Results for tag "pastured-poultry"

Stillwater CSA Fair & Duck Eggs are back!

Happy early Spring to all! Glorious weather has caused the ducks to announce it officially, they are laying eggs like crazy. I’m getting eggs to the co-ops one by one, right now you’ll find them at Eastside, Seward, Wedge, River Market, Mississippi Market and Lakewinds Richfield. YAY to the return of Duck Eggs! The ladies are enjoying this spring thaw very, very much. There is nothing a duck loves to do more than “schnibble” in the mud, my goodness!

Hey, and I’ll be in Stillwater this Saturday March 12th at the River Market Community Co-op’s CSA Fair from 1-4. Click here for the details, it’s gonna be so fun, as it is being held at the Maple Island Brewing location just a couple doors from the Co-op. Come meet and mingle with your local farmers and investigate if a CSA is a good fit for you, and just so you know- there are all kinds of CSA options now. I offer Pastured Poultry Shares, you’ll find an abundance of fresh vegetable shares, fruit shares, goatmilk soap shares, cheese shares, meat shares, flower shares and who knows what else you’ll find. There are so many enthusiastic and innovative farmers these days, it only makes sense to join in the excitement and get some of your food directly from farmers. We need your support to continue farming, and you know what? That food you get direct from the farmer tastes EVEN BETTER!!!12768322_10153493027221448_3215990080722172666_o 12771487_10153498200716448_3818020621917120688_o 12792267_10153499883536448_8373211548072486015_o 12794965_10153493027151448_6742669214104415332_o

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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LTD Design

LTD Farm Permaculture Design

It has been 3+ years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to build up what we have today here on the farm on a shoestring budget. There have been many wonderful moments and some very stressful events, and through it all we have kept our eyes on the future. Ideally, what do we want to be doing in 5 or 10 years? We feel that when we understand our deep-seated goals, it is much easier to work toward them. To make well-considered choices every day, week, month, or year, it is important for us to have our end goal in mind. We also know that our goals change, so we revisit these on a pretty regular basis.

Over the past few months we have put efforts into drafting our first basic whole-farm permaculture design. This design is the result of 3+ years of talking, sketching, working, fencing, building, and of course, dreaming. To some this design may look complicated, to others it may seem simplistic, but to us it is just right.

One of the goals of our current permaculture dream is to provide our core CSA members with the majority of their food, using resilient perennial systems as our primary agricultural methods. We love the one-on-one interaction and feedback we get from our customers, and find it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a farmer. We also know that the food we grow is the best food that there is to eat, and want to be able to share our own eating experience with the most appreciative of partners, our CSA members.

We have other goals, and there is much to discuss about our LTD Permaculture Design. We will keep you updated  in future blog posts as we build our systems and implement the design! Thank you for being part of LTD!

Emergent Patterns

Starting the hoophouse

We had a big meeting and now we have a plan…

It’s been 2 years and 8 months since we moved to our new farm, and after many many hours of backbreaking labor and gallons of sweat and tears, we now have a slightly better idea of the overall pattern of our plans for the land. We have raised hundreds of animals in different configurations, a ton of vegetables, planted some perennial fruit and nut trees and a shrubs, and created numerous experimental berms and swales to learn all we can about the flow of water and what works for us. We’ve tried growing mushrooms and learned how to get a tractor or skidsteer stuck in a field or marsh.

Building the Pavilion

There are so many aspects to one piece of land, whether it is 1 acre or 100 acres, that it is hard to get a handle on the totality of what is going on. It took us a couple years to even understand the weather patterns to some degree, and one lost hoophouse plastic covering to understand the power of the wind. This spring we are understanding so much more about the precipitation, and our need to channel this powerful element to reservoirs  like ponds and swales and away from roads and paths.

We had snow on May 1st which demonstrated that climate change is happening and we need to make some serious plans to deal with the consequences.

We have lived long enough here to also understand the landscape, soil,  flora and fauna, and our own patterns over the landscape as well. Now, with this knowledge in our heads, we start to go forward with a comprehensive permaculture design for the whole landscape. One thing to remember is that a permaculture design isn’t all about landscaping: planting fruit trees, sheet mulching strawberries, and herb spirals. No, it is very much about our human place in this world, and that includes our businesses and our personal lives.

