A few weeks ago, a group of Early Head Start kids and their families came to visit us at the farm. On their tour, wee hands harvested tomatoes, dug potatoes, and giggled at the antics of the piglets. We’ve been packing CSA boxes for local Head Start programs for a few years now, and we’re so happy to be a part of this community so dedicated to the healthy development of young children. I know a farmer and his daughters who refer to responsibly-raised, unprocessed, seasonal, local farm food as “normal food”; and what we typically label as conventional food they call “the other stuff.” What an idea right? A generation of little ones whose norm is veggies, fruit, grains, milk, eggs, and meat from a farmer or gardener they know (maybe themselves) – that’s what I’m holding in my heart.
THIS Saturday, June 22, we will be at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op’s 40th Anniversary Bash from 12-4pm. We will have a market booth, amid entertainment, food, and beverages. It’s free and open to the public!
Meanwhile, summer harvest is in full swing here at the farm. We could talk for hours about all the beautiful and delicious bounty coming out of the fields, but for now you can learn a little bit about our potatoes, since all of our varieties are now in circulation to CSA members and markets.
Whether you eat many pounds of potatoes, or just a few french fries perhaps, they are an enormously important aspect of history and modern food. Over the course of 7-10,000 years of domestication, people have created over 1,000 subspecies and about 5,000 varieties of potatoes (3,000 of which exist only in the Andes). This diversity has led to potatoes being a staple of diets worldwide, and it was the initial lack of diversity in the European crops that made it vulnerable to disease, and which ultimately led to the terrible Irish Potato Famine.
We grow a handful of potato varieties here at the Natural Trading Co. Although the healthfulness of potatoes is sometimes debated, the truth is that they provide nearly everything a human body needs to be healthy, aside from vitamins A and D. So a healthy human diet could be merely potatoes and milk or butter. Some researchers believe that the Purple Majesty might soon be described as a “super food” (AKA really healthy), as it has very high levels of antioxidants. The Desiree has red skin, light yellow flesh, and a creamy taste – ideal for mashing or sauces. The Nicola is waxy and golden yellow inside and out. The waxy quality means less starch and more moisture, making it ideal for potato salads. Also…boil, mash, roast, or fry! German Butterball, a staff favorite, is a golden, buttery russet-type and the red-skinned Sangre is excellent for baking and boiling.
Don’t forget to visit us at the farmers’ markets to try these tasty treats: Truckee and Roseville on Tuesday, Tahoe City on Thursday, and Auburn and Rocklin on Saturday.
We are taking part in an upcoming benefit for Slow Food Lake Tahoe, Cooking Outside the Box, on June 5 at Dragonfly Restaurant in Truckee. Guests will learn recipes for seasonal vegetables, many of which are found in a weekly CSA box (Community Support Agriculture). Enjoy a diversity of tastes and wine pairings as Dragonfly’s chef and owner Billy McCullough creates dishes using fresh, organic produce from our farm. Cooking Outside the Box is a benefit for Slow Food Lake Tahoe, which supports good, clean, fair food. Cost is $35 for Slow Food members, $40 for non-members, Wednesday, June 5, 6-8 p.m. at Dragonfly Restaurant, 10118 Donner Pass Road, Truckee. For reservations call Dragonfly directly at 530-587-0557 and for event details visit http://www.slowfoodlaketahoe.org.
We’ve been so busy here at the farm transplanting, seeding, weeding, and hatching I haven’t had a moment to announce the birth of our first hatchery chicks, ducklings, and poults (baby turkeys). Well here are our month-old babies. If you’re a backyard homesteader or small-scale farmer interested in raising heritage poultry, we have plenty of birds to fill out your flock.
This Wednesday, Bryan will be heading off to EcoFarm, one of the nation’s largest organic farming conferences in beautiful Asilomar on the coast of California. He’ll be there learning about all the newest fangled things in organic farming so we can deliver the best tasting veggies, fruit, eggs, and meat to your table this coming year. We’re proud to say that our heritage turkeys were chosen to be featured on the Friday night dinner menu! For those of you lucky enough to have one of our turkeys this Thanksgiving, you know what a treat they’re in for.
