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Yellow Birch Farm has MOFGA Certified Organic vegetables, a herd of Alpine goats, and a licensed dairy kitchen.

Blog

Our log of all the latest happenings on the farm! Read on for updates on our goats, cheese making, vegetable production, farm maintenance, artwork and more. 

GROWING THE FARM: MAINE FARMLAND TRUST GRANT

Melissa Greene

We're dreaming of lettuce already...

We're dreaming of lettuce already...

We’re always looking for new systems and tools to make our work more efficient and effective. One of our next projects is upgrading our post-harvest production process, or how we wash, dry, cool, and package our veggies.

We’re excited to announce that we received a grant from the Maine Farmland Trust’s Community Food Program to upgrade our post-harvest infrastructure. With these funds, we’ll be able to add a new bubble washer (a hot tub for lettuce, but with cold water!), a drying table, and a walk-in cooler to our set-up. This new equipment will allow us to process and wash lettuce and other greens more efficiently, and ensure the quality of our produce from field to shelf!

We’re going to relocate our wash station to be more centrally located near the greenhouses and will be building a walk-in cooler right next door. This location will also allow us to recycle water from the washing process to irrigate our raspberry bushes and other plants.

We’ll be posting pictures of our new wash station build-out this spring, so stay tuned!

 

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: BABY GOATS ARE HERE!

Melissa Greene

Aurora's first day in the world!

Aurora's first day in the world!

This time of year means kidding season for us here at Yellow Birch Farm! This year we had a total of 16 pregnant does, and already 10 baby goats have been born. They’re pretty adorable and are keeping us entertained already.

Although the goats are quite capable of giving birth without us, we keep an eye on them during labor to make sure all goes well. We like to be on hand to help if there are any complications, especially for younger does giving birth for the first time. We had a few late nights in the barn last week, staying up with does in labor, and drinking plenty of tea to keep us warm! We also have heat lamps set up in the birthing stalls to provide extra warmth to new kids on cold nights.

It’s amazing to watch these baby goats come into the world. They are up and standing within minutes, trying to get the hang of walking around on spindly legs, and drinking their mother’s milk soon after that. The does’ early milk is known as “colostrum” and is full of nutrients and antibodies that are really important for the kids’ health.

Within a day or two, the babies are hopping and leaping and playing with the other kids – true goats already! They’re very playful with us, too. We try to spend a lot of time with the babes to help socialize them and get them used to us. This will make handling and caring for them easier in the future, as well as milking. We usually do not breed our does until they are two years old, so for now all they have to do is eat up, grow strong, and enjoy their life at the farm!

We name our goats according to their ancestry lines, and we have three lines right now: constellations, flowers, and birds. This naming system helps us keep track of who’s related to whom, and makes naming babies even more fun. Our 2017 arrivals (so far!) are listed below after their mothers’ names:

Lyra: Orion & Stella

Subaru: Ursa & Aurora

Yarrow: Ivy, Clove, & Olive

Siskin: Oriole

Magpie: Paloma & Ava

For more baby goat pics and more, follow us on Instagram at yellowbirchfarm

BEATING THE WINTER BLUES WITH CAJETA MACAROONS

Melissa Greene

We got plenty of snow the last few weeks, and then plenty of sun, and now we have plenty of mud! The gray weather had us craving something sweet, so we decided to do some baking. We’ve been dreaming of macaroons made with Yellow Birch Farm goat-milk caramel (cajeta) for a while now, so we decided to make our own! 

The recipe we adapted is super easy, and we used only cajeta for sweetener. You can also dip the macaroons into chocolate for added sweetness, but we kept it simple and let the cajeta be the star.

Ingredients

  • Half pound unsweetened organic shredded coconut
  • One ten oz. jar Yellow Birch Farm cajeta (available here)
  • One teaspoon organic almond extract
  • Two egg whites

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded coconut, jar of cajeta (all of it!), and almond extract and stir until mixed well.

Separate the egg whites, and beat in separate bowl until they form peaks.

Fold into the coconut mixture until combined.

Scoop rounded tablespoons onto parchment-covered baking sheet. We used a small ice cream scoop for this, which worked well. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. 

 

 

MUD, SEEDS, & DREAMS OF SPRING

Melissa Greene

The unseasonably warm weather has us up to our knees in mud, and dreaming of spring! We start many of our vegetables as seedlings before transferring them to the greenhouse or to our gardens. This week we started all sorts of delights including herbs, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, fennel, marigolds, and lavender. It’s such a nice feeling to have our hands back in the dirt again!

We seeded three trays of tangerine marigold flowers. These citrus-flavored beauties are one of the many kinds of edible flowers included in our salad blend.

Missy sprinkling marigold seeds.

Missy sprinkling marigold seeds.

It’s so exciting to think about having fresh herbs in the garden again! We had parsley and cilantro sticking it out in our snowy garden into December under a layer of protective row cover. But nothing makes us dream of summer more than basil. This year we’re also growing paprika, which is made from the dried and ground fruit of the capsicum annum bell pepper.

Ori planting paprika. 

Ori planting paprika. 

We’re also expanding our micro-greens and shoots offerings, including pea and sunflower shoots. These quick-growing plants are harvested after only a few weeks and are packed with flavor and nutrients! They’re delicious in salads and by the handful, and coming to you this spring!

Pea shoots ready for harvesting.

Pea shoots ready for harvesting.

 

 

 

 

Ruby Goes To The Dump

Melissa Greene

We're just getting our blog going, but we wanted you to meet one special little goat. When Ruby was born, she came out crooked. Her legs were bent completely backwards. Every day we splint her legs and now she gimps along, even jumping and playing. Eric took Ruby to the Deer Isle dump to meet Lyle's wife, who heard about her and wanted to meet her.