of 200-plus, not to mention getting the eggs ready for customers.

“The first thing we do when we come home from school is put our work clothes on,” Quinton noted. “If you start chores right when you get home from school, it takes until dark to finish.”

The operation is located on Jim and Carolyn’s farm place, so the grandkids either walk or take a four-wheeler from their homes, which are just a half-mile from their grandparents.

Eggs are picked fresh every day, then washed, candled for cracks or blood spots, and weighed. The eggs are then placed in the proper carton and labeled according to their gathering date.

IF YOU ASK the North Star Kids why their products are special, they’re quick to answer it’s because the turkeys and chickens are raised locally. “You get to know exactly who and where they come from, and knowing where food comes from is important to us.”

Reasons for the rich orange egg yolks are because most of the time the chickens are pastured birds that run free except for the winter months, and fifty percent of their diet consists of insects, grass or green plants. The rest of their feed consists of NON-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn, oats, soybeans, alfalfa and an organic premix for minerals and vitamins.

“The chickens grazed about 20 acres this summer,” Jim said. “I couldn’t believe how much grass they can eat.”

JENNIFER, ELLIE AND QUINTON all agree the chores and management are a learning experience.

“I’ve learned to take responsibility,” Ellie was the first to comment.

“I’ve learned a lot doing this – about chickens, turkeys and poultry and what they need to eat,” Quinton said. “Like the turkeys need fish meal; it’s healthier for them.”

Jennifer recalled when they started the turkey operation: “When we first got them, we couldn’t leave them very much; we had to have someone watching them pretty much all the time, but it’s fun.”

And their dedication didn’t go unnoticed.

“You have to wait until after dark to shut (the turkeys and chickens) up, and they never failed. It takes courage to go out there in the dark in the pasture and do that. That impressed me,” Jim said of his grandchildren’s work ethics.

NOTHING COMPARES IN taste and nutrition to the home-grown chicken egg; consequently, the market for these eggs expands across Nebraska. North Star Neighbors buys some of the eggs from the North Star Kids for customers who want eggs in addition to the meat products, many of the deliveries going to customers in Lincoln and Omaha. North Star Kids also deliver eggs in their local area every week.

“We have some people that will order five or six dozen at a time just because they don’t want to run out,” Jim said. “And some won’t use any other for baking.”

Though the business keeps their days occupied, the North Star Kids already have plans to expand by implementing new ideas.

“We talked about selling some chickens to people who would want some for their yards and they could have their own eggs,” Jennifer said of one idea.

Quinton added: “We were thinking, too, of building chicken houses for people in town. We call them chicken tractors. They’re not too big and we can make them where there’s four nests and an area for the chickens to walk around in.”

The threesome has also designed a business flyer, and are also working on a design to add their business to the North Star Neighbors website at northstar@hamilton.net.

It’s with the continued determination, cooperation and communication that this latest generation in the Knopik family residing at North Star have proved themselves to be very responsible partners … as well as the solid future of Nebraska.

NOTE: For deliveries contact Quinton at (308) 357-1018 or Ellie or Jennifer at (308) 550-1804 after school, or Carolyn at (308) 536-2475.

– 1 or 2 dozen – $3.50/doz.

– 3 to 5 dozen – $3.00/doz

– 6 dozen or more – $2.75/doz.

Or contact the North Star Kids at northstar@hamilton.net

A new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged in the rural neighborhood of North Star, Nebraska.

Three young producers have formed a market of their own, naming it the “North Star Kids.”

Sisters Jennifer Knopik, 14, and Ellie Knopik, 12, along with their cousin, Quinton Knopik, 11, are doing their own marketing on two projects: raising turkeys for customers’ holiday platters and raising chickens for egg layers along with selling the eggs.

