Thursday, May 12, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of May 2016

It’s Spring so it’s time for new farm babies.   Welcome Athena and Apollo, two baby geese born this week.    They have the benefit of 3 mothers and 1 father watching over them.   The adults took them to the pond and taught them how to swim within a few hours after hatching.   We’re keeping the goose pen closed during the day when we’re not around because of all the hawk activity.   A week old goose is an easy target.

Temperatures are edging up to the mid 70’s so the pigs are getting hot.   Yesterday, we moved them to their summer paddock with its shade and cool mud.   The pigs are very smart and aren’t sure why they are on “vacation” from their usual home, but I’m sure they will adapt soon.

Now that the weather is warmer we’ve been able to drain, clean and maintain all the ponds around the barnyard.   A winter of accumulated goose poop can create quite a cleaning challenge, including a rotten egg or two in the muck.    All our water features are running perfectly now and we’re ready to be the local watering hole for dozens of species over the summer.

This week we sold lettuce, mushrooms, and spinach to Tilly and Salvy’s, our local farmstand.   We’re learning an immense amount about consumer behavior  - what we should grow and how we should package it for maximum sellability.   Although we’re nearly done with our Umass organic farming courework, it’s the day to day activity of selling at retail that really teaches you farming.  

Our organic certification application was accepted as complete this week, so now we await our unscheduled inspection (a kind of Joint Commission visit for organic farms) and then hopefully we’ll join the ranks of USDA certified organic producers.  

In today’s complex world, certifications and compliance require perseverance.   We’re one of 7 bonded cideries and one of 72 bonded wineries in the state of Massachusetts. Add the organic certification to that and Unity Farm will be unique in its accrediitions.

Kathy is very busy with the bees now that we’re approaching honey making season.   We’ll be running about 25 hives this year in 4 locations.   I suspect this will be the year that we’ll upgrade our hand cranked honey extractor to something more automated.

This weekend we’ll be doing the final preparations for my daughter’s wedding next weekend at the farm - trimming, planning, and cleaning.   By next weekend, we’ll be ready for the cover of Farm Beautiful magazine!


Anonymous said...

I hope in future posts you'll expand a bit on your observations about the retail aspect of farming, and what you've learned about (and how you've adapted to) consumer behavior. Sounds like it's a very interesting journey. As always, thanks for the always entertaining and informative updates.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for a beautiful, happy wedding day for your daughter and her love !

Anonymous said...

Yes! I hope the wedding day goes smoothly, and that you all enjoy it! What a wonderful setting in which to have it, especially knowing how you and your family have crafted it.

Unknown said...

After seeing the photos, I just had to try some of your produce and stopped at Tilly's on the way home. I've never seen such perfect looking lettuce and spinach! More importantly, it was very tasty. I also tried your Honey Lager which was fantastic.

Wishing you all the best on your upcoming Wedding!