Thursday, April 29, 2010

Potato planting & tour

Hi all -
I sent out an e-mail but for anyone not on the distribution list: We were planning to plant potatoes Sunday from 12-4 but the forecast calls for rain and thunder showers. So, we're moving the date up. If you can come out tomorrow, April 30 from 9 - 12 or 2 - 4, let me know. Otherwise, Saturday from 12 - 3. We'll still have a mini-work day on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30 with a quick tour at 3:30.

Besides potatoes we also have other crops to seed as well as some transplanting and mulching and, most likely, weeding under the row covers.

If you do come, it's helpful to bring gloves.

Let me know if you plan to be here so that I'm ready for you. Thanks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Naragansetts now pre-sold

Update: The Naragansett turkeys are now pre-sold. We still have 11 White Hollands, 10 White Giants and 8 broad breasted bronze turkeys available. Some have asked whether they can let their friends know about our turkeys. Sure - they're for sale to anyone who wants local turkey.

We will fill orders in the order received. We should know definitively about the # of turkeys that make it to market (Thanksgiving) about a month before so, if we're short, we'll let you know as much in advance as possible.

Thanks!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Turkeys are Here

White Hollands out for a stroll last fall.
Turkey poults, 5 days old.

Our little cuties arrived last Thursday and they're doing very well. Of 45 birds, we still have 44 and they look great. The first week is tenuous for baby turkeys - they're susceptible to pneumonia if it's drafty, they need to learn to eat and drink, the temperature must be consistent in the brooder. So, when we have a cold snap, it can be difficult for the equipment to keep up. But, the brooder that Dave and I built two years ago is working well. We found the design online and made a few modifications. It's basically a 4' x 4' piece of plywood, with 12" plywood sides and 2" x 4" legs that keeps the structure off the ground about 18". There are two heat lamps in it - one (or both) connected to a pancake thermostat which is adjustable to your temperature of choice. The interior is lined with sheet metal, to help decrease the risk of fire. Currently we have it sandwiched into a corner of the stall where we're keeping them and it's covered with a blanket so that it stays warmer and cuts out drafts. In a week or so, we'll probably be able to take away the blanket. If I'm remembering correctly, the design for this brooder says it will house 200 + baby birds. So, 45 is no problem. They run around and peck at things and eat and drink and sleep. Soon they'll be strutting and trying to fly.

I input a table on our website which discusses the varieties and the price for each. Click on the page titled Our Poultry and you'll find a bit more info. To recap - we have White Hollands and Naragansetts, both heritage breed turkeys which are listed as threatened according to the ALBC, Broad Breasted Bronze, listed as study by ALBC, and White Giants which are the biggies used in commercial production.

So far we've pre-sold 7 birds. The Naragansetts are going quickly. But there are still plenty available so let us know if you're interested in buying one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plants are growing!

Hello all - I've been putting off posting until I have pictures but that might not happen soon so I thought I'd go ahead and provide an update:

1. We've sold most memberships for this year. If you're still thinking about joining, please do so quickly. I will close it at 45 members and may take more in mid-June, after things are clicking along.
2. Thanks to Keely Kaleski who came out a couple of weeks ago and helped plant for a bit. We formed nursery beds in the hoop house and got some chard planted. Thanks also to our neighbor, Tom, who has been working here part time for the past few weeks and took great care of our plants and animals while we went to South Carolina for a few days over Spring Break.
3. In the west garden we have: Stuttgart onions, red onions, sugar snap peas, 2 types of carrots, 3 types of beets, chard, another 2 types of peas, early cabbage, early broccoli and, everyone's favorite, collards. In the hoop we have tomatoes, peppers and cukes along with nursery beds of 3 types of chard, broccoli, cabbage, a few lettuces, onions, shallots, a little summer squash, shallots, and, more kale. I always try to kid about the kale and collards but, honestly, these plants are huge producers of nutrient-rich greens. They grow quickly, are tolerant to fungus and bugs, winter over, produce broccoli-like buds, etc., etc. etc. We hope you will develop a strong affinity for these plants but we know it can take a while. One member bought a veggie juicer last year (the one that pulvarizes the veggies and you end up with a drink) and found just the right mix between apples or other fruits and leafy veggies that she had to have a veggie shake a day. Other members easily took to sauteing the greens and eating as a side dish. Others used them in quiches and froze them or made kale potato pancakes. Still others didn't eat them at all. That's OK. If that happens, just take whatever item it is out of your box and leave it on the extras table and take something from that table. As the season goes on, more and more will be on that table - blemished tomatoes or peppers or huge zucchini or extra greens or strange pumpkins or extra herbs. It all evens out in the end and there's no need to take something that you don't want.
3. The last 2 days have been big work days here. We have been fortunate to have Matthew and Molly working and they'll work again tomorrow. Both have worked on farms in California - Molly growing basil and peppers and other specialty crops and Matthew working on a few veggie CSA/market farms. I met Matthew at the Local Food Summit. They will be moving to northern Michigan on Saturday to begin a care-taker/farmer position at a farm. So, one more day of information sharing and lots of work. The tomatoes are staked in the hoop house, more veggies are planted, tomatoes have been potted up, flowers are in flats, etc. Things are moving here.
4. A few suggestions re. kitchen equipment. If you don't have a salad spinner, you might want to buy one. I find that, for all of the salad greens along with the leafy veggies, a salad spinner is very helpful to prepare meals more quickly. Also, a cuisinart is very helpful. This will allow you to make quick pestos with the basil or mustard greens. I also use it in food preservation quite a bit - especially with relishes or green tomatoes. Also with salad dressings, etc. etc. etc.
I know there's more but I'll post more later along with pictures.

Don't forget - May 2 for potato planting from 12 - 4. We'll have a quick tour at 3:30 if you're interested in seeing the farm.