Posts Tagged ‘local food’

Many people often ask us what a typical day at the farm is. Usually, we chuckle and proceed to explain that there is no such thing as “a typical day of the farm.” Just as we don’t have a 9-to-5 job in an office, as farmers, we accept that farming as a vocation is a lifestyle, not a job. It’s a professional career full of surprises and spontaneity, as well as flexibility and patience.

Now that we are in November and the Vegetable CSA season has ended, there is a sense of relief on the farm. We’re not necessarily more relaxed – we still have lots of bills to pay – but we’ve experienced a shift in the season and the direction we are headed. We now have more time to analyze our finances and improve our business management. Lots of construction projects are happening, including small things, like bins for winter squash and shelves for the toolshed. And we’re making holiday plans and taking steps to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. This was our November weekend on the farm:

We finally butchered our roosters. Our egg laying hens are more relaxed and happy now.

We finally butchered our roosters. Our egg laying hens are more relaxed and happy now.

After butchering the roosters, we made about 2 gallons of chicken stock. This is the good stuff!

After butchering the roosters, we made about 2 gallons of chicken stock. This is the good stuff! No cold or flu can beat us now.

It's important to take time to appreciate the wildlife on the farm. Many more waterfowl have moved into the big pond.

It’s important to take time to appreciate the wildlife on the farm. Many more waterfowl have moved into the big pond.

 

random pig

We still have chores on the weekend, like feeding and watering the livestock. The pigs were running so quickly, it was hard to get a good photo from this side of the fence…

While the Golden Vineyards crew are off on Sunday, we can borrow the tractor. This is the future fruit orchard and table grape vineyard getting subsoiled.

While the Golden Vineyards crew are off on Sunday, we can borrow the tractor. This is the future fruit orchard and table grape vineyard getting subsoiled.

We must remember to eat our greens! Lovin' Mama Farm salad mix with our beets made a delicious lunch. Homemade pumpkin pie (our pumpkins & wheat flour of course) was finished before the end of the weekend.

We must remember to eat our greens! Lovin’ Mama Farm salad mix with our beets made a delicious lunch. Homemade pumpkin pie (our pumpkins, eggs & wheat flour of course) was finished before the end of the weekend.

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Local Food Time Ticker

From The Land Connection http://www.thelandconnection.org Instead of comparing prices between locally-grown and non-local foods, let’s compare nutritional value and indirect economic benefits to the community!

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Just a reminder...we have amazing Pork & Lamb!

Hey, Mendocino County! This posting is for you! Westside Renaissance Market has a small selection of our meat as well. Try it, and then go all in for an amazing value by purchasing in bulk directly from Paula and Adam 🙂 Pork is available now, and Lamb will be available the 1st week of August.

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Have you heard of listener-supported radio? When I heard that KDFC was having its first ever fundraiser (yes, we *love* classical music), the hosts talked about listener-supported radio. And it made me think about our community-supported farm. In some ways they are similar. With our farm, without a community of eaters working with us, well, we will not be able to grow produce. If not enough people join the Vegetable CSA, we won’t have the operating funds to carry out the growing season.

If you’re not familiar with community-supported agriculture and why it’s so important for revitalizing local food production, please check out our recently updated About CSA page. And contact us if you have any questions! An associative economy – the essence of CSA – is a wonderful alternative to the current food distribution system, and you can participate in this new paradigm with us, Mendocino Organics CSA.

While you’re at it, see what Events we have in store this year for our CSA members. Why not reconnect with the food production system in a new way and see how your food is grown? And yes, yes, there will always be good eating involved with our farm!

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Hi, out there! Just wanted to let local folks know that we will be at the Willits Farmers Market this Thursday, October 27. We have not been going to the Willits market very regularly, partly because getting away from the farm for more than one market per week is hard on the three of us doing all the farming. But we’re excited to be at City Park this Thursday from 3pm – 6pm. We’ll be bringing our delicious sausages as well as some Berkshire pork, lamb, the last of summer’s cucumbers & eggplant, fall’s first cruciferous greens, and much more. Plan on making a delicious dinner with farm fresh goodies!

