Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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Harvest Party 2011!

We will be celebrating the 2011 Harvest with another Harvest Party!

Live music will run throughout the day on our outdoor stage and there will be fun activities for kids of all ages to partake in.

Special guest artists painting artwork on-site this year!

Bands include

Rusty Implements
King Cake
Brothers Donovan
Desert Rain Trio
Acoustic Surf Tones
Zeno's Eros

We will be having a fund-raiser for the newly-established garden @ SCOTLAND SCHOOL.

BYOB
POT-LUCK
FREE
FAMILY FRIENDLY

Lots of locally grown foods will be available to taste.

Please bring blanket or chair.
 
 

Hurricane Farm Harvest Party - 23 October 2010

We are happy to announce that our 2010 Harvest Party is happening next Saturday, October 23.  It begins at 2:00 pm and features farm fresh foods. 

All ages, and kids welcomed!  We will be roasting one of our turkeys on a spit, pressing apples to make cider, and hosting live bands throughout the day.  This event is BYOB.

2:30 King Cake (www.kingcakeband.com)
3:30 Zeno's Eros (www.myspace.com/zenoseros)
4:30 Banjo Jeff Perkins
5:00 The Screwdrivers (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi6fuYLuwFI)
6:00 Synaptic Groove
7:00 Brothers Donovan (www.myspace.com/dreamswell)

Hurricane Farm in a nice article from the HARTFORD COURANT

A link to a nice article about our farm in the Hartford Courant from October 14, 2010.

Click on the "Discover Windham" link...

 http://www.courant.com/about/special_sections/

 
 

Hurricane Farm on TV

Chefs Kevin Cottle (from Season 6 of Hell's Kitchen) and Van Hurd have our sweet sausage, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, herbs and butternut squash. Watch FOX 61 (in Connecticut--or check it out online!) Wednesday morning at 11:00 and see what they make!

http://www.chefkevincottle.com/

 
 

The Tomato and "Celebrating Agriculture" in Connecticut

 

We're winding down with our tomato crop, but there are still plenty left!  Watch for our heirloom varieties at the food booth of "Celebrating Agriculture" at the Woodstock Fairgrounds next Saturday, September 25th.

Check it out...it's a great family event focusing on agriculture in Eastern Connecticut:  http://www.celebratingagriculture.org/

 
 

Work Begins On Our Newest Pasture

We've finally started work on our newest pasture.  This particular pasture is about 2/3 of a mile down the road...not far at all.  We've finally "tamed" the pasture that we acquired laste year--meaning all of the invasive trees have been cut back and we're starting to get the grasses to fill in.  This first pasture had not been tended to in years and needed alot of work.

Our newest pasture, however, is in GREAT shape and is ready for the cattle as soon as the cattle are ready to range (and once the fencing is finished).

The landowner of the new field has allowed us use of his 29 HP New Holland tractor complete with brush-hog and post-hole digger attachments.  First we mowed down some of the field to make space to work.  Then we attached the post-hole digger, drilled some holes, and set the corner posts.  The next job was to mark out the location for the rest of the posts on each side.  Some rebar and surveying tape worked nicely.

 

The attachment worked better than we imagined!  It took only a couple of minutes to line-up and then drill each hole.  We hit very few rocks, maybe 4 all day.  Great soil!

We were able to get down about 4 feet for each hole!  Now I can do this with a shovel, but not THAT fast!  Check out all the "Danger" labels on this thing! 

Corner post one.  Barely had to use that shovel off to the left.  A little "tamping" with the 2 x 4 and it's all set.

 

Being used to a 1963 Farmall Cub, this "new" tractor was a completely different machine.  I think that I could turn a complete circle atop a postage stamp with this thing!  Amazing control, both forward and back as well as steering.

Drop the three-point hitch, bring up the throttle, and then a touch of down pressure...

Still lots more to do, but we're off to a good start.  It's been a full few weeks, with field clearing, harvesting chickens, and building chicken coops for customers, but we're on our way to some new farm land!

 

 

 

 
 

Photos from the Hurricane Farm Tour

This past Saturday we took part in the Coventry Regional Farmer's Market "Graze Fest" which involved tours of some of the farms involved in the market. 

Erica did a great job showing a nice group of eager folks around our farm and many wonderful photos have been sent to us by the participants. 

Follow this link for a slide show courtesy of David Cope > http://www.flickr.com/photos/triodeandco/sets/72157624467019842/

 
 

Hurricane Farm on Facebook

That's right!  You can follow our exploits, experiments, failures, and success stories on FACEBOOK.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Scotland-CT/Hurricane-Farm/111791448862149?ref=ts&ajaxpipe=1&__a=9

WHOA!  That is one clunky URL.  Just go to http://www.facebook.com and join Hurricane Farm.

