There may be 6 inches of snow on the ground still, but spring comes in many forms. Like 13 lambs born to 8 ewes, a twinning record for us this year! And after a long winter our manure shed runeth over, a good sign of spring just around the corner. Our newest addition to the equipment family, our fancy new (used) spreader waiting to feed the hungry grass we just know is under there somewhere. And maybe the most hopeful thing of all, over 100 trays of seedlings now poking their little heads out of the soil in our greenhouse (no pictures!), trusting that there will be warm soil to stretch their roots into in less than a month. It's coming, you just have to look in the right places!
No one does everything here. Everything exists on our farm because of multiple people pitching in, bringing their piece of the puzzle. Our mushroom logs came from a friend in Newfane, that Jesse and Caitlin manage, with the help of an existing water system that the Bailey's put into place in years past. The beef cows were located through phone connections that Ashlyn made, are grazed in partnership with Scott Farm, and are rotated daily by Ben. Although it takes extra energy to work in a highly diversified group on a highly diversified farm, we are able to fill in each others holes and magnify each other efforts. Its kind of like magic!
We have had some beautiful broilers from our pastures this year. They have been increasing our soil fertility during there 10 or so weeks of life on the farm, and providing superb tasting chicken to our various customers (including ourselves!) The beef have been building soil to at Scott Farm, using the grazing techniques of Ian Mitchell-Innes, with great results. We have had a slew of guests and helpers, most notably the amazing work of our dairy intern Yarrow. "The Boys", Miney and Luke, our tried and true Haflinger team has headed back to the northern part of the state with Bekah (Jay and Janet's daughter). We unfortunately lost one of our favorite goats, Ira (seen below in earlier entry, the black/white spotted Nubian), the weeds are a little tall in spots, and the chickens have had some predator pressures that we could do with out. Despite these minor set backs, and our lack of free time depending on the week, our season has been progressing well and we have loved all of the support that this community has given us. It keeps us going.
Please swing by if you haven't come in lately, tons of above mentioned delicious chicken, sweet corn from or buddy Rod Winchester over the hill, grass-fed milk, and Fair Winds Farms premium eggs.
Time to get back to it!
Hey all you shareholders!
Guess what, we got some rain!!! (I'm sure you noticed, but we're still excited.) We were starting to get worried and hooking up irrigation lines, since we had that hot, dry spell, but the fields have cooled off and gotten their feet wet, so things are looking up (literally, not looking down wiltingly...)
Sorry we haven't sent out a newsletter in a couple of weeks, I don't know what has gotten into us, call it heat stroke memory loss. The traditional summer veggies are finally coming in, so get ready for cucumber tomato salad, zucchini bread and coleslaw!
Fresh Garlic! Tomatoes
Our favorite recipe these days is a tomato with fresh basil and freshly made raw milk mozzarella. Here's a recipe for 30-minute mozzarella by Ricki Carrol - yum! 30-Minute Mozzarella
Here is a fun tidbit about what to do with all your "confusing-scary" CSA vegetables: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/confusing-scary-csa-vegetables-recipes
Other parts of the farm are busy as well: the dry spell has given us a chance to put up some hay for the winter, the goats are busy grazing the field edges (and occasionally visiting the neighbors), the pigs are rooting up poison ivy vines, and the horses are munching down the spot where our large high-tunnel will be moved to in the next few weeks. Our heritage turkeys are out on pasture in "the big house", and our standard turkeys arrived in the mail this morning!
We'll be processing our next batch of chickens on July 30, and will be offering discounts for buying them fresh, and buying in bulk - see the price list on the freezer in the farm stand!
We also will have our first lamb available in mid-August - we're selling whole lambs, so reserve one now for August or for late September!
See you soon!
Caitlin and Jesse
Welcome to the world, Rue's new bull calf! You're beautiful!
Welcome to the field, tomatoes and melons and husk cherries! It's finally safe to go outside!
Welcome back, pasture! We're so glad to see you!
Welcome, new incarnation of the farm store! We can't wait to invite all you friends in!
Welcome, new piglets! you'll be here soon, and we can't wait!
As always, stop by the store anytime- fresh milk is available for daily customers, and can be pre-bought in bulk for a discount . We also have beautiful veggies, fresh eggs and flower bouquets available, and will have this year's fresh chicken as of Wednesday, June 12th. See you there!
Maxine! Our Jersey cow, Melba, gave birth to this beautiful Jersey/ Guernsey heifer three weeks ago. Look how fast she's grown! She's currently adjusting her tummy from a mostly milk diet to milk and grass, and is an absolute hoot to watch. Stop by the farm and give her a scratch on the chin
With our new calf comes lots and lots of fresh milk, which is available in the farm store, for $5/ half gallon plus $2 jar deposit. Milk shares can be purchased for 4, 12 or 24 weeks for a discount. Want to learn more about processing raw milk into butter and cheese? We'll be teaching a processing class through Rural Vermont in June- more on dates and class size limits later.
We're looking forward to the arrival of a few more critters on the farm in the next weeks- our pigs will be here soon, and with them the fun of piggy belly rubs and mud wallows. Pork shares are still available, so drop us an email or call if you're interested!
Planting in the greenhouse this week I was presented with an amazing reality; the incredible diversity of life we have manipulated through agriculture. This past week we planted over 40 varieties of annual flowers and a dozen different types of hot peppers. This, of course, was just a small fraction of the possibilities available to us through our local seed companies. One testament to the resurgence of locally based and sustainably sized agriculture is the regrowth of regionally adapted varieties, both plant and animal, that are bred for our scale and markets.
