AgriCulture: The Sunny Side of Town

Newbanner 2 596x151  TURKANA FARMS, LLCGreen E-Market Bulletin September 30, 2023Jerusalem artichokes 2Looking at the Sunny Side: Jerusalem Artichokes in Bloom Photo by Mark ScherzerThe Sunny Side of TownHi All, Mark here.With Yom Kippur over and Eric returned to the City, I started this week ready for my first extended stretch in months without company on the farm. I resolved with great energy to make dramatic progress on organizing EVERYTHING.Tuesday, I managed a packed office schedule, plus made progress on mucking the barn and harvesting vegetables. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I finished updating a several-weeks-overdue chapter of a legal treatise. I followed that with a big feed run (for the critters and me). To be super-efficient, late Wednesday I consolidated two vaccinations (COVID and RSV) into a single drug store visit, and got back to the farm before dusk.Chores that evening went well. After shooing most of the turkeys into their side of the barn through the north door, and heading the sheep off from following the turkeys in to devour their grain, I noticed a blue slate hen outside the east door, strangely immobile.As I approached, I saw that a single length of twine had gotten wrapped around one ankle and several toes, and then around the other ankle. The strand connecting her legs acted like shackles. Unable to advance a single leg independently, she just stood still.Catching her was easy, the rest of the rescue much tougher. Kneeling, I clutched the hen to my chest as she struggled against me. As my right hand held her foot, my left hand carefully sawed through the twine with a pocket knife. Several times, as I tried to wield the knife without cutting her, she broke free. When she did, a large tom began attacking her because she moved so strangely. For all their wonderful qualities, turkeys tend to attack and kill any of their flock who move erratically or otherwise appear to be sick.Ultimately I disentangled her, but I feared that she might have sprained a foot in one of the breakout attempts, making her vulnerable to further attack. She walked gingerly at first, but when I returned from feeding the sheep 20 minutes later, she was moving so normally I couldn’t pick her out from flock. I was elated, energized by my success.My energy lasted until I was overtaken by headache, chills, and fatigue late that evening. I regretted getting both vaccinations at once. By Thursday morning I was too weak to carry the newly purchased 50 lb. feed sacks from the car to the barn. I recalled George Atkinson, a retired Livingston dairy farmer, telling us how he had no choice but to milk his cows when he had the flu. Shivering with fever, he would alternatively milk and stick his head out the barn door to vomit. I thought: “George was a stronger man than I.”As my energy plummeted, so did my mood. I ruminated about Ukraine, the looming government shutdown, the coming presidential election. I worried about a big check, “in the mail” for the last month, that had not yet arrived. Then, with my head still throbbing Thursday afternoon, Macho Matt linked me to a New York Times article about Germantown ([“Germantown, N.Y.: An Upstate Haven That Beckons Creatives”])( Its principal message bummed me out. The backwater I moved to some 23 years ago is now a trendy magnet destination. Having come here to get away from it all, it seems that the “all”, celebrities and luxury goods included, has caught up with me.The article flashed me back to shopping with my late partner, Peter, at Marder’s, a garden center near our former Sag Harbor “country” home. Dressed in gardening duds rather than the gauzy summer whites featured by most fellow shoppers, we were often mistaken for the help. When a fancy dame imperiously asked “Take these plants out to my car, please,” it was a signal moment, helping us realize we did not feel so at home in the Hamptons and should consider moving upstate.To be sure, articles like the one in the Times, meant to appeal to property shoppers from the City, could be written, changing only names and a few details, about dozens of Hudson Valley hamlets. Still, I wondered whether Germantown would soon become too Hamptons-like for me. I happily buy artisanal cheeses and fresh baguettes at Otto’s Market. It sure beats the messy store, four iterations ago, I found upon moving here, with produce choice as minimal as the corner bodega where my grandmother shopped in Washington Heights. But Main Street is distinctly up-market. We’ve got designer goods at what a neighbor calls the Hundred Dollar store, but no place that sells fresh meats or fish, no drug store, no basic hardware. A recent New Yorker cartoon summed up the feeling. Two city visitors phoning from a “Weekend Upstate” main street: “There’s four antique stores, three quirky cafés, one shop that sells only socks and another that only sells socks and maple syrup, and nothing opens until noon.”Also, I’m glad that the hostility we faced from some quarters as the first gay couple on our street has become less acceptable in a more racially, ethnically and sexually diverse community. But I have no particular desire to live in “Gaymen Town,” as one interviewee dubbed it.As my health and mood have recovered, my concerns about this article have diminished. First, I have to acknowledge being part of the very Hamptonization I’m complaining about, by moving here with my city tastes. Gentrifiers don’t get to freeze time at their arrival. Also, I think there’s too much territory, and too much of a real non-resort economy in the Hudson Valley, for glitzy City culture to completely overwhelm the local one. With old and new populations so evenly balanced, the Democrats running for Town Board tout their collaboration with their Republican fellow board members to solve local problems — refreshingly different from the take-no-prisoners polarization in Congress.After all our recent rain, I’m looking at the sunny side. Overall, Germantown seems in a pretty good place, and I intend to stick around.WHAT’S AVAILABLE THIS WEEKIn the red meat department, recently back from the processor, frozen lamb:Butterflied legs of lamb $16/lb
Rib or Loin chops (packs of 2) $14/lb
Small racks of lamb $14/lb
Riblets (breast of lamb) $8/lb
Lamb shanks (packs of 2) $12/lbIn the greens department:Swiss chard: $3/baggreen zucchini, $1 each
Green bell peppers: $1 each
Frying peppers: 2 for $1
Jalapeno peppers: 3 for $1
Small hot chili peppers 6 for $1
Horseradish root: $2/lb.