The initial ground work was laid a number of years ago by the North Star Neighbors. Now, the North Star Kids are working to develop a market locally through the North Star Neighbors, a group of small family farmers who live near an old town called North Star located ten miles west of Fullerton. Although the town itself no longer exists, North Star Neighbors pride themselves on “holding true to the tradition of quality and stewardship instilled in them from days gone by,” selling only the highest quality of naturally raised meat products.

The local co-op also sold eggs from naturally raised chickens, managed by Jim and Carolyn Knopik’s daughter, Becky. After Becky graduated, co-op partners continued the operation.

Then last May, Jim came up with the idea of passing the egg operation on to three of their grandchildren; however, he decided to present them with a two-fold opportunity that also included raising turkeys. “It was time for me to have help with raising the turkeys because I’m gone a lot with the North Star Neighbors and Nebraska Food Co-op,” he said, “and the kids had already been helping since they were little.”

THE THREE YOUTH were quick to follow in the North Star footsteps.

“North Star Kids” started in May 2010 with 175 freshly hatched turkeys and over 200 layer hens.

And they are doing all the work.

“They’re pretty dedicated,” Jim said of his grandkids. “They did most all the work to get started, too. There wasn’t much help from anybody else.”

“And turkeys are the hardest things to raise when they’re babies,” Jim’s wife, Carolyn, added. “They’re not like laying hens that have a great success rate. The kids dressed the turkeys in October, before it got too cold. Ellie and Quinton did all the cleaning because Jennifer had tests at school. It was a little hard on them the first time, but they did it.”

Because of predators, the final count of turkeys processed went down to 97.

“We lost a lot of them to that badger,” Jennifer explained. “It came in one night and dug a hole under the corn crib and got 43 turkeys.”

The badger then dug a hole deep inside the pen and had a turkey lunch whenever it desired before they were aware of the badger’s tunnel and was able to eradicate it.

Although the kids were familiar with farm predators, it was a first-hand experience in business survival.

“Badgers are fast diggers,” Quinton added. “After that, Grandpa figured out we have to put panels around the house the turkeys are in.”

BECAUSE THE EGG operation is a 24/7 job, these young poultry raisers have also developed good communication skills.

The three usually alternate chores because of school activities and other responsibilities.

“We either talk to each other in school or just call each other on the phone to see who’s doing the chores,” Ellie said.

And chores include more than just picking an average of five dozen eggs a day. There’s the feeding and watering and general work that comes with raising their flock of 200-plus, not to mention getting the eggs ready for customers.

“The first thing we do when we come home from school is put our work clothes on,” Quinton noted. “If you start chores right when you get home from school, it takes until dark to finish.”

The operation is located on Jim and Carolyn’s farm place, so the grandkids either walk or take a four-wheeler from their homes, which are just a half-mile from their grandparents.

Eggs are picked fresh every day, then washed, candled for cracks or blood spots, and weighed. The eggs are then placed in the proper carton and labeled according to their gathering date.

IF YOU ASK the North Star Kids why their products are special, they’re quick to answer it’s because the turkeys and chickens are raised locally. “You get to know exactly who and where they come from, and knowing where food comes from is important to us.”

Reasons for the rich orange egg yolks are because most of the time the chickens are pastured birds that run free except for the winter months, and fifty percent of their diet consists of insects, grass or green plants. The rest of their feed consists of NON-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn, oats, soybeans, alfalfa and an organic premix for minerals and vitamins.

“The chickens grazed about 20 acres this summer,” Jim said. “I couldn’t believe how much grass they can eat.”

JENNIFER, ELLIE AND QUINTON all agree the chores and management are a learning experience.

“I’ve learned to take responsibility,” Ellie was the first to comment.

“I’ve learned a lot doing this – about chickens, turkeys and poultry and what they need to eat,” Quinton said. “Like the turkeys need fish meal; it’s healthier for them.”

Jennifer recalled when they started the turkey operation: “When we first got them, we couldn’t leave them very much; we had to have someone watching them pretty much all the time, but it’s fun.”

And their dedication didn’t go unnoticed.

