Honeymoon Farm January Newsletter
I wonder if you feel the same way about winter as I do... I tend to end up like a caterpillar in a cocoon all winter, wrapped up in a blanket, waiting to emerge in the spring as a beautiful butterfly. But, as much as I detest the cold weather, I feel that there is something to be said for the beauty and silence that always accompanies a snowfall. I just love the way the snow rests on the branches of the trees.
Farm work does, however, require that I emerge from my nest of fuzzy blankets to take care of our small laying flock, and to make CSA and pre-order deliveries of mushrooms. The other day, I realized that I was clad in Carhartt brand from head to ankle - my hat, jacket, and coveralls of that brand really make the cold weather bearable. If you are looking for some cold weather wear recommendations, start with them!
When I return to my cocoon, there is so much to be done in the way of running our business. Podcasts and farming groups on facebook fill my spare time, and I’ve been connecting with other farmers around the country about best business and farming practices. My 40 minute commute to work every week day has given me an opportunity to absorb a lot of information through podcasts to develop our vision and plans to bring you the best tasting ingredients, and the most interesting content.
During some of the unseasonably warm days this month, I’ve taken full advantage of the ability to work outside without losing feeling to my nose. I really wanted to get started on some of our big outdoor projects, but there are plenty more steps we need to take before we jump in - so I limited myself to organizing the shed to allow for storage of some supplies we will be getting soon. It’s hard not to get ahead of ourselves, but there are just some things that I am just too excited to wait for...
For example, I’ve already ordered herb seeds and “starts” that I will be growing this year for you! The seeds are all annual herbs, meaning they need to be planted from seed each year, and the “starts” are perennials, meaning they come back every year. Perennial herbs are more easily grown from existing plants, so a nursery will have a mother plant, cut a few pieces of the stem, and root the stem to begin a new plant (“starts”). I’ll talk more about them (and tell you more about the varieties we will be growing) when they arrive in March!
The seeds arrived in the mail in early January from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. With these new seeds, and a stash of veggie seeds that I had purchased last year with high hopes to put in a garden, I developed my garden calendar - which I just finalized on Friday. The first seeds will be planted in late March, with cilantro, dill, and spinach scheduled to be ready for harvest by early May.
Gary and I have also gone more in depth with planning for raising chickens for meat this year. We had a setback when we discovered that the field we were planning to pasture our chickens on has been sprayed with roundup within the last year. We were glad that this field wasn’t our only option, but it does make some of our operations a little bit more complicated now that we have moved our planning to another field.
This new field has a few advantages - we know that it has never been sprayed, the field will never be sprayed, we won’t have to share the field with someone else, and it shouldn’t be as muddy when it rains. The downside is that it is a bit further away from our shop (and water source), and it is a bit hillier than the other pasture.
The next steps for us to get moving on our chicken plan is to buy the chicks, schedule them for delivery, build their brooder, and their pasture pens. I’ll go more in depth about these topics in the next newsletter, as we will be completing a lot of these projects in February.
Speaking of chickens - You may have seen a post that we shared on our Facebook and Instagram where we explained a bit about the annual cycle that chickens go through. During the winter, they will slow down or stop laying eggs all together. As the days get longer, they will start laying again and more frequently, and we are happy to say our ladies have started picking up in their egg production! What a wonderful sign that spring is just around the corner.
We are so excited to be providing you with farm fresh flavor this year, and we are so happy that you are following along with us in our journey. As a bonus to you for following our journey, each newsletter (starting with the February newsletter) will come with a new section: Tammy's Recipe Corner. Read more about Tammy and her specialties at the bottom of this email, as well as find an ingredient spotlight to highlight some of our farm fresh flavors!
Lastly, I want to ask you for a favor... we are trying to find out what we should share that would be the most beneficial to you:
Hope you have a wonderful week!
Tammy's Recipe Corner:
Tammy Whiteman is a friend of mine who has been classically trained as a chef, and is an expert in cooking with dietary restrictions and food allergies. She will provide us with a plethora of full flavored recipes and give us suggestions about how to modify, substitute, and add flavor to your every day meals! Check back down here in next month's newsletter for the first installment.
Ingredient Spotlight: Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are not only a nutritional powerhouse, but also delicious! They have a meaty texture and a delicious umami flavor. Their stems are a bit tough, but can be easily added to a stock for flavor, or cut into smaller pieces and cooked a bit longer. One of my favorite ways to eat shiitakes is simply sliced and sauteed in some olive oil, and added to some fried rice.
Click the button below to read our blog post about how you can utilize your shiitake mushrooms to get the most flavor and health benefits:
Where to find us next:
- Pre-order mushrooms for pick up through Flying Plow's website. Pick up locations in Newark, DE, Havre de Grace, MD, Bel Air, MD, and Rising Sun, MD. Pick up dates and order deadlines can be found on their website.
- CSA member pick ups - check your email for the next pick up dates!