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Here you will find information about our farm and the many services we offer. Learn about our Poultry, Produce and Lamb, as well as find delicious recipes and lots more! Enjoy your visit and come again as the content will change during the growing season."

April 23 Farmers’ Market

April 19th, 2011 by Joyce

The first two market Saturdays this April have gone well and we thank our faithful customers for coming out no matter what the weather! At the April 23rd market we expect to have tender young salad lettuce, green onions, green garlic, and spinach. There will be plenty of bedding plants, both flowers and veggies to choose from. Stop by 817 Ninth Street between 8 am and noon.

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Changing Seasons

March 26th, 2011 by Joyce

The calendar declares that Spring is here. The weather doesn’t always agree. Still the season is changing. Overwintered spinach and carrots are sweet and full of vitamins. Tiny kale seedlings have been set out in the garden and potaoes are planted. Daffodils and apricots are blooming. The seedlings that were started under grow lights inside by the wood stove have been moved out to the unheated greenhouse and the grow light set up has been dismantled. Chicken breeds have been separated and placed in breeding pens. The incubator is turned on so the temperature can stablilize while I collect hatching eggs from the hens in addition to the geese and ducks. In a few days I’ll load the incubator with those fertile eggs and eagerly wait for the first peeps.

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Farmers’ Market Starts April 9, 2011

March 10th, 2011 by Joyce

The fourth season of the Peacock Farmers’ Market begins April 9, 2011. The market, featuring locally grown produce and agricultural products, is held 8am until noon each Saturday during the growing season at 817 9th Street in Highland, IL.

Each week during the market season, I will be posting expected availability of produce, etc. on this site. At the beginning of the season bedding flowers and vegetables are available, followed by early season greens, lettuces, radishes, and green onions. Soon many vegetables, small fruits, herbs, nuts, and a great variety of flowers are brought to the market. This continues all season as long as we are able to locally produce, often extending into November. As one of the market vendors, I welcome you to stop by.

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February 2, 2011

February 2nd, 2011 by Joyce

It seems like this is a good time to update you on how things are going on the farm. We’ve had a good lambing season, finishing before this recent storm. Some lambs were born during previous bad weather but all are fine. Katahdins ae amazing in their ability to handle the weather. The lambs are bounding about in the snow.

Even though it’s very cold and certainly still winter, the chickens are beginning to lay more eggs. It’s the increasing day length that influences egg production more than the actual weather. I expect the ducks to start laying pretty soon, also.

It’s time to start some of the earlier seeds for the garden, particularly onions, leeks, celery, and eggplant. They all take a long time to get ready to set out. I was able to save some seeds for this year’s garden from last year’s harvest, but I still need to order seeds. It’s not practical in the small area that I have to save all my seeds.

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January 15, 2011

January 15th, 2011 by Joyce

I dug carrots today. They are protected by old hay bales so that the ground doesn’t freeze. It’s very satisfyig to be able to harvest a fresh veggie in the middle of the winter. The geese enjoyed the green carrot tops. They are herbivores and appreciate the fresh “greens”.

The sheep are lambing. These Katahdins are remarkably able to tolerate the cold and snow we’ve been having and the new lambs are bounding around playing games of chase when they are little more than a week old. Some ewes have not yet lambed but it apears that we will have a good lambing season.

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Season End

October 11th, 2010 by Joyce

The growing season has been so busy that I haven’t posted. The spring veggies were outstanding, however, the summer was challenging. Extreme heat for long periods with frequent rains was not helpful. Because of the wet weather, the transplanted peppers and broccoli had no need to put down deep roots and when the dry weather finally came, the plants actually fell over. The peppers frequently wilted and we had a poor crop. The broccoli did continue producing all summer long.

The prolonged heat prevented the green beans from setting fruit, even though the vines grew rampantly and bloomed profusely. Finally, in September, we began to harvest beans. Only then did we discover that the pole blue lake beans I had planted were not producing true to seed but produced at least 3 or 4 different types of beans, many of which were undesirable. By then it was too late to plant more beans.

