Thursday, September 12, 2013

Building Unity Farm - Preserving the Harvest


As Fall approaches in New England we're picking apples/fermenting cider, extracting honey, canning jams, preserving vegetables, and finishing our Fall mushroom inoculation.

Here are a few scenes of the harvest - a very busy time of year.

The Unity Farm orchard contains 36 trees - Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, and Plums.   We have 180 high bush blueberry bushes and 150 low bush blueberry bushes.    We have elderberry, raspberry, and pecans.    Here's an overview of the layout.


Last weekend we picked Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Asian Pear.    We crushed the apples into cider and pasteurized it into quart containers.   Here's what the process looked like in the cider house.



In August we picked blueberries and created Unity Blue jam, a mixture of berries and other natural ingredients from the farm.    We've applied for a license to sell our farm products at farmers markets and other retail locations.   As soon as the license is granted we'll be able to sell Unity Blue - here's what the finished package looks like.



I'll write an entire post about the honey extraction process, which requires a bee suit, a smoker, a hive tool to gently remove the frames containing combs of honey, a tool to uncap the combs, and an extractor to remove the honey from the wax.    We gathered 240 ounces of honey from our 8 hives and we will leave all remaining honey for the bees to use over winter.   Below is the alternative u-pick method, that we've chosen not to use!



Finally, we've prepared 220 shitake, 72 oyster, and 6 lion's mane logs so they are ready to fruit with mushrooms in the Spring.   Here's a view of our laying yard where oyster mushrooms are growing on poplar.   Our shitake and lion's mane logs are kept in the shade house.



We're on the cusp of selling the products of Unity Farm.   By next year, we should have commercial quantities of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, and fermented cider.   The great thing about life in New England is that each season brings a new adventure and as we finish our harvest, we can dream about the new farm possibilities we'll have in the Spring.

1 comment:

Barbara Hobbs said...

John, you are an amazing man, physician and leader! You make the world a better place!