Sorrel: $3/bag
Spearmint and regular mint $.75 a bunch
Garlic chives $.75 a bunch
Green Shiso leaves 10 for $1 (10 cents each)In the yellow and white palette: Eggs: $6/dozenpiano 2 WHAT ELSE IS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK –
AN 1878 SQUARE GRAND PIANO FREEThat’s right folks, I have finally as of July 27 received a Department of Environmental Conservation permit to transfer this antique piano, with its ivory keys. It has a venerable history and I want to find it a good home. You’d just need to come get it. Please email me at or call at 917-544-6464 if you’d like to make it yours.RESERVING YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEYTURKEY RESERVATION FORM 2023
110 Lasher Ave
Germantown, NY 12526
Please check here if you would like to receive email offerings in season:______________HERITAGE BREED TURKEYS: This year we are raising Holland Whites, Chocolates and Blue Slates, which will range from 7 to 18 lbs. Fed on organic feed, pastured all day once they get big enough to go out, protected on perching bars all night. Slaughtered the Sunday or Monday before Thanksgiving, delivered fresh, not frozen, in Lower Manhattan, at points along the Taconic Parkway, or at the farm. $12 lb plus $5 off premises pick up fee. Note: These sell out early.Number desired: ___________ Approx. weight ________
Pick up place: ___at the farm; ___Lower Manhattan___a point along the Taconic Parkway
Please send a deposit of $40 per bird to hold your reservation to Turkana Farms, 110 Lasher Ave., Germantown, NY, 12526. Make check out to Turkana Farms, LLC.(Yes this luddite farm still uses checks). The balance due will be paid at the time of the pick up.pineappleFARM 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. Because I’m now here full time, we’re abandoning regular pick-up times. Let us know when you want your order any day between 10 and 5, and unless there are unusual circumstances we’ll be able to ready it to your convenience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or text at 917-544-6464 or email.Robin Hood logoHEAR OUR SHOWIf you’d enjoy hearing these bulletins out loud instead of reading them, we broadcast them on Robin Hood Radio, the nation’s smallest NPR station. You can find it on FM 91.9, AM 1020, WBSL-FM 91.7 “The Voice of Berkshire School” or streaming on the web at, where podcasts of past broadcasts are also available under the title AgriCulture in the “On Demand” section. FM 91.7 “The Voice of Berkshire School”can be heard from just south of Pittsfield to the CT border. You can hear the station on WHDD FM 91.9 from Ashley Falls, MA down through the Cornwalls and in NY from just south of Hillsdale down to Dover Plains. You can hear the station on AM1020 from Stockbridge, MA to Kent and from Poughkeepsie to Pawling to Kent, Goshen, Torrington, Norfolk, and Ashley. Recently added for those in the Route 22 corridor from Ancram down to Pawling is FM frequency 97.5 And of course you can listen in our own neighborhood of Southwestern Columbia and Northwestern Dutchess County, where it is being broadcast from Annandale on Hudson, 88.1 FM.Imby logoFOLLOW USThe bulletins may also now be found in written form on line as well, at the Germantown, NY, portal of


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