Monthly archives "July 2014"

The new farmer revolution!

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Since we started farming together here on this land in 2010, the two of us have been learning HOW TO farm at the same time. Without any formal farming apprenticeships or interning experiences, we both were total greenhorns when we started. We didn’t have much money to live on, and every penny we made and make keeps going back into our farm. But you know what? We’ve learned ALOT these past 4 years, and we’re still learning, and we’re making a living. Each year, life keeps handing us humbling setbacks and curveballs, but we keep our eyes on the prize of fulfilling our mission and keep at it. Perhaps we aren’t doing everything perfectly just yet.  Many things we planned to have completed by now aren’t totally done. We’ve experienced some disasters and many frustrations. But this is how you learn. You have to hang in there during the tough times to see the reward.P1100925

This season it feels like we have our act together and are headed in a solid direction. It is satisfying to feel that the many steps we took toward a goal are finally adding up to something – It’s been a tough road to get here alright! The key for new farmers is to start something, work as hard as you can, and find the things you are really, really good at, then keep doing them and grow. When we started, we tried as many farm projects as we could. By necessity, many of them have been abandoned when it was clear that they weren’t helping us financially to move forward, or they just didn’t fit into our work flow, skill set, or we weren’t 100% passionate about the product we were producing. Too much diversity means you can go absolutely crazy trying to keep up with it all. Breeding poultry, rabbits, pigs and goats are some examples in our farm journey. Gardening for a CSA has been a challenge, especially starting on a totally new patch of land, and of course climate change has meant very odd weather patterns.

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What we are really passionate about is giving our ducks, chickens, turkeys, and pigs  the best lives possible on pasture. We love the food that they become. Since we can never stop exploring other things we may love, we are trying out pastured veal calves this year as our new project and so far they have been just lovely to raise. Basically, the theme for us is animals. Our farm start-up was based on providing an ethical alternative to factory farm food and connecting customers to their food.

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Check out the latest issue (August) of ACRES USA magazine to get the first installment of Khaiti’s article series geared towards new farmers. The focus is to help aspiring ecological farmers get going into farming smartly, by following their passion. We’re pretty excited to watch this publication reach out to the new farmer revolution underway!

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pastured!

Can you spot the lady ducks hiding in the grass?1655737_10152199133991448_4193783938692871107_oOur pigs really enjoy the cool shade in their “Pig Park,” where they get to run, root in the dirt and play as all pigs should!P1100883

Our goslings, chickens and turkeys all get along just great on pasture, the little turkeys like to help clean up the broilers’ beaks after dinner.

P1100856P1100851One of our pastured veal calves, Bucco, enjoying some delicious grazing.
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Our hay harvest is coming off the field where we pastured our turkeys, geese and chickens last summer and fall. Our bale yield has gone up considerably because of all the nutrients the birds added to the soil!P1100821

A simple and delicious dinner to make without heating up the kitchen hardly at all: Fresh Duck Egg pasta, amaranth greens (you could use any greens) and garlic scapes (or green beans would be good too) all cooked together in a pot of water for 3-4 minutes, then topped with salty aged goat feta, olive oil and black pepper.P1100809P1100813

Nanking Cherry Seeds after extracting the juice, which is shown in the process of simmering down with apple vinegar and frozen serrano peppers from last year to make an experimental cherry hot sauce. The seeds we’ll save to plant next year.P1100812P1100815P1100889 P1100890 P1100892

 

July is here!

Here we are suddenly, in the depth of summer! It really goes by increasingly more quickly every year, especially when we have a blink-of-the-eye spring like we’re getting used to. While many folks get to soak up summer by going on vacation, your farmers are focused like a hawk on making the most of the short warm weather growing season. This is our busiest time of the year, when we have to get EVERYTHING done before the snow comes. It’s true, winter is breathing down our necks already!

The grass and plants are lush in the pastures, so it’s THE optimal time to be pasturing animals. As they graze and forage, they capture all that nutritional goodness and flavor, and then provide it to us in their meat, milk or eggs. pastured animals are solar collectors! Our hayfield will be cut and baled, preserving 8 acres of green grass and other plants for the animals to bed and snack on over the long winter. Last winter our pigs ate nearly 20 bales of hay in 2 months, and the ducks used about 200!

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Our ducks are SO happy- the wet and cool start to summer is keeping them extremely content and laying lots of eggs. Their eggs taste so fresh and delicious in this mega-green pasture season, and they are SO good for you! We are offering a special price at The Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis this month, so go grab a couple 6 packs and make some duck egg salad or deviled duck eggs! Every 6 pack you buy supports us continuing on here, doing right by our animals and caring for the land. Thank you, thank you!

Exciting news: we will be debuting our Duck Eggs at The Willy Street Co-op in Madison, Wisconsin later this month!P1070843 P1070841 P1100732P1100745