November was a whirlwind of activity. With building projects, calving, markets, turkey harvest and a major power outage all in just 30 days!
Summer lasts only about a 100 days (and not all of those sunny) and so this is our busiest time of year. We’ve been busy making hay, watching our new farm emerge from the forest and moving animals to maximize the lush green grass. Hay has been slow and steady with great yields due to our application of fall manure and this spring’s mix of rain and warm temperatures.
The land clearing began just about 2 weeks ago and we’re looking at 13 acres or so of future pasture and silvopasture. Jake and I spent several evenings walking the land and choosing a mix of big and small trees to leave for shade and future timber. The result will be a mixed hardwood forest with enough openings in the canopy to allow grass to grow while offering some shelter for our animals. We have been very pleased with the crew from Comprehensive Land Technologies.
Moving animals is a daily activity. Not every animal group moves each day, but each day there is a group to be moved. Our goats have been doing their annual road crew work, controlling the bittersweet along the road edge and clearing along the stone walls. The cows, seven of whom will calve in the fall are getting wider and wider with all the fresh grass they are consuming.
We hope you’ll come out and see us this weekend for Bowdoinham’s annual Open Farm Day & Art Trail which coincides with Maine’s Open Farm Day. We will be open from 9AM-1PM offering tours (including a look at our newly cleared land) and a pop-up farm store. What should you expect? Check out our previous Open Farm Day post.
You can now order your Holiday Birds! Our Thanksgiving turkeys arrived this week and they are the most feisty birds I think we’ve every had. In just a few short weeks they will head out on pasture where they will be eating a mix of clovers and grasses supplemented by certified organic grain until they are ready to grace your table. We are raising two groups of geese this year to expand availability. Our summer geese have been acting as night watchmen, protecting our chickens from a Great Horned Owl that lives on the farm. The owl’s nocturnal visits usually come at the cost of a broiler so putting a pair of geese in with the broilers scares off the owl.
Follow these links to reserve your turkey or goose.
Christmas in July! We are offering 20% off all our sheepskins and goat hides July 22 – July 29. You can visit us at market or order online– use code JULY17.
UPDATE: We are SOLD OUT for 2016.
Please see us at farmers market to add your name to our waiting list. We thank you for your support of organic farming!
Our gorgeous organic turkeys are out on pasture surrounded by the colors of autumn. We are rotating these birds through a section of field we reserved just for them! This took some planning as the dry summer left us with less pasture for all the animals.
To be sure you’ll have an Apple Creek turkey for your Thanksgiving feast follow this link to reserve yours. Our birds are also available in the Portland area through Rosemont Market and in the greater Dover-Foxcroft area through Spruce Mill Kitchen.
For me the weather in July seemed more like August, so it feels a bit like we’re getting an extra month of summer! We’ll be busy this month with our last two groups of broilers, introducing the turkeys to pasture and hopefully enjoying a day or two at the beach with visiting family members.
We had a fun Open Farm Day and thank everyone that came out despite the rain. The day cleared shortly afternoon and we were able to enjoy the local foods bbq with family, friends and neighbors. We are hoping another such rainy morning will come along soon as our pastures are getting quite dry. If you have been to the farm you know we have many beautiful trees and this year there are distinct patches of dry grass around them. If you’re curious about where we stand with rain visit the US Drought Monitor. We are fortunate to have options to mitigate the dry conditions though this does mean feeding hay earlier and grazing what has in the past been an on-farm hay field.
Due to a variety of circumstances we won’t be raising geese. While this a big disappointment (they are the most adorable babies) it also a blessing as the dry weather means there is less grass coming up. The geese are fantastic grazers and grow best with plenty of pasture.
We will be raising turkeys for Thanksgiving again this year. These birds are available to order now, so be sure to make a note. Birds are priced at $5/lb with average sizes between 12-15 lbs. We sold out last year so don’t delay!
So what else has been happening on the farm?
After a glorious growing season and mild fall we are headed indoors on Saturdays, from now through April at the Brunswick Winter Market. With more than 40 vendor it is the perfect place to begin your Saturday morning with vendors selling everything from cinnamon buns to mead.
Below are a few suggestions to make your visit to the market even better!
Don’t forget THIS SUNDAY is Bowdoinham Open Farm Day! Apple Creek will be open from 9 am – 12 noon and we look forward to seeing you! Make it a day trip by staying around for the local foods barbeque happening at the Mailly Waterfront Park 3 pm – 6 pm, the meal will include Apple Creek chicken smoked to perfection by event caterer, The Texas Barbeque Company.
What Can You Expect?
- You’ll see baby animals including our (goat) kids, goslings, turkeys and bantam chicks.
- You’ll see our poultry operation which includes both Cornish cross and Red bro chickens, our laying flock and our pullets.
- You’ll see our ruminants including our cows, goats and sheep.
- You’ll hear about how the farm was started and meet the whole farm crew including Abby, Jake, Janet and Pete.
- You’ll learn more about how the farm supports wild life and the ecosystem; including birds in residence, forestry management and pollinator habitat.
- There will be an on-farm store set-up so be sure to pack a cooler to pick up some Rosemary Mutton Sausage, sign-up for a Thanksgiving Turkey or a Christmas Goose.
Things to consider- Our farm is a working farm, we’ll mow the lawn but don’t expect everything to look picturesque! Please bring appropriate gear such as close-toed shoes or boots, a water bottle and snacks for your smalls. We’ll have a boot wash and ask that if you are coming from a farm with any critters that you wash up before you walk around. Likewise if you’re headed to another participating farm, we suggest you rinse off before heading out.
What won’t you see when you visit? Dogs! Having three on-farm dogs, we ask that you make other plans for your canine friends.
Thank you for purchasing a turkey from Apple Creek Farm. Below are a few tips to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection.
Bring the turkey to room temperature before roasting, this will ensure it cooks evenly.
Pastured birds cook faster, check frequently.
Use a meat thermometer- meat is done at 145 degrees. If the legs and thighs are not done, remove and finish in the oven while you make your gravy.
There are many opinions about whether high heat or low heat should be used, the following table can be used as a guide for cook time.
Start with oven at 325 degrees, after 1 hour lower heat to 300 degrees.
10-13 lb. – 1 ½ to 2 ¼ hr.
14-23 lb. – 2 to 3 hr.
24-27 lb. – 3 to 3 ¾ hr.
28-30 lb. – 3 ½ to 4 ½ hr.
Be sure to keep the turkey basted either in the traditional method with a baster or, by inserting plenty of butter (with herbs and garlic) under the skin.