Late summer update, food (a love story), pictures

Late summer update:

We’ve settled into a pretty solid routine. This week in addition to fulfilling orders, delivering CSA shares and attending the Burlington Farmer’s Market, we will be heavily focused on fall cover cropping. We will be seeding a combination of oats/field peas that will winter kill. Next spring, we will use this ground for early crops in the year 2012. We’ve been on this farm for ten years now, and we’re finally beginning to think long term. We will be seeding roughly fifteen acres to yellow clover which we will plow down in July of 2012. Stale bedding follows for optimal weed control, and re-seeding to oats/field peas in late August of 2012–the cycle continues. This will be the acreage we will use to start the 2013 season. The first decade on this farm was simply too hectic to focus heavily on cover cropping, we’ve known this to be a weak point on our farm. It’s gratifying to be able to focus on some of the things that are needing improvement, and to take these steps that will build fertility and ultimately keep us in business.

In addition to cover cropping, we watch our new livestock guardian dog Emmett grow by leaps and bounds, we are cleaning out greenhouses, and last week we slaughtered 392 chickens. Watermelon and cantaloupe are the exciting crops coming up next and we look forward to a fall winter squash harvest.

Food (a love story)

Man, we love food. It’s the number one perk of this job.  There’re kids starving in Africa, and yet we are able to gorge ourselves on gourmet food. It just doesn’t seem fair.  We’ve recently been following and contributing to Save the Children. Here’s the link.

About the food, we’ve been grilling at the Burlington Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Breakfast gorditas have been a huge hit and we will be adding lunch gorditas starting this weekend. Last Saturday I gave a chicken and some tomatoes to our friend Serchan. His family makes some of the best vegetarian food at the market.  They’ve been our neighbors there for five years. They make the best potato salad we’ve ever tasted (lots of garlic, cilantro, and an incredible sesame dressing). After some customary haggling (Nepalese style), it was decided that he would cook the chicken and a chutney, we would split it 50/50. Last night we had one amazing dinner thanks to this deal. As a bonus they threw in some creamy  rice pudding flavored with cardamom, which is farmer Will’s favorite.

Last Sunday evening, we attended the Vermont Fresh Network’s annual forum and fund raiser. We were partnered with Blue Bird Tavern and Healthy Living Market. Michael and Sue from Blue Bird served hard boiled eggs, with house made chicken sausage on freshly baked shortbread crackers. Frank from Healthy Living prepared one of our suckling pigs.  On the side they had a cucumber salad and cherry tomato salad from the farm. We were very proud, and after sampling all the other offerings, very, very full. It was a great night and we had a nice mention in the Burlington Free Press.

Since we’ve started delivering to the Boston area, many new eating opportunities have presented themselves. On a typical run South, we will stop at Red Hen Bakery for a cheddar and bacon scone. Tewksbury, Mass is an unlikely stop for the best Schezuan food we’ve ever had, but Top Garden is indeed the tops. One of our delivery stops is Formaggio in Cambridge and they always insist we eat for free. The duck breast panini we had two weeks ago was amazing. After our CSA at Harvest Coop, we’ve been known to hop on the T and head over to Island Creek Oyster Bar, for clams, oysters and lobster rolls. Highly recommended, but it makes for a groggy trip home.

Farmer Will hard at work

Farm fresh ingredients + Keenann's pizza making skills= one happy family

Chef Chis Conn manning the RMF grill

 

RMF gorditas!!

Awesome food subsidies, Photos and a recipe from Natalie

Awesome food subsidies:

It’s a well known fact that really bad food is heavily subsidized in this country. Corn, the building block for bad food, is subsidized to a point that would make Cuban farmer’s blush. Recently, Mark Bittman has been writing some excellent articles in the New York Times about taxing bad food and reducing corn subsidies. The saving in reduced health care cost to the nation, would go a long way toward deficit reduction. On a different angle, the Awesome Foundation recently announced that it will be handing out $1000 grants to companies that produce awesome food. It’s peanuts compared to the gazillions the U.S. government dolls out to corn farmer’s, but it’s a great idea and definitely a step in the right direction.

