What a joy it has been this week to get outside and take in some sunshine and fresh air! This time of year is full of excitement and renewed wonder, as the winter scheming of plans and new projects crashes into the reality of now. There's so much to do to prepare for the upcoming CSA season, and we can't wait to make it happen. Here's the latest:
The pig and goat fences have been frozen solidly in place seemingly forever and, despite some mud, the animals are so happy to stretch their legs now that we've started to move them to fresh ground. Kidding season is nearly upon us too - Aurora is looking pretty large, and is due to kid sometime around 3/17. Lola and Mae should kid in late May. Goldie, our family cow, has been incredible. Never have we known such a kind, patient and giving animal. Poppy, the Jersey calf, is off the growth charts and she is a licking, mooing comedy show! So much to share about these guys, and we'll do that in a future update.
We are really excited to welcome a new heritage breed of pig to our little farm: the American Guinea Hog. We've been pleased with our larger breed pigs over the last few years, in that they've helped tremendously to increase and improve our limited pasture space. The much smaller Guinea Hogs caught our attention though, because as we approach the end of our pasture-building on this property, we would like to keep pigs that are a little easier on the land. Theoretically, these pigs are lighter and so won't compact the soil as badly, they forage well, and are pretty docile and easy to get along with. The "cons" are that they grow much more slowly, and of course, yield smaller cuts of pork. While the yield is smaller though, it is reported to be delectable. If any of you are interested in engaging in this experiment, we'll be processing 3 of the barrows around Thanksgiving and we'd happily sell you a half, quarter or whole hog. We have high hopes for these pigs, but time will tell whether they will have a long-term future here.
We've already started spreading compost and mulching beds. Fall-planted garlic is peeking above the soil, and flats of seedlings are getting their start indoors. We've partnered with a local nursery, Out of The Ordinary, to get a jump on hundreds of other seedlings too, and so the press will be on preparing the beds and getting everything in the ground. We're excited to be adding another hoop-house that we've ordered from Farmers' Friend, along with much needed updates to irrigation. Mushroom spawn is on its way from North Spore in Maine, and we've been setting aside bolts of maple and oak to inoculate with shiitake, blue oyster, Italian oyster, snow oyster and lion's mane mushrooms. There's a lot to do, but we're sure these efforts will increase the quality and diversity of our farm shares.
Diana and Eva have done some beautiful work posting recipes on this website - the idea here is to have many ideas for you to best enjoy your farm share items throughout the CSA season. Please feel free to check some of them out - the coolest part about these recipes is that most of them come from you, our members! If you can think of some culinary creations that we haven't listed, please send us your recipes and we'll get them posted for everyone to enjoy!
There are a limited number of CSA shares still available, so if you're still interested, you can get yours here.
Thanks as always for your support - we feel blessed to have this work, and as we always say, we couldn't do it without you!
Mark, Diana, Eva and Noah