“You have to wait until after dark to shut (the turkeys and chickens) up, and they never failed. It takes courage to go out there in the dark in the pasture and do that. That impressed me,” Jim said of his grandchildren’s work ethics.

NOTHING COMPARES IN taste and nutrition to the home-grown chicken egg; consequently, the market for these eggs expands across Nebraska. North Star Neighbors buys some of the eggs from the North Star Kids for customers who want eggs in addition to the meat products, many of the deliveries going to customers in Lincoln and Omaha. North Star Kids also deliver eggs in their local area every week.

“We have some people that will order five or six dozen at a time just because they don’t want to run out,” Jim said. “And some won’t use any other for baking.”

Though the business keeps their days occupied, the North Star Kids already have plans to expand by implementing new ideas.

“We talked about selling some chickens to people who would want some for their yards and they could have their own eggs,” Jennifer said of one idea.

Quinton added: “We were thinking, too, of building chicken houses for people in town. We call them chicken tractors. They’re not too big and we can make them where there’s four nests and an area for the chickens to walk around in.”

The threesome has also designed a business flyer, and are also working on a design to add their business to the North Star Neighbors website at northstar@hamilton.net.

It’s with the continued determination, cooperation and communication that this latest generation in the Knopik family residing at North Star have proved themselves to be very responsible partners … as well as the solid future of Nebraska.

NOTE: For deliveries contact Quinton at (308) 357-1018 or Ellie or Jennifer at (308) 550-1804 after school, or Carolyn at (308) 536-2475.

– 1 or 2 dozen – $3.50/doz.

– 3 to 5 dozen – $3.00/doz

– 6 dozen or more – $2.75/doz.

Or contact the North Star Kids at northstar@hamilton.net

A new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged in the rural neighborhood of North Star, Nebraska.

Three young producers have formed a market of their own, naming it the “North Star Kids.”

Sisters Jennifer Knopik, 14, and Ellie Knopik, 12, along with their cousin, Quinton Knopik, 11, are doing their own marketing on two projects: raising turkeys for customers’ holiday platters and raising chickens for egg layers along with selling the eggs.

The initial ground work was laid a number of years ago by the North Star Neighbors. Now, the North Star Kids are working to develop a market locally through the North Star Neighbors, a group of small family farmers who live near an old town called North Star located ten miles west of Fullerton. Although the town itself no longer exists, North Star Neighbors pride themselves on “holding true to the tradition of quality and stewardship instilled in them from days gone by,” selling only the highest quality of naturally raised meat products.

The local co-op also sold eggs from naturally raised chickens, managed by Jim and Carolyn Knopik’s daughter, Becky. After Becky graduated, co-op partners continued the operation.

Then last May, Jim came up with the idea of passing the egg operation on to three of their grandchildren; however, he decided to present them with a two-fold opportunity that also included raising turkeys. “It was time for me to have help with raising the turkeys because I’m gone a lot with the North Star Neighbors and Nebraska Food Co-op,” he said, “and the kids had already been helping since they were little.”

THE THREE YOUTH were quick to follow in the North Star footsteps.

“North Star Kids” started in May 2010 with 175 freshly hatched turkeys and over 200 layer hens.

And they are doing all the work.

“They’re pretty dedicated,” Jim said of his grandkids. “They did most all the work to get started, too. There wasn’t much help from anybody else.”

“And turkeys are the hardest things to raise when they’re babies,” Jim’s wife, Carolyn, added. “They’re not like laying hens that have a great success rate. The kids dressed the turkeys in October, before it got too cold. Ellie and Quinton did all the cleaning because Jennifer had tests at school. It was a little hard on them the first time, but they did it.”

Because of predators, the final count of turkeys processed went down to 97.

“We lost a lot of them to that badger,” Jennifer explained. “It came in one night and dug a hole under the corn crib and got 43 turkeys.”

The badger then dug a hole deep inside the pen and had a turkey lunch whenever it desired before they were aware of the badger’s tunnel and was able to eradicate it.

