As you look out your window on a gray cold day like the day I am writing this, you might be wondering what in the world could a farmer be doing at this time of year. Well, write newsletters for one!
We have been planning our 2010 season Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In a CSA Customers purchase a membership in the farm at the beginning of the growing season. Members receive a weekly box of seasonal produce, herbs, eggs, and chicken. In addition you will receive recipes and cooking ideas in our newsletters for the food you receive. A CSA share is a wonderful way for you and your family to share the fresh, seasonal bounty of Bluebird Farm. Fresh food is more nutritional than week old food picked unripe and shipped across country. In addition, reestablishing the connection between farmers and eaters is an important step for personal health, community vitality, and environmental stewardship. We have been very excited about all the positive feedback we have been getting about the CSA. If you are interested in learning more about the CSA then you can read about it on our website. If you have not received a December CSA update in addition to this newsletter and you are interested in the CSA please contact us so we can put you on our CSA list.
Our seven pigs have been enjoying themselves outside these past few months. These days they huddle together in their shelter at night for warmth. But as soon as the sun comes over the trees they are up and about eating, playing, and eating some more. They will grow to a harvestable size by mid-February. Our pork will be available in large and small family packs and by the cut. You will receive more information on our pork prices and how to purchase the meat later this week.
We have been putting out plenty of fresh hay for the pigs to sleep in and eat. They especially like finding seed heads in the hay. Our chickens and pigs have been living together for the winter which has resulted in some pretty funny scenes. My favorite so far is a chicken eating seed heads that had stuck to the back of a pig while the pig enjoyed her mid-afternoon nap. Together the chickens and pigs are providing the raw ingredients for next year’s compost piles.
The other activity we find time for in the winter is continuing education. We were able to attend the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s annual conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people involved in the food system in all sorts of ways from farmers to distributors to food activists. One presentation of particular interest to me was the compost tea workshop. Compost tea is a brew made with a small amount of good compost, a microbial food source like molasses, and warm water. The ingredients are combined and aerated for a day or two. The resulting mix is an amazing mix of microbes, nutrients, fungi, and protozoa. If made properly, compost tea can build soil, feed plants, and fight disease. We hope to do some of our own experimenting with compost tea.
Winter gives us time to cook. The holidays give us an excuse to cook decadent food. Marie tried her hand at using our eggs to make eggnog. It was the smoothest, yummiest, richest eggnog you have ever tasted. In fact, it was so thick and rich that we had to eat it with spoons instead of drink it!
Our chicken, eggs, and greens continue to be available at the farm. You can also find our food cooked into delicious dishes at Millstone Market and Kitchen located on South King St. in Morganton. Please call or email to arrange to arrange a visit or pickup at the farm at: (828) 584-7359 or bluebirdfarmNC@gmail.com . See how your chickens were raised, where the fresh eggs come from, walk through the garden, and visit our animals in the pastures. We would love for you to visit; just call or email to arrange one. In the meantime you can read about our farm activities here, at our blog www.BluebirdFarmNC.blogspot.com or learn more at www.bluebirdfarmnc.com
William and Marie