Agriculture: Snakes on the Brain

Green E-Market Bulletin May 17, 2019
WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK:French breakfast radishes, $3 a bunchGround lamb, lamb shanks, from our latest lambs to market. Ground lamb, $7/lb, shanks $10/lb.

That’s me (Victoria) Just kidding Photo by Troy Spindler

Snakes on the Brain

Hi all, it’s Victoria this time.Our recent spell of cold, dreary, seemingly unending overcast weather had left me feeling leaden and slow-moving as the days trickled by. Tasks piled up on my to-do list, and I was thwarted from accomplishing them by both the literal presence of rain and by my gloomy, half-awake mood. The sudden emergence of the sun on Wednesday dried the ground, brought new sprouts breaking through the surface, and sent me sprinting outside with enough vim and fervor to prep and plant seven rows of beans. Triumph! Also a convenient confirmation of my impulse to do zero soul-searching and keep blithely blaming all my feelings on the weather.Of course, going suddenly from an indoor sweater-clad lifestyle directly to sunbathing brought with it an obvious consequence: a sunburn on my shoulders, transforming overnight from blossom-white to apple-pink despite my devoted veneration of sunscreen. And worse, despite optimistic applications of post-mortem aloe, I have recently begun to peel. Last night, as I rubbed my itchy shoulders against the door frame (pretending this doesn’t count as scratching), the pieces began to come together: A period of torpor bordering on dormancy, followed by an energetic reemergence after exposure to sun and warmth, and now an evident molt…….am I turning into a snake?I’ve always been a huge fan of snakes and their scaly compatriots, despite my family’s reservations, and hold strong opinions about everything from most frightening (constrictors are way scarier than vipers) to which would make the best pet for me personally (a Hognose snake, obviously). I’ve been delighted by the volume and diversity of snake neighbors we have on the farm, as they’re both a sign of a robust environmental habitat, and a useful form of pest control. There are varieties of snake that operate at every level of the food chain, from tiny grass snakes up to monster Black Rat snakes, which are keystone predators and can grow to be as long as 6 feet in the wild, or approximately four and a half feet in our basement. So if my transformation becomes complete, I’m confident that I can find my appropriate ecological niche.I’m also lucky enough to have plenty of snake-loving friends and family, who have managed to overcome a fundamental hard-wired fear to appreciate snakes for their skills and talents. My mom, famously, conquered her initial apprehension to welcome a huge rat snake who lived in the attic of her house. After witnessing his undulating movements throughout the rafters, she nicknamed him Elvis and grew to appreciate him as a cohabitant, even after he molted a massive skin right on the mantle of her fireplace. Troy and I have a past coworker from NEON, Rob, who loves snakes more than any human I’ve ever met, and has the talent of finding and then lovingly cradling any serpent in his vicinity. A field day with Rob–or an office day, or even a casual afternoon at the river–often became a visceral object lesson in how truly foundational snakes are in a given environment, as he would have a new one wrapped around his fingers with a speed and frequency that was, frankly, uncanny. As for my other friends who have not yet grown to love snakes, perhaps I can gradually work to change their minds (Erika, please let me know if I’m still welcome as a bridesmaid if I have to slither down the aisle).Still, I have to approach this new stage in my life with a degree of apprehension. I’ll certainly miss my limbs, which have served me so well to date. I also clearly wouldn’t do so well as a cold-blooded creature, especially in a climate with less-than-dependable sunshine. I tend to think mice are gross, and don’t relish the idea of crushing them in my coils and then swallowing their deflated bodies whole. Snakes also don’t have ears, so I will no longer be able to hear your dulcet tones, nor take phone messages. However, the struggles of growth and personal transformation always tend to bring unforeseen satisfaction and joy with them, so here I go boldly into the breach.
THIS WEEK’S OFFERINGSHORSERADISH ROOT: $5/LBFRENCH BREAKFAST RADISH, $3 A BUNCHSORREL, $2/BAGMINT: $.75 a bunchFROM LAST FALL’S GARDEN HARVEST:FROZEN SQUASH (SHREDDED, TROMBONCINO), GREAT FOR FRITTERS, $2/LB.EGGS: Production is now in overdrive. We can handle all your orders. $5/dozMEATS: We keep some on hand, but it helps to order ahead in case we need to retrieve from our stash in the big commercial freezerGEESE: One remaining, about 8.5 lbs. $10/lb.TURKEYS: A few small ones left over and frozen $11/lb .GUINEA FOWL, We are sold out!ROASTING CHICKENS – Freedom Rangers, $6/lb, range of sizes, mostly in the 4 to 5 lb. rangeLAMB: Ground lamb $7/lb, shoulder roasts at $10/lb, riblets $8/lb, small and larger leg roasts $14/lb, lamb stew $7/lb, shanks, $10/lbPORK: Loin pork chops, $12/lb (2 to a pack, btwn 1 and 1.5 lbs), Jowl (roughly 2 to 3 lbs each), $12/lb, 
Spare ribs and country ribs $7/lb 
baby back ribs $8/lb 
fresh ham roasts (2 to 3 lbs), $12/lb 
picnic or Boston butt roasts (roughly 2 lbs) $12/lb 
smoked bacon, $12/lb 
Kielbasa $8/lbDUCKS: Two years ago we did Pekin ducks. The males are not so different in size from the females, and these are nice meaty birds, most between 5 and 7 lbs. Also $7/lb. We have to retrieve these from the big freezer, so please order a week ahead.COMPOST, $6/Bag, approx. 40 lbs.
FARM PICKUPS:Email us your order at, and let us know when you’d like to pick up your order. It will be put out for you on the side screened porch of the farmhouse (110 Lasher Ave., Germantown) in a bag. You can leave cash or a check in the now famous pineapple on the porch table. Regular pickup times are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., other days by arrangement. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call at 518-537-3815 or email.
Agriculture: Snakes on the Brain


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