Pigs in the Barn, Pigs in the Field

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There are pigs everywhere on the farm right now. Young, old, fat, skinny, big, small, skittish, chummy – all types! They stay with their mothers until they are weaned.

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Some young Berkshires peek out of their huts!

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And then go into a ‘kindergarten’ with all the other weanlings.

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There is a lot of interaction here – playing and sniffing around.

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Or just sleeping and wallowing, like this female Ossabaw below.

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Finally, all the pigs are let outside on the fresh grass to root and lounge about.

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They are a little older here and much calmer.

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This Tamworth sow is always relaxed. She goes from one spot to another and lays down.

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The grass is fairly high now…

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But in a week’s time, these pigs will have reduced this field to dirt and turned the soil completely! It’s a lot of work, but someone’s got to do it.

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And once they’re out of this field and onto another, the cycle of growth will start again…

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Important Partner Farm News!! Single-Origin Milk at the Brick Farm Market!

Double Brook Farm and Brick Farm Market are honored and so excited to be partnering with Hun-Val Dairy Farm in Ringoes, NJ as their primary distributor for milk! This will be a single-source milk produced by neighbors who care about animals, dairy farming and quality milk.

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Why is this so thrilling to us? It means fresh, pasteurized, NON-homogenized, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and BST-free, LOCAL, single-source, high-quality milk bottled in a Grade A facility – all to be sold at Brick Farm Market starting later THIS WEEK. Pardon all the exclamation points and capital letters, but it really is something worth screaming about (!!!!!!). This milk will be sold by the gallon and 1/2 gallon – only whole milk for starters. And it will also be used to make our yogurt, in the kitchen and at the coffee station – upping the quality considerably.

Now, about this special farm..Run and operated by Jared Weeks and his wife, Treacy Everitt Weeks.

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The property is home to a herd of about 200 cattle: 50 milking cows, heifers, young stock and cows getting ready to give birth. They are mainly Brown Swiss, Holsteins and a few Jerseys. Each cow has a name.

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Jared started his interest in cows at a young age through 4-H. He went to work on a dairy farm while in high school and purchased his first 15 cows in 2005 – at the age of 15.

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He then rented space for milking until building his own farm from the ground up in Ringoes. It was completed in 2008.

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An impressive feat, but maybe not as impressive as the daily routine for this 28-year-old. A 5am start, every day, 365 days a year.

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The cows come in and go quietly to their milking stations in the parlor. No fuss, just all business. They trust Jared and he doesn’t need to say a word to get them into position.

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He and Treacy prep the cows, hook them up to the pumps and the milking commences!

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Meanwhile the cows relax. Once milking is done, it’s time to prep for the next milking – in 12 hours!

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Speaking of feed..their feed is mainly produced on the farm: hay, soybeans, corn and corn sileage. The cows are grazed daily when there is fresh grass – when it’s in season. **Grain??!! Yes, these are not 100% grass-fed cows, but the supplemental grain they get helps them maintain their form and gives them energy for milking. The feed is not infused with any of the bad stuff – it is simply a measure to provide the necessary protein for milking. And it’s grown on-farm! That being said, Hun-Val is working towards 100% grass-fed as they acquire more acreage and plant the right seasonal grasses and legumes. It is a process.

Bottom line is this: we are in this business to know where our food comes from. And to find single-origin milk from NJ for purchase in NJ? Well, check out THIS ARTICLE in Edible New Jersey to understand how difficult that is.

Come by the market this weekend for a complementary tasting!

All photographs in this post by Karin Belgrave.

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Fresh Spring Dinner and Blue in the Field!

What’s new on the farm? Asparagus, pea shoots, greens, herbs, mushrooms and more. Saturday is our “Spring Feast” at the Brick Farm Market featuring all the young, tender morsels from our farm and partner farms. Seats are going fast! To see the menu or register click HERE.

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Ok, now to Blue… At 9 months old, she is a ball of energy and she needs a job – other than destroying my shoes and our furniture.

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Aaron Lake, who sold us the dog (and raises and trains dogs for his family farm, Thistle Creek Farm in Tyrone, PA) offered to come take a look at her along with another one of his young Border Collies named Tweed.  Well, as you can imagine, it was not easy for Blue being on the leash waiting her turn to get to the sheep.

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Especially while Tweed got to go right in and practice her cues.

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Finally it was time!

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And the sheep were – justly – in a high state of anxiety.

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It was amazing to see the two dogs working together, keeping the sheep in a tight group and herding them to, and with, Aaron.

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Blue loved it!

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When they had finished with a “that’ll do”, dogs and owners went home happy and tired!

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Just sayin’ – my shoes are still not safe!

 

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