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We’ve had some excitement at Stone’s Throw Farm lately — farm member Jennifer Gutowski brought her boys and their Cub Scout troop out for a little tour one evening. They especially enjoyed wheeling our row marker around and taking turns with the wheel hoe. We also got a shipping container delivered for use as a potting shed; Elden plans to insulate it and attach a hoop greenhouse on the south side. This will allow me to start seeds at the farm instead of using the basement at my parents’ house 3 miles away! Our neighbor John Laveau set the container into place for us with his excavator (thanks, John). The piggies are doing great and getting hooked on back scratches. They’re still a little shy when big groups of Cub Scouts stop by, though!

Pigging Out

PigClusterEvery year since 2010, we’ve raised a few pigs at Stone’s Throw Farm. This year we’re going back to our original number:  four. These pigs came from my grandpa, Tom Conover, of Holstein, IA. We just happened to get all gilts (females) this year, so they are “the girls.” They came to us about 25-30 pounds, so they’re pretty cute. Farm members who would like to meet the piggies in person are more than welcome to visit.

PigsFromWest

It’s fun for me to see how happy these piggies are to be out on sod, rooting around, running over to see if I’ve got treats for them, and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, they’re not quite as happy when it’s 37 degrees and windy, but my dad takes very good care of them and has their little hut stuffed with straw, so they just pile up in there and snore the chilly days away.

I caught most of a “Fresh Air” show on NPR recently (by accident!) about pigs, and you should really check it out if you’re curious about pigs at all. Barry Estabrook, author of Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat, was the guest and says,

Pigs and humans, culturally, we’ve evolved together. Pigs have helped us, we’ve helped pigs, it’s what Temple Grandin calls ‘the ancient contract,’ and our part of that contract is to do our bit well and pigs’ part of that contract is to provide us with food.”

I have to say that despite that contract, butchering day is really difficult for me. That’s part of the reason we’re down to 4 pigs!

Check out a couple videos of our piggies below:  the first two were taken when they first arrived on the trailer, and the other one after they landed in their outdoor pen. They were pretty skittish at first but have already warmed up to people considerably.

Update 4/25/15:  We’re now completely sold out of CSA shares for 2015. To be notified when shares go on sale for 2016, please send an email to stonesthrowmn at gmail.com. Thanks.

Due to some upgrades from half to full shares by our Stone’s Throw Farm members, we now have one half share left, but we’re sold out of full shares. If interested, you can go ahead and sign up for that half share online . . . the sign-ups are time-stamped so there’ll be no confusion about who got the last share. In the event that multiple people try to sign up for the same spot, I’ll let you know as soon as possible. Thanks.

We’re now sold out of Stone’s Throw Farm half shares, but we do have 2 full CSA shares still available. To sign up, click here.

Little Virgin Tiger Moth

Little Virgin Tiger Moth

If you can’t handle a full share yourself, you might want to find someone to split it with. Many of our farm members do this, either alternating weeks (picking up the whole box every other week) or dividing the box between the 2 parties each week. Some “splitters” like to get together at the pick-up site or elsewhere to divide the contents of the box, but you don’t have to do that. Each box will have the name of the primary shareholder on it at the pick-up site each week, so we don’t mind if splitting shareholders take half of the produce out of their box and leave the other half for their co-shareholder to pick up later. It’s up to you how you split your share!

???????????????????????????????Spring has been kind to us so far . . . the fields are drying out at the farm and the forecast shows warm and sunny days ahead. You never know what will happen with the weather, of course, but right now I’m feeling optimistic. It’s a nice change after the last 2 years, when we had snow beyond this date.

???????????????????????????????It’s a good time to walk through the woods, because the trees and bushes haven’t leafed out and the ferns haven’t emerged. Once that happens, most of our woods is a dense tangle that is difficult to get through. And, treasures like this little skull are hidden from view.

We had a good turnout at the Local CSA Farm Open House on Friday — the first official day of spring. It was especially nice to see a few of our dedicated customers who stopped by to say hi. We picked up some new members but still have 6 Stone’s Throw Farm CSA shares available, so if you’re still shopping for a CSA, check out our share options on our online sign-up form. If you have any questions, just let me know. Thanks! I’ll post something here when we’re sold out of shares.

2015csa guild poster-page-001Stop by and see me at the Local CSA Farm Open House on Friday, March 20, 2015, 5:00 – 7:30 pm at Clyde Iron Works, 2920 W Michigan St, Duluth.

You can sign up for a Stone’s Throw Farm CSA share at the event, or find another CSA that suits your needs.

All of the farmers contribute local food and/or goods for a great raffle — the winner will be pulled from the hat at 7:30 pm, right before Farmers Take the Stage starts in the same venue! Stick around and let the farmers entertain you.

The CSA Open House is FREE. Farmers Take the Stage costs $10 and benefits the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association.

Purple Potatoes… Not just because it’s the year of the potato in Duluth, but also because they’re better for you than you thought, according to NPR.

Good news, eh? (Unless you already knew about nutritious potatoes–you’re such a smart consumer.)

Don’t forget to sign up for a CSA share now to ensure your supply of fresh, locally-grown potatoes (and a wide variety of other yummy veggies) this summer and fall.

And, check out another NPR story on farmers markets and food hubs while you’re here.

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