More summer please

 Pig pasture with cover crop growing.

Pig pasture with cover crop growing.

First, it's business time. 

1.  Having taken a fresh look at the winter slaughter schedule, and then a fresh look at the size of our freezer, we've decided to extend the discount CSA pricing until Ocober 1.  By joining the CSA early, you help us not only by taking some pressure off our storage capacity, but also by helping to finance the enormous costs of feeding and processing 60+ pigs through the fall and winter.  Check out the website for more info and to sign up.

2.  We will be doing the delivery to Grafton this Monday, Labor Day, between noon and 3pm.  Our hope is that the early pickup will give you time to come get your groceries at Potter Hill with plenty of time to prep for an afternoon BBQ. Sausages and ground beef will thaw easily (and safely) in less than an hour in a large bowl of cool water. Incidentally, the weather looks lousy on Sunday, but great on Monday!

Ok, moving on to more important things - namely, me griping about the weather.  Seriously, what the hell happened to summer? There's been a definite feeling of fall in the air the last couple of cool nights, and the forecast indicates more to come.  I do love fall, and I'll admit the weather has been pleasant in and of itself, but I can't say I'm ready just yet. With the tomato and pepper plants loaded up with fruit and a lot of ripening left to do on the squash vines, we're gonna need some more hot days and warm nights, please. There's no evidence in the forecast to support my hunch, but after the spring we had (remember April??) I'm betting on a long mild autumn with nothing but sunny warm days (but not too hot) and beautiful crisp nights (but no frost) until well into October. Ah, farm fantasies.

Back to reality, things really are cruising along here on the farm.  The last sow farrowed about 10 days ago, and so our spring/summer farrowing rotation is complete, with a total of 81 pigs born and raised to weaning-age since the middle of May. That's 8.1 piglets weaned from each of our 10 sows, if you're keeping score.  And if you're not, we certainly are.  With most of the sows actually being first-litter gilts, these are good results. Good, but not great - we aim to wean 10 piglets per sow on average and with little variation.  The sows are getting re-bred right after weaning (in theory), so that puts us on track for winter farrowing starting in November and continuing right through the middle of January (in theory), which in turn puts us on track to harvest starting in early May 2018 ( theory).  Talk about planning ahead!  And, speaking of planning ahead, I suppose it's about time to nail down our winter farrowing setup..... erm, nope.  Not yet.  I need a couple of weeks to just exist, thank you very much.

As you know, SCF is a farm-to-kitchen operation, and things are cranking in the kitchen, too.  Though we've been coping with a tight pork inventory this summer as we transition to doing all of our own pig breeding, there's been enough produce coming out of the garden lately to make sure that Dave has his hands full.  Dill pickles, pickled beets, smoked chili sauerkraut, lacto-ketchup, and kimchi are all in the works, and you should start seeing some of this stuff at markets soon with more to come throughout the fall.

Thank you all for contributing to our pork shortage this summer.  We're thrilled to be struggling to keep up with demand in our second season on the farm, and your continued support means the world to us.  We understand that schedules get crazy as kids head back to school and the days get shorter, but don't forget that the farmers' markets are still in full swing.  In fact, September through early October is the most bountiful time on many New England farms, as summer crops taper off and fall crops take their place.

See you at the markets this weekend!

Jeff Backer