The winter gave us some much needed rain (hopefully more to come), some time for transitions, for some projects and even a little rest to get ready for this next season, which is here!
On February 15th we got together with Orin Martin and Sky DeMuro of CASFS at UCSC and 12 other faithful volunteers to plant our first apple orchard. The orchard consists of 104 trees and covers the span of ripening from early, mid and late season varieties. The day was long and so amazing as we all worked hard together to plant these little things that will be here for 75-100 years. There is something so real and so telling to be in a place both personally and physically where I am ready to plant an orchard and even more so, ready to stay right here and wait for their fruit.
In the latest animal news, the first two flocks of heritage breed (Delaware and Chanticler) chicks are in the brooders and are just starting to develop their wing feathers. I decided to do a little experiment this time and we have two batches of Delawares growing in separate brooders, side by side, one batch from a certified Sustainable Poultry Network (SPN) breeder who breed Delawares in Grass Valley at Dawn Ridge Farm and the other group from a hatchery. Even over these first two weeks, we have already noticed the difference in health upon arrival, growth and rate of loss. Even though the chicks we received directly from the SPN breeders cost almost twice as more each, they arrive from their very short trip healthy and already thriving and we have so far lost very few. There are of course many factors to this experiment, so stay tuned and see if there is a huge difference as these birds grow out over the next 16 weeks.
In other news, our first group of 1/4 large black, 1/4 tamworth, 1/2 berkshire piglets arrive next week with more arriving in the weeks following. We source our piglets from a local farmer in Pescadero who has been working with various crosses of five different breeds: large blacks, tamworths, berkshires, red wattles and gloucestershire old spots.
Stay tuned for other farm news and to see when and where products will be available (not until June!)