- Rutabaga: Mashed Rutabagas
- Rainbow Carrots : Whiskey Glazed Carrots
- Watermelon Radish
- Beets: Sweet Beet Pancakes
- Yukon Gold/Mixed Potatoes: Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Onions, Cipolinni and Candy
- Cabbage: Caraway Cabbage, Barley Soup al Verde
- Leeks (use like mild onion)
- Fall Red Radishes
- Winter Squash, Mix: Buttercup, Carnival Acorn: Buttercup Squash with Apples
- Fall Salad Mix
- Brussel Sprouts: Momofuku’s Roasted Brussels
Happy Thanksgiving! The harvest holiday is my favorite holiday of the year. A perfect celebration of the season’s abundance accompanied by lots of family and appreciation for all of our blessings.
One of the blessings of the season was having Vanessa come to the farm for the long-season internship. She left last week to begin her next adventure. We will miss her, not only for the hardwork and passion that she brought to the table, but also for the love, friendship, and fun she added as she became a part of our family over the season.
I’m quite excited by the new rotational grazing system I’ve created for the hens next year. One issue I have with the current system is that the chicken yard always becomes decimated, no matter the size. This problem points us to the solution of incorporating a rotational grazing system for the hens. We will also create an egg abundance to meet the increasing demand by adding 100 new layers. From spring thru fall, the girls will be on 1/3 acre of fresh grass for a week at a time and then rotated to a new 1/3 acre pen. Each paddock will get 21 days of rest before having the chickens revisit. The vision is to also add orchard trees to this permanantly fenced pasture system and let the birds be pest and disease controllers while adding fertility and benefiting from the added shade.
Since we’ll have more chickens than we’ve had before, we had to consider the feed source. Instead of using the local layer mix we have which creates a pretty tight margin for any profit for the eggs, we are installing a sprouted barley system (fodder system) which will satisfy 90%+ of the chickens dietary needs as well as provide feed for our pastured pigs and meat bird in the summer and cattle/goats in the winter. The local barley is a non-GMO food source and provides a more nutritious diet than the dry grain. We also save money on feed by using this system and other farm animals also get to benefit. The water used to wash the sprouting grains will go to water the animals from spring-fall and also has added nutrition. This mini hydroponic system will be set up in the root cellar which is very insulated and requires no added light, and minimal heating during the winter. I also use this heated space to start all the vegetable seeds for the garden so the heat provides dual purpose.
The last part to the chicken puzzle is where will all these girls live in the winter? We will repurpose the garden shack to become the chicken shack in the rotational grazing pasture spring thru fall, but this housing is not large enough for confined winter housing and doesn’t have the electrical output for heated waterers and a light to keep the birds laying. The oldest hoop house fits the need perfectly. The birds will be protected from winds, will be warm and get sun during the day, will put their manure in a deep bedding which will help reenergize the soils, and there is electricity already there for their waterer to be plugged into. Now we are stacking purposes within the old hoophouse and will rotate the birds with a tomato crop during the summer.
I love how a problem really becomes the ignitor for creating a whole new system that functions holistically and truly benefits everyone in the end. These are the same sort of principles used in permaculture and I naturally love the challenge in finding sustainable solutions. For whatever reason, I seem full of energy to be assessing the different systems on the farm right now and trying to look at ways to further develop relationships between critters on the farm and the garden. It can be a bit overwhelming at times as mind my starts firing off in a hundred different directions, so focusing on individual aspects of the systems helps me stay focused.
Eat Well. Smile Often.