This summer Turner Farm is hosting six evenings at the farm with a farm-raised feast prepared and served by Nebo Lodge in the Turner Farm barn. 2013 Barn Suppers will be on the following dates:
Saturday, July 13th
Thursday, July 25th
Thursday, August 8th
Saturday, August 10th
Saturday, September 28th Fall Harvest Supper
For more information or to reserve a space at the table, visit www.nebolodge.com. We hope to see you there!
We are excited to add three Jersey calves to our small dairy herd and look forward to having raw cow's milk and cheeses in future. Olive, Betsy, and Mable will be grazing in the newly seeded pastures behind the barn and will be bred next spring and calf in 2014. They come from White Orchard Farm in Frankfort. White Orchard produces high quality Certified Organic Milk from their grass-fed Jersey herd. Not only will the calves be adjusting to rhythms of the farm they will be adding much needed manure to our pastures. Please come visit them and let us know what products you would be interested in as we experiment with cow's milk and look to expand into making yogurt, butter, soft and hard cheeses. -James
Well, March has arrived with eerily hot days and snowstorms. Molly, Linda and I have started seeding the earliest crops in the greenhouse: 2,600 onion plants, 1,700 shallots, 900 leeks and 200 artichoke plants. There is also broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, kohlrabi, fennel, beets, parsley, cilantro, and dill that will all be transplanted out into our unheated hoop houses in April, and more trays seeded every week. We are trialing some new micro-green varieties early this spring as well. These are baby greens that are sown in open flats and harvested at the cotyledon or first-leaf stages. Cut with scissors right out of the flats and mixed together, they make for an beautiful and nutritious salad mix. We currently sell micro-greens as garnish to Nebo, but are interested in experimenting with offering them retail as a winter salad option.
There’s a new component to the farm this season: we are in the beginning stages of building a poultry processing facility so that we will be able to raise and sell our own meat chickens. This is a pretty great addition to the farm, both in terms of the nitrogen-rich manure that all those pastured chickens will be adding to the fields, and because they are good to eat. The undertaking so far has meant a lot of shoveling gravel (to prep the basement floor where concrete will be poured), and a lot of time wading through regulations and paperwork. Nonetheless our pace has been steady, and we expect to have a working facility by May and our first batch of birds ready to butcher in late June. In another post I will talk about why we like to raise poultry on pasture, but for now think about how delicious those island-grown chickens are going to taste.
Tree clearing continues on the farm this spring as we complete the new pastures slated to be opened up for this season. We have just finished up the last of the wood splitting for the winter, with well over 100 cord stock-piled to feed the wood boiler. The work in the woods is good, warming, mind-clearing work, and although it’s always exciting to see spring coming around the corner, it is a little sad to put away the chainsaws until next winter and turn to the more fast-paced and complicated work of the farming season.
Thanks to the incredibly warm winter we are having, the TF crew has cleared and stumped several acres of forest, opened up much of the wooded pastures, and split 20 or so cords of wood. We are feeling strong and staying warm. We are also looking forward to new vegetable fields, new pastures for dairy animals, beef, and poultry, and better access to some of the unexplored corners of the farm. Frank and Jonathan, who lead our woods work, have been sharing their immense machinery knowledge as well as their immense shop space, to all our benefit.
The two hoop houses that were planted in late August and September have been producing beautifully so far this winter. We stuck to a basic trio - spinach, kale, and carrots - and we have harvested several hundred pounds combined of vegetables already. More to come! Hard to believe in less than 8 weeks we will begin planting seeds again, for the coming season's crops. The dairy goats are taking it easy now that milking is finished, bedded down in their hoop house. The 8 does will kid in a few months, bringing a new set of baby goats to the farm and starting milk production for the 2012 season. The goats share the farm for the winter with two groups of laying hens, one group that is laying currently and a younger set of pullets that will begin laying in march. - Brenna
Despite the unexpected snow storm that blew through Maine in late October, it has been an incredibly warm and mild fall for us. We have just completed construction of two new movable high tunnels, so our growing area will be increased for next season. This will give us the ability to rotate our fields more effectively, and, of course, to grow more vegetables and flowers. We continue to harvest spinach, carrots, kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuces, fennel and beets and operate our Saturday morning farm stand. Although our hoop houses are unheated, we will have carrots, kale, and spinach growing to supply Nebo Lodge with a modest supply of fresh vegetables during the winter months.
The dairy goats are being bred now, and we will see their milk production stop soon as they move into the winter season. This year we are breeding three does who were born on the property last year, our first, as well as the original five does who came to Turner Farm in 2010. This fall, as part of our high tunnel construction projects, we were able to make some improvements to our existing “hoop coop” - a high tunnel converted to use as livestock housing – and are planning to winter the goats inside it. High tunnels are great winter housing; warm, dry, and well-protected from the wind. This high tunnel housed our belted Galloway cattle last winter, and should make a perfect winter home for the small herd of goats this year. It has the added benefit of allowing us to use the protected barn space for kidding stalls. We are also increasing the numbers in our flock of laying hens, and now have two new groups of birds for next year’s egg supply – one flock that will begin laying this winter, and another that will come into production next spring. They are out on pasture still, since the weather has been so mild, but like the goats will move into more protected areas soon for the winter.
Twelve of our fifteen pigs have now been transported across to the mainland and taken to the abattoir, to return to us in a few weeks as bacon, hams, sausage, and chops. We have had some lively, frustrating days corralling spunky young pigs, and are as always sad to see them go. We will be offering our pasture-raised, organically fed pork this fall in a series of meat sales – dates to be announced.
As field cleanup is finishing up and the demands of livestock lessen, we are turning our attention to the winter work of clearing new areas of the property for pasture and crop fields. The farm is primarily forested in aging spruce, and uncovering the network of old stone walls as we clear is a reminder of the farming that was occurring here only a few generations ago.