When folks ask me what I do in my spare time, I used to explain to them that that was the block of time devoted to raising produce. But seeing that vegetable farming is becoming a hefty chunk of my day’s activities, I decided I needed to fill the recently vacated hobby realm with an activity I do more like a hobby: not frequently, but completely immersive when the occasion does arise. Think of the fly fisherman. This is how I have been approaching the art of cured meat. Foodstuffs to be fermented all respond similarly to the basic principles of inoculation, temperature and humidity control, and time duration, yet there is an infinite number of variations that will result in dramatically different products. It takes at least a few trial runs to find a particularly delicious creation, despite what the Boston Lager label says. This refinement process is the landscape I am currently trudging through. I don’t exactly run a delicatessen here on the farm, but if I did, I wouldn’t be ashamed to stock my fresh sausages and corned beef. Admittedly, I would do a few more batches of bacon and salume before they found their way to the meat counter.
Despite writing this on a Tuesday on the tail end of March, it feels much more like the first week of February, as I watch the snow acccumulate in the corners of the windows. Dani and Butte, the two young ladies who ensure that our dairy fridge is stocked each week, were a little slower to leave the barn after milking tonight. Having gotten a taste of some of the first spring growth of the pastures, they are understandably frustrated with this perpetual winter. This is a big week for the litter of piglets- they get weaned! And for the unlucky chaps (only two out of twelve), they have to go through a small surgery to graduate from boar to barrow. I’ve been framing up the endwalls on the high tunnel weather permitting. This is one of the last structural additions. Hopefully the tomato and pepper seedlings will get off my back and into the tunnel soon.
One of the more interesting aspects of the CSA for me is its evolution as a living, breathing manifestation of all facets of the farm. We’re certainly weilding tools and walking upright, but we haven’t built any Pyramids, not yet, anyway.