Our ongoing plans include using the Keyline approach to landscaping our farm and creating pocket ponds that water our animals and perennial crops, which will integrate together as a regenerative system. We will be investing in the future with many nut trees & shrubs and an orchard. One of our main focuses will be on developing the fertility of the soil; the organic matter and humus, thus the cation exchange capacity, and overall nutrient availability of our soils, using such tools as a subsoil plow, intensive mob – grazing, and mineral supplements for animals.

As we go forward in this climate, we acknowledge the importance of pastured meat. We live in the Northern Climates, where annual vegetables have a pretty hard time overall because of the climate. There are many grazing animals that can provide an amazing and nutritious food and protein source (as well as other functions), and to disregard this will be to out detriment in the near future. Meanwhile, there are many hardy nut trees and shrubs that can also form the backbone of a complete diet, on a perennial woody plant that never needs tillage or cultivation, in a 3-dimensional vertical space. With pastured animals and nut trees we can re-organize a diet based on regeneration.

We will be posting updates as we continue forward on this path of creating and implementing the next steps of our permaculture design. We are super stoked  and looking forward to taking the next steps in our regenerative agriculture enterprises! Meanwhile we are also excited to visit Mark Shepard on his New Forest Farm on Friday to see real life examples of what we are aiming towards!

Intro To Permaculture, openings available

INTRO TO PERMACULTURE WORKSHOP

September 10, 2011

With Andrew & Khaiti French at LTD Farm

Do you want to live a more sustainable life? Have you heard about Permaculture and wondered what it was all about? Are you looking for some practical methods to reduce your ecological footprint and grow delicious food at home?

Come out & learn about the basic principles of Permaculture, a comprehensive design-centered approach to all aspects of sustainable living.

We will discuss fruit and nut tree planting, mushroom production, berms and swales, sheet mulching, pastured poultry, garden siting and design, composting, cover crops, and more. The purpose of this workshop is to give you an understanding of the ethics and principles of permaculture, some techniques and strategies to integrate permaculture into your life right now, and resources to continue your permaculture education. A large portion of the day will be set aside for field work. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and your mind full of new ideas. This is a unique opportunity to learn about this exciting new field on a real working permaculture farm.

We will provide a basic lunch made with on-farm organic ingredients. Please bring gloves, bug spray, water container, hat, work boots, shovels, snacks, and any other gear that will keep you comfortable outside.

To learn more or RSVP for this class, please email us at farmers@ltdfarm.com

-10 am to 5 pm, $50 per participant-

piglets, soap class, spring thoughts

Goatmilk Soap Making Class is this June 5th @ 1:30pm. Please let us know if you’d like to come out for this fun event and a full farm tour afterwards. Learn all the tricks we use to make a long lasting, gentle on the skin batch of soap, which will make you 30 bars of soap for gifts and your own soap needs. Class is $20, and you get a bar of soap to take home with you too!

learn how to make pretty soaps like this!

lil’ schmagoos

 

We picked up our last installment of 4 piglets for 2011. These cuties are half Hampshire, 1/4 berkshire 1/4 Black poland china. A good mix, and really pretty babies. They are about 35 lbs, and immediately started rooting and eating grass. The 4 yorkshire piglets we’d gotten last month, who are not bred to browse, root or anything normal for a good pig have been learning the ropes here on our farm, and are now happily rooting and eating grass like maniacs. We have the two groups side by side, and when the new babies came the 4 yorkshires were so excited to see them.

Last week was the pig harvesting of the two big girls: Penny and Squeak. It went very smoothly, but it is always hard to say goodbye. These pigs lived such gleeful, joyous lives with us on LTD Farm. They helped us get new vegetable garden patches tilled up, and wild bramble patches under control, and they got to fufill their natural instincts while doing this, which made them SUCH happy pigs. That’s what our mission is- raising small numbers of animals in a way where they get the best life possible. We can’t make a difference beyond our own sphere of influence and our abilities. This applies to everything in life you care about. DO the best YOU can do to change the things you don’t like!

the beginnings of head cheese post pig harvesting This is headcheese. You pick meat off the slowly simmered and seasoned pig's head. I know, gross sounding, but this is a way to show ultimate respect for a life that is taken- USE IT ALL!

our baby broiler chickens---growing by leaps and bounds for the Chicken Shares! Thanks to everyone who signed up early, these birds will live such a good life with us until harvesting day.

the fantastic turkeys, foraging maniacs who we adore!

We’re going to be doing some Duck Egg demos in June at Seward Co-op and both Mississippi Market locations. See our events calendar for the dates and times. Come have a snack and say hi!