Every Other Week
Purple top turnips
Red Russian kale
Mandarins (Ariza Farm)
“Of all the domestic qualities in a pig, therefore, a vigorous appetite is of the first importance.” “It is, nevertheless, a fact, that there is no more docile or tractable animal on a farm than a well bred pig.” -Joseph Harris
The massive grapefruit tree laden with fruit along the driveway to the farm.
By Jared Clark
A warm fall coupled with several deep soaking rains has all of us farmers breathing a huge sigh of relief. Everywhere you look the land has responded with lush vigorous growth. The crops in the main production field are yielding excellent harvests. The cover crops of oats and vetch are as tall now as they were in February of last year. Our unimproved seasonal pastures have all germinated with a plethora of cool season grasses, forbs, and legumes. These seeds lay dormant in the soil all summer until September when the soil cools slightly as the days get shorter.
When rain soaks deep enough they germinate. Whether it’s a road, a firebreak, or a field we have yet to bring into production, everything has a carpet of green. At the American River Ranch our animals depend upon this fresh forage that they will graze through the winter until Spring. This diverse offering of plants on land that hasn't been grazed for at least 6 months and up to a year offers excellent nutrition for the cows, sheep, chickens and pigs. In terms of grasses we have rye grass, bromes, wild oats, and wild barley among others. For the legumes we have vetch and various types of clover. The forbs include wild radish, star thistle (quite palatable and nutritious when vegetative), chickweed, Benton, shepherds purse, filaree, mallow, fiddleneck, red maid, and too many others to name.
There is no happier animal than an animal herded onto fresh pasture. Each group of animals chooses different types of plants when they first enter fresh pasture. Generally the cows and sheep will hit the legumes first, then the grasses and forbs. The hogs favor the forbs, especially filaree this time of year, and they will eat the vegetative growth first then lift the plant from the soil with a powerful snout and devour the taproot with a grateful grunt. Recently upon turning hogs into a fresh paddock I took a few moments to watch what they each chose. One went right to patch of rye grass. Another to a vining vetch plant. The last went for chickweed. When given a chance to choose from a diversity of plants to forage upon the animals get exactly what they need. The result yields healthy animals, healthy soil, and healthy humans.
A happy hog with a mouthful of fresh pasture.
Featured Fruit: Grapefruit!
It doesn't seem to matter what fluctuations the weather or our care have offered the grapefruit tree over the years it always seems to produce bushels of beautiful, tangy, tasty fruit! This year with a new irrigation system providing consistent water all summer and minimal frosts this winter, the fruit is exceptional. The tree adorns the landscape with its evergreen leaves just outside the office, along our main driveway, and greets everybody who pulls in with its bright yellow fruit. Refreshing and delicious grapefruit is rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and lycopene. Grapefruit is said to be a natural hybridization of a pomelo and an orange.
This grapefruit is a white seeded variety. Grapefruit is perfect when you need to add a touch of acidity to any marinade or salad dressing. Or do as the farmers around here do and just peel that fruit like an orange and devour it. I like using fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to accompany a marinade for lamb or beef.
Featured Recipe: Broccoli & Cheddar Casserole with Leeks
Three little pigs respecting their electric fence...for now!
Dates and Notes
Farm Apprenticeship Program
We are now accepting applications for the 2015 organic farming apprenticeship soon. Applications are available to download on our website. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to visit the farm and volunteer.
To apply go to www.soilborn.org
About us> Job Opportunities
Deadline: December 20, 2014
Start Date: March 2, 2015
Help Spread the Love and Support our Harvest Fundraising Drive
As part of our Harvest Fundraising drive, we are asking for "Selfie help" through our #WeAreSoilBorn campaign. Our plan is to capture and convey, through photos, who our supporters are. If you took a "Soil Born Selfie" at one of these locations, or if you want to take one at home, please use the hashtag #WeAreSoilBorn and your image could appear in one of our upcoming social media posts or printed materials.
Double Your Impact
We need your help! Your tax-deductible gift will provide the essential resources we need to grow more food, feed more families, teach more kids, plant more gardens, harvest more fruit, train more farmers and help us make steady progress towards improving the historic American River Ranch.
Invest by Dec. 31 and your gift will be matched. Donate online or send a check to Soil Born Farms, P.O. Box 661175, Sacramento, CA 95866
Barley the boar grazing filaree and mallow.