Bryan will also be at the conference at the Sustainable Poultry Network booth with Jim Adkins, sharing his newest fangled knowledge of and experience with heritage poultry. We are very excited to be launching the Natural Trading Co heritage poultry hatchery this spring. For those of you with farms, homesteads, or even just a small backyard and a yearning for the most delicious eggs and meat you’ll ever taste – we’ll be selling day-old chick, ducklings, and poults (or baby turkeys), in addition to 16-week-old chickens and ducks later this spring. We hope you’re as impassioned as we are about preserving our agricultural tradition by raising heritage birds like Delaware and Chantecler chickens; Narragansett turkeys; and Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and Dutch Hook Bill ducks. We’re doing our best to promote and encourage sustainability by selling poultry locally, raising animals that can reproduce naturally, and preserving genetic diversity.
November 22 is quickly approaching – remember to order your pasture-raised, heritage Thanksgiving turkeys from NTC!
If you want to feel good about the meat that you eat, this is it. These turkeys are part of our heritage breeding program raising Naragansett and Standard Bronze turkeys. These birds are very well cared for, free to roam the fields by day, and fed organic feed. When you purchase this breed, the demand is made for heritage birds – you are doing something very positive, very cool.
The turkeys range from 7-12 pounds and cost $7.50 per pound for holiday deliciousness. They’re available for pick-up at the farm, farmers’ markets (Roseville Tuesday, Auburn Saturday), and Truckee delivery Wednesday, November 14. Place your $25.00 deposit online and we will be in contact with you about size and delivery preferences. Thanks for your support!
Our effort to bring animals to our vegetable farm is going fantastic. Our worthy intention is not only to bring back endangered heritage breed animals, but to integrate animal and vegetable farming. They go hand in hand. It wasn’t’ so long ago that every farm was this way; pigs, chickens, eggs, veggies, a milk cow~ A Real Farm. Farming with animals brings nutrients to the soil, feeds animals their natural feed, making healthy animals, fertile soil & successful farmer. It is a closed holistic model. It was only in the early 1900’s, with industrialization, that money became the real issue and it seemed to developers that growing a mono-crop or keeping mono animal (like growing just lettuce, or raising just cattle) was the answer for optimal capital gains. Well, this idea has brought very serious disease, death, animal abuse & misuse, loss of topsoil, unhealthy plants & animals in general, unhappy farmers, & devastation to our beautiful planet; imagine 2,400 pigs on a half acre, acre after acre. Read More
We are so excited to announce the newest members of our farm, The Four Little Piglets; their mama is a Large Black and their daddy is an 800 pound Tamworth. We found them @ Monarch Family Farm in Pilot Hill. Glen and Kelley Turney are doing a great job raising and loving pigs. THey know so much and are helping us keep it all going. Greg, our newest crew member has worked with pigs before and will be the key ‘pig daddy’, ha, so fun. We will be breeding and finding homes for the little snorters soon enough. Stay posted as to how to start your own pig family.
The farm seems to be popping right now ~ Spring has definitely sprung. Babies are everywhere; 4 owl babies are hatched in their owl box, 21 frisky adorable baby goats (so far), 28 brand new Narragansett Turkeys (100 more eggs to go), 200, 3 day old, Delaware (a heritage breed) chicks, and 4 little heritage breed piglets! And, our farm doggie, Jackie, is pregnant with Jack Russell Terrier pups. Let us know if one is calling to you.
Bryan’s efforts to bring heritage breeds back is working stupendously. We are so excited to have this new breed of chicks! Soon enough we will be hatching our own eggs; no more mail order chicks. IF you read the earlier article on heritage animals, you can see why this is so important! It is amazing to see how much healthier and vibrant this breed is. They are the quintessential chicks ~ so fuzzy and yellow and peeping.
We are, in turn, supporting fellow breeders who are bringing endangered breeds back. THese chicks and turkeys are from fellow farmers who are supporting this exciting movement.
Please stay posted for more fun & important news on our hatchery.