Today we got our first beef cows of the season, sturdy Herefords, which we will keep on the green pastures of Scott Farm in Dummerston. We are excited about our new relationship with the Landmark Trust, which owns the Scott Farm. We are leasing pastures amongst the Scott Farm's orchards to graze, hoping to improve the pastures with intensive rotations and minimize the farm's fuel use by eliminating their need to mow. Stop by the Scott Farm on Kipling Road to say hello to the cows!
The farm met a milestone this week, selling out of summer vegetable CSA shares. It's a good feeling to know that we've only got the growing to do now! There are still plenty of milk shares and animals for reservation and Fair Winds eggs, which have gotten much more expensive at the coop lately (more on that later) are still the same old $5 at the farmstand.
What do April Showers bring???? Hopefully May flowers, but at Wild Carrot Farm they've already brought:
****"Brand New Baby Goats"! I've been delaying writing this post, hoping that Melba will give birth to the calf (calves?) that are bulging out of her sides so far that she can barely go from standing to lying down without laborious breath. We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of her calves for many reasons - baby cows are so cute(!)..... and also it will start the season of milk! (Goat milk excepted... already available weekly!) Whilst waiting for Melba to calve, Calamity Jane had two beautiful kids- a doeling and a buckling. They are so healthy and happily skipping around that no picture can do them justice.
**** PLOWING the fields for the first spring planting! As of this writing, we have seeded peas, carrots, beets, and transplanted kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and swiss chard.
****BABY CHIX get their first excursion onto fresh grass! When the chicks are born, they need to be very dry and very warm, and are kept in a brooder with appropriate temperature control. Today, we moved the brooder out of the greenhouse and put up some portable fencing. Onto greener pastures!
****SHEPHERD training! OBIE (Obediah) our sweet border collie has found his calling, and his instincts are quite keen. He loves bringing the ewes and lambs out to pasture in the morning, and back to the barn each evening. Now we need to start training the ourselves to communicate to Obie which direction to take them!
It would be fair to say that all of us at Wild Carrot Farm have a little bit of social justice and activism mixed into our blood. This week were able to combine that with our farming in a meaningful way. Not only are legislatures looking into GMO labeling for products sold in Vermont this year, they are also looking (again) at whether or not to allow raw milk to be distributed by Tier 2 raw milk producers at Farmer's Markets. The bill is S.70, and although it may not be the bill that should be passed to reform current raw milk laws it is a good vehicle to keep the raw milk conversation going and in the mind of our legislators.
We are lucky enough to have two great House members on the House Agricultural and Forestry Products committee: Tristan Toleno and Carolyn Partridge.
They both seem well versed about the pros and cons of current raw milk legislation and willing to work with raw milk producers to create a safe and scale appropriate set of regulations to serve the growing demand for raw milk and raw milk products. If you get a chance to talk to any of our elected officials make sure you let them know how much you care about small diversified farmers, and that anything from carrots to charcuterie is something you want to be able to get fresh and locally from Vermont's small farms.
We continue to be pleasantly overwhelmed by all that is happening around us here at Wild Carrot Farm. Our two milk cows are due to give birth soon, the ground is bare!, and the smell of green grass teases us now and then. We tried to extend this excitement to a bunch of new customers this past weekend at Post Oil Solution's farmers market held at the River Garden center in downtown Brattleboro. It think having one of our rabbits there really helped:
More signs of springs have started to arrive, namely a multiplication of green things and the arrival of our first baby chicks. The chicks are the amazing Freedom Rangers that we have been using at Wild Carrot in the past years. They are built for pasture, and their flavor is amazing! We'll be doing at least 4 batches of chickens throughout the season to satiate the demand for these wonderful birds.
The green house is quickly filling up and the more cold hardy plants like Kale and Collards are leafing out in earnest, followed by "lawns" of onion starts, and the beginnings of our delicious tomatoes!
And on top of all of this fun we had Jesse and Caitlin's friends from college who are apart of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange staying at the house for their "spring break". These are high-tech folks who helped us place the high tunnel with a fancy app on their iPhone that can use a picture of a location, coordinated with the GPS, an give you and accurate read on the effects of shadows and angle of sunlight in different times of the year. Pretty wild.
And just incase you are worried we are buckling down, getting serious, and taking care of buisness...
... well, sort of. I think we need to adjust Caitlin's diet, she might not be getting enough micro-nutrients.
There are still shares of everything available, but there are fewer and fewer spots everyday. Make sure to get in touch with us if you would like to participate of our awesome shares!
Time for chores, see you soon!
Give em' one warm day, and the snowdrops in your back yard will take a mile!
Speaking of, we've been welcoming babies of all kinds here on the farm. While we enjoy the antics of the kids and lambs, we're also anticipating the arrival of the Melba's calf ANY DAY. It's a lot of staring and belly rubbing, but it's terribly exciting to think that we'll be in cow milk in a few weeks, and have an adorable calf or two to love on.
Meanwhile, raw goat milk is available by reservation currently, at $8/ half gallon and $4/ quart.
Happy spring, y'all!
We drove the horses to town today. Four of us in the sleigh behind the Halflingers. Why, you ask? Well, we needed a $5 item from the hardware store, the truck was stuck in the snow, and . . . because we could!