Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taste of the Town

We slipped away from the farm last Sunday to check out the Taste of the Town . This is the third Taste which was organized by Andy Goddard formerly of our favorite local bar, Andy’s. She and a crew of volunteers organized this tasting to showcase the talented chefs in Chestertown. We were enticed by the veal sliders from Chef Kevin McKinney of Brooks Tavern. Served on a potato roll and topped with a cheese sauce and pickled onions, these little delights certainly showcased our veal. We each had two!
The Brooks Tavern blog has great photos of the event and descriptions of the other tidbits offered.
And as if the event was not already tons of fun we had some luck too. Brooks Tavern had a drop your name in a hat offering for potential winning of a 5 liter bottle of Banfi wine. We won!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"As Good As It Gets!"

When you look around St. Brigid's Farm today it is hard to believe that less than 2 months ago we were buried in snow from back to back blizzards. Things have changed a lot! At this time of year I am always reminded of a long time client and friend, Ted Fox. I traveled to Ted's farm in southern NJ twice a month for 24 years doing herd nutrition services and repro exams. When ever I saw Ted and offered my usual greeting of "How are you doing Ted?" he would reply, "Doc, it's as good as it gets!". It didn't matter if it was too dry, too wet, too cold, too hot, low milk prices, or sick animals Ted was always up beat and looking at the bright side of things.
On St. Brigid's Farm every spring Judy and I share the same thought, "it's as good as it gets". What makes right now as good as it gets? Here's my list:
· Ground temperatures and air temperatures are such that grass is growing aggressively enough to offer all of our cows, heifers, and steers an opportunity to be outside and consume grass as the mainstay of thier diet. This greatly reduces the cost to feed everyone. The work load for us shifts from inside scraping and feeding stored feeds to being outside moving fences, waterers, and cows.
· Production is near peak with the herd in full flow of milk and eating predominately a diet of vegetative spring grass. Today we produced 67 lbs of milk per cow.
· No mowing of pasture, no flies, no AI or heat detection, few cows calving, many calves weaned.
· Low humidity, cool nights and sunny days makes it comfortable not only for people but the cows love it too.
· Northern Spring Peepers-anyone reading this who lives in the country especially near wooded areas or marshes knows the sound made by peepers. If you don't know what I'm talking about click here. Whether it's walking the cows back to pasture in the evening, lying in bed in the evening with the windows open, or getting the cows from pasture early in the morning the peepers' chorus offers a delightful background.
· Purple martins-are back! Soaring and swooping around the field catching mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Soon we'll be dealing with heat, humidity, flies, mowing, irrigating, breeding, and straw harvest. But for right now, "It's as good as it gets". Right, Ted?

Captain Ted Fox