October 20, 2010

wordless wenesday

Caught in the rain while harvesting arugula and tatsoi!

October 18, 2010

a month to honor ourselves

Fall has set in around these parts. The leaves are turning and though we don't leave the farm much, we do drive up and down the long and winding driveway down to the barn and back to deliver just-picked produce for washing and sorting. The leaves we pass on the way up the driveway are just breathtaking. We've even had the wood stove fired up and have happily huddled around it with tea and soup to warm up after working out in the cold rain.

October is the month to honor our bodies here at the farm and all of us are doing a detox/elimination diet. The season is drawing to a close and we've asked a lot of our bodies by overworking, eating on the run and drinking lots of coffee to keep us going on those 14 hour harvest days. We've all taken a break from gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol and have been using herbs and supplements for a gentle detox.

With all of this amazing food growing right here, 5 creative minds in the kitchen and some really great gluten-free products, we have hardly been starving. The first day was rough (caffeine withdraw headaches all around!) But after that it got so much better and it's really been an eye opening experience for all of us as we're learning more about ourselves. We've just started adding some foods back into our diets this week.

This is the last week of the farm CSA. Yesterday and today we picked tatsoi, arugula, dill, spicy greens mix, turnips, eggplant, kale, pea greens, peppers, hot peppers, haukeri turnips and pineapple tomatillos. Blackberry Meadows is doing a winter CSA for a few folks and we'll still harvest for markets until mid November.

Then it will be time for the next big project . . . the turkeys.

*If you're looking for some good gluten-free products, some of our favorites are Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour (makes the best pancakes!), Tinkyada brown rice pasta (the best!), Sami's Millet and Flax Bread, Udi's Gluten-Free Bread and Mary's Gone Crackers original crackers. . . just to name a few! If you've ever been gluten-free, you know there are lots of products out there but only a select few worth mentioning.

October 9, 2010


It's hard to believe these are the same cute little fluff balls that fit in the palm of my hand when they arrived just 9 weeks ago. They grow so fast, in fact, we're trying to slow them down so they don't get too big. We love raising turkeys and suffer a little heartbreak each year as Thanksgiving nears. There is just no doubt in my mind that these guys and gals are living happy lives. They're so much fun to have around.

This turkey has a brilliant idea!

Check out the 2 turkeys in the background doing their wing stretch dance!

Now that we're at a new location, the turkey setup is a little different but we've got a pretty good system... for now, anyway. They roost and sleep in the greenhouse which we've turned into their 'home base' and in the morning they go outside. Lately Nate has been herding them out to a fresh patch of grass inside a ring of temporary fencing. The greenhouse floor is covered in wood chips which we get for free from the township. Each morning, after we move them outside, we rake up all of the manure from under the roosts and add it to the compost pile. This is going to be one valuable, fertile compost pile!

Turkeys have a really strong instinct to roost. This instinct is what keeps them safe at night in the wild while they sleep. Predators can't get to them if they're up off the ground. We feel it's important to allow our animals to express their natural instincts. We want them to express their full turkey-ness. So, Nate built them roosts.

What we've done the past 2 years is house turkeys in our movable field shelters. For starters, we have more birds than we've ever had before but more importantly, there are no roosts in the shelters. We had been fencing off the area around the greenhouse and letting them roam there but they went through all of that grass already. They go crazy for fresh grass and we don't want to deny them of that. That grass is what keeps them healthy and what makes them so healthy for us to eat. As a result of all that grass consumption, they are really high in omega-3's.

So, we've been trying to come up with solutions for how to best house them and give them fresh pasture daily. Basically, we're trying to keep Nate from having to do any more building this season. He's our fix-it/design-it/invent-it/build-it guy around the farm and the poor guy is all 'built' out. We'll do some planning over the winter and will think about building a bigger, better turkey shelter for next season.

So, Nate's spent some time practicing this herding thing and figuring out what sounds to make to keep the turkeys alert. Turkeys imprint so easily and follow us everywhere so he thought maybe he could take advantage of that. In fact, the reason they can't totally free range without any fencing is because they would just follow us home and poop all over the porch!

I was at work the other morning and got a call from Nate and it went something like this:

Me: "Hello?"
Nate: "I did it!!!"
Me: "You did what?"
Nate: "I herded the turkeys to new pasture!!!"
Me: "You herded them?"
Nate: "Yes!!!"
Me: "With fencing and help from everyone there?" (Mind you, there are 94 turkeys.)
Nate: "No, all by myself using 2 long bamboo rods!!!"
Me: "You mean they stayed with you and you got them where they needed to go with no one escaping?"
Nate: "Yes!!!"

Needless to say, he was pretty excited and I couldn't quite picture how he did it until I came home and it was time for him to herd them back home to roost. Oh my, what a sight.

Let's hope it continues to work. At least Nate and the turkeys are having fun!

October 5, 2010


A few photos from harvest days the last few weeks . . .