Sharing our small farm stories and skills along our farming, gardening and homesteading journey. Visit the farm for an informative and sometimes irreverent tour through our garden, livestock pastures, chicken coop and greenhouse as we live - pasture to plate. Farming topics free range around pastured heritage pigs, broiler chickens and pastured eggs, heritage breed turkeys, an heirloom vegetable CSA and garden, high tunnel / hoop house / green houses, organic and traditional gardening, farm infrastructure, tractors, sustainable energy, permaculture, food preservation and even fence mending.

Farming stories and skills from our small farm, gardening and homesteading journey -

pasture to plate.

Our final episode of 2014 is dedicated to our listeners and fans around the globe this holiday season.  It's our huge thank you for making us the #1 farming podcast on the planet!

We talk about emails, tweets, Face book comments and posts as well as personal interactions and phone calls we haven't gotten to but have most deffinately read!  Thanks to everyone in the community for listening and be a part of the CoopCast in 2014.

For those of you who know how to use search engines we do talk about moving electic netting and moving pasture pens. :)

Merry Christmas from Chicken Thistle Farm!

Direct download: CoopCast_131.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:04pm EST

This episode brings us back from a few weeks off and updates about the events we had around here on the farm that kept us from coopcasting last week.

We talk a little bit about farming and health care in proximity to the farm (given the recent events).  We also discuss our sick pig and the course of treatment we underwent to get her back to being a healthy girl again!

In the Farmers Choice segment we share a few simple gift ideas for the holidays that might make your shopping easier!

Direct download: CoopCast_130.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:34pm EST

We are calling this the "We eat good episode" since we are talking about simple, fast and delicious farm recipes including:

Pressure cooker chicken

Frozen veggies in chili

Pre-made frozen cookie rounds

Easy ways to help you can / freeze more food.

In the Veggie Patch we climb on board the Rowboat of Goodness and discuss a few winter squash varieties and some of our favorite non-lettuce greens in the garden.

Direct download: CoopCast_129.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

This weeks updates are around the pick up of the smoked pork (and we have customers coming as we are recording).  Farmer Andy shares a bit of a bow season update and we talk a little about the status of the hoop house.

We close with a review of the local fruit CSA we were enrolled in and all the goodness and a little of the stuff they could have improved.

Direct download: CoopCast_128.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

This weeks updates include a hunting season short session.  We talk about bo season so far and the only arrow this season to miss its mark thus far.  We also talk about the pork that's back from the butcher and the impact of the seasonal reduction in eggs.

In Farmer Kelli's Choice, we take a trip down memory lane.  Visit our Facebookpage (login not needed) and scroll back through the pictures to our first post in 2010...  we walk through 2010 and 2011 remembering several of the highlights in photos!

Direct download: CoopCast_127.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

This week's update is really an episode discussion around the end of the pork season for us - the moving of the pigs to the USDA processor.  We talk through what we did to get the pigs comfortable wit hthe trailer, how we use sorting borads to move the pigs on pasture into the trailer, our holding pen strategy, fencing and dropoff.

It's really a retelling of the stories and some of hte skills we used to get this little piggie to market! 

Direct download: CoopCast_126.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

In this episode the Updates include Farmer Andy's pants free romp becasue of the warm weather, Hermione moving back to pasture with the piglets and preparations for taking the pigs for processing.

Then in the Veggie Patch we discuss an overview of our tomato varieties for 2014- what will stay on the rowboat of goodness and what gets tossed overboard!

Varieties discussed:

Juliet

BHN624 cherry

Sungold cherry

Piriform

Valencia

Pink Beauty

Cherokee Green

New Girl

Brandywine

Cherokee Purple

Defiant

Celebrity

Martha Washington

San Marzano

Direct download: CoopCast_125.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:57pm EST

This week's updates include our prep work in getting ready to move the pigs to the processor this year. We also put the vegetable garden to bed for the season and talk about the process and some of the suprise veggiesthis year. And of course, we have to talk about hunting season.

