Thursday, March 31, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - First Week of April 2016

Our Spring projects are approaching completion just as the warm weather is about to return to winter.   Over the weekend it will snow and on Monday it will be 16F.

We’ve finished the new paddock, so now we have two pig areas

The Summer Swine Cottage , in the shade of pines with breezes coming off the drumlin.  It has a generous mud hole for wallowing

The Winter Pig Palace, facing south for maximum solar warmth.

In the next few weeks, I’ll move our mushroom cultivation shade house, which is no longer used since our mushroom logs are fully mature, to the summer pig paddock so they will have a 30 foot x 12 foot shaded area.    Hazel and Tofu are so smart and so social that they demand to be massaged, fed, and wrapped in blankets every every night.    Eating a pig is like eating a dolphin or chimp.  It’s hard to imagine how humans ever decided that killing a highly intelligent social animal for food was a good idea.

We’ve finished the blueberry netting on our early and mid blueberries.   We ran out of netting material and the late blueberries will have to wait until the next batch arrives in May.    We now have 3 dimensional coverage for 180 high bush blueberries and our gooseberries.   We planted them 3 years ago and so our crop this year should be very robust.

Unity Farm Honey Lager is one of our most popular products.   It’s made with 11 pounds of Unity Farm honey per keg.   However, we’ve had to buy the Cascade hops that combine with water, yeast, barley, and honey to create the amazing flavor.   Since we’re locavores, we really want produce the entire product on the farm and thus we’ve finished our first hops trellis.   In mid-April we’ll plant the Cascade hops rhizomes that will lead to enough hops two years from now for our Honey lager to be an all Massachusetts product.

We also bottled our Monastery Mead this week.   It's 14% alcohol, and made with all Unity Farm honey, water and herbs.

As a full Harvard professor, I’m required to spend 200 hours a year teaching.   This week, I drove the Umass Agriculture school in Amherst, Massachusetts to deliver a 2 hour presentation about mushroom toxicology, medicine, and mycoremediation (the elimination of environmental pollution with mushrooms).     It’s wonderful to experience the enthusiasm and energy of undergraduates who are in the early stages of forming their career goals.   Here’s the presentation I used.

This weekend will include more lettuce planting, mushroom log inoculation, trail clearing, and preparing for my next week in London, helping Dr. Bob Wachter advise the UK on national healthcare IT strategy.    I love London but look forward to a Summer in the paddocks instead of planes.


Melissa said...

I do believe if I would like to come back in my next life as one of your pigs!! lol

Unknown said...

Bill and I have 21 blueberry bushes and I thought we had a bunch. Many of them are in bloom as we speak. The pears are about 30% blooming so we put out 1/2 the mason bees today and a bumble bee home. I am trying to capture a bumblebee queen to establish her in our new bumblebee house but so far no luck. John and Kathy you are my idols.