THIS WEEK’S GROWER NOTES
We have the best Growers in the Wiregrass! Please learn more about them on our Grower Page.
SMART DOC RESOURCES: What a treat to meet many market farmers at the awesome Christmas gathering at Dothan Nurseries. I know it was successful and can’t wait until next year and I will be better prepared. We had our seminar Hydroponics 101 at the SEC church Wednesday and we had made several salads with our microgreens and lettuce so we were pretty bare! However, we are constantly expanding and learning new things (thank you friends!) And I am grateful to be where we are considering I have just been in Dothan for less than 6 months! The Hydroponics Seminar was a success and we realize the timing was not right for many so perhaps we can plan several more workshops in the coming months. We do have some new products online which include candied pecans and dried chilis ( carolinareaper, the hottest pepper out there!) I hope you all had a chance to meet the farmer, Clifford. He is a young man who is passionate about hydroponics, learning new things and is a hard worker. This is a season to be grateful for friends, family and hard workers! (That includes Roslyn and the team!)
AVALON FARMS: As always, it was great to see all your smiling faces at the Christmas Open House. Over the years we’ve made acquaintance with lots of people that don’t (yet) participate in the Market at Dothan. They are always excited to take advantage of our year round growing. We are truly blessed to have this market available to us all.
We all enjoyed the fresh locally grown garlic last Spring so much that I’m increasing the planting by 5 times. One row of 1200 is in the ground and the second row is started.
100 ft rows get pretty long when you are planting garlic 6 inches apart in beds 6 rows across.
The garlic planting was interrupted by harvesting the last of this year’s meat birds. All 28 are cooling their heels waiting for final inspection, bagging, weighing and freezing. This took much longer than we anticipated due to unscheduled events like a coordinated escape (a live version of Chicken Run! I kid you not!!), equipment problems etc etc. You know, the normal adventures you don’t need while trying to complete a job.
With the closing of this year, I want to thank you all for helping me grow Avalon Farms. Sometimes it seems my plans fail too often but with your encouragement I have succeeded in increasing production. I hope to expand and provide you with even more tasty things to eat!
HAWKINS HOMESTEAD: Hello Market Friends,
Today we’re going to continue our educational series. So let’s talk about “cage free.”
When you hear those words the thought that may come to mind is one of birds living their best life-outside, cage free, and happy.
FACT: “Cage free” doesn’t mean outside access. A label can read “cage free” and simply mean that a bird is housed with tons of other birds.
You know those thousands we talked about last week. They may have access to nesting boxes and even bars to roost on, but they also may still live in terrible conditions inside ?a house.
Many farms successfully use outside enclosures, cages, and other methods for their birds and they have an excellent quality of life.
On our farm we use a variety of methods for our birds. From complete outside access to outside mini coops, and hoop houses, their quality of life and safety is important to us.
At harvest time, the meats birds that are set to be processed are moved to a enclosed holding area. This is complete outside access and they get to enjoy the time they have left. It allows us to separate those birds who are ready for harvesting while preserving their quality of life.
The above picture is one of our hoop houses as a work in progress. We use these to move our meat birds to fresh grass. We also use them for broody mama hens, to quarantine new flock members, and to allow young chicks and turkey poults safe outside access.
This series applies to all growers and producers, be it a grocery store, farmers market, or a direct farm. As consumers and people who grow and eat these birds and the eggs that they produce, giving them the best quality of life means that we practice and support a clean, safe, and natural environment for our chickens and those that we purchase from others. If this matters to you, then this education is important.
For example, now is the time of year when local farmers, us included don’t have many eggs or maybe none at all. So as we branch out to get our eggs from elsewhere please read the label carefully and choose wisely.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found it to be informative and educational. If you have questions or would like more information, we would love to share with you. Please email me directly at:
I’d love to hear from you!
BAIN HOME GARDENS: Good Afternoon Marketeers!
How are you? The Bain family is always excited around this time of year. Why? Nineteen years ago two people from two very different walks of life said “I do”. In these years we have experienced trials and tribulation but never outweighed by the joy & happiness that neither of us ever thought we deserved. Life has a funny way of surprising you. Our biggest surprise is that we are FARMERS! If my 37 year old self would have told my 18 year old self I would be a farmer I would have laughed in my OWN FACE! We truly have much to be thankful for. The experience of joining the Market at Dothan has been a journey of its own. Since we are smaller than many of our fellow growers it’s hard to at times feel like we are helping the community, at least to the degree we had hoped. Your words of encouragement have been a real source of strength. Although our selections aren’t as bountiful this time of year, we do strive to grow what is reasonable, especially after hearing from you. Notice what one of our Marketeers had to say in this online interview. Please note that reason 2,4, & 6 will be published later on our Webpage.
Shena:” How long have you been a part of the Market?”
Patty: “I have been a member of Market at Dothan since I got to Dothan in May 2012. I had been in communication with the manager of the market for a few months before I ever got here.”
Shena: “How do you benefit from our year round market schedule?”
“1. I have severe chemical sensitivity and my diet is severely restricted, not so much from allergies but from residual antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and other chemicals found in conventional food. Before I figured out what was happening, these resulted in multiple ER visits. I have even had reactions to grocery store certified organic foods but have never had a reaction to anything I’ve bought from the market. So, I have year round access to foods that meet my special needs.
3. I consider the vendors friends and it is awesome to meet people who share my passion for growing/raising things safely and sustainably. Honestly my time at the market every week is virtually the only socialization I’m able to have.
5. Year round availability gives me the ability to try new foods that I never would have thought of trying. I may not always like it but I don’t think there’s much new that anyone has introduced that I haven’t at least given a shot. So this has definitely expanded my palate.”
Catch the remainder of Ms. Patty Donovan’s interview over on our Webpage . It will be under the Interviews tab. Check back next week as we interview more of our loyal Marketeers! From our family to yours…!