In the Coopcast Community we respond to questions about black fly farming (maggots!), starting a CSA and the callenges involved and how some of our listeners have used our content at some very emotional and powerful moments in their lives.  It's insane to hear people listeing to us with a spouse on their death bed, recovering from cancer or training to defuse a bomb.

Direct download: CoopCast_124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EST

This week the CoopCast becomes a HoopCast! We spend the episode looking at photos of our greenhouse / hoophouse / high tunnel and talk through the design and the how nad the why.  We both share our thoughts and opinions on the evolution of our enclosed vegetable garden area and what we like about gardening inside a controlled structure.

If you are following along all the images can be found on our Flickr page in the album How We Do It : Hoophouse

Also an indepth discussion when we built it is on our farm blog as well.

Direct download: CoopCast_123.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:24pm EST

This week our farm updates are simple as the season is slowing down to just the basics.  We talk about the plantings in the gardens in the greenhouse since frost is now in our area.  We are hoping to extend the season and keep harvesting vegetables and herbs for several more months.  There's also updates about pigs in pasture as well.

In the Ruminations discussion this week we talk about businesses and how so many let opportunity slip through their fingers.  We share the details of a cheese making class we took at a local winery and the missed opportunities that were everywhere.  There's lessons to be learned in bad expereinces and this one was rife with them.  Although - making your own cheese is cool!

We also talk about a business that asked us for input and HOPED we might mention them - FlexTrailers.  It's a cool concept on modular trailers.  It's a much better approach to a business than the first one (they asked us clearly for feedback and hoped we would mention them).  There are still some lessons to be learned here as well.

The final business we talk about is Adams Holsters - the makers of the BEST leather holsters you have ever seen - Adams Holsters - and one of the best gifts we have ever received from a coopcast listener!

Direct download: CoopCast_122.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:23pm EST

Back from a break we talk aboutthe pigs in the pasture and how well they are growing, the late blight that got the tomatoes, the success we had with straw based potatoes and a whole lot more.

We also go over the 500th iTunes review and answer some listener feedback on topics ranging from keeping stock tanks fresh to predators to game cameras.

Direct download: CoopCast_121.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

This weeks updates start with the pigs scheduled for butcher, their pasture and their rapid weight gains after worming.  We moved the chicken netting fencing for the layers and have been busy in the vegetable gardens and kitchen.  Farmer Kelli has been canning and freezing all sorts of fresh veggies as well as baked, roasted, blanched and parboiled treats!

The vegetable garden is producing and we are expecting be offer an end of summer share full of goodness - including a pasture raised chicken.

The Farm U is part of a series we are starting called How We Do It - where we take things that have had lots of questions from listeners and do our best to show with pictures and explanations how we do things around the farm.

This weeks episode is all about "Containment" - our fencing setup and why we made the decisions we did.

To follow along with the images we are discussing - visit our flicker page and the album How We Do It : Containment

Good ole Flickr link - https://www.flickr.com/photos/chickenthistlefarm/

We are off for 2 weeks over Labor Day - so enjoy your celebrations and be safe.

Direct download: CoopCast_120.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:24pm EST

After taking a week off for a trip to Empire Farm Days, we return with an update from the farm show.  We also share the story of a sick pig on the farm who contracted weaning swine meningitis and what we did to get Mr Green Beans back to health.

We tour the Veggie Patch to talk about all the harvested and put up foods Kelli has been making / freezing / canning as she's enjoying a greate vegetable garden season this year.  The homestead is certainly going to be prepared for the polar vortex this winter!

There's also a bit of fun discussions around the farm this week too!

Direct download: CoopCast_119.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:15pm EST

This episode won't go down as one of the most exciting or passionate - but we do talk about the status of things mid-summer around the farm.  We continue to prep the pasture for the piglet weaning, the layers are laying and the vegetable garden and green house is producing LOTS of fresh produce this time of year.

In the We Eat Good segment Farmer Kelli talks about some of her favorite recipes for the fresh veggies that are piled on the counters this time of year.  They are all paper printed recipes so no links - but pay attention and she tells you where to find them or what to Google.