Although the kids were familiar with farm predators, it was a first-hand experience in business survival.

“Badgers are fast diggers,” Quinton added. “After that, Grandpa figured out we have to put panels around the house the turkeys are in.”

BECAUSE THE EGG operation is a 24/7 job, these young poultry raisers have also developed good communication skills.

The three usually alternate chores because of school activities and other responsibilities.

“We either talk to each other in school or just call each other on the phone to see who’s doing the chores,” Ellie said.

And chores include more than just picking an average of five dozen eggs a day. There’s the feeding and watering and general work that comes with raising their flock of 200-plus, not to mention getting the eggs ready for customers.

“The first thing we do when we come home from school is put our work clothes on,” Quinton noted. “If you start chores right when you get home from school, it takes until dark to finish.”

The operation is located on Jim and Carolyn’s farm place, so the grandkids either walk or take a four-wheeler from their homes, which are just a half-mile from their grandparents.

Eggs are picked fresh every day, then washed, candled for cracks or blood spots, and weighed. The eggs are then placed in the proper carton and labeled according to their gathering date.

IF YOU ASK the North Star Kids why their products are special, they’re quick to answer it’s because the turkeys and chickens are raised locally. “You get to know exactly who and where they come from, and knowing where food comes from is important to us.”

Reasons for the rich orange egg yolks are because most of the time the chickens are pastured birds that run free except for the winter months, and fifty percent of their diet consists of insects, grass or green plants. The rest of their feed consists of NON-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn, oats, soybeans, alfalfa and an organic premix for minerals and vitamins.

“The chickens grazed about 20 acres this summer,” Jim said. “I couldn’t believe how much grass they can eat.”

JENNIFER, ELLIE AND QUINTON all agree the chores and management are a learning experience.

“I’ve learned to take responsibility,” Ellie was the first to comment.

“I’ve learned a lot doing this – about chickens, turkeys and poultry and what they need to eat,” Quinton said. “Like the turkeys need fish meal; it’s healthier for them.”

Jennifer recalled when they started the turkey operation: “When we first got them, we couldn’t leave them very much; we had to have someone watching them pretty much all the time, but it’s fun.”

And their dedication didn’t go unnoticed.

“You have to wait until after dark to shut (the turkeys and chickens) up, and they never failed. It takes courage to go out there in the dark in the pasture and do that. That impressed me,” Jim said of his grandchildren’s work ethics.

NOTHING COMPARES IN taste and nutrition to the home-grown chicken egg; consequently, the market for these eggs expands across Nebraska. North Star Neighbors buys some of the eggs from the North Star Kids for customers who want eggs in addition to the meat products, many of the deliveries going to customers in Lincoln and Omaha. North Star Kids also deliver eggs in their local area every week.

“We have some people that will order five or six dozen at a time just because they don’t want to run out,” Jim said. “And some won’t use any other for baking.”

Though the business keeps their days occupied, the North Star Kids already have plans to expand by implementing new ideas.

“We talked about selling some chickens to people who would want some for their yards and they could have their own eggs,” Jennifer said of one idea.

Quinton added: “We were thinking, too, of building chicken houses for people in town. We call them chicken tractors. They’re not too big and we can make them where there’s four nests and an area for the chickens to walk around in.”

The threesome has also designed a business flyer, and are also working on a design to add their business to the North Star Neighbors website at northstar@hamilton.net.

It’s with the continued determination, cooperation and communication that this latest generation in the Knopik family residing at North Star have proved themselves to be very responsible partners … as well as the solid future of Nebraska.

NOTE: For deliveries contact Quinton at (308) 357-1018 or Ellie or Jennifer at (308) 550-1804 after school, or Carolyn at (308) 536-2475.

– 1 or 2 dozen – $3.50/doz.

– 3 to 5 dozen – $3.00/doz

– 6 dozen or more – $2.75/doz.

Or contact the North Star Kids at northstar@hamilton.net