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.
(Words: Brenna Chase)