A recipe from Natlie (zucchini sticks and sweet onion dip):

Today’s recipe was recommended by our good friend and farm photographer Natalie Stultz. It is posted on the King Arthur web site, to view it you can click here.

Photos by Natalie Stultz:

The boys new career: male modeling!!

Eric and Justin working on the pump

Keenann at South Village Farm

It's tomato season!!

Mid-season update, Eggs Benedict pizza, Emmett, Summer Soundtrack?

Mid-season update:

We seem to have settled into some very pleasant growing weather. The farm is changing daily and the CSA boxes should grow in quantity and the offering will become more diversified as the season progresses. We occasionally purchase crops from partner farms where and when it makes sense. We have fairly stoney soil and carrots can be a challenge. We are not well set up to grow them, especially in the Spring when weed pressure is intense. Our friends at Riverberry Farm are expert carrot growers and have the soil and infrastructure to grow them well. We also work very closely with the Farm at South Village and expect to procure some potatoes from them in the near future. From our own farm, cucumbers will be coming on strong, as well as tomatoes from our range of greenhouses and field tunnels. For the first couple of weeks we will need to rotate pick-up locations for doling out tomatoes. This week the Tuesday route is scheduled to receive  them. We have over 2000 tomato plants so once we hit full production there will be plenty for everybody.

Blushing Beauties!

Eggs Benedict pizza:

Saturdays we attend the Burlington Farmer’s Market.  In addition to selling produce, eggs, and pork, we eat a lot. We have our own farm grill, where we sell breakfast gorditas and a lunch special. Our friend Pete Coleman has been producing some sublime sausage at Vermont Salumi. A perennial favorite lunch is the Himalayan food produced by our old neighbors. Rice, garbanzo beans, and potatoes seems so wrong, but somehow they turn it into something very special. Chase it all down with a home brewed Root Beer and top it off with a Dinky Doughnut, and you’ve got a good day of eating for sure.

American Flatbread has started using Eric’s Eggs for their Eggs Benedict pizza. We had to try it and ordered a pizza to go. Good ingredients go a long way and the result is one amazing pizza. We strongly urge you to try it, the Bloody Mary’s are about as good as they get as well (sampled on a non-workday of course).

Emmett

Our new Maremma livestock guard dog, Emmett, arrived a week or so a go. He’s one cool dog. As with most new puppies, there have been a few bumps in the road, but he is settling in very well to a life of guarding chickens. His main job is to protect the hens from aerial predation such as hawks and owls. We have some big plans for Eric’s Eggs and these dogs will play an important role.

Welcome to the farm, Emmett

Emmett has found a perch for himself

Molly hard at work down below

Summer soundtrack?

We love to listen to music on the farm. Every summer we have a favorite album, that summers soundtrack. Although we’ve purchased some great music recently, none of the albums have garnered the number one position. We’re open to suggestions if anybody can think of an exceptional album. To date Tedeshi Truck’s Band “Revelator” is leading the way.

Recipes:

Collard Greens Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

We use bacon fat here primarily for flavor. Bacon fat provides an excellent balance to the natural bitter of the collard greens. That said, you can easily skip the bacon fat and just use a little more olive oil.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves chopped

2 Tbsp medium onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons bacon fat

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp dark sesame oil (Dynasty or comparable)

Chili pepper flakes, a pinch

Salt, a couple pinches

Sugar, a couple pinches

METHOD

1 Use a large skillet with a tight fitting cover. Melt bacon fat and heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté onion until transparent, a couple of mintues. Add garlic and and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2 Mix in the greens, sesame oil, chili pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Cover and cook until tender, 8-15 minutes. (Note that young collard greens will cook up relatively quickly. Older greens may take upwards of 45 minutes to tenderize.)

If you want, serve with a little barbecue sauce.

