Thursday, October 16, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - Third Week of October 2014

Apple Season continues.   This weekend we crushed 152 pounds of apples yielding 8 gallons (2.2 gallons per bushel), down a little from our last crush which yielded 2.4 gallons per bushel, likely because Baldwin apples are less juicy than McIntosh.

The ph was 3.2 (a little more acid than usual) and the specific gravity was 1.050, yielding 6% alcohol.

Baldwin 55%  (Sweet)
Macoun 13% (Aromatic)
McIntosh 24% (Tart)
Crab 8% (Astringent)

We’re fermenting this batch indoors since the nightly temperatures in Sherborn are now falling into the 30’s, which can result in a stuck fermentation.

We racked our last cider batch and added malolactic bacteria.

Thus far, our cider production is proceeding flawlessly - with a year of experience under our belt, we’ve found our rhythm.

The Shitake mushroom logs are ready for an enormous fruiting over the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I will be in Washington, Philadelphia, Beijing, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Seattle, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam on the weekends (yes, that’s a lot of red eye flights), so Kathy and I are dividing up the labor, with me doing all the hauling, cutting, and heavy lifting around the farm on the nights I’m there while she takes charge of the mushroom harvest, packaging, and delivery to local farm stands.    This is our first year of harvesting commercial quantities of mushrooms, so we’re learning every day.

The hoop house is thriving with the warm days and cool nights of Fall.  I’ve picked a peck of peppers (not pickled yet) - hungarian banana, poblano, and japanese chili pepper.   Here’s what a peck of peppers looks like:

All the animals are well - the dogs are growing their winter coat, the chickens have molted, the ducks are eating vigorously to prepare for the weather ahead, the alpaca are enjoying sunny cool days, and the bees are completing their winter honey stores (about 70 pounds of honey per hive).   My travels begin tomorrow and I’ll be caring for the menagerie by Skype for 4 days.

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