An exciting new addition to our farm just arrived today: four alpacas! We are the proud new owners of 3 adult females and 1 young male. The 3 females have come bred, so we should be welcoming some crias (the name given baby alpacas) in approximately one year. Alpacas have a long gestation period of approximately 11.5 months and generally give birth to one cria. Twins occur in less than 1 of 1000 births.
We have been wanting alpacas since we purchased our farm, but they are not an inexpensive animal and the equipment required for the market garden took priority. However, this summer, we were offered these alpacas for free as their current owner was no longer able to care for them. In addition to being super cute, these alpacas will be shorn for their wool. Alpaca wool is a highly sought after wool that is warm, soft (and not itchy like sheep's wool) and doesn't contain lanolin, so is considered hypoallergenic. We will be selling some of their wool and processing some of it ourselves. Luckily, my grandma is an experienced spinner and weaver and my mom is an experienced knitter and weaver so we will be picking their brains on how to use this wool! I want lots of alpaca socks and sweaters and Rob says all he needs is an alpaca loin cloth. Ha! Our biggest immediate challenge will be ridding our pasture of burdock. Burdock is a weed that grows rampant around here and if the burrs get into the alpacas fleece it can make it worthless or unusable.
On the vegetable front, the vegetables are continuing to grow well and I see many ripening winter squash and our fall cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are looking great. In the share this week you will be receiving many of the same vegetables that we have been enjoying for the last few weeks but I imagine next week will bring a big shift in the types of vegetables. Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets will become regular weekly additions with some special root vegetables like parsnips, daikon radishes, and watermelon radishes making occasional appearances.
We also have some more napa cabbage to enjoy and some savoy cabbage coming soon that I am really excited about. I have noticed that cabbage are not a popular item with share members but I am going to persevere in the hopes that you will all feel the cabbage love! We all love cabbages around here and use them in a myriad of ways: sauteed with potatoes and zucchini alongside eggs for breakfast, shredded into a lettuce salad, roasted in the oven with a splash of balsamic vinegar, slowly caramelized with olive oil, paprika, and onions and served over pasta, and, of course, the classic coleslaw. And we turn many cabbage into sauerkraut and kim chi to enjoy over the winter months. And if you think you can't use a cabbage up fast enough, remember that they last for over a month in the fridge! Have I convinced you yet?! Probably not, but I can't help but try. :)
For any share members that missed the chicken delivery but would like some chickens, please fill out our booking form and I will plan on a second delivery since we still have some chickens available. Our neighbours prepared one of our chickens for us when we went for dinner this weekend and Rob tells me it was one of the most delicious chickens he's eaten. The chicken was marinated in bourbon and BBQ sauce and then cooked on the BBQ. Once we have the official recipe, we will share with interested share members!
Weekly Share Contents:
I write this list of vegetables with the strong possibility that the contents may change as there are a few different crops that may be ready in sufficient quantity but I won't know until harvest tomorrow (maybe melons and tomatoes!)
Spinach or Chard
Green and Yellow Beans