Or GOOGLE us.  It works!

Hurricane Farm in the Blog-o-Sphere: "It's Hip!"

Though neither "Up-To-the-Minute" nor "Late-Breaking," (sorry, we just found this article from last Winter) this blog commentary offers an interesting perspective on local, sustainable farming. 

http://nutmegnewssource.blogspot.com/2009/12/farming-is-hip-but-challenging.html

 
 

Hurricane Farm: The Movie

In the Fall of 2009--a year and a half after establishing our Scotland, Connecticut farm--a film crew shot the following documentary.

"The New Farmer's Voice"

http://vimeo.com/12220552

Enjoy!

 
 

Hurricane Farm and CSA's in the Newspaper

More people are buying a piece of their local farm

Willimantic Chronicle, 27 May 2010

By MIKE SAVINO

ABOVE: Erica Andrews, right, the owner of Hurricane Farm in Scotland with her husband Christopher, allows Jasper Cote, 2, to hold a baby chick­en.

BELOW: Andrews gives a steer named ‘Mert’ a rub on the cheek. The farm is part of an effort to increase commu­nity supported agriculture by allowing people to purchase a share of the crops at the beginning of each year.

WILLIMANTIC CHRONICLE, 27 May 2010

By MIKE SAVINO


Chronicle Staff Writer


With a shaky economy, people are looking for other ways to invest their money, ways that can get them more immediate returns.

In some cases, those returns are not cash — but food grown on local farms.

Many farms around the country, including some locally, are reaching out to residents for investments or volunteers, a collaborative effort known as “ com­munity supported agriculture” — or CSA.

In a CSA, supporters typically provide funding to farmers in exchange for food. Some farms also welcome people to work on the farm a few hours a week instead of investing money.

“Every CSA is different, and it’s up to the farm,” said Erica Andrews, who owns Hurricane Farm in Scotland along with her husband, Christopher
Andrews.

Andrews said she and her husband starting seeking investors last year and were able to purchase a grain bin for Hurricane Farm, which offers grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, maple syrup and other products to its customers.

She said the farm had 13 investors in the first year, but that number grew to 20 this year — including four who work two hours a month. She still has a waiting list.

“Lately, the curiosity has been growing, growing, growing,” Andrews said.

Steven Preli, owner of West Green Farm in Lebanon, said the idea is “just starting to catch on” in Connecticut, but other states have embraced the idea for years.

Preli, who also said he started selling shares last year, said he listed his on a web site www.localharvest.org pro­moting small local farms.

Local Harvest claims its data­base of CSAs — which also includes Hurricane Farm and Bird Song Farm in Hampton — has more than 2,500 farms across the country that engage in some form of a CSA. Investments typically are under $500.

Bruce Kittredge, owner of Bird Song Farm, said his farm is not a “classical CSA,” though, and he instead uses the site to help cul­tivate a list of customers who can purchase produce before he sells his produce elsewhere.

He said people can become “ overwhelmed” by farms send­ing the same item on a regular basis and he sends out newsletters notifying them when produce is available for purchase.

“This way here, they get what they want and pay for what they get,” he said.

Kittredge said he strives for diversity among the fruits and vegetables on his farm, which is no more than 3 acres.

He said a typical CSA would produce too much produce to focus on quantity and diversity.

Preli said a CSA is not a good approach for all farms, but he said he strives to avoid boring his investors by also planting a vari­ety of fruits and vegetables.

“That box will be filled with what’s in season,” he said about his deliveries to shareholders.

Andrews, meanwhile, said far­mers need to ensure they have enough products to meet promises to shareholders and other buyers, even if the farm experiences dif­ficulties.

“I want room for failure,” she said. “I want room for that fox that takes out half my turkeys.”

Investors do risk purchasing shares during a bad year, which means they might not get back the produce or meat they expected.

But Andrews and Preli said they limit the number of shareholders to ensure they can meet, and even exceed, those promises.

They also said those invest­ments, when collected in the win­ter, can provide money for sup­plies during the growing season.

Without CSAs, farmers need to focus more on budgeting their money throughout the year.

“It gets you income at a time when your not really getting any,” Preli said.

The town of Lebanon has even starting encouraging residents to invest by securing grants and dividing them up for residents to purchase shares at local farms.

Lebanon Town Planner Phil Chester said the conservation commission recently awarded two $500 grants and is in the process of looking for more grants.

“ I hope it’s the way of the future,” he said, adding a CSA helps farmers because it “takes away the middle man.”

He said investors benefit, mean­while, because they can know get to know their farmer and know how their food is produced.

