As we grow into this second season, we are committing to a draft powered, diversified future. This doesn’t mean we don’t use diesel and gas to get fields plowed and cultivated when we have to. On the contrary, we rely heavily on the good will of our farming community to allow us to borrow those diesel machines when we need them. We even buy the ones we know we’ll need over and over again.
What it means is that we look ahead, one, two, three years to a time when spring is full of Suffolk Punch foals, little beef calves, our own sows and their litters, and a farm store that is busy with customers. To take us a step closer we’ve applied for a Kiva Zip loan; a crowd-funded 0% interest, unsecured loan, funded by you and secured by our desire to live up to the faith our lenders put in us. We pay back in three years, and you can withdraw your money then, or relend it to another entrepreneur. Take a look at the photos below to see what’s going on at RRF, and what we plan for the future. Then consider lending us $25 to help us meet our goals for a healthy, happy, diversified future: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/4209/i/u2ri.
RRF Photo Captions
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The four of us
Feels like we skipped spring and went straight to summer. I was traveling for the first two weeks of May and came home to a green lush world. Our crew is solid this season, and the farm looks beautiful.
We’ve got almost 10 acres plowed, and planting is the name of the game for the next few weeks. Field corn and sweet corn are in the ground, sunflowers, dry beans and buckwheat to follow.
Weaners (technical term for piglets) have arrived from a farmer friend in Willsboro, and are rooting up a storm.
They are an orderly, curious bunch, and we’re working on socializing them, so when you come to visit, you can give them a belly scratch.
Sara Kurak at Full and By Farm is growing us some beautiful starts this year, and our own Sarah King is rallying the team to coordinate transplanting.
Last fall we opened up a new field, which, given the way the transplants are taking off in its soil, we are calling Glory Field.
They are loving the sandy soil, and the alternating sunny and rainy days.
Our 2nd season also sees us at a second market – the Elizabethtown Market, Fridays 9-1. Traffic is picking up with each week, and we’re learning from all the seasoned vendors there.
Green Point Foods
Our delicious sunflower oil is doing its part to keep us in business by showing off its clarity and color on shelves around the valley (Green Point Foods & Essex Farm‘s farm store)
Planning for the future
We’re tackling projects that put us a step ahead for the fall: buck and split logs and start our firewood drying. Place your draftwood firewood orders now with Chad at 518 573 4499.
Gwen’s shittake mushroom logs are inoculated and waiting in their Hemlock grove for next spring’s harvest.
In with the new
Thinking ahead meant selling our seasoned draft teams, training The Kids and buying in breeding stock to start the Reber Rock Farm Draft Horse breeding program! Fern and Arch and Moose and Killian have gone to great homes in Vermont and Massachusetts, and two of “The Kids,” Polly and Faust, are doing all the farm work. Chad’s new fillies, Trixie and Read, are also harnessing up to do some work for the first time this week.
Meanwhile, in the Nursery, we have 3 fillies hanging out with our 14 month-old stud colt, Donn. He’ll start trying to breed the older fillies in 2015.
Our beef herd is also growing, with new breeding stock and steers raised at Full and By Farm and Sunset Farm. Calves are due any day now.
As many of you may have heard, our laying hens were all killed by a weasel two weeks ago. It was a sad day, but we’ve luckily been able to replace the flock with some ready-to-lay pullets. However, let us know if you have a rooster that you’d like to get rid of — we’re still looking one.
The Farm Store
And don’t forget: the Farm store is open daily, year round, 8am-8pm. We carry products from a number of local business owners: Full and By Farm, Essex Farm, Boquet River Jelly Mill and Little Hills Farm. There is still time to place your beef, pork, chicken or turkey order for 2014, too.
Long days – hungry farmers
Days are longer than 12 hours by far, farmers and horses are sweaty and covered in dirt at the end of the day, but we’re beginning to harvest from the garden and the fields. Here’s Nathan, enjoying the first salad of the season.
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeeds #1 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm’s Nathan Henderson’s “Drafting a Future” Radiostory (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Got Dinner Plans in 2015? Meet Reber Meat (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeeds #3 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeed #4: Year in Review (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeed #5: Getting Ready for Sugar (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)