Summer on the farm!
by Pete on July 5th, 2012

We can hardly believe it's approaching mid-summer already!  Our 2nd harvest of tasty pasture-raised chickens is scheduled for next weekend and we have our first round of pigs set for harvest for early next month.  Eggs have been plentiful this season with our new flock of hens and the rabbits are, well...breeding like rabbits!  It's been a great and busy season so far and no doubt it will continue unabated until frost in October. 

 

Pasture-raised, organic-fed hens at White Pond Field

New for this season - we have moved our entire flock of over 600 hens, and all their mobile coops, up to the field adjacent to White's Pond on Plainview Road.  For those who have missed seeing the birds on the large pasture near the Verrill Farm stand, and wondered where they went - head up  to White's Pond and you will see them loving their new field.  We moved fields because it was time to spread the fertility around as well as try some new ground.  We planted a new pasture of white clover and grasses last season and it grew in just great this spring.  The field is generally dry and stony but due to regular rainfall the clover has thrived - as have the birds.  We've been moving the wagons forward every two days to spread fertility (the chicken poop!) and to reduce impact in any one area to a minimum.  We want the grass and clovers to regrow so we can graze again.  The hens love to eat clover and it creates the most fantastic tasting eggs with deep deep deep orange yolks!  We're on our second trip around the field and plan to keep moving as long as the pasture remains in good shape. 

Forage-finished rabbits!

This year we have finally begun trialing rabbits on pasture!  This has long been a goal of ours and this season we made it happen.  We are still just in trials but so far reaction has been very positive.  The bunnies are taking at least two additional weeks to grow-out but we've had reports from 80 Thoreau (a concord restaurant) that the bunnies are really flavorful (ie, tasty!) and have excellent moisture while also being quite lean.  A win-win!

Pastured Piggies!

We love our pigs!  This season we are growing a few groups of pigs both here on the farm and at an undisclosed location at our friends farm.   Our first harvest will be in early August so we can re-stock the mini-store and begin to distribute some early samplers for folks who are eager to begin diving into some tasty pork. 

The Wooly Pigs are doing great and are much fun to have on the farm.  Most will be sold to Boston-area restaurants beginning in October - and we'll post more info on which restaurants to head to if you are keen on trying these amazingly tasty animals. 

Pasture-raised, Organic-fed Meat Chickens

The birds are growing great!  For the second season in a row we are growing the birds on Soutter Field (the cow pasture) on Sudbury Road, near Route 2.  It's been a great field for us and the birds and we hope to continued access for years to come!  As you can see in the lower image, the fertilizer (poop) from the birds really helps the pasture grow.  The birds are great for the fertility of the field, and this in turn provides improved forage for the cows.  Another win-win!

Next week we'll be processing our 2nd round (of 5) of birds and so far, they are looking to size up perfectly.  The weather, while hot, has been cooperating well after a rough start to the season.  We had some cold and wet weather for awhile in the earl spring, and then a fisher cat attacked all the coops dragging over a dozen birds to their premature demise.  We've since battened the coops up better and are now sorrounding the coops with electrified poultry netting.  Alot more management time but we need to keep the birds safe and sound!




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