Preli, Andrews and Bruce all agreed they have seen an increase in consumers interested in know­ing where their food comes from, whether it is at farmers markets, smaller grocery stores or through CSAs.

“I would say the number one selling factor is that they know the farmer,” Bruce said about his customers.

 
 

Hurricane Farm at Scotland Farm Day, 2010

We brought some of our livestock to the annual Farm Day here in Scotland, CT this past weekend.  The photos below are from the Norwich Bulletin.

Here's two week old Moe sleeping after a morning's full of attention.

 

The piglets were also hard at work ripping up the grass looking for grubs, roots, and other yummy things.  But so much hard work made for some sleeply little piglets for sure!

We had a great time and met some wonderful new customers and friends.  It was also nice to see some of our CSA members and regular customers who came out as well.

 

 
 

The Further Emergence of Spring

Spring continues its forward progession. 

New calves have been introduced to the growing "herd" out in the pastures...

A new lamb, named Vera, is introduced to some of the other sheep in the flock...

A little girl holds one of her favorite hens...

A flower pops its head through the freshly tilled and fertilzed soil...

Fiddleheads pop up alongside the brook and stream...

Spring is here and in full force at Hurricane Farm!

 
 

Spring is Alive

Spring is alive at the farm and the surrounding woodlands and wetlands.  The frogs have been peeping for weeks, and now after their loud rituals we are finding egg sacks in the "frog pond" and along the banks of the brook and stream.

Soon, the eggs will be hatching and tiny tadpoles will swarm the waterways that surround Hurricane Farm.

Even though there were seemingly thousands of frogs at the start of the "peeping," they are hard to spot now that the mating is all over.  Here's one of the little guys.  Who would expect something so small to make a sound so large?

In addition to the creatures, the plants are also popping up all over the place.  Here is a Skunk Cabbage making its way up through the muddy bottoms of the stream.

And of course manure needs to be hauled.  We started moving some up from the back manure piles, but there is still much more to move.  We'll be tilling the gardens soon and we're also eagerly awaiting the next batch of "four-legged-tillers" (or piglets) who will be arriving in a couple of weeks.

There is still a lot to clean up from sugaring season, though.  And both Erica and Violet spent hours working on this task.  Gathering and hauling empty buckets from the woods, cleaning and scrubbing buckets, pails, spiles, and tubes, and getting it all packed away for next year takes more than an afternoon!

It was so sunny and warm that Violet felt compelled to break out not only her sun hat, but the sun-screen too!  The finished Sugaring Pavillion is there in the back, still awaiting its roofing job...soon to come...

We also disassembled the bee hive, cleaned it out, and got it all ready for its new inhabitants.  Hopefully we'll have better weather this coming summer and the bees will be able to prosper.

And, let's not forget, the arrival of the new farm animals.  Just hours ago we welcomed our first lamb of the year!  As always, it's busy busy busy here at the farm!

 

 

 
 

Spring Work

The maple sugarin' season was very short this year with a low yield.  We made about 25% of what we made last year.  Lucky for us we have a very diversified farm and we don't rely on one product/season.  My advice is that if you are looking to get fresh CT maple syrup this year, snap to it!  Many of the larger producers will be buying their syrup in bulk  from Canada and re-bottling it in their own containers.  If you want REAL CT syrup.  Go buy it before the end of April.

In other news, we have a busy day on the farm:

Erica and the the kids are going to the sugar bush to gather all the buckets.  Then we will need to clean and store all the maple syrup making equipment.

I'm working on the first batch of chicken coops.  We've already sold a few and have customers waiting.

We've also just acquired some new calves and the turkeys and chickens are arriving later this week.

The eggs in the incubator in the house should be hatching any day, as well as the various clutches of turkey and chicken eggs "hidden" under hens throughout the barnyard and barn.

Another batch of bees should be ready for pickup any day.

Manure needs to be loaded, moved, spread, and tilled. 

Spring veggies need to be planted.  Seeds need to be started.

WOW!  Let's get busy...!  New photos of SPRING to follow.

 
 

Of Rust and Tools

Not sure what it is...but most everything around here has a bit of rust to it. 

Sort of makes it better, I think.

 

 
 

The Sap Flows!

It took only a few hours and a sunny morning to get about 100 taps in.  We dug out the buckets, lids, tools, and spouts, loaded up the trucks, and headed across town to the sugar bush.

The owners of the land that we use have been hard at work clearing out the brush, thinning the trees, and making the sugar bush more productive.  You can see in the above photo some of the smaller trees that they had cut down to allow the larger trees room to grow.

