When Trisha Oksner bought a whole chicken from BeeWench Farm recently, she was thinking about the bones more than the meat.

Those bones, after all, help make bone broth soup,  a trendy beverage item.

“That’s real big right now,” said Ryan Reeber, who owns BeeWench Farm with his partner, Sarah Ziegenbein.

Some cultures believe bone broth soup is a great healer, while others think it can actually raise the dead. In the U.S., advocates say it helps seal your gut, protects your joints and even makes you look younger.

Trisha Oksner stopped by the BeeWench booth in Arroyo Grande, with plans to make bone broth soup. Ryan Reeler and Sarah Ziegenbein raise meat chickens at the Shandon ranch.

Trisha Oksner stopped by the BeeWench booth in Arroyo Grande, with plans to make bone broth soup. Ryan Reeber and Sarah Ziegenbein raise meat chickens at their Shandon ranch.

Anyone interested in bone broth soup can buy a whole chicken from BeeWench, which raises pastured chickens. You can also buy a stock pack (a carcass with wings and backbone — no breast meat, thighs or legs) for $5-8, depending on the size.

“It’s perfect for those people who just want to make broth,” Reeber said.

The soup itself is easy to make, though it takes time.

“You pick all the meat off,” Oksner explained. “Then you take the carcass bones and you put that back in the crockpot with water and some spices. And I just leave that for three days, and then you strain.”

BeeWench’s bone broth recipe recommends placing the bones in a crockpot with water. Cook on high for an hour, then low for 24-48 hours.

Some people believe chicken feet — which also can be purchased from BeeWench — have added health benefits, Reeber said. Those who want to add giblets to their broth for flavoring can get those items for free with their whole chicken, but giblets aren’t for everyone, Reeber said. So you don’t have to bring home a bag of internal organs if you don’t want to.

Ryan and wifeBeeWench is a fixture at farmers’ markets in the county, though Reeber and Ziegenbein once had plans for much different careers: In college, Reeler studied marketing while Ziegenbein majored in accounting.

Ziegenbein was the first to opt for the farm, launching a smaller version of BeeWench in 2009.  Eventually, she met Reeber, then a financial adviser from Ohio, online. Three years ago, he gave up his office job and joined his partner on the farm, which expanded to include free range eggs, pastured pork, and grass-fed milk.

They are assisted by Ziegenbein’s 14-year-old son, Jacob.

Check out their site for great recipes.