Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tomatoes on the window sill

A sure way to tell its August! Tomatoes on the window sill.

Our garden is starting to produce tomatoes! about six a day. So far we are picking them a bit early, when they start to ripen and letting them fully color on the window sill.

We plan to sell "No Spray" Green Beans, Sweet Japanese Egg Plant, Cherry and Grape Tomatoes and Low Acid Tomatoes this year, as well as Free Range/Pastured Brown Eggs.

We also planted some authentic Italian San Marzano Roma tomatoes this year. They are just starting to ripen and I made my first sauce yesterday. Yum!!! We eagerly wait for the annual tomato sauces each year. It takes about 4 hours to prepare one batch and we usually do about 6 batches. Lots of work but the taste is amazing!.

Not sure if we will have any Roma Tomatoes left to sell, it will depend on how the season works out. Last year a late blight killed the plants and devastated the crop. Hopefully we'll have better luck this season.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How good are Free Range or Pastured Eggs?

Did you know that happy chickens lay healthy eggs?
Are you interested in learning more about eggs? check out this article.

Check out this link to see the analyses - Mother Earth Egg.pdf

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not just birdbrains, Chickens are capable of complex thought.

I had a chance to read a book called "The Inner World of Farm Animals" by Amy Hatkoff, 2009 and I wanted to share some of the amazing information with you.

Researchers are learning that human brains and avian brains process information in similar ways.

University research shows that chickens are unique creatures with social structures, feelings and emotions.

Did you know that:

  • Chicks can tell people apart and remember the experiences they had with them, per researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada.
  • Chickens have a sense of the future, they demonstrate self-control and the capacity to delay gratification.
  • Much of a chicks behaviour is learned rather than instinctual and they form strong social friendships - preferring some individuals over others.
  • The University of Bristol has shown the chickens can learn from videos.
  • Chickens use their right and left sides of their brains to perform different functions. This process is called lateralization and was originally thought to be a unique human ability. Lateralization was the necessary component language, consciousness and tool use. Dr. Lesley Rogers, Professor of Zoology at University of New England, Australia
  • Chickens also follow the direction of eye gazes. This would mean they have an awareness that others exist and then grasp that they are looking at something.
  • Chickens have demonstrated the ability to count and use basic geometry University of Trento, Padua and Chieti
  • Chickens know what is good for them. If they are in pain, they will choose and continue to eat foods laced with painkillers, and when they recover they will select food without the drugs. - Professor Marion Stamp Dawkins, Professor of Animal Behaviour of Oxford University.
  • One of the capacities we associate with consciousness or higher cognition is the ability to think about something that is not in the immediate vicinity. This is call object permanence. Researchers at University of Trento and Univeristy of Padua Italy have found that as soon as chicks hatch, they are able to remember that something exists, even if they are unable to see it."Human babies acquire object permanence somewhere between 5 and 8 months.
  • Chickens have highly developed communication skills.- Dr. Gisela Kaplan, professor Univeristy of New England.
  • Researchers have identified 31 different call-types with very specific meanings. Chickens use separate alarm calls depending on whether the predator is traveling by land or sky. They also have nesting, mating, laying, contented, and all clear calls. They also make appropriate response calls to different alarm calls but only when another chicken is present to hear it.
  • The more they like something like a particular food, the faster they speak.

Is it time to reevaluate how they are treated?

I think they should be treated with respect, dignity and kindness. They should receive the best possible treatment from their handlers and not have to live in fear or pain. They should enjoy their time here.

Fresh Free Range Eggs

I have always loved animals, and I hate to see them mistreated. I grew up with pets, like dogs and cats and I was taught to treat them with kindness and respect. Animals after all are similar to us, with varied personalities, having likes and dislikes as well as the ability to experience emotions.

So, this year, on the farm, we decided to purchase some laying hens. It has been a great experience. We set up a safe place for them to sleep and lay eggs and we ensure that they have ample opportunities to graze and scratch around or just lay in the dust in the field. They have access to fresh water and feed, but they prefer to spend their day hunting, in search of young grasses or tasty tidbits in the yard.

The hens are such fun to have around and the eggs are a bonus. If you are interested in purchasing free range eggs, give us a call before you come to make sure that we have some available.