You might find some things here:

http://www.chickenthistlefarm.com/blog/tag/recipe

or here

http://www.chickenthistlefarm.com/blog/category/recipes

Direct download: CoopCast_118.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:14pm EST

This weeks farming updatesinclude our experience this week processing chickens on anotehr farm as helpers.  We also moved the pigs to fresh pasture and are getting ready for weaning.  Finally the vegetable garden and the greenhouse are producing all sorts of fresh veggies...  so Farmer Kelli takes us through what they are and what she has been doing with them.

In the Coopcast Community segment we catch up on the listener backlog of emails, posts, tweets and all sorts of other forms of questions.  From a solider in Afgahanastan to listeners in Europe to the ever popular Doctor Who and Star Trek questions - we try and answer them all.

In a Coopcast produced and directed by Farmer Andy...  things in this episode don't follow any stinkin agenda! 

Direct download: CoopCast_117.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:18pm EST

This episode discusses the setup and work that goes into chicken processng BEFORE the actual chicken processing event.  There's a lot more than just catching and plucking involved on a well run chicken processing event and we thought it might be worth while sharing those stories and preps as well.

We then share a bit of a retrospective on the actual events of the chicken rocessing day and how we run the event.

Finally we have a Farmers Choice segment that answers so many of the continual questions and misinformation out there about the Cornish Cross chickens we raise.

Direct download: CoopCast_116.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:02pm EST

After a week of on farm vacation and frozen fresh fruit libations enjoyed on the deck, we are back with a bunch of updates around the pastured chickens, a recent hoophouse project and the vegetable gardens.  We also talk about the pigs and some general happenigns around the farm.

In the Veggie Patch we talk a lot about the success of the peas, the success we have had training and pruning the tomato plants this year and an update on our mulching.

This week on Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch - we talk about a seemingly non-farm thing...  The recent firing of "shock jock" (what a stupid title) Anthony Cumia from Sirius XM's Opie and Anthony show and why EVERYONE should be outraged.  Not at his tweets and not at his show...  but becasue it appears anyone, anytime, can be fired for their opinions when not at work if they are unpopular, unaccepted, not politically correct or whatever.  Think this has no impact on you - what if there's "outrage" becasue people don't like you promoting an "unsafe" food - something, maybe, like raw milk?

Direct download: CoopCast_115.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:07pm EST

This weeks updates are pretty simple.  We talk about piglets and names, the chickens in the pasture and some a la carte CSA shares.

Then we jump into the Farmers Choice that Kelli sprung on Andy - "are you a part-time farmer". What does that phrase mean, if anything. What decisions are impacted when you are "part-time" or not deriving all your income off the farm.  There's a bit of debate and some good conversations around this topic.

 

Direct download: CoopCast_114.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:11pm EST

The updates this week start with the farming weather - and the fact it's been unusually "normal".  We have moved the chickens to pasture on a solid growth of clover andthey are loving it.  The pigs are gowing well and weaning is a few weeks away. In the vegetable garden the peas and eveything else is growing and healthy.  Even the weeds are under control with the mulching effort we have undertaken this year.

In the CoopCast Community we wanted to take a bit to thank all the listeners and farmers who shared their thougths and good wishes with us following episode 110.  We talk a little about some of the questions people asked and share some of our thoughts about raising pigs going forward in the future.

Direct download: CoopCast_113.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

This weeks updates include the latest on the 7 surviving piglets and the status of their name selection.  We talk about the pastured broilers in the brooder and how they are doing as well. We also check in on the laying hens and the egg eating issues.

In the Veggie Patch we talk about the status of the garden and fencing.  We talk about a great find at a local garden center to help with the soil quality and quantity in the green house and we also talk about this years potato patch plans.

Direct download: CoopCast_112.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

This week we are just doing a bunch of updates (since there's a lot to share).  We talk about how the piglets are doing well even after the traumatic events covered in episode 0110

Then we tell a story of how great and helpful the United States Postal Service </sarcasm> was when they seemed to have lost our box of broiler chickens. But have no fear, we found them and we share how they are doing in the brooder.

