Friday, January 29, 2010

Seed ordering

Rain in 24 hours: 3.5 inches
Outside work done: 1 very wet hour

The best place to be was inside, warm and dry. We have been working away at our seed order for 2010. A seed order might sound like a simple event, and for a home garden it mostly is. With a backyard or community garden plot physical space limits your ability to go wild with vegetable varieties. But on a farm scale, a seed order is a different beast. And unfortunately, the most fun part is the easiest.

It is wonderful to receive seed catalogs this time of year and ogle at all the bright colors and descriptions of flavors. Choosing appealing varieties is a fun game of finding beautiful looking vegetables with good flavor that are adapted to your growing region.

But, then the work sets in. We can't simple order a packet of each thing, then on the recommended planting date, go toss the seeds in the field. More than likely we would get nothing, and what we did get would come all at once and in all the wrong quantities. So the past few days more farming has taken place on the computer than in the field.

The spreadsheets must be cultivated!

I have been studiously entering planting dates, days to maturity, spacing, and a host of other information related to vegetable culture. Each of the 101 vegetable varieties we have selected is different. And don't forget about the herbs and flowers! The results of the computer work will be a well-planned planting and harvest calender. This calender will allow us to smoothly (at least in theory) go through the spring planting varieties and successions to ensure a bounty of wonderful food all season long.

As our eyes begin to cross from looking at the screen too long we dream of the colorful, good smelling, tasty, fresh food that awaits us all. We look forward to sharing!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Farm Newsletter

January came in with an arctic blast and a rooster’s crow. Initially we laughed at the weather reports calling for cold weather. Ah! Didn’t we just move from Colorado where it is really cold? Well, a good rule for the New Year is “don’t laugh at the weather.” We sure weren’t laughing on those cold mornings trying to thaw both our fingers and the animal waterers. Sadly the snow-cold combination finished off our fall vegetables (except the carrots as those of you who attended the CSA meeting know, but more on that later). But caring for animals and making plans for next year as kept our thoughts away from dead vegetables.

Our new year was also heralded in with the first crow from one of our roosters. We have over forty roosters here at Bluebird Farm. Believe it or not we did this intentionally. All of our roosters are part of our search for a better meat chicken and greater self-sufficiency. As the experiment suggests many of the roosters are destined for our table, but a select few will take up positions as part of our heritage chicken breeding program.

Most farms (including us) receive their chickens as day old chicks in the mail from large hatcheries. These hatcheries are located all over the United States. This fall our birds came from Missouri and Texas. While most hatcheries breed, hatch, and sell healthy good chickens there is one important drawback-there is no possibility of local adaptation. Along with plant breeding, animal breeding (especially poultry) has left the realm of the farmer and is now controlled by a relatively small number of larger companies. We are very interested in retaining at least a portion of control over our chicken breeds. So we plan to keep 1-2 roosters from about 5 breeds to learn about chicken breeding and raise some of our own layers and broilers. We look forward to sharing the results with all of you in the form of eggs and meat.


Winter is a farmer’s time to plan. The most notable planning event (not that planning is typically a very exciting venture) took place on January 10th here at Bluebird Farm. We hosted over 30 adults and children for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) planning session. The result of the meeting is that our 2010 season CSA is planned! You can learn all about the CSA on our newly updated website. There is information on the general CSA concept as well as size, cost, and logistics of Bluebird Farm CSA.

Our pork will be available in only one month. We are accepting advance orders on family packs. If you place a deposit on a family pack before January 31st you will receive free delivery (Morganton area only). CSA members who place their CSA deposit by January 31st will also receive an additional 5% off of Pork Family Packs. Our pork, chickens, and vegetables will also all be available at the Morganton Farmers’ Market beginning the second Saturday in May through the second Saturday in October. We have also applied to attend the Hickory Farmers’ market. We look forward to seeing you this coming summer at the farm and at farmer’s markets!

Until then,

William and Marie

Friday, January 8, 2010

Frozen



Days of below freezing weather have made some extra work around the farm. Animal water freezes up and needs to be moved or changed once or even twice every day. Yesterday it finally rose above freezing and we basked in the warmth. I also had some fun playing with the ice from our water barrels.




The chickens don't seem to mind the cold too much. This is a silver laced wyandotte rooster, one of our prettiest breeds.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CSA Meeting and Pork Orders

Come help us start our new year's plans at our CSA organizational meeting. In the spring of 2010 we will begin our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. 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. Learn more about CSA here.

We want to hear what you want from Bluebird Farm CSA. We also want to take some time to show you around the farm and talk about our ideas. The meeting is Sunday, January 10th at 3pm at Bluebird Farm. For directions click here. Bring warm clothes and outdoor shows to walk around the farm. After a brief tour we will come inside for delicious snacks made from farm food and hot drinks. RSVP by email BluebirdFarmNC@gmail.com or phone 828.584.7359.

Pasture raised pork- Order Now!

We are accepting advance orders for pastured pork! Our pigs are raised without the use of antibiotics. They spend their entire lives outdoors. Outside on pasture they can express their natural behaviors; rooting and enjoying fresh grain, roots, grass, and hay. They are a mixture of Berkshire and Tamworth, two heritage breeds that have hardy characteristics that allow them to flourish outdoors. Heritage breeds have also been selected for the outstanding flavor of their meat.

Try our delicious pork! Buy our pork in family packs or by the individual retail cut. Available in a variety of delicious cuts; Tenderloin, Pork chops, Bacon, Italian Sausage, Bratwurst, Country Sausage, Spare Ribs, Fresh Ham Roasts, Picnic Shoulder Roasts, Boston Butt Roasts. Our pork is antibiotic-free and has no added hormones, nitrates, or preservatives. Cuts are vacuum sealed, labeled, frozen, and USDA certified. For more information on family packs and pricing click here.

Availability

Pork will be available in mid-February. Please contact us or print and mail attached order form to reserve your pastured pork! We will notify you of the delivery dates for reserved Family Packs.

Delivery

Place a deposit on an advance order for a large or small Family Pack by January 31st, and receive free delivery to your home in the Morganton area. Delivery fee for a Family Packs ordered after January 31st is $10.

Ordering

Contact us- print and mail order form with your deposit or order by email or phone and mail deposit separately. Your order is not final until we receive a deposit.

*Please make all checks payable to Marie Williamson

Mail non-refundable deposits to:

Marie Williamson
4178 Bluebird Dr.
Morganton, NC 28655


Thank you for supporting local farms!