I’ll start off by apologizing to all six of our blog readers for no posts in the past month and a half. I know how much you all look forward to reading my incoherent drivel and hope you haven’t been too severely depressed:). Honestly, outside of planning, there just hasn’t been a whole lot going on around the farm the past two months. It’s a nice little break before the 2016 farming year truly begins.
Here’s a quick round up (that phrase sends shivers up my spine) of what’s been going on and what’s to come:
2015 Pastured Pork
We raised five heritage breed hogs this year, our first. While it was challenging at times (see blog post #2 Adventures in Pig Moving) it was actually a pleasure to work with these animals. Pigs are smart, personable, and just downright fun to be around. If only they didn’t produce bacon…
So far we’ve heard very good things about our pork and we couldn’t agree more. From a quality and taste standpoint, 2015 was a huge success! Economically, well that’s a bit of a different story. If you want the grisley details, you can see our Farm Report on our website http://www.pinegrovepastures.com/farm-report-1/. The good news is we’ve got a plan for next year to improve our pastures, forage, and pig setup to mitigate some of the costs involved in raising these outstanding animals, all while improving our product. I’m very confident and excited to get working with this year’s pigs.
We did keep Thin Lizzy, our most friendly and best formed pig to start our breeding stock. She’ll be bred very soon and with any luck, give birth to some terrific piglets come late spring.
Please contact us if interested in pastured pork for 2016.
Our microgreens have generated some very positive attention to our farm but they aren’t really taking off like we had hoped. It seems the people who like trying new things are really enjoying them but for a lot of folks, microgreens are just a bit out of their comfort zone. They are a unique product and most people we’ve talked with have never heard of them before; we’ll keep trying and we hope you do as well!
Sandy, our herd matriarch, is due to kid this week. She has a strong history of kidding twins and we’re excited for the first farm babies of 2016. Our younger does, Ling Ling and her daughter Gretchen aren’t due until late spring. We’ll keep you posted.
27th Annual MOSES Conference (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service)
Friday and Saturday were spent in LaCrosse for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Attending workshops about pastured pigs and rabbits, plant diseases, cover crops, making compost, and selecting seeds for saving, I soaked up tons of valuable information for the upcoming season. Moreover, I have renewed confidence that the importance of organic agriculture is catching on with many consumers and conventional farmers alike. Besides receiving a first class education, I also met some really great people and had a four hour intense discussion with a few beginning farmers. We were just about to solve all the world’s problems when the last shuttle was about to leave for the night. I guess it’ll have to wait until next year.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The 2016 planting season begins this week with spinach, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, and leeks. I hope to have our hoophouse delivered and constructed in time to move the transplants into it before they completely engulf our home. We have a couple more spots open for this season. If you are interested in signing up for a share, contact us now; when we’re sold out, we’re out!
From here on I should be posting a new blog weekly so be sure to check in often to read about the happenings at Pine Grove Pastures. Thank you for your support!