Two Barns in Process
The new farm shop is making great progress. We will likely have a roof to work under within two weeks depending upon the weather.
The new dairy facility is still in the ground-preparation stage, but we have a large area of level ground and a rock pad going in that will allow construction to continue during the winter. Ideally both barn roofs will be on before winter sets in so building can continue and animals and humans can be more comfortable.
If you have some building skills and want to come by and put up some boards, let us know and we will help you get involved in some way (we are building many structures in the next year). We have had significant help from farm share owners who know more about building than we do. It is a fun way to put your stamp on the showcase farm here in Yoncalla.
Where's the food?
The construction crew and farm production/delivery crew have considerable overlap, so we are stretched to get deliveries out the door and stay consistent. We ended up skipping one whole week with the Portland delivery, after slipping and slipping until we were a full week behind. Although the construction adds a considerable mess here, milk production is rising and the daily lab tests on the milk continue to show that our Single-Moo Milk process is sound, with the milk easily passing the standards set for pasteurized milk. The farm is coming more into control, with additional hands showing up to stay here for the long run and contribute to the long-term success of Helios Farms.
Bock Bock Ba-Gock!
Our wall of eggs is shrinking a bit, which indicates that chickens have cut back on production (or are just laying them in the brush). We have to move them into the greenhouse and get them set up for winter laying. We have a large bunch of Black Australorp pullets that are just reaching laying age. They will likely help us keep the eggs coming through winter, but we still have to get lights on them all or production may fall again. For now anyway, we have eggs a plenty.
Drip Drip Drip Drip
Cindy is just about to have her calf (looks like tonight or tomorrow or this month sometime) and we have another dry cow, Maya, that will probably calve in the next week or month or two months. We quit milking Cheri today and will dry up Anna as soon as Cindy calves. If Cindy's udder size is any indication (which it is not), we will have a lot more milk soon!
Delivery Schedule Please!
Here is the new delivery schedule starting this week.
Monday: Salem, Hubbard, Beaverton, Portland, Damascus.
Wednesday: Roseburg, Elkton.
Friday: Cottage Grove, Eugene, Corvallis.
We are combining deliveries to reduce delivery days down to three. Ideally we can stick to this schedule through the construction, but there may still be glitches, so watch for delivery texts. If you want to drive to the farm and shuttle a delivery, let us know. That is one very helpful way to participate in the farm.
Delivery Checklist: No More Name Labels
To speed up packing the deliveries from the farm, we have eliminated name labels on the milk and eggs. Each drop point will now have a ziplock bag with a delivery checklist and pencil. Please just grab the right quantity of eggs and milk and check off your name on the checklist under "Remarks". Add any remarks/comments that you want to get back to us (smiley faces are welcome).
Jars and Citric Acid
We still use the Meiko sterilizing dishwasher to clean everything in the milk pouring room including the jars you return for refills. The dishwasher is a wonderful centerpiece of our dairy operation. We run two wash cycles on everything, switching pH from a high-pH initial wash (baking soda and detergent) to a low-pH wash/rinse (the acid rinse). We were using vinegar for the acid rinse, but we just switched to citric acid after finding out it is 10 times more acidic than acetic acid (vinegar). Wow it makes a difference, rinsing away minerals, so the glass is very clear. Our jars have always been sterile and clean, but now the jars are looking, well, shiny and sparkly when they come out of the dishwasher. We bought a large quantity of Citric Acid and it is food grade and approved for use in organic foods, so that's cool. And it is way cheaper, so we have that going for us.
Happy Hogs to Yummy Pork
We have several hogs yet to harvest before winter. Please contact Theo or Kira if you have a hog share and want to take delivery, or if you don't have a hog share and want one. Happiest hogs and best pork on this planet hands down!
Thank you for your participation in Helios Farms. We appreciate all of your participation in the blessings of the farm and are committed to the health and happiness of all our livestock and farm share owners. Thank you for your patience as the vision for our showcase farm and Helios Farms Farm Share community continues to unfold.