For the last 4 years we’ve raised chickens (broilers) in addition to produce. Up until this year we always loaded up chickens into a stock trailer around midnight in order to wake up at 5 am and truck down to Ashby, where there’s a federally-inspected plant. After unloading, I’d get home in time to get harvesting for the CSA box. Sound like fun, eh? Not really.
Anyway, this year we processed our birds on farm which really took down the stress of the birds and myself. I was able to do this because we rented equipment from former students of mine at the Sustainable Food Production program at M-State, Andy Hayner and Noelle Hardin. They rent out equipment and help us do the processing right on site, which is a great value and we knew we were getting our birds done right. Since there isn’t a federal inspector on site, you have to pick up your birds from the farm instead of my being able to deliver them.
When out processing the birds, my thoughts besides plucking feathers was about how great it is to have new energy and people getting into local food production in the area – it’s been pretty lonely sometimes being an organic vegetable grower in Otter Tail County. In the farm marketing and management course I teach as part of the Sustainable Food Production program, I’ve now seen almost 30 student go through the 2-semester diploma program and I’m thinking about half have started businesses and all are doing something in food production if only for themselves. It’s a great thing to see and certainly something we need more of.
If you know of somebody interested in small farms, local foods, and learning the ropes of farming, please get them in touch with me. I’d be happy to give them more details about the program. There’s still time to start this fall!
In the Box:
- A couple Stuffing Peppers (big ones)
- An Italia Pepper – the green/red one which is sweet, not hot. This is considered a frying pepper and has a great flavor.
- A couple Anaheim Peppers – the brighter green skinny peppers which have a mild heat. This is the pepper behind chile rellenos.
- Silver King Sweet Corn – an all-white variety with a good mellow corn flavor
- A couple Yellow Summer Squash
- A Yellow Onion
- A Red Onion
- A Bulb of Garlic
- Bunch of Carrots – Sorry these are a bit small and should have grown a bit more, but I was determined to get some more carrots in the box since I haven’t had them in for quite a while. The yellow carrots are a variety called Yellow Sun and the orange ones are Scarlet Nantes
- A Melon – I had to scrimp to get the right number of ripe melons, so it’s a real mixed bag. It’s not fair, I know, but some of you may find a little Asian melon called Sun Jewel, others will find standard canteloupe, and one lucky duck will get this nice sized watermelon.
- Purple Queen Purple Beans – these are tricky in that when you cook them, they loose their color. Otherwise treat as you would any other bean.