Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 6

Just to get off my zero mile high horse for a bit... because OLS is largely about showcasing local foodsheds:

We don't produce our own beef here on the farm (though with the new cow, that will hopefully be changing in the next couple of years), so we buy it from two different farms down the road. Well, one farm is up the road: Groff's Content grass fed beef. The other farm, Legacy Manor, is down the road, closer, and more convenient, but we wanted to try both. I know both farmers, and I'd highly recommend beef from either, though LM grains their beef while also pasturing. The pure grass fed beef definitely has a gamier flavor that may take some getting used to. Personally, I like them both.

This week we enjoyed our first red potatoes. Yay! After the drought last year, I can't tell you how much we've been looking forward to these babies!

We also had broccoli and the first of our green beans, together with a salad of mixed greens, onions, and grated zucchini and balsamic vinaigrette; herb focaccia; marinated beef kabobs from Groff's Content; and a garlic herb butter to top the potatoes. All from our farm.

Yummmm.

Here's to more potatoes! The fingerlings will come out to play next week.

And while Touch the Earth Farm is definitely part of the Northwestern Maryland food shed, I think it's also useful for folks to see how much of their food they could actually produce themselves with just a little land and a lack of restrictive covenants. We have 5.25 acres—not very much by farming standards, but plenty in terms of creating a zero mile food shed. Get to know a few other local farmers, and voila! You've some great local eats. Even an acre can produce an excellent veggie crop, eggs, maybe a bit of goat's milk, and a few broilers to boot for those who eat meat.

Some good resources for farming on small holdings:

Path to Freedom

The Modern Homestead

5 comments:

Beck's Bounty said...

Northwestern Maryland .... I grew up in Carroll County MD when it was still VERY country. And we used to go out to western MD to play in the snow ...

Enjoying your blog inbetween canning projects here at home (in SE Tennessee now).

MomToCherubs
http://www.becksbounty.blogspot.com

Karen said...

Danielle,
I love your blog and hope someday to be able to move to a small acreage myself.
One question: How do you manage your livestock manure on such a small acreage?

Thanks!
Karen
http://toteleeding.blogspot.com

mrshoppes said...

We have a small acre and have chickens, turkeys, guineas, goats, rabbits, a dog, three children, a vegetable garden, three grape vines (which I hope take), two apple treeas, and two peach trees.

Christy said...

That's a good looking meal. How are things going? How is the cow? I'd be interested in coming out and meeting the cow, and hanging out sometime if you have time.

Danielle said...

Beck, thanks for stopping by! Carroll county is still known for it's strong 4-H program. It's rural roots are still going strong.

Karen, thanks for the compliment! We try to minimize off-farm inputs as much as possible, so our manure is a really important part of the farm—it's our main source of fertilizer since most vegetable sources go through the animals before hitting the compost.

We try to get them to do as much fertilization in place as possible. It's easier for us, obviously, but it also cuts down on the need for equipment and fuel. We practice pasture rotation, which ensures a fairly even application of manure. Our chickens act as spreaders for the cow patties, that kind of thing. This is our third summer here, and it's becoming really obvious where we had the poultry on the pasture last year with the lush green growth.

Over the winter, our animals are in the barn, and the manure and bedding from this part of the year are turned into compost for the following year's gardens. Our pigs till and fertilize our grain and corn plots.

Christy, the cow is doing well, though we're still battling flies even with the chickens and fly predators. Things are crazy busy at the farm right now, and we have visits lined up clear through mid-August at the moment.