Agriculture: Sunny and Shear

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TURKANA FARMS, LLCGreen E-Market Bulletin July 19, 2019 WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK:Cucumbers and zucchini! They’re out and proud, with a fresh harvest twice a day. $2 a pound. 
Wax beans, limited quantities $2.50/lb.

How we’d all like to have our hair cut Photo by Mark Scherzer
Sunny and Shear

Hey all, Victoria here.If you’d asked us last Saturday what could possibly go wrong on shearing day, we could have extemporized for as long as you were willing to listen. Even after we’d set up our station and Aaron, our expert shearer, arrived, the list of potential obstacles was deep and long. Let me tabulate our specific anxieties, so you can share in the fullness of this journey alongside us.Would it rain? We’d already rescheduled once due to weather. If it rains and the sheep’s fleeces get wet, they’ll mold and become unusable, as well as clogging the shearing equipment, sticking to every available surface, and ensuring a miserable afternoon. Conversely, would it be too hot? The temperature was threatening to reach the high nineties, somehow with both full sun and a marginal chance of rain in the afternoon. Would we be able to stay hydrated, and have enough shade for both us and the flock?Without a barn, we wouldn’t have shelter. This led to a branching series of possible catastrophes, both amplifying the effect of bad weather and introducing new challenges concerning sheep movement. We settled on setting up the sheep in the old cattle corral, an open pen with none of the gates and chutes that usually facilitate moving a herd.Once Aaron arrived, we had a new and unexpected hiccup: The new electrical plugin that had been hastily installed after we lost the barn wasn’t working. We reset it and waited with bated breath while Aaron pulled the cord of his clippers; still nothing. Troy had planned ahead and seen to it that our generator was brought back from the brink of obsolescence, so he quickly wheeled it over, and we held our breath again as we started it up. This time the clippers buzzed to life, we exhaled, and began to take our places for the arduous ballet that was to follow. But don’t worry! Or rather, do worry, as we weren’t done yet.Given that we would handle each sheep individually while it was being sheared, Troy thought this would be a great opportunity to make sure everyone’s hooves were trimmed and they were dusted with anti-lice medication. With all the potential chaos of wrangling in an open pen, there was some scepticism bandied around about the feasibility of getting all this accomplished while also moving fast enough to get everyone through the process (for the record, I was not the doubting Thomas in this situation. I was a trusting Thomas). Undaunted, Troy set up his own sheep spa and clinic in the far corner of the pen. We’d filled a cooler with ice water, rounded up the herd, and double-checked the forecast.Then it was time, and — each of us wearing our own slightly eccentric sun hat — we braced ourselves for the starting gun. Aaron was in his element, casually rolling up to the pen in a Subaru hatchback with a bumper sticker that read “BAA”, but this was the first shearing for Troy and me, and even after all our preparations we didn’t know quite what to expect.Weirdly, once the clippers were buzzing, the next four hours went by shockingly quickly. Mark and I traded off wrangling, delicately carrying or gently wrestling a sheep to Aaron’s plywood stage, then crouching to gather wool into individually labelled bags. As soon as Aaron was done with a lamb, he would release it into Troy’s hands, where they were spirited into a hammock to have their nails done with professional speed. Although the line of sheep seemed never-ending, we eventually scooped up the last one, bagged her beautiful fleece, and stood back to admire our work.Aaron shook hands all around, then hopped in his Subaru to head to the next farm. Our flock, newly light and free without their winter coats, were let out to pasture with more-than-usual frolicking. Mark, Troy and I hauled fifty-two new bags of wool into the house, weighed them (146 pounds total!), and tossed them into the cabinet over the stairs.When we finally collapsed into chairs on the porch, sweaty glasses of cider in our hands, it was with a feeling of triumph. None of our worst fears had come to pass. Whether due to luck, or to our abundance of nervous preparations, things had shaken out just fine. We clinked our glasses with the traditional toast: “Shears!”WHAT’S AVAILABLE THIS WEEK Lots of Rainbow Chard – $3/bunch 

Cucumbers, $2/lb 
Mugwort, $1/bunch for infusions or tea 
Beets, $4/bunch (mixed bunches Chiogga, Detroit Red, Golden, or tell us your preference), 
Scallions, $2/bunch 
Kale $3/bunch 
Collards, $3/bunch 
Wax beans $2.50/lb (limited quantities) 
Purslane, $2/bag 
Elder flowers, $2/bunch – great for infusions 
Zucchini, $2.00 /lb 
Cherry belle radishes, $2/bunch 
MINT: $.75 a bunch 
DILL: $.75 a bunch 
SHISO LEAVES, $1.00 FOR 10 Currants, black $6/pintEGGS: Production is now in overdrive. We can handle all your orders. $5/doz MEATS: We keep some on hand, but it helps to order ahead in case we need to retrieve from our stash in the big commercial freezer GEESE: 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 – We are sold out til FallLAMB: 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: SOLD OUT 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.


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