In the Veggie Patch we talk about the progress and planting of the vegetable garden now that the official growing season has begun. We got in the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a bunch more over the long weekend.  We also talk about a listener inspired mulching session around the asparagus and rhubarb in the garden.

Direct download: CoopCast_111.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:08pm EST

This episode is a frank and honest retelling of the harrowing farrowing experiences of 2014 on our small farm.  From the highs of hand delivering piglets to the lows of losing a breeding sow, this is as honest of a farming story as you may ever hear.

Direct download: CoopCast_110.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

This weeks updates are all over the place after skipping 2 weeks of episodes!  We talk about moving the pigs to their farrowing paddock, moving the egg laying chickens to fresh pasture and how the weather this spring has changed things a bit.

We talk about the vegetable gardens and the progress of potting up plants in the greenhouse as well as some of the first plants of the season being planted in the garden itself.  Not having a full season CSA this year has made both the farmers a lot more relaxed and we had a chance to really enjoy our big annual nursery auction.

We talk about the new firearm on the farm and why we chose what we did for "on farm carry".  We also discuss the joining of a fruit CSA and what we hope to get out of a CSA as customers!

In this Farm U we talk about the science behind testing for the presence of GMO's in your food and the results that show that the folks at the Non GMO Project http://www.nongmoproject.org/product-verification/process/ appear to have yet another "pay for" certification that appears to mean absolutely nothing to the consumer.

Direct download: CoopCast_109.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

With a bit of warm spring weather we have been able to get to some overdue chores.  The joy of the springtime Coop clean out is completed and the compost is on the garden.  We have more hydrant troubles and talk a bit about the YNN TV crew that was here to learn about how we produce eggs.

In this weeks "We eat good" segment, we talk about the joys of cooking an Easter Ham...  kinda.  Rather how to simply prepare a ham and the unloved ham steak.

Out of the kitchen and back on the front porch we discuss an NBC news article about the declining number of farmers and the long term risk to the country.  So - read the article - be concerned and buy lots of food from your local farmer!

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/shortage-farmers-creates-dangerous-situation-u-s-n78251

Direct download: CoopCast_108.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:49pm EST

This weeks updates are finally more than just worrying about the weather.  We got a springtime break and took to the outdoors!  The asparagus patch got a cleanout of last years fronds. The chicken coop got a bit of a cleaning too. There was fence mending and happy pigs as well.

Then in the Veggie Patch we discuss the seeds we have started for this years vegetable garden and why we liked them.  We also talk a bit about some challenges with a soil block recipe change this year - a bit unexpected.

Then we have some Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch as we discuss a recent quote from the Shark Tanks's Mark Cuban...  and how it's about YOUR farm too! http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-nfl-tv-2014-3

Direct download: CoopCast_107.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

As Spring comes to the farm (with another snow storm too) we took a walk around the propery at the end of March to try and come to grips with what this late Spring means to our garden plans.  We discuss the winters impact on our plans and the things we typically got done that are not on the to-do list.

We also talk vegatable gardens - specifically what we have been doing with regards to seed starting and preparing the greenhouse.  Speaking of the greenhouse, we talk about the issues the cold weather has spawned and some solutions we are considering.

Direct download: CoopCast_106.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:31pm EST

This weeks updates include more cold weather and some updates about the animals around the farm. The pigs and chickens are doing well but all of us are done with this cold weather. We also talk a bit about the business of farming and what we still need to do on that said with regards to customer emails and notifications.

In the Coopcast Community we have a breif tutorial on searching old coopcast episodes so you can find things you might have missed or are interested in.

  • Brent had a question about worming pigs and we answer it and point to Coopcast 091
  • There was a listener who asked about deer fencing and food plots to keep the deer out of his garden.
  • Rebecca had a question about turkey feed and turkey poults
  • Gail blew in with a question about finding half a pig to purchase and what goes into that decision
Direct download: CoopCast_105.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:38pm EST

This episode was recorded live during the Vulcan Blizzard event!

THe updates of course revlove around the blizzard and how we prepared for it. We also talk about the coldest day ever recorded in March and the frozen pipe it casued.  Farmer Kelli talks about these events and her CSA decision.

