The Green Line
25 March 2023
Thursday morning as Rose and I were harvesting ducks for market I looked across the field from our poultry harvest area and noticed a distinct green line bisecting the pasture. The paddock closest to us, about two acres in size, was the area where we had rotated our duck flocks last autumn. The fertility of the field was clearly superior to the one immediately behind it. With our acquisition of this magnificent new farm property we have been blessed with nearly twenty times the pasture area of our Vashon farm, however, it has become clear to us that these fields, having been farmed relatively continuously for over one hundred years, harbor abundant opportunity for pasture fertility improvement. Encountering a very similar situation when we began farming our Vashon land 23 years ago, we have learned from experience how quickly and effectively a natural pasture rotation utilizing cattle and poultry can be. Mimicking the migratory habits of herding animals in nature we are able to “pulse” the pasture plants with frequently alternating patterns of grazing, trampling, aerating and fertilizing with cattle and other ruminants. This activity is closely followed by rapid rotations of dense flocks of poultry. In the natural ecosystems we emulate, birds are always seen following grazing herds, scratching and pecking and spreading the cattle dung, whilst simultaneously applying an even layer of their own potent fertility. This careful management technique is capable of transforming poorly performing pasture into lush fertility within a matter of months. Our experience is that within a couple of years, optimal fertility levels are achieved. Now approaching our third year nurturing this fertile moutain valley along the Nehalem River, it is gratifying to observe the effectiveness of these practices in real time!
The beauty of the food products that are generated from these fertile pastures is stunning, as evidenced by the color of the egg yolks we gathered this week to make fresh pasta dough, a favorite composition in our household. We also experience the deep colors and rich flavors in the densely nutritious meats we harvest from the animals nurtured by these vibrant vistas.
Rose baked spectacular duck and pork pâtés this week, smoked a beautiful batch of bacons and loins, stuffed a gorgeous array of plump sausages and simmered unctuous batches of broth. She will have fat farm ducks in whole or part, pretty pork chops and delicate lamb cuts. And, of course a luscious selection of French and local cheeses, salami, mortadella and prosciutto.
We awoke to heavy snowfall this morning! Rose has braved the treacherous mountain roads to bring you the bounty of the farm. Please come support her at our popup locations this weekend!
Rose will be operating the Magic Meat Truck this weekend. Find her Saturday morning at University District, Saturday evening on Vashon Island, Sunday at Ballard, and Monday and Friday evenings in Portland! Details of time and address are at the bottom of this email.
(PS: I forgot to get a photo of the “Green Line”, and now it is covered with snow, so I will try to include an image next week.)