Yield: Serves 4.  Recipe from Simply Recipes.com

Cucumber Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1-2 large cucumbers, quartered lengthwise, then sliced crosswise

1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill or basil*

2-3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

*To chop the basil, chiffonade it by stacking the leaves on top of each other, rolling them up like a cigar, and taking thin slices from one end to the other.

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss to coat. Serve immediately, or make ahead (up to a couple of hours) and chill.

Serves 2-4, Recipe from Simply Recipes.com

Tomatoland, What’s ahead, Pictures and some recipes

Tomatoland:

Five or so years ago I bought a cheap ticket to Fort Myers, Florida where I rented a car and spent three days driving through ground zero of the Florida growing area. What I remember most about that trip was the smell. The air seemed sterile and laden with chemicals. The fields, especially the sugarcane acreage, were huge and extended as far as the eye could see. Deep in the Everglades I drove for almost a day and didn’t see another person. Vermont author Barry Estabrook has just published an excellent expose of the Florida tomato industry. He describes what he calls “chemical warfare” and “real slavery, not slave like conditions” for workers. On the cover Ruth Reichl wrote “If you have ever eaten a tomato-or even plan to-you must read Tomatoland”. The RMF tomatoes are still a couple of weeks away so you have plenty of time to pick-up a copy. Eastabrook’s award winning blog is “Politics of the Plate”, where you can find a link to his interview with Terry Gross and pick-up a copy of the book.

What’s ahead:

I’m pretty sure that we don’t need to talk anymore about what a slow, wet spring it’s been. Better to look forward. We love melons, and have a lot planted. Peppers are progressing nicely, and the 1000 heirloom tomatoes we’ve planted in our Haygrove field tunnel look amazing. Sweet corn is knee high, and the onions are rebounding nicely after getting put in extra late. Beans, herbs, cukes, etc. will be following soon. Our main wholesale crop is winter squash and that went in very late, record breaking late. We’ll just need to keep our fingers crossed and hope for some heat and a very late fall frost. To date we have not irrigated once in the field.

A few farm pictures:

Our old chicken house had been standing empty for quite a while since we had increased the layer flocks and moved them out to pasture.  What better to fill an empty little barn with than some little goat kids.  These  little kids are Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats and in the far off future they will give us a small amount of  milk for drinking and a bit of chevre making.  Right now they are just being fed by bottle and entertaining us with their silly goat antics.

Fiona and Hughie joined our farm family last week

Farmer Will with Ginger and Fiona

Recipes:

We are including a few recipes with our weekly newsletters and we want to encourage members to share recipes too.  On our website homepage under the menu heading “current members” you will find “share your recipes.”  If you click on it, you will find recipes that members are starting to share. At the bottom of the page, there is a box for you to add a favorite recipe or two that you think others should try.  If you have a few moments to share one of your favoites we could really get this recipe list going.  Thanks for contributing!

Some very simple kale recipes:

Sautéed Kale

1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1/2 cup vegetable stock or water

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

Crispy Kale Chips

1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

Crispy Kale Chips #2

1 bunch kale, washed and dried well

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Tear the leaves off the center rib of the kale and tear into large pieces. Place leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss until completely coated.  Divide kale between 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. Arrange in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Box builder, How to manage your account, farm photos, Recipes

Box Builder:

We love our new CSA software program.  Farmigo allows us to build boxes (or bags) by adding and subtracting contents specific to each week. Using this as a starting point we can then generate harvest lists, packing sheets, delivery schedules, etc. We can also use it to plan cropping schedules (that’s winter work).  We got a good chuckle when we looked at this week’s packing sheet.  It was a list of best guess items which was put together sometime in February.  We’ve been farming for sixteen seasons, and you would think that we would have a pretty good grasp on what we can produce  and when it will be ready. This spring has been like no other. All the items that we have planned for the shares are in the ground and progressing well now that the weather has mellowed. We’re not complaining about the weather for the time being, but we simply need to communicate that it is going to be a slow start and that we will have lots of great veggies in the weeks to come. Thank for being patient!

