Newsletter April 24, 2017

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Hi Folks,

The coyote was taller than most that had been seen at the farm in recent years, and it moved confidently across the yard in the final minutes before dusk. It circled the chicken coop with its nose up, testing the air, and then loped back toward the pond, fluidly ducked under the fence without breaking stride, and returned to the pasture and forest from which it had emerged.

What made this coyote so brave? Why hadn’t it completed the mission or at least made an attempt at a chicken dinner? The questions were as vexing as the animal itself.

The coyote. Canis latrans. On the farm, we have a truce with these often demonized “prairie wolves,” as they were called by the first European-descended explorers to set eyes on them out west. We incorporate guardian donkeys and constant pasture rotation to protect our flock of sheep, but, for the most part, we know that the low-risk meals for these predators are the fawns, frogs and rodents.

This low-key approach to coyote protection is not the norm. At least 400,000 coyotes are killed in the US every year. This practice has been going on for a century and the main result has been more coyotes in more parts of the country. Here at Turner Farm, we mostly watch and make sure the truce is observed. And for our patience we are gifted the experience of those moments when one of these ragged, wily canines crosses our path or is observed through binoculars giddily pouncing on field mice.

To write these words is to take part in our continent’s oldest storytelling tradition. Coyotes have been in the Americas for nearly a million years, and the earliest humans here filled their mythology with tales of the “trickster god” who was an avatar of sorts for human foibles. For thousands of years, we’ve seen these scavenging predators at the edges of our civilization and absorbed their nightly howling into our dreams. Their presence in our landscape is hauntingly atavistic.

Turner Farm is perhaps best known for its gardens, draft horses, sheep and scenic views. Sometimes though, it’s what is more rarely seen that makes this place so magical.

Tomato, Pepper and Flower Sale
It’s less than two weeks away! Turner Farm will host its first annual Tomato, Pepper, and Flower sale from 8 am until noon, Saturday, May 6. Dozens of varieties of certified organic tomatoes, peppers and annual flowers will be for sale. All plants will be available for $3 each or four for $10. Cash and check only.

For information about the sale, visit the sale’s page on the Turner Farm website.

Proceeds support military veterans through the Turner Farm Veteran to Farmer Training Program.

Upcoming classes

Create Your Own Butterfly Garden is scheduled for this Saturday, April 29 from 10 am-noon in the Turner Farm Studio Barn. Many butterfly habitats have been lost to human activities, such as home construction, industrial landscaping and conventional farming. Planting a butterfly garden is an easy way to help butterflies and to attract them to your home. This class will cover the selection of nectar plants to attract adult butterflies, selection of host plants for specific native butterflies, other butterfly needs and how to become a certified monarch way station. The cost of the class includes a four-pack of Milkweed to get your garden started! Cost: $15 per person

The Yardboy and the Cook present: The Alchemy of Herbs and Edible Flowers, Plus Tips for Carefree Landscape and Gardening is scheduled for Monday, May 8th: 6:30-8pm.

Herbs and edible flowers. Landscape and gardening advice. A freshly prepared dinner meal in our Teaching Kitchen. This unique class has a bit of everything! Join renowned herb expert Rita Heikenfeld and Ron Wilson of Natorp’s and 55 WKRC’s “In the Garden” for a one-of-a-kind demonstration and Q&A session. Learn how to grow, cook and use herbs an foods for your health. Ron will answer your garden landscape questions. Rita will make a special menu for you to enjoy during the class.

Menu:
Vitamin water
Mixed Greens with Herbs and Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette
Herb Roasted Turner Farm Free Range Chicken**
Fresh Fruit Compote with Sweet Herbs

Cost: $25 per person

In the Farm Market

Certified Organic Produce – FRESH SPRING lettuce, greens mix and asparagus! spinach, baby kale. HERBS: chives, garlic chives, mint.

Meat and Eggs – Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, lamb, and lard, all from Turner Farm. Our own farm eggs are filling the fridge along with those from other local farms. We’ll have fresh chicken on Wednesday, May 3 through Saturday, May 6. Please don’t forget to place your order for pasture-raised whole and half lambs. Stop by the Turner Farm Market and fill out your order form.

In the Gardens
The pace is quickening as the renewed warmth and long, sun-filled days bring on the urgency to get spring crops in the ground. Onions and leeks fill much of the Salad Garden, while Front Field North is spilling over with new brassica seedlings.

The summer markets at Madeira (Thursday) and Findlay (Saturday) get underway next week, which means all of the newly emerging produce will be on display. Please stop by and see us at one of these markets or here at Turner Farm.

That’s all for now – Hope you to see you soon around the farm!

Turner Farm Crop Production Team

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