In the CoopCast Community we talk about some iTunes reviews, listener emails and some general questions we received.

Direct download: CoopCast_104.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:23pm EST

As the bitter cold continues to make #farmerandy rage, we discuss the weather... We also talk about a "major award", a new Tractor Supply store and living life on a frozen farm.

Actually we detail a day in the life of the farm in the middle of winter around here.  It's not overly exciting but it's honest.

Then this week we have a Farmers Choice segment talking about what we are eating and why this time of year.  We discuss the balance of food we have put up vs what we buy from the store and what is still left in the root cellar.

Then #farmerandy regails the episode with tales of calorie counting using Lose It on his iPhone and how crazy the notion of barcoded food strikes him.

Direct download: CoopCast_103.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:44pm EST

This weeks updates include a folloup about the eveil seeds <sic> that Johnny is selling and why we will continue to buy from Johnny Seeds.  For your reference, here's the list of seeds they get from Seminis as of Feb. 2014

We discuss how the endless cold this winter has impacted the pigs and chickens and how we deal with cooped up critters on a free range farm.  Kelli gives an update on the Ag assessment while Andy complains...

In the Veggie Patch we pretned that it's gardening season and talk about artichokes, 
managing mice and voles in the greenhouse, and how we heat (or dont) and water the greenhouse.

Farmers choice is the conclusion to the 2014 farm meeting.  The agenda items include our plans for:

Egg layers

Pigs

Broilers

Turkeys

Direct download: CoopCast_102.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:29pm EST

The updates are a little thin this week as we watch temps falling and the snow piling up.  Mostly we talk about keeping warm and the successful insemination of our pigs.

In the community we pick up on the Monsanto conversation last week and some new comments about companies like Johnny Seed and Territorial and the internet myth that they buy their seeds from Monsanto.  We also talk about our process for selecting seeds and why we pick the seeds we do. (http://www.nwedible.com/2012/12/a-brief-history-of-monsanto-and-seed-houses-who-got-screwed.html)

In the "We eat Good" segment this week we talk about making pie crusts from lard and how great they really are! 

Direct download: CoopCast_101.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:28pm EST

With 100 episodes behind us we thought it was appropriate to look back at the thoughts and opinions of our farming podcast (farmcast)? and spend most of the episode focusing on the reason why we do what we do - it's all for the listeners!

We talk a bit about some listener favorite topics and some recent ones like Monsanto's decision to use some conventional crossbreeding techniques.

While this isn't a giant 100th episode extravaganza, it's a fun look at the whys behind why we do what we do and why we live pasture to plate.

Direct download: CoopCast_100.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:20pm EST

The Updates around the Farm this week focus on the big event of artificial insemination and the unexpected surprise we had with the "scheduled" standing heat. We also share our thoughts on FreshBooks as an accounting tool for farming (short version - run away).  We discuss out first free range Cornish birg from last years day ranging experiment and share the experience thus far with the tax related agricultural assessment.

In the Veggie Patch it's seed ordering time.  We continue the discussion from Facebook with those veggies we can't live without.  The best of the best on the Rowboat of Goodness (better than the silly Ark of Taste)

In our Farmers Choice segment this week the Annual farm meeting part 1 - CSA plans and how we are not doing a CSA like in the past...  this year will be different!

Direct download: CoopCast_099.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:48pm EST

We are back at the coopcast in 2014.  We enjoyed our break but are glad to be back.  While we were gone we had the coldest weather we have ever had while farming as the polar vortex descended on NY. We also had our annual farm meeting and other fun events.  Tune into this farm fresh coopcast for the latest news from the homestead!

In the Veggie Patch (which is frozen over) we are going to talk a bit about some seed starting tips and techniques as people are looking towards spring already.

Farm Fresh Recipes in our food segment include two new dishes we made over Christmas and thought were delicious:

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad - http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad

Mario Batali's Arista alla Porchetta - http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Arista-alla-Porchetta-Mario-Batali

Direct download: CoopCast_098.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:37pm EST

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