How to manage your account:

Probably the single easiest way to log on to your account is through the home page on our web site. Click on the action button “manage your account” in the upper right hand corner. Once you’ve accessed your account you can:

  • Set vacation days
  • Shop on-line
  • Review the history of your account
  • Change pick-up locations
  • Make payments
  • Add/delete subscriptions

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help or have questions regarding your account.

Latest Farm Photos by Natalie Stultz:

Do yourself a favor and click here to take a look at Natalie’s latest farm pictures taken on a beautiful blue sky day last week.

Recipes:

Considering all of the salad greens members have been receiving the past few weeks we thought it would be good to share some favorite salad dressing recipes.  Bottled salad dressings are definitely convenient, but home made dressings can be mixed up in a matter of minutes and stored in mason jars (or empty salad dressing bottles).  Just cover tightly so you can give it a good shake before you drizzle on your salad.  These recipes can be doubled if you are a daily salad eater and you just want to have some extra dressing on hand.

Balsamic Vinaigrette (makes 1/2 cup of dressing)

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 large clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small jar and give a good shake.

Lemon Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon and/or grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix everything in a small jar and give a good shake.

Blue Cheese Dressing (great on spicy greens)

  • 1/4 cup blue cheese (crumbled, room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything with a small whisk until smooth.

Final CSA details, New Store Items, Thanks Sarah and Natalie

Final CSA details:

It’s officially time to get the 2011 season going!! Next week we will be delivering shares.

Monday–Middlebury

Tuesday–South Burlington, Shelburne, Burlington (Union Street)

Wednesday–Bristol, Lincoln

Thursday–Starksboro (on farm),  Cambridge, MA

Saturday–Burlington (farmer’s market)

-New this year: as per the terms and agreements, it is the consumers responsibility to bring bags to the pick-ups. All boxes are property of Rockville Market Farm and need to be broken down and left at the pick-up location.

-Any and all changes to your account or orders from the on-line store need to be placed 48 hours before your pick-up, and your account needs to have sufficient funds available to cover that week’s delivery.

-Each week we will post to the front page of our web site a “best guess” for that week’s share contents.

New on-line store items:

Early on we promoted Dragonfly Sugarworks in one of our newsletters. Our friend Paul Limberty manages this high altitude sugarbush with a focus on quality. These outstanding syrups have garnered some high profile accolades including Gourmet magazine and a whole chapter in local author, Rowan Jacobson’s, book American Terrior. The store is supplied with three sizes of Grade A dark amber (half gallon, one liter and half liter). We highly recommend these syrups, which are in limited supply.

Back by popular demand, our Che style hats. This years model is black with yellow text (Rockville Market Farm, Starksboro, Vermont).

RMF Che Hats

Eric's Eggs/Poultry in Motion Tee Shirt

Our farm tee shirt this year, features “Eric’s Eggs/Poultry in Motion”. The art work is simply stunning.

You can check all the store items (including additional fresh vegetables)by clicking here.

Thanks Sarah and Natalie:

Hard working folks have been farming here for at least two hundred and fifty years. We’re pretty sure we’re the first generation with a cultivated “look”. Several years ago we decided it was time to grow up a little as a business and we started talking with our friend Sarah Ryan about a logo. Sarah is beyond special, we look around our farm and our house and her art is everywhere. Needless to say what started out as a desire to have logo, quickly grew into tee shirts, eggs labels, chalk board art at the market, etc. Sarah’s main gig is hand painting guitars for Creston Electric. Check out the site by clicking here.

Every artist needs a muse, and we count our blessings that CSA member and farm photographer Natalie Stultz is inspired by agriculture. She has traveled the world snapping stunning images, but recently has been spending more time here at the farm. Her images are being added on a regular basis to our web site. Check out her site by clicking here (you might not recognize her all clean but that’s Keenann on the front page).

