Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We had a new arrival in the mail this week this week. Now, in addition to the little chickens, we have baby turkeys. They are about two weeks younger than the chickens and are still being kept indoors under a heat lamp.
Rather than raising the Broad Breasted White, the turkey found in the grocery store, these heritage breed turkeys (http://heritageturkeyfoundation.org/) are called Bourbon Reds. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy (http://www.albc-usa.org/) provides information about threatened heritage poultry and livestock in order to promote the genetic diversity of agricultural animals. By raising heritage breed birds it is possible to ensure the future of these animals which is being threatened by the industrial scale production of the Broad Breasted White.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Rodale Institute has been influential in promoting active composting. Composting is the decaying process whereby organic materials are transposed into a rich humus soil by microbes and insects. Compost can be used to help revitalize soil that has been overfarmed. As part of the lecture series, we reviewed the basics of composting and received Earth Builders, backyard composters. Of course we won't be making 200 ft rows of compost, but we have to start somewhere. We also got to see the Rodale Institute's compost turner in action.
A composting tip - if you are wondering if your compost is finished, try the ziploc test. Put a shovelful of compost in a ziploc bag and leave it for 24 hours. When you come back, if it smells like earth, your compost is finished. If it smells bad or like sulphur, back to the pile!
Garlic scapes are the young unfurled seedpods that form on the hard neck garlic plants.
½ lb scapes (chopped into 1” sections)
1 cup olive oil
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
In a blender, combine the scapes and olive oil. Pour mixture into bowl and blend the cheese in by hand.
Garlic Scape Soup with Thyme
1 ½ cups garlic scapes (cut into 2” pieces)
1 medium onion
1 ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the scapes and onion in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are soft. Add the Thyme at the end. In the food processor, puree the vegetables and add chicken/vegetable stock as needed to make a smooth paste. In saucepan, heat the vegetable mixture and add the remaining chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and add cream. Season to taste. (Serves 2)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
A wide variety of goods are for sale at the market. Some vendors offer crafts or value added goods like cakes and candles. In addition, there are live plants and cut flowers for sale. http://www.chestertown.com/market/
One of my reasons for applying to this internship program was to promote connections between growers and consumers. Today, I got to experience first hand the role reversal that comes from moving from being the consumer to the producer. My first customer graciously agreed to let me document the experience. Yeah! I sold lettuce. If all goes well, I should be manning the booth on Saturday mornings throughout the season.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
In other bird news, an orthonologist was consulted regarding the Bobolinks. It turns out that the farm is part of their migratory pattern, but they do not nest on the Eastern Shore. Due to this Spring's unusual weather pattern, they stayed around a little longer this year. Problem solved. Theresa mowed down the yellow clover today.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
While we were weeding the onions today, a woman who walks her three dogs on the property pulled up in her truck and said, "I let the duck out of the kitchen, I hope that's okay." Theresa and I exchanged puzzled looks. What duck? She went on to tell us that the duck in the kitchen was quacking and flying up against the windows so she had decided to go ahead and let it out. Apparently, the kitchen door was left open and a wayward duck wandered in.
In other news, we finished weeding the garlic today. Finally!!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
One of the highlights for our farm visitors was seeing one of the birds that lives in the yellow sweet clover (Melilotus Officinalis), the Bobolink (Dolichonyx Oryzivorus). According to the Nature Conservancy, the Bobolink are in decline and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The yellow sweet clover was planted to retain organic material while the land is in fallow. It is particularly good at helping to break up compacted soil and entices honeybees and other pollinators to the fields making it well suited to act as a cover crop. However, yellow sweet clover can be so successful that it can become an invasive weed if left to seed. The Bobolink nests in praries and grasslands and seems to have taken a liking to our clover field.
Currently under discussion is whether the protection of the Bobolink or the problem of an invasive species will win out in the decision of whether or not to plow the field. I will keep you posted...