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  • Cliff McConville

Farm Update - crazy week coming, goodbye to Boom, turkey poults

FARM HAPPENINGS

All of us at the farm are happy to put the past week long string of hot, humid days behind us. Not only does it make life difficult on the farm workers who have to labor out in the hot sun and humidity, it makes the animals very uncomfortable and less productive. In particular the dairy cows don't do well in the heat, they like to lounge in the shade all day and won't each much, so their milk production drops significantly during hot spells. We installed a misting system in the cow shed last summer so that helps a bit, but then they just stand under the misters and still don't eat. The cooler days and nights forecast for the next week should get them grazing more and pumping up the milk volume a bit.


This coming week will be one of the crazier ones we have experienced from a livestock processing perspective - for the first time ever we have chicken, turkey, hog, and beef processing dates scheduled all in the same week. We scheduled the beef and pork processing slots over a year ago and felt fortunate to get them so we didn't really didn't think about the timing. Then the turkey and chicken processing dates were scheduled back in February and we didn't check the hog and beef schedules when making them. So it will be a little nuts with lots of driving trailers around for me. And of course Anna picked THIS week to take a vacation to Colorado with her kids...


On a related note this will be the last hog processing date we have until October, so if you were thinking about getting a pasture-raised half or whole hog for your freezer please get your orders in by Sunday night so we can add you to the list, This batch is going into Eickman's processing near Rockford.


We are also taking in the summer batch of turkeys - most will go to Hometown Sausage to be processed into parts (breast tenders, ground turkey, sausage, bone broth) but we are accepting online orders for whole turkeys from this group as well. And our first batch of Thanksgiving turkey poults are about a week old and in the brooder for another two weeks or so before we move them out to the pasture shelters. For turkey orders please visit our online poultry store.


FAREWELL TO BOOM

We will use one of our beef processing slots this week for Boom, our purebred Guernsey herd bull for the last two years. While he has grown into a big and often ornery beast, he's been a very productive bull for us in terms of keeping the dairy herd pregnant and fathering a large number of heifer calves. In going back over our records at least 80% of his offspring have been females which is extremely unusual. See picture below of Boom with one of his recent baby girls. His oldest daughters are now ready to breed (at about 15 months of age) so we have purchased a new young Guernsey bull from the famous Hoard's Dairy Farm in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin. We hope the new guy will do as well as Boom but with a little better attitude!


SEEKING AWESOME FARM STORE MANAGER

We are looking for a new farm store manager when Molly, our current very awesome store manager, goes on maternity leave at the end of October. The ideal candidate will be very passionate about regenerative agriculture and local foods, highly energetic, and able to handle our sometimes demanding customer base. To learn more about the position please view the full job description on our website.


FARM STORE UPDATE

We have fresh chickens available again this weekend and next as we are processing both weeks. And The summer fresh vegetable list is growing every week:

  • This week Karolina is harvesting beets, patty pan squash, rainbow chard, green cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, and jalapeno peppers from her organic gardens here at the farm.

  • We will also have local peaches, apricots, cherry tomatoes, red cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, Bok Choi, mushrooms, microgreens, lettuce mix, and fennel in the store harvested fresh from other local farms.

  • For the first time this year we will be getting fresh sweet corn from Van Laars Family Farm in Harvard - harvested Friday and in the store Saturday morning.

  • We found a big container full of whole cut-up chickens harvested last fall in the back of our freezer and we have them available in the store at 50% off - the vaccuum packaging should be good for 12 months of freezer storage.

MCHENRY COUNTY FARM STROLL - SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 26TH

Come out for a day in the country! On Sept. 26, 2021, McHenry County will host its seventh annual Farm Stroll, a self-guided tour of the county’s diversified family farms. A total of 12 farms will be part of this educational agriculture-centric tour. Fruit and vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, honey bees, perennial plants and more will be featured within these 12 farms. And All Grass Farms will be included this year for the first time (even though we are really in Kane County...). From 10 AM - 4 PM we will be running hay wagon tours around the farm to visit all of the animals.


Because this is a family-friendly, free, self-guided tour, there is no beginning or end of the tour—attendees can just choose the farms that interest them and visit during the designated time. The Farm Stroll is organized by the McHenry County Farm Bureau and the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners. Extension Master Gardener and 4-H volunteers will be onsite to assist farm families in accommodating guests and conducting demonstrations and tours. There is no charge for the Farm Stroll, but most farms will be selling food, produce or other farm-related products.


To learn more about the farms included please visit the farm stroll web page.


RECIPE OF THE WEEK - SUMMER STEW

This recipe uses what is abundant in the garden now, and was originally offered from Walnut Acres Family Farm in Walnut, Illinois, and published in the Band of Farmers cookbook.

- 1 lb. grass fed ground beef, browned

- 2 medium onions, sliced or diced

- 2 green peppers, diced

- 2 cups zucchini/yellow squash (unpeeled)

- 3 - 4 tomatoes, chopped, or 1/2 quart stewed tomatoes

- salt and pepper to taste

Simmer until tender, about 35-40 minutes. Serve with fresh salad on the side, serves 4 to 5, easy recipe to double. Can also add a jalapeno, finely chopped, for a litte extra kick.

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Thats it for this week, hope to see everyone soon in the store or on a farm tour soon.


To Your Health,


Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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