Last spring share, Weather report, Eric’s Eggs t-shirts coming soon

Last spring share:

This year for the first time we offered  a “spring locavore share”. Forty members signed up for bread, eggs, Does Leap goat cheese and fresh veggies from the farm. Like all things new there’s a learning curve, but overall we are happy with the way it panned out. The hope had been to overwinter spinach and supplement with root crops for the first three or so pick-ups. These shares would be followed by radish, arugula, mesclun, bok choy, etc. produced in our greenhouses and the last shares would include produce from the field. We have a long track record of producing crops in these time frames. It just didn’t work out that way this year. We’re still weeks away from harvesting from the fields, so it was a slow, sluggish spring growing season. We are always looking for feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly. Constructive criticism can be a very good thing. We do not send out questionnaires because we’re not fans of receiving them. If you have something you want to share with us please do not hesitate.

Keenann watering in the greenhouse

CSA member Natalie Stultz shot this picture of Keenann watering the greenhouse

Weather update:

We have sustained some major weather events here on the farm. The third snowiest winter on record was followed by the wettest spring on record, and  the sun refuses to shine. We are very optimistic about the 2011 growing season, and we’re working from sun up to sun down in effort to ensure that the CSA boxes are full. However, we’ve decided to postpone the first pick-up from the week of June 6th to the week of June 13th. If we cannot make up the value of the share in the nineteen weeks, we will add a twentieth pick-up at the end of the season. We appreciate your patience, and ensure you we are doing everything imaginable to deliver as promised.

Eric’s Eggs t-shirts:

We get lots of positive feedback on our Eric’s Eggs labels, designed by our friend and super talented artist, Sarah Ryan. We are thrilled to offer Eric’s Eggs t-shirts for sale this year. They are at the print shop right now and we will add them to the on-line store in a couple of weeks. The men’s shirts will be available in brown, and the women’s in brown and blue. The art work is stunning, supply is limited so order early (e-mail us if you are interested).

some of the 1500 girls currently roaming the farm

Peach guarding the barn

Don't panic, Walter's in control!

Our new livestock guard dog Emmett, with his mom Tallini. See the fire in his eyes??

Farm update in pictures, Farmarazzi, Member Websites, Arugula Pesto

Greenhouse construction 101; never build in the spring, oops!

The girls roosting in their new digs!

1000 laying hens, total production to date 1 egg; priceless

Our newest, toughest livestock guard dog yet. Emmett resting up for a life of guarding livestock

Farmarazzi:

We’ve had a lot of fun branching out to the Boston area. In addition to drumming up lots of business and eating some amazing meals, we’ve also met some really interesting people. CSA member Rachel Greenberger is the Boston Sustainable Agriculture Examiner for the Examiner.com. Last week she contacted us and encouraged us to partake in the Farmarazzi campaign, which is being spearheaded by Slow Food USA. Three states, Florida, Minnesota and Iowa are voting on a bill that would make it illegal to take pictures or videos on farms. The campaign is intended to highlight the beauty of sustainable ag farms with nothing to hide. We were transfixed by the 400+ images uploaded so far to the Slow Food Facebook page. Check it out. As a side note the Florida bill was just voted on and did not pass.
Member Websites:

We are interested in building a page on our web site which will be called “Member Websites”. If you are interested in adding you’re web site to this page, please send the link.
Arugula Pesto:

We’ve got lots and lots of greens for everyone this week.  The arugula is so beautiful and delicious that we are sending out a whole pound for members this week.  If you are an arugula lover like I am, then you know what to do. Just eat it right out of the bag!  If you’re a newbie or just not sure how much you like it, you should definitely try arugula pesto.  Dinner doesn’t get much easier or much faster.  First put some water on to boil for your pasta.  Any kind will do, but I like something big like fettuccine or bowties.  Get our your food processor and put in the following:
4 cups of arugula
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Pulse several times. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss with your pasta and enjoy!

