Top Knot Farms was founded, by two brothers native to Tucson, AZ. In 2011, we began experimenting with urban farming in our own backyards. In conjunction with growing vegetables, we began to grow poultry for both meat and eggs for our own tables in search of fresh chickens and game birds. We began to then provide for our friends and family and with great success and positive feedback we were encouraged to take our poultry to market. In 2013, working out of our backyards, we grew small batches of poultry to gain the support of local restaurants, which developed a reputation and standard that gave us the confidence to expand our operation. In 2014 we relocated the farm onto 12 acres of beautiful high desert, about 35 miles east of Tucson, AZ.
Located just west of Benson, we chose this location based on the more temperate weather and increased rainfall with about a 7-10 degree temperature difference than Tucson. The climate is more ideal for our birds and also allows us to harvest rainwater. This location benefits from a consistent breeze year around which allowed us to design with passive ventilation in mind.
Our farm is located on 12 acres of land which borders BLM land. We provide our birds with one acre of pasture bordered by pole barns that provide adequate shelter. At max production our pasture birds have over 4 and a half square feet of space. The site is broken up into 2 zones which includes the pasture with brooder house and our on-site processing facility.
The Brooder house is designed to open up to an east and west pasture, large poly carbonite bay doors that allow for natural light and fully operable east and west façade for passive ventilation. Our 1800 square foot brooder house has the capability of capturing 13,000 gallons of rain water during the monsoon season, providing enough water to grow 6500 birds.
The processing facility is composed of a series of insulated shipping containers. We took an ordinary container and transformed it into a modern slaughter facility that strays from the norm of a conventional commercial poultry plant. The arrangement of our containers takes full advantage of the modularity and linear nature of the shipping container to help organize and streamline the process. The addition of apertures will increase the work done by daylight reducing the need for artificial lighting, which allows for views of the surrounding desert and mountains, mitigating the “commercial plant” work environment.
A graduate of the School of Architecture at the UofA, Luke brings forward thinking and applies sustainable strategies to agriculture. Luke began farming and raising chickens in his own backyard in 2011 and quickly realized there was a demand for quality, sustainable agriculture in Arizona. In 2013 Luke began working with local restaurants and chefs to bring top quality poultry to market, and created Top Knot Farms.
Before launching top knot, Michael worked 13 years as a chef in restaurant and hotel kitchens. After completing training at Scottsdale Culinary Institute, he worked in Phoenix for 4 years before moving to Philadelphia where he continued to train and learn at Le Bec Fin French restaurant. Michael returned to Tucson in 2010 and soon after started working at the Dish Bistro. A year later, he was promoted to executive chef and held the position until leaving in the spring of 2015 to start Top Knot Farms.