Trumpeter Swan Farm
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Welcome To Your Farm
This is our 13th season providing fruits, vegetables and eggs to our customers at farmers markets, and our 8th year providing shares to our CSA members. We are happy to be your local farm, growing for you and your family. While every year is an adventure, with various outcomes, we never get tired of those early spring days with the awakening earth and the optimistic promise of summer bounty!

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2015 CSA Shares Available

The 2015 signups now underway. Full and Half Produce shares available. Option to add Eggs. Egg Only CSA Shares also available. Spring Season is sold out. Summer Season memberships are still available.

Online Signup and Account Management NOW AVAILABLE. We are using the tools at Small Farm Central to provide online signup, payment processing, account maintainance, share management, and invoice and payment records.

Continuous signup - join anytime. Options for vacation stops and seasonal holds. See CSA tab for more information and application. Click CSA tab for more info.

Latest News

Surviving Winter on the Farm - March 8, 2015

Winter can be a tough time on the farm. Our animals can take the low temperatures, provided they get food to eat every day to provide energy to keep them warm.

Our chickens stay in the barn, out of the wind. They will go outside, but they really do not like to walk on fresh snow. So they stay pretty close to the barn where it is packed down. Winter is also a time when we lose a hen or two to hawks. Most hawks head south, but a few don’t seem to make the journey, and as winter wears on, they get hungry and more brazen. So another reason for the chickens to hang close to the barn.

Our ducks are a different story. They really prefer to be outside, and still want to swim in the pond. We have an air bubbler that we run to keep a small hole open in the ice. When it’s below zero, like in the photo, the ice closes in and the hole become quite small. But it’s all they need. A shelter blocks the wind and a tray of cracked corn is available to them in their shelter. On the very coldest days, we do herd them into the barn to get them out of the wind and extreme cold.

The two cats also stay in the barn at night. They like to sleep in the loft in a nest of hay. And they will sleep side by side, keeping warm. They do get cabin fever, and want to go out in the day, even if cold and there is not much to do. They will hang around the house, or go explore the machinery in the Shop, and sometimes visit us in the Process Building when someone is around.

Ducks in the Pond

Down On The Farm

Lettuce Inside - Jan 5, 2015

Ash has set up our hydroponic system in the lower level of the Process Building. We continue to gain experience at growing things while using the heat that the lights give off to heat the building during the winter.

The lettuce is looking good, and we’ve planted some other crops like bok choi to see how they do. Our goal is to have it running smoothly when the Spring CSA season starts in April so we can get a jump on fresh produce right away.

Ash promoted to Field Manager - Jan 4, 2013

Ashley Rickards began working at the farm in 2010. Interested in learning market farming, he started as a part time employee whose first task was helping plant a new asparagus field. Last year, he was still here, now picking the field that has grown to a mature field. Over the years, he has taken on more responsibility. With the help of our customers, we are able to employ him full time through the winter. He is now going to manage the day to day field operations - planting, cultivating and harvesting. Congratulations Ash!

In The Barnyard

Chicks In The Mail - Feb 5, 2015

We received baby chicks in the mail this week. That’s right – in the mail. The post office will still pick up and deliver live chicks, just as it did 100 years ago.

When chicks hatch, they still have some yolk left inside them that they continue to draw on for sustenance while they adapt to finding food and water. So they can go for 3 days without food or water after hatching, if needed. If packed carefully, they can keep each other warm as well. We get chicks from Hoover Hatchery in Iowa, so they actually come next day, healthy and happy. The post office calls us when they arrive in the morning, and we drive into town to pick them up right away.

A few years back, we had to order from another supplier and the chicks actually came from El Paso, Texas. So they rode a truck to Dallas, then American Airlines to Minneapolis, and then truck to Buffalo. It took three days to get here – they were fine – but that’s a little too far for our comfort.

We have an insulated room in our barn that is our brooding area. We use heat lamps to keep the chicks warm. In nature, the mother hen provides that extra warmth for a couple of months. We have to watch them carefully to make sure that they are not too cold or too hot – but “just right”. They are too cold if they are all huddled under the lights and not very active. And the heat lamps are too hot, if they avoid sitting right under the lights – that lets us know we need to raise the lamps higher to reduce the concentrated heat.

Finally, when they are big enough, with lots of feathers, they can be on their own. We like to call them “tweens” – between a chick and a hen. At that point, we move them to an area next to the grown up hens. Its helps them get acquainted with the flock and the rhythms of the barnyard.

Holiday Feast - Dec 24, 2014

While we wish for a white Christmas, the chickens actually prefer a brown one. Chickens do fine in the cold, but they really do not like walking around on snow. Fresh snow, so white and featureless, makes them think its fog or clouds - like they are on the edge of a cliff. They really hestitate to step into it. So when there is no snow (or at least its dirty melty snow), they feel free to wander far and wide. This December was their cup of tea - little snow and warm temps.

We always save our old produce waste for the chickens, even letting it freeze in a shaded area to bring out a bit at a time, giving them something to eat other than boring old chicken food. Christmas Eve, they got a nice mix of brussels sprouts, kale and chili peppers. The red and green looks festive! Now, it they will just pick up again on their egg laying...

Fox In The Henhouse - Apr 26, 2013

I was out at the Northwinds High Tunnel when I heard a commotion in the barnyard. I hurried over there, and upon hearing a hen in distress, saw a fox with the hen in its mouth. Upon seeing me, the fox dropped its catch and fled the scene. Maggie, our dog, tracked the scent to a small hole in the fence where it had wriggled under. We fixed the fence and walked the perimeter to find any other defects. Every year we lose a few hens to some varmint or stray dog. We have a fence around the 3 acre area the chickens roam, but nothing is ever perfect. Unfortunately, the injured hen died. We did have a chicken dinner this evening, so all was not lost.

Out In The Fields

Escaping Early Frost - Oct 13, 2014

Frost came earlier, gathering in the low areas Friday night, Sept 12. We usually figure Sept 20 as first frost - so its early. But it did not make it up to our covered plants or on Hilltop where frost comes last. And a few days later, we dodged another frost. As is often the case, the weather turned warm again, and we were able to get another 2 weeks of growing season out of our summer produce. We always plant at least one planting that will probably not make it - just in case the fall turns out like this. So several plantings of green and yellow beans, plus summer squash, cucumbers and sweet corn made it to maturity.

A killing frost finally came October 9. Not a big deal as the temperatures are now cold enough where not much growth occurs anymore. Now its on to less wimpy produce like brocolli, bok choi, lettuce and spinach.

Eat food -- Not too much -- Mostly plants