I am squeezing in a February newsletter by the skin of my teeth. In early February I couldn't think of any exciting projects to tell you about. Then mid-February came along and we have been too busy since to tell you about all the goings-ons at Bluebird Farm.
We took our pigs to the butcher on February 15th with the generous help of two fellow farmers (one lent the livestock trailer and another drove). We don't have a stock trailer, and even if we did our truck is not big enough to pull one. So we are on the lookout for stock trailers and trucks to rent or trade for. We will need to work out animal transportation a handful of times each year. The farmer who lent us the trailer is raising beef without the use of antibiotics or hormones right here in Burke County. The cattle are not entirely grass finished, but they do live on pasture and are grass fed with grain supplements. If you are interested in this beef let us know and we can pass along contact information.
But, I digress. The pigs returned to Bluebird Farm three days later as delicious pork. We are slowly sampling all the cuts. Italian Sausage received high marks, we enjoyed a melt in your mouth fresh ham roast, and Marie cooked some amazing short ribs. I won't even try to describe the fresh thick sliced bacon. All of our pork products (except the sold-out ham and shoulder roasts) are available on farm right now. If you haven’t tried our pork, please come out to the farm to purchase some! We do have one extra special cut available. Try a beautiful, succulent boneless loin roast. Boneless loin is regularly $9/pound, but we will offer these large roasts at $6.00/pound. They are about 6 inches wide, almost cylindrical and weigh 10 pounds each. What a wonderful roast for an Easter gathering or for a large family dinner with perfect pork sandwich slices as leftovers!
On the vegetable front we started cabbage, kale, lettuce, and spinach last week. We now have trays of baby vegetables in our greenhouse. The bright green baby plants are so fresh looking against the dark, moist potting soil. After a frozen winter of white snow and brown mud seeing the little green leaves reaching up for the light is an amazing sight. The cabbages we started are one of the vegetables I am really excited about. We are growing three varieties, a green cabbage, a red cabbage, and a savoyed type. The Savoy cabbage is green in color, and savoyed type refers to the wonderful crinkly, wavy texture of all the tightly packed sweet cabbage leaves.
More garden projects are on the horizon. If the rain will hold off for the next few days we will begin breaking ground on more new vegetable beds. We will also begin piling the hay/manure bedding pack from the previous pigs into windrows. This wonderful mixture (although I will admit same less than pleasant odors in its primitive state) will turn into a black, earthy smelling compost mixture with the help of millions of soil microbes. The compost windrows are built right where the pigs were, which is also a new vegetable garden plot. So we will avoid unnecessarily lifting and moving the compost several times (a good rule of thumb around here is to fight gravity as little as possible). So the winter pigs (with some help from us) will have prepared a new garden area from scratch.
Does anyone have any good ideas for the name of the new garden? Give us your ideas!We plan on growing winter and summer squash there, along with sweet potatoes, and many different types of flowers.
No sooner had we started delivering the pork than we purchased a new round of pigs from Warren Wilson College. These pigs spent several days in a corral allowing them adjust to their new surroundings. Meanwhile we worked like crazy partially clearing an area in the woods to create a woodland pig paddock. On Friday we moved the pigs along a 1/8 mile pathway to their new paddock. After a few unplanned detours into the woods and one jailbreak from the new corral they happily settled down to the task of turning the forest into pasture for us.
So that’s the news from Bluebird Farm for February. Despite the weather we all expect Spring to be just around the corner, and with it the excitement of a fresh season of growing and sharing. We look forward to building our community with you this year and bringing fresh healthy foods from Bluebird Farm into your lives. As always, call or email with any questions or to share any thoughts about farming and food.
William and Marie