We have again taken an entire day, and driven to New York State. It seems as if anyone who reads about our farming practices over the last year might see a “trend” here, but, really, I am not preferential to New York State. It only just happens that the lambs that we raised (and put into the freezer), a great big sow named Hannah (who is also in the freezer) and the piglets that we have on the farm now, are all from the same area of the huge state of New York.
I caution readers to read into the choice of NY as: it is a gigantic state and there are actually farms still operating about four hours drive from where we are located in Western Ma. I guess THAT is why the odds are favoring NY at the moment.
Anyways, I took my mom, two boys (age four and age 15 months), extra large dog crate and packed them into the minivan — and we went to Cobleskill to get piggies.
We chose two females and two castrated males, who will be raised exclusively for meat. The females will be mommies. Now that we have learned our lesson on proper pig breeding size and body condition, we have figured out the hard way, that we need to stay more on top of the growth curve of the piggies. (our Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs were too fat and a little too old to become pregnant when we introduced a male pig to their lives. They did not become pregnant, and probably never will…)
We have Red Wattle/Large Black cross piglets. The Red Wattle is a pig that has been voted onto Slowfoods “Ark of Taste” for their amazing flavorful meat. Large Black makes for a veru tasty pig as well — so the combination of the breeds should be very nice. We will see…
And, during our six plus hours in the minivan with two boys and four pigs, my mom and I decided that we need to create a winter garden (a “coldhouse” if you will) and raise cool weather vegetables this year. What is the worst thing that can happen? We have a bumper crop of whatever we raise and the piglets and barnyard animals get more fresh veggies — or the other option? We get nothing. I have already bought the seeds, and a few pieces of lumber and plastic can be reused into other projects at other times. But shhhh! Don’t tell Cindy or Myles that we are planning to winter garden. We haven’t figured out HOW to tell them yet…
It is not too early to reserve your Thanksgiving turkey! We have heard from many of our “regulars” who have purchased turkeys from us for a couple of years, and I have reserved a couple of turkeys from new friends that I met through the farmers markets this season in Bernardston and Northfield. This year we are raising pastured, heritage breed Lilac turkeys, and have added some heritage Standard Bronze and heritage Bourbon Red turkeys. Send me an email through our farm’s website: http://www.wellstavernfarm.com and we will put you on the list!