Posts Tagged ‘pigs’

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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New Piglets Nursing

Momma pig had her babies this morning!

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San Francisco – Now you can purchase our delicious Berkshire pork through Good Eggs!

Good Eggs Webstand

 

What is Good Eggs?

Good Eggs is bringing local groceries right to you. Order online from the best local farmers & foodmakers, and your groceries will be picked and prepped to order. We’ll aggregate, pack and deliver your goods to your door—or you can pick them up free at lots of convenient locations around the Bay Area.

What are your Pork Shares?

Our pork shares are roughly 1/5 of a pig or 25 lb. +/- of mixed cuts. They are the same Smoked Berk Shares and Fresh Berk Shares that are available to local residents of Mendocino County. All the details on how awesome the pork is, our ranching practices, and what’s in the share is on our Pork Page. The only difference is the price, as we are using Good Eggs to market the shares in San Francisco, and we have to deliver the meat.

I see pigs in the distance...

I see pigs in the distance…

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Even though vegetable production is at a near stand-still, we still manage to get pretty dirty around the home ranch and farms. In raising animals, we have daily chores, such as feeding, watering, and general check-in – checking that ewes are taking care of newborn lambs, ravens are not bothering our pigs, making sure the few cows we have are still happy out in the rangeland, and so forth.

If you’ve been keeping abreast of our farm development, you know we are striving to be a self-sustaining farm, creating all the fertility for the crops on the farm and importing as little feed as possible. These goals express both environmental/biological sustainability and economic efficiency.

triticale

triticale

So, we are increasing pork production, which entails feeding more pigs. We aren’t at the point where we can grow all the feed we need yet, so we acquire local and organic sources of feed. Right now, we have wheat and rye growing in Ukiah; cross your fingers that we get a good crop! Depending on what’s available, the kind of grain we use varies. Right now, we’re going through triticale from Lake County, which we know was grown with organic practices. We also purchased some wheat – too infested with bugs for human consumption – grown in Humboldt County. Most of this cereal goodness, we grind down for easier digestion by our pigs. We use a grinder we got from the old Moore’s Flour Mill in Ukiah, but we’d eventually like to upgrade to something that can grind whole corn.

grinding grainWe soak the ground feed in goat whey or milk from Pennyroyal Creamery in Boonville. Sometimes, we soak whole kernels to sprout them.

mix of whey grain feedWhat can we say. The pigs are eating, happy, and enjoying the sunshine.

pigs eating

 

 

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Feeling Piggish?

Does anyone else find him/herself eating a lot more now that the cool season is here? Storing up for winter and enjoying heavier comfort foods like sausage and pie? The short days and cold nights are doing that to us farmers. With the main season behind us, we’re in the kitchen a lot more and enjoying it! We hope you are too 🙂

(By the way, we just delivered more of our heritage sausage to Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op. You can find it in the frozen meat section.)

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The hills are turning green

With the recent wetness and current sunny warmth, the rangeland is just barely starting to turn green! We welcome this landscape change in color – it means that there will be food in the hills soon for our sheep and cows.

We recently ringed (rung?) our 33 pigs who are also enjoying the hillside views and October sunshine. As they are growing, they are eating a lot now! Along with organic pig grower feed (corn and soy), we’re sprouting triticale which we purchased from the Willits Grange Grains. Before long, we’ll also be sprouting the barley we grew in Ukiah. Sprouted grain is easier for the pigs to digest.

So that we won’t have to buy so much feed for our pigs in the future, we’ll be growing more grain this winter. We were looking at buying land in south Ukiah to possibly grow grain and other higher-value crops but then decided against it. Then we waited…and the City of Ukiah purchased it. And then we were able to lease it, which is what we really wanted to do in the first place! This land tenure is not secure by any means, but the outlook looks good in that we don’t see the city developing the land anytime soon. Most of the grain we’ll be growing will be for feed, but we do plan on growing a couple varieties of wheat for human consumption. We’ll be working the ground very soon, and by June or July next year, hopefully we’ll have a bountiful harvest!

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Reserve a Holiday Ham

We’re now taking reservations for our delicious Holiday Hams!

Raised on pasture, organic feed, and vegetable waste from our fields, our Hampshire-Duroc pigs will make tasty hams for your holiday meal with friends and family. Hams are smoked and cured with natural nitrates. Reserve one today for Christmas or New Year’s!

Send in a $10 deposit with an order form: Holiday Ham Flier 2011

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