September 21, 2006

Life became a little busier when I received the news that our farm was going to be mentioned in Full Belly Farm’s newsletter for our turkey sales. I realized to my horror that the turkey pages on our website didn’t say what I recollected, and I had to fix that really fast! And, part time farmers that we are, we hadn’t even counted how many birds we had available. Uh-oh. I could only say that a roving band of about 20 birds seemed to flutter around the farm. Anyway, after this last weekend, we’re a lot more organized and I learned some interesting things about our birds. Little tidbits like, our Royal Palm and Narragansett hens are virtually the same body weights, 7-9 lbs. I had expected larger Narragansetts.

Ishmael weighs 19 pounds, he is our largest tom. One of his sons tips the scale at 17 lbs, while the brothers are only 14 and 11 lbs respectively. We will retain the big boy for breeding. Our Beltsville toms weigh 14 lbs each, but the hens are TINY at 5-6 lbs. At the moment, we have 44 turkeys, about 24 of which are for dinner sales. Ken caught and I banded and recorded every bird except the 7 youngest, which won’t get to eating size anytime soon.

Two gentlemen that are collaborating on a book about Central Valley farms visited today, and photographed some of our produce, and us too. It’s gratifying to find people interested in writing about farms like ours, and to hear that more and more people care where their food comes from.

I have ordered seeds for the winter garden. To sum up, everything but cauliflower, broccoli, garlic and turnips is fair game. And OUR spinach isn’t going to have any E.coli added…..that episode just proves that big agriculture can go really, really wrong.

The gardens are struggling in the shortening days. Okra, Tigger melons, cucumbers and peppers are still going strong. Tomatoes, other melons, beans, squashes…look a little sad. The spider mites are wreaking their annual havoc. The flowers still look great. The gardens look like the farmers, a little tired.

Almond harvest is in full swing still. The new nuts are fresh and delicious. The taste is unique, on account of the freshness. I walk through the orchards and crunch the windrows under my feet. This is how to tell if they are ready to be collected for the processor.

We attended a fundraiser for the Yolo Land Trust a few weekends ago. There was sumptious food at a beautiful farm in Zamora. The wines were great, too. I will place this event on my calendar next year, it was worth every penny. And, we met a local melon grower and learned more in 5 minutes than in all the growing season. I tasted 6 varieties I have never grown, and got some ideas about melons to select for next year.

Life is good….