I guess everything has a steeper learning curve than you would first think. It took about a day longer and half a cord of wood more than I expected to get the wood fired pottery kiln to temperature, but it finally got there. Big thanks go out to Matt Gaddie who came out and did some fine tuning with timing of the stokes to help me along. Anyways, about half the pots turned out great; 10% broke or cracked; and the rest may have to be refired or go in the seconds bin. It takes a while to learn which slips and glazes work in the kiln. Anyways, due to me getting fewer really good pots out of the kiln than I wanted, I am going to have to postpone the opening of the gallery for a month or two, until I can get the big kiln fired again. I will probably aim for early December for the opening. If any potters are reading this, please contact me- I’ll gladly trade space in the kiln for shifts stoking the fire. I stayed up 2 nights in a row and caught some cat naps during the day during the firing- that gets old in a hurry.
Anyways, other farm news: the baby pigs are growing great- probably already up to 30-35 pounds. We just grilled some of the sweet italian sausage we made last weekend and it was wonderful- there will be lots more of this available in the spring.
Marksbury farm will be butchering our chickens- probably around 175 of them in total on 10/23. Most will weigh around 4 pounds and will be selling them for $3/pound. I’ll freeze them on the 24th, but if you’ve never had truly fresh, pastured chicken, you should let me know and I can hold them in the fridge for a day or two until we can arrange pick-up. You will be in for a real treat.
I wanted to update everyone with the produce that we will be offering for sale through the fall and winter at our farm.
Pastured chicken- these will be whole birds, processed at Marksbury Farm http://marksburyfarm.com/, available in late October. They will weigh 3.5 to 4 pounds and will be sold at $3/pound. Never given any antibiotics, steroids, or hormones. They are freedom rangers from a Mennonite hatchery in Pennsylvania: http://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/contact
Pastured turkey- these should dress out at about 12-14 pounds- $4/pound- Bourbon Reds and Royal palms- should be ready for Thanksgiving- I’ll only have about 6 this year.
Pastured rabbit- these will dress out at about 2.5 pounds and will be sold for $3.50/ pound. I’ll have 35 ready within a few weeks. If you’re a bit squeamish about eating Peter Cottontail, I would encourage you to look at some of the rabbit recipes Alice Waters has in many of her Chez Panisse cookbooks or the whole section on rabbit cookery in Fergus Henderson’s book Whole Beast- Eating Nose to Tail.
And finally the highlight of 2 years of work on the farm- I’ll have my first litter of pigs available toward the end of the winter. These are Tamworth/Berkshire crosses, and if they grow anything like their sire (the Bekshire) they should weigh 250+ by then. We will be selling them by the whole, half, and individual cuts. Check back later for pricing.
I’ll have the rabbits and chickens available by the time of the pottery gallery opening on October 27 at 3:00 pm- please plan on coming out for that- free Bluegrass, free food, BYOB.
Well here goes with my first ever blog post.
I hope you have already looked around on the website to see what we’re about at River Run, because I’m going to just kind of jump in head first with some goings on at the farm here in the middle of harvest season. I’ll try to fill in some of the details as I go along the next few weeks and months on the blog.
The wood-fired kiln is going to be fired for the first time later this weekend. I hope to load tomorrow and then light the fire sunday morning, fire through the day and night and then hopefully finish sometime monday afternoon. I have some help lined up but if anyone reads this and wants to see or help please come out. If you’re a potter bring a few pots, I should have room.
Also, my first batch of feeder pigs have made themselves unwelcome in the barn where I’ve kept them the last few weeks after they were weaned by eating 2 unsuspecting chickens who flew into their stall. I guess its one of the dangers of a diversified farm, and it certainly reminds you that if given the chance cute little baby pigs will eat anything they can catch.
Lots of canning, drying, preserving is going on at the farm. The high tunnel is full of peppers. I made pear butter for the first time monday- I used an antique iron kettle my parents found, which probably hadn’t been used in 40 years. It gave the butter a slightly minerally taste, but I guess this will dissipate after a few uses.
I’ll try to post again during the firing.
We’ll be hosting our official pottery studio opening and would love for you to join us! Come on out on October 27th at 3 pm. There will be live music as well as wood-fired pizzas with some farm fresh ingredients. We’ll be giving farm tours as well to those that are interested. Should be a great evening of farm fun!