Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thinking of Spring

This is the time of year where I have to hold myself back as I'm itching to start my tomato plant seedlings. If I start them too early, then I've found that they get too big and are hard to transplant. I've also gotten better at growing seedlings so I have a good idea of how long it takes to get them to a good size to transplant in my area.

I wrote in a post a while ago that I was going to try print advertising. We had an advertisement placed in our local Carroll County Magazine that is free to households and are distributed to local businesses to put in their waiting areas. As a result I can say that the print advertising did work and lots of friends and neighbors told us they saw the ad. Now how many that saw the ad purchased meat from us or joined the CSA? Much less than saw the ad, but still more than enough to pay for the ad several times over. So select print advertising seems to work for our farm. If anyone local has other ideas of where we should advertise, let us know!

We are donating a 1/2 share of the CSA that you can bid on at the silent auction at the Carroll Community College Random House Book Fair on March 5th at Carroll Community College. So come out and check out the Book Fair and bid on Green Akeys Family Farm Products. Full disclosure- I am the chairperson for the event. It's a wonderful event and all proceeds are used for student scholarships.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CSA Inspiration

The attached link is an article from the NY Times written by Michael Pollan.

My absolute favorite line in the entire article is:
Don't eat food that your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize.

For me that statement means I'm eating what they ate in Poland around 1800. I think I'm covered. In the CSA we have beets, cabbage, carrots, beans and most importantly we've got raspberries.

I'm certain that my great-great grandmother had a cow and made homemade ice cream every once in a while..... thank goodness..... 4 more months till the picture above becomes a reality....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shout out to our Website Developer - Small Farm Central

When we started this farm, I started this blog.
Then we realized we needed a website. Ugh, how do you build a website and actually have it be more than a landing page.

We then found Small Farm Central through a referral from our friends at Whitmore Farm.
It took a few hours to learn how to use the website and to setup our options but as I learn more of the features, the more I am so happy that Simon created this software for small farms.

Learning to use your website and use it well is like learning a new strategy game. Below is Kensington. My favorite game of all time. If anyone wants to come over and learn to play the game with me- let me know. I need a worthy challenger as I'm really good at this game. My father used to play the game with me all the time - that is until I kept beating him at it. I had to compromise and play backgammon with him as he won 98 times out of 100 when we played that game.

Using your website to be more than a landing page takes thought and strategic moves.
The feature that I wasn't taking advantage of until recently in the software was the automatic member mailing list feature. I am up to about 50 people who want to receive a monthly email. And if someone wants to unsubscribe, the software automatically takes the person off the list.

It is unbelievably easy to stay in touch with the people who 'asked' to receive information and the information can then go onto the website for those not on the mailing list.

As we get more mailing list members I can group the people into those that are CSA interested only or meat interested only. Wonderful!!!

Thanks Simon and Small Farm Central!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Longer Days = Eggs!

Our hens are outside and without artificial light. Why is this important you may ask? Because hens are day light sensitive and only lay eggs when days are about 10 hr or more of daylight. So they are starting to lay eggs again! I'm getting 6-7 again each day and I am thrilled and I know a few of my die hard egg buyers will be thrilled as well.

I can't remember which blog I was reading the other day but I learned that you can freeze eggs in the summer or fall when you have more than you may know what to do with for those time in the winter when I had no eggs. You scramble them up and add 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of eggs and then freeze them in an ice tray. I'm going to do this next year to last me through winter as I was about 4 dozen eggs short this winter.

We have about 40 new hens that are almost 16 weeks old and in 8 weeks or so will they will be ready for this season to lay eggs for us and our CSA members. We are only selling eggs to CSA members and a few other die hard egg purchasers this year as we are scaling back the eggs from last year. We're going to switch to organic feed and concentrate on this small group of hens. (yes 40 is small compared to 140 or 150 we had last year)
All new hens have been carefully selected in order to optimize the 'beauty' factor of the dozen eggs. I'll have greens, whites, hopefully pinks, deep chocolate and lighter brown with and without speckles. I can't wait!