Thursday, April 21, 2016

Unity Farm Journal Fourth Week of April 2016

It’s Spring harvest time and we’ve been up at dawn gathering lettuce for delivery to Tilly and Salvy’s in Natick, our local farmstand.    Tilly and Salvy’s is a fourth generation farm/farm stand and they have agreed to sell Unity Farm products including vegetables, mushrooms and our cider/mead.    Our organic lettuces (bibb, boston, butter, romaine, winter density) are grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemicals of any kind on a bed of alpaca manure compost, peet and vermiculite.  We picked them at 6am when the hoop house was 36F, hydrocooled them in 36F water, and delivered them to the farmstand where they went on the shelves at 8am.     Here’s what the p[rocess looked like.

We’re harvesting Shiitake again this week and delivering our mushrooms to local farmstands.   Here’s what happens to a Shiitake over 24 hours on an oak log

This week we had a rabid skunk visit the farm.   There are two kinds of behavior in rabid animals - “dumb” rabies  and “aggressive” rabies.    Dumb means that infected animals walk in circles, lose their fear of humans and wander into the mouths of waiting Great Pyreenees Mountain dogs.     Aggressive means they bite and attack whatever walks by them.   This skunk had dumb rabies and wandered into Shiro’s mouth.   He was covered in skunk spray but the skunk wandered off and we presume it died in the forest.     We trap all aggressive infected animals, but dumb infected animals seem to disappear on their own.   Everyone on the farm is immunized.

We installed farm cam so that we can watch the barnyard 24x7 from our iPhones.   We chose the DLINK DCS-5029L.   I highly recommend this high definition wireless camera which has a crisp, cloud hosted video feed day and night.

This week, Hazel, our 200 pound female pig, developed a little sunburn on her ears.   I covered them with a lidocaine containing ointment and she’s doing fine .    This weekend, we’ll move the pigs to their summer house which now has a 30x10 foot shaded area - we repurposed our mushrooom shade house to keep the pigs cool.

This weekend we’ll innoculate mushrooms,  give the alpaca their monthly Ivermectin (anti-parasite) injections, and harvest more vegetables.   I’ll finish our farm business plan (as part of my University of Massachusetts coursework), and submit our organic certification application.   Life on the farm is never dull!


Karen said...

VERY excited to hear that you will be selling at Tillys! We live right down the block from there and have been shopping there for years and years. They always have the best produce. Looking forward to sampling Unity Farms.

Ellejae said...

Hi John, are you aware of the Boston Area Gleaners? They go into fields are the farmer has mechanically removed the crop and pick by hand the leftovers which can be quite substantial. All the food is donated to local area food banks. I've done a few harvests and it's really rewarding.