Photo by Stephanie Staton
Come spring, we all need to scratch that itch. You know, the one that says planting season is upon us and fresh garden produce isn’t far away. In addition to counting down those last frosty mornings, I also count down the days to harvesting fresh salads.
Forget the premixed bags and especially the imported heads of iceberg from the grocery store. I’m craving fresh mixed greens tossed with savory walnuts, juicy strawberries and creamy goat cheese or piled high with crisp carrots, red cabbage and shredded farmhouse cheddar.
This indulgence in green gloriousness is more than just a gluttonous act on my part; it’s the first intoxicatingly symbolic act of spring, heralding yet another season of planting, growing and harvesting from the farm. While I prefer to savor my lettuce-growing efforts by eating all of the greens I can get my hands on, this endeavor can also be a valuable revenue stream for selling at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and in community-supported-agriculture operations.
There is a whole world of lettuce varieties—don’t let the limited commercial offerings of romaine and iceberg fool you—that customers desire and that will sell well at venues across the U.S. Get Jessica Walliser’s advice on what varieties to grow and market in “The Tip of the Iceberg.”
Spring also signifies the arrival of young life on the farm, with growing garden beds and laying hens. If your TLC tendencies lean toward the botanical side of farming, take stock of your garden shed to make sure you have all the tools needed to get the jobs at hand done right and that each tool is in useable condition. If you’re not sure what tools are musts or you’ve just not found the right one for your needs, turn to “Tooling Around in the Garden” for a list of tried-and-true, must-have hand tools for every gardener.
As the cover promises, this is our annual poultry issue. Living up to the name, we’re featuring plenty of poultry-themed content to keep your fowl in fine feather:
- Smile a little bigger with a poultry-themed Say Cheese!
- Get expert advice for safely and efficiently catching poultry and waterfowl, preventing maladies and fatalities in new chicks, collecting and storing eggs for safe consumption and sale, and cleaning the henhouse.
- Get your girls back in the swing of laying with tips for improved health and production.
- See how three poultry farms joined forces to stretch their processing dollars and improve their bottom lines.
- Consider building your birds a mobile coop and run with step-by-step instructions.
- Get tools and supplies for all your poultry needs in Farmers’ Market.