Brief farm update, one story, lots of pictures and a list

Eric didn't really want to buy a new dump truck but Keenann insisted

Farm update:

There’re only so many ways to say it’s been a challenge. We feel like the weather has been relentlessly working against us. We planted red and green bac choi in our greenhouse along with scallions. We are getting ready for our first outdoor seeding and we’ll be transplanting kale, swiss chard, broccoli, beets, onions, etc. in earnest starting this week. The two new Rimol greenhouses still need to be built, but the site work is finally done. Our second skiddable chicken tractor is ready for it’s final touches. Last week we received 1000 laying hens that are happily acclimating to their new home. The piglets are doing well, and we’ll have our first round of meat birds processed next week.

A story:

Sixteen years ago, when I started farming, I bought three Earthway seeders at a Gardner Supply Warehouse sale. They cost me $45 each, and I bolted them together to make a “gang seeder”. A lot has happened in the past 16 years. We now own a fully diversified farm, complete with tractors, all sorts of equipment, greenhouses, etc. But at the end of the day when something needs to get seeded we pull out the Earthway seeders. Assuming the gang cost me

Our friends at Does Leap had "kids"

$150 total, and we’ve done some minor repairs over the years, we’re still talking about $15 per year. Call it the end of an era, or maybe a mistake, but this week we received our new Sutton seeder. Total cost?? $6000. We purchased it with our neighbors at Full Moon Farm, so our half ended up being $3000, but still!! Funny thing is Dave at Full Moon was reluctant to part with his Earthway seeders after twelve years. Hopefully, if all goes well we’ll be telling the story fifteen years from now of how we bought our Sutton seeder for “only” $3000

Top Ten Live Albums:

Chicken tractor number #1 is finished and in production

If you’ve ever been to the farm, you might have noticed that we almost always have music playing. Whether in the packing shed or the fields, we live by the words our friend Louie Pulver who told us years ago “Always have tunes.”  Live music seems to be preferable for a work atmosphere, so this week’s list’s:

RMF Top 10 live albums (in no particular order)

– Wilco “Kicking Televsion”

– Leonard Cohen “Live in London”

– Jay Farrar “Stone, Steel and Bright Lights”

– Bob Marly “Live Forever”

– Nirvana “MTV Unplugged”

– Matisyahu “Live at Stubbs”

– Zac Brown “Pass the Jar”

– Grateful Dead “Dick’s Pick’s Vol. 29”

– Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunder’s “Well Matched”

– The Decemberist “Live at Soho”

Keenann hard at work in the greenhouse

Our neighbor Farmer Joe helped out with prepping the fields

The production greenhouse is in full swing

Summer Sign-up, Molly-our new LGD, What’s going on

Summer Sign-up time:

We are very excited for this year. Our CSA has grown rapidly and is keeping us energized after sixteen years of farm ownership. If you are interested in a summer share, the time is now. Our new software

Farmer Will inspects CSA boxes

program “Farmigo” makes signing up for the 2011 season very easy. As an added bonus you can create an account with the farm and fund it for as little as $100. In addition to summer shares we will maintain an on-line store this year. So you will have the ability to add items to your shares as you see fit. It’s going to be a great season and we hope you’ll join us!

Molly the Maremma:

Molly hard at work

Our line of pastured eggs “Eric’s Eggs” is the fastest growing component of our business. Raising birds outdoors presents certain challenges that don’t exist in a barn. We skid housing around the farm and protect the birds from coyotes and other predators using electric fencing. We haul water and feed and collect eggs by hand, the old fashion way. Owls and hawk were the one challenge we didn’t have a good answer for. Aerial predation is a big problem. Maremma sheepdogs have incredible protection instincts and are bred to guard livestock.  Known in the business as “LGD’s” (livestock guard dogs), they are happiest working. A couple of weeks ago we adopted Molly from a farm in Mass. She had been working sheep her entire life, but she took to chickens with zero problems. Soon she will be joined by a puppy.

What’s going on:

A lot!! We are repairing our big production greenhouse which took a big hit during the December 1st storm. We are also building two new greenhouses and two large skidable houses for laying hens. We are seeding crops for summer production, and delivering our Spring shares. Very soon we expect to be doing tractor work out in the field. No doubt about it the 2011 season is in full swing.

Piglets!! A sure sign of spring.

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