The darker hole in the photo below is the hole from last year.  To the right you can see the a new hole with fresh sap already dripping out.  We generally put two taps per tree.  This works out well as the two taps will generally fill a five-gallon bucket each day during the sugarin' season.



The first step once we make it to the woods is to lay out the buckets at each tree we plan to tap.  We put out about 50+ buckets today.  We still have at least 50-60 more spouts to set back at our farm.  Hopefully we'll get to this in the next day or two.

A few slight knocks with a hammer and the spout is set!

One a sunny day like this, the sap starts to flow before the drill bit is removed from the hole.  It starts with a steady stream, but then slows to a pulsing drip.  Those drops sure do add up, though!

Once again, everyone lends a hand.  First we loaded up the trucks.  Then we unloaded them in the woods and set out the buckets, covers, and spouts.  Finally, we drilled and set the spouts into the trees.

It takes some focus and concentration to score a direct hit with the hammer!

The old-fashioned hand drill (brace) works better than an electric drill, in our opinion.  Less noise and more elbow grease makes for some contemplative moments in the woods.  (The more keen of our readers will notice something about the photograph below.  Examine last year's photos...any takers?)

Teamwork all around makes quick work of the trees in the sugar bush.

The buckets are set, the trees are tapped, the sap is flowing...Maple lovers prepare to have your taste buds tantalized!

 

 
 

Winter and Snow

Winter has set in and we have a solid covering of snow.  Looks like we'll be covered until the maple sap is running in March!  It snowed earlier than usual and has been colder than usual.  Such a combination has resulted in a nice white blanket throughout the state.

Neither the cold nor the snow seem to bother plant and animal life here in Scotland, CT, however.

The geese are still strolling around as if they own the place...That is, until the turkeys emerge from the wooded wetlands and take over.

The turkeys still "free-range" all winter, but there is little for them to eat so we offer them some grain each day.  This helps to keep them from "running away," as well.  In the summer and fall they eat entirely what they find in the woods and the fields, but the pickings are a little bit slimmer this time of year.

Even in the middle of a cold winter, the poultry prefer to remain outside.  The turkeys can enter the barn and roost within, but unless it is snowing outside, they still would rather sleep in the trees and atop the barn and sugar-shed.

These heritage toms and hens will be our breeding stock and hopefully provide us with all the poults that we'll need for this year's Thanksgiving.  We'll see how their production is in the late winter and then determine if we need to supplement our needs.  We're once again planning to expand our turkey operation and raise more birds.  We've been selling out faster and faster each season!

Here's Bertrude:

Here's Hiram:

Even though it's frigid and the water for the animals needs to be changed and dethawed several times per day, it is NOT too cold for a RED SOX cap!

And speaking of the cold:  check out what Erica and Liev dug out of the snow in the garden.  The kale is STILL growing, even in 20 degree weather!  This stuff sure is hardy!  It's now officially a year-round crop for us.  Hooray!

I can't believe that this stuff can still make it through this weather.  AND it's tasty!

 
 

A Visit to the Winter Farmer's Market

We'll be at the Coventry Winterfresh Farmer's Market in Coventry, CT this coming Sunday, December 20.  The market has been running for a couple of weeks, and we will be making our first appearance on the first Sunday of Winter! 

The market runs from 11am-2pm at the Coventry High School at 78 Ripley Hill Road (just off Rt. 31) in Coventry, CT. 

We'll have tons of free-range eggs, grass-fed beef cuts, heritage pork products, and more.

 
 

Just In Time To Beat the Snow

A couple of weeks back we had about what seemed to be non-stop rain for days on end.  The farm had become a mud pit.  Almost like Spring, but without the flowers, grass, and other plants popping up and sucking up the excess water.  So...we had mud, in some places several inches deep.

Just about this time we determined it was time to move the hogs into their winter home attached to the barn.

When we first moved the hogs into the garden for their "Fall tilling excursion," we had all three of them in the same cage.  Not so anymore!  They grew quite a bit while removing all the old roots and grubs and other bugs from the garden.

We were able to get the first two up onto the trailer wihout a problem.  The third one almost broke out of the cage, so we had to wait to move him until we got these two guys settled in.  Check out the rooster along for the free ride!  He rode in on the trailer all the way from the garden.

We backed the tractor right up into the barn and then...

...unloaded the hogs.  A couple of curious hens accompanied the rooster and came out to watch us try to lift, drag, push, and pull the cages down the length of the barn.

It seems we got the hogs moved just in time, for that rain gave way to some snow and we were graced with our first plowable snow of the season.  Moving these guys in 4-5 inches of snow would NOT be fun!

Glad to see we got the "thumbs up" from our little supervisor! 

 
 
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