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Bay Area friends – consider attending the Slow Money National Gathering in San Francisco October 12-14! Vandana Shiva and Wes Jackson are just a couple of the keynote speakers. Paula from Mendocino Organics will be there on a panel, “Building Tomorrow’s Local Food Systems: Next generation food entrepreneurs share their vision and experience.” It will be a great event for investors, entrepreneurs, concerned citizens, and activists!

From the Slow Money website:

Thousands of Americans have begun affirming a new direction for the economy. It’s called Slow Money.

Inspired by the vision of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing As If Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered, published in 2009, the Slow Money Alliance is bringing people together around a new conversation about money that is too fast, about finance that is disconnected from people and place, about how we can begin fixing our economy from the ground up… starting with food.

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Farming is like dancing – there are slow dances and fast jigs and every pace in between. We’re at another hurried hustle this time of year. Summer crops like tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers are giving bloated harvests that call for routine attention.

Making tomato sauce with black plum tomatoes.

Yet under the guise of bounty, nature is slowly inching toward the quieter time of the year – fall and eventually winter – when crops slow down and the land lays still. So we are simultaneously prepping the ground and planting cool weather crops (those biennials like broccoli, lettuce and carrots) and preserving summer’s warm wealth in curing, pickling, making sauce and making sauerkraut.

Romanze potatoes that supplemented Live Power Community Farm CSA shares a few weeks ago.

With the higher food output this year, we’re also striving to consistently provide for markets we haven’t worked with regularly in the past, like Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op and Ukiah Brewing Company and Restaurant. We’re also finding that the markets and nearby restaurants can’t absorb all that we are producing, and CSAs are not in high demand here, so much of our food is shipping to the Bay Area. Hopefully, we are serving our community not just with our food but by bringing outside revenue in during these challenging economic times.

The pick-up truck loaded with an evening harvest of Riverside onions and Russian Banana fingerling potatoes.

As busy as we have been expanding farm production this year, we haven’t had much time to write about the process here. But, we’ve been striving to document with photos the daily work we do to grow as much nutritious, flavorful food as possible. Part of the process has been spending money. As they say, you have to spend money to make money. This season alone, we’ve acquired many tools to help us grow more food so it’s more affordable to buy and so that we don’t strain our bodies:

  • three-bottom plow
  • flail mower
  • Farmall 100 cultivating tractor
  • toolbar & flex planters
  • 5.5 HP water pump
  • hog panels
  • poultry netting
  • 30′ x 70′ high tunnel
  • sunblocker shade structure

One of the flex planters on a toolbar we purchased in the Delta.

The shopping list goes on, and that’s only major capital investments. Fortunately, we don’t always have to buy things outright. Other farmers are lending us equipment or letting us make payments. A community of growers is so essential particularly when when you start out with nothing.

Berkshire pigs enjoying cucumbers

We’re also raising another round of pigs that will be ready in time for the holidays. Not only is pork really tasty, but our pigs will happily eat vegetable culls or whatever does not sell at the farmers market. Heritage Berkshire pork is delicious, so we’re definitely raising those pigs again!

The sheep grazing on irrigate pasture in Potter Valley.

We also bought a few more ewes and lambs to increase our sheep flock. Hopefully by the end of this season, we’ll have about 100 ewes. Our new Shropshire ram, Macho, should be getting familiar with the ladies now…

So, we continue to refine our farming system – doing trials of different crops to see what we can grow well, trying new feed rations and growing better hay and pasture for cost-effective yet delicious meat, fine-tuning all the mechanical processes, and improving relationships with all our customers. We’re very excited to be growing a lot more food this year. It’s a challenge, but the hard work is rewarding when we are able to partner with nature and people to nourish ourselves and our community.

About 1/3 of the onions

The durum wheat should be harvested soon.

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