Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Free Ranging Heritage Turkeys on Pasture

The big roll of electric poultry netting came from Premier One Supplies today so it was time to move on to stage three with the turkeys. Until this year, our flock has always remained within the confines of the portable bottomless hut until butcher day. It would get moved once-twice-three times a day depending on the birds' size and how much they were eating. But with the flock growing this year, I decided to try something new--actually letting them loose within an electrified perimeter (and yes, Molly & Flint, I clipped their wings so they wouldn't fly off into the wild blue sunset).
I thought that butting the electric netting up against the electrified high-tensile perimeter fence would be fine, but the birds have scooted under the bottom wire and are now starting to roam. I guess I'll have to enclose the entire perimeter with the poultry netting. The turkeys are the little black dots all over the green pasture (yes, it finally rained). I think they're kind of cool roaming around, but with my luck they'd wander into the woods never to return.

Fifteen minutes later......Being the social creatures they are, when Ralph watered the cows the turkeys followed him back to the barn which is near the road--NOT GOOD. So Jess & I got a bucket of feed and coaxed the flock back to the poultry netting and set it up in a completely enclosed area.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Trip to Burlington, Vermont

I believe it is important for farmers to occasionally travel to other areas rich in agriculture to see what their peers are doing. So when I was given the opportunity to go to the American Cheese Society's annual conference & competition in Burlington, Vermont I jumped at the chance.

The opening reception was held at the breeding barn at Shelburne Farms, which is an incredible structure built in the late 1800's. Many of the artisan food & beverage producers were there sampling their products. Despite the heat, it was a most enjoyable evening.

The workshops at the conference were interesting and I got to meet a lot of other artisan cheesemakers.
One of my favorite workshops was Pairing Cheeses and Beer done by Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery. But my main reason for attending was to scope out the artisan butters.

The Festival of Cheese on Saturday evening was the grand finale with the 1,208 entries on display for the attendees and public to sample. Of course, the first table I hit was the butter table and I did taste all the entries. My goal is to enter my artisan butter and win a blue ribbon. Some were very good and other tasted like yellow Crisco. After the butter table, I chose to sample all the blue ribbon winners and then I went back and sampled the non-winning cheeses that were made by cheesemakers I had befriended at the conference.