Back in 2011 I decided that I wanted to try growing turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Over the years customers had been asking where to get them and I thought it would be a great sideline to the vegetable business. Little did I know that this would be the catalyst to our poultry business. 2012 we raised the first meat chickens and 2014 was the beginning of the egg layers.
But if you’re going to sell poultry you’re going to need to get them processed.
I was eager to raise them but wasn’t ready to start processing them. After talking around I was recommended to a Mennonite family in the Penn Yan area. That fall of 2011 was the beginning of a long friendship with the Hoover family. We had been no strangers to Mennonites and had done business with different families before that. Since the beginning we had built a strong friendship and began to watch our families grow. His kids where starting to get married and ours were just starting. Even though we came from different up brings we still had many common interests including Kubota Tractors!
Unfortunately the Hoover family was dealt a devastating blow Wednesday afternoon January 30, 2019. A small fire started in their woodworking shop and quickly spread to the rest of the barn, including the horse stalls, buggie garage, and poultry processing area. All the horses, buggies, and small animals made it out safely. No one was hurt and their house was unaffected (thank goodness).
It’s truly amazing how fast the community comes together to help someone else out.
But the truly amazing part is how the Mennonite Community comes together to help out a family in a time of need. The fire was Wednesday and next day a whole crew was clearing the debris away, making the plans, and had already started to rebuild. By Friday afternoon they were ready to set trusses and by Saturday night the building may be closed in already. Mennonites don’t believe in insurance but rather they pay into a community fund that is managed by the church. Then when a crisis happens the church steps in and helps the family out.
It’s truly amazing how fast the community comes together to help someone else out. I hope that everyone can take a step back and take a macro perspective.
Too often we are so concerned about the little things in our own life and we too easily forget about everything around us.
I’m very sad that The Hoovers will not be able to process our poultry for a little while but they recommended an Amish family that can get the job done.
Even in the winter it’s business as usual on the farm. Even in these cold temperatures we still have to tend to our land and animals, although there might be a little more argument on who goes out to feed the chickens!
We can’t stress enough how much we love our job. There’s always parts of the job that we don’t like, and there’s probably parts of your job that you don’t like either, but we take a lot of pride and joy out of our work. Getting up and being at your job might sound terrible to some of you, but for us it’s a dream come true.
Our sincere enjoyment is yours actually. We have many repeat customers and many new customers who come to us for the food that helps sustain their family, themselves, and their friends. There is no greater feeling in the world than a job well done and when we hear the success stories of the dishes you made that your family and friends loved with our products it gives us true joy.
Winter on the farm is a bit slower than in the spring, summer, and fall. It’s certainly a lot darker (although that’s slowly changing) and much quieter. But this time is essential for us to plan out our crops, spend some quiet nights with our girls, and think about spring!
We’re ready for it some days and other days we’re glad we have a few months. We hope this year is a good growing one not only for our crops that we bring to you but also for our three most important crops, our girls!
For the next few months you can find us at the Rochester Public Market and the Brighton Winter Farmers Market.
Everyday we are so happy to do what it is we do. Farm life for us isn’t just a job but it’s our identity and our way of life. Growing takes a lot of patience and time, sometimes a little luck, and a deep understanding of the land and the crops. It’s not meant to be completely cerebral but a combination of established practice, research, and accountability.
It some ways, it’s much like raising children and sometimes we see our kids walking through the crops, amazed at how fast they’ve grown, how quickly they adapt, and how much more they know than we can account for.
Our family farm is just that, a family farm. And it sounds simple and looks simple in words but honestly it couldn’t be any simpler. We would never feed our family something that we wouldn’t sell and we treat our crops and animals with the same careful persistence as our kids.
We like to share news, pictures, and crop reports with everyone because if you shop with us it’s like your part of the family too. Our ties to the community can only feel stronger when we are recognized at one of the markets we attend!
Rochester is an awesome city with a great group of people living in it. The Rochester Public Market is one of the most amazing places we’ve ever been and studies have shown that its one of the most multi-cultural meeting places in the northeast. Up there with Chicago city markets and New York city!
We couldn’t be happier to be at any of the markets we attend. And we also have on farm pickup on Wednesday’s from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. So stop on by! We’re easy to find and we’d love to have you.
Here’s a recent gallery of pictures from the farm!
In the last seven days we have seen many weather extremes that have made farm life interesting. We really didn’t enjoy the stretch of hot weather as it definitely shortened the work day and production levels. Then it was much cooler weather that made everyone feel much better but that was followed by almost three inches of rain. It has been a rather long run of wet days the last few weeks. Seems like it just starts to dry out and it rains again. We have not been able to dig potatoes for a few weeks and now we are out of harvested potatoes. Hopefully we can have some nice sunny days with a little breeze to help dry out the soil because there are still more than plenty in the ground!
All of the shallots have been pulled and we started on the red onions today. One more cycle in the greenhouse and all the onions will be dried for the season. The early planting of winter squash has been cut and piled. Hopefully in the next day or two we can get it all picked up and into storage. We have wagers going among the guys on how many 20 bushel bins we will fill. The high guess is 17 and the low is 8. I would be happy with any of those numbers and only time will tell.
Sadly, watermelons are all done for the year. We really enjoyed some of the sweetest melons we have had in a couple of years. I think it was a combination of a dry June and such warm weather. I know that many people will be asking for them at the market. Cantaloupes have slowed down but warm weather should pick their production back up. Tomatoes are at their peak right now with canning and freezing quantities available.
After a wet and cool market Monday I was inspired to make a warm hearty meal for dinner. Honestly the prep work took longer than the cooking and I think the results were amazing.
2 medium zucchini, cut up
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
4 san marzano tomatoes, diced
Cook the onions and garlic in a frying pan with olive oil. When they are cooked add the rest of the ingredients at medium heat. Cover and stir for a few minutes. Transfer to a Pyrex pan and cook at 400 degrees for another 15 minutes. I added a little balsamic vinegar just before serving it. Sandi and I enjoyed it very much, the girls liked certain veggies more than others! For dessert we had baked apples with a little cinnamon and whipped cream. Nothing fancy but very tasty. Please share some of your favorite recipes and I will include them in the future newsletters.
Tomatoes, admittedly, is not a subject we should be writing about. We are not a tomato-loving household and, as much as we regret it every year, have never prepared our own sauce for preserving. But, we know that there are plenty of you out there who love to can, love to experiment with new dishes or love to create those time-honored family recipes each season.
We would love to hear what your recipes are for preserving and canning tomatoes!
Send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or leave it right here in the comments of our site. We think if more people like us had more recipes we would be more inclined to try some of them.
If you freeze them or can them just let us know your fall process for tomatoes and we’ll share them with the whole group. Sauce, salsa, purees and whatever else we’re forgetting!
Being that we’re at the acme of tomato season if you are in need of any large quantities of these versatile red fruits to let us know and we’ll arrange farm or market pickup logistics! We have tons of them and they have been sweet and delicious (so we hear….)