Thursday, August 18, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Third Week of August 2016

I’m on “vacation” this week, working remotely from the farm, so no Wednesday blog post, but here’s the Unity Farm update.

I always tell my staff that management is balancing scope, time and resources.    Too much scope and not enough makes resources very grouchy unless they are augmented.

The same thing is true about managing a farm.   Unless you set a scope that is achievable with the resources you have, the time (defined as the seasons in the farming year), living things, including your own well being, will suffer.

As we plan for 2017, something we’re doing during my slack time this week, we’e set a scope that we believe is achievable with two people (Kathy and me), taking into account our responsibilities to family members, work life, and finances.

*beekeeping (scope = 100 hives, about a million bees, processing 2500 pounds of honey/year)  with a motorized 20 frame extractor, electric wax melter, mobile uncapping table, and bottling tank
*poultry (scope = 100 chickens of various ages, processing 500 dozen eggs/year)

*craft cider (scope = 250 gallons as limited by the production of Unity Farm orchards - about 6000 pounds of apples per year) with a 36L press, a motorized grinder, food grade fermenters
*honey lager (scope = 250 gallons requiring 170 pounds of Kathy’s honey) using 20 gallon stainless steel boiling pots and food grade fermenters
*compost (scope = 10 tons per year, screened and bagged with the custom motorized equipment we built)
*alpaca (scope =5 males and 8 females and 1 guard llama) producing fiber that we spin into yarn
*pigs (scope =1 male and 1 female) eating all the fruits/vegetables that we cannot sell to humans

Kathy and John
*Vegetables (scope = 50x21 foot hoop house and 6 outdoor raised beds growing
Late fall to early spring: optima pelleted lettuce, napoli pelleted carrots, bloomsdale spinach, touchstone gold beets, rainbow chard, garlic
Spring to early fall: marketmore cucumbers, shishito peppers, heirloom tomatoes, japanese eggplant, mold resistant basil, jacobs cattle beans
Cover crops field peas, buckwheat, clover
*Shiitake mushrooms (scope = 500 logs producing 1000 pounds of mushrooms/year innocuated with our self built mushroom processing stand)
*Fruit (scope = 2 acres of Strawberries/Raspberries/blueberries in 3 netted enclosures)

As I’ve said before, farming is like gardening, just at a larger scope.   To put it in perspective, here’s what today’s tomato harvest looks like.  

We’re doing daily deliveries to the farmstand of basil, tomatoes, eggplant, eggs, and peppers.    We’ve spun our summer honey and will start to deliver that soon.

Luckily the blazing temperatures of early August are beginning to wane and the animals are much more comfortable.   Cold weather is just around the corner and they’ll all be healthy heading into the hard months ahead.

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