Tomatoes started producing well only to be thwarted by fusarium wilt. Fusarium thrives in hot, wet conditions and plagued most tomatoes in the area. The brandywines that I set out later did not suffer as much, but neither did they produce abundantly.

The Armenian cucumbers and Bowling red heirloom okra both produced well.

Crops for fall had to be sown during the dry heat of August. Most germinated because I watered faithfully. However, the days have remained warm even now in October and the baby pak choi has bolted. The tatsoi and carrots are looking good and we have a few snow peas and radishes and a small amount of lettuce.

I’ll soon be turning the sheep into the summer garden to clean it up and I’m making some new raised beds to get the garlic planted this week.

The spring hatches of chickens and ducks were good. I’ve butchered some of the cockrels and will soon be doing more. I’m wondering whether the chicken plucker will be as helpful with the ducks as it is with the chickens. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks. At least we still have poultry alive and well even though we have trapped 6 chicken and duck eating raccoons in the last 2 weeks.

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May Showers

May 15th, 2010 by Joyce

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be “April Showers” but we seem to be having lots of showers in May. Spring veggies are loving it. We’ve had plenty of succulent lettuces. We are now harvesting pak choi, kale, portugese kale, and chard. Next week we’ll add kohlrabi to the list. Peas are blooming. Potatoes and beans are up. Chinese cabbage should be ready in a couple of weeks. I won’t be harvesting any more green garlic but it won’t be long before we have garlic scapes.

The incubator and a few hens have been busy hatching babies, mostly Ancona ducks. The February lambs are weaned and most are already sold. The flock is on pasture rotation trying to keep up with the madly growing forage.

Spring is good, except for having to mow. But I’ve limited that necessity by converting large portions of the yard into garden. And the free ranging chickens keep other areas clipped.

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Deliveries Start Soon

April 12th, 2010 by Joyce

I expect to be able to make our first produce delivery of the season on Wednesday, April 21. It’s looking like the first delivery will be lettuce and young salad greens, along with green garlic and maybe green onions. And lots of eggs. The garden is growing well so far. Actually growing in the garden, in addition to what’s listed above, is chard, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, chinese cabbage, radishes, and PEAS! The potatoes are planted but not up yet, and the broccoli is ready to be set out. Tomatoes and peppers are growing in the greenhouse. And I actually have planted some squash, though it’s a little early for it. Weeds are growing well, also. All the sheep have lambed and I have duck eggs, turkey eggs, and goose eggs in the incubator. I’ll soon be adding chicken eggs.

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March 26th, 2010 by Joyce

Spring is a busy, exciting time on the farm. Young lambs are bounding around the way only lambs can. Although the sheep are still being given hay, they are nibbling on the newly appeared tiny green blades of grass. The chickens have kept laying in a phenomenal manner all winter and are just out-doing themselves now. I will soon be separating breeds to collect eggs for hatching. My single pair of anacona ducks have given us many eggs but the female hasn’t gone broody yet, so I’ve placed her duck eggs under broody hens who are patiently incubating the eggs. The geese laid a small clutch of eggs and stopped. I hope they lay more soon. The Burbon Red turkeys have begun to lay and I’m collecting their eggs to incubate, also.

The greenhouse if full of tiny growing plants. I’ve already set out early lettuce and chard and have sowed radishes and leaf lettuces whose cotyledons are just barely peeking through the soil. Overwintered garlic, green onions, and chives are flourishing and make savory additions to the kitchen. I’ll be digging horseradish this week. I’ve created several new growing beds, preparing to provide plenty for all my customers. Happy Spring! and Happy Easter!

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Fall Produce

November 24th, 2009 by Joyce

We’ve had some frosty nights and of course the summer veggies are gone, but we’re still enjoying frost tolerant fall veggies: kale, radishes, chinese cabbage, broccoli raab, lettuce, green onions. The pullets from this year’s hatches are beginning to lay, especially the heavy breeds: orpington and delaware, and just today the lighter minorcas. Some of the ewes are looking quite pregnant but I don’t expect lambs for another month or so. The brisk days are invigorating but short. It’s definitely fall.

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