7/6/05 Vol. 2 #18

What a glorious week to live in central North Carolina!  Not!!!  A little bit of rain every day to keep the humidity up high and the temperatures in the mid to high nineties, the kind of weather that makes me think about moving back out west.  The only thing worse was when we lived in Houston and it rained every day and then the steam would rise off of all the concrete just like a steam bath.

We have been plugging along despite the conditions and getting quite a bit done.  We harvested all of the red onions and while we did not get as many this year the size is much larger which is nice.  We have both the Stockton Sweet Reds and the Long Reds of Tropea which we grow for Ben Barker at Magnolia Grill (he says when cooked they make a great sauce).  Years ago I was in Arkansas for a conference and was impressed by an onion breeder who spoke about the healthy attributes of Red Onions, very high in anti-oxidants, and he was trying to breed varieties high in these compounds.  Red onions are harder to grow than white ones and you cannot store them very long either.   The sweeter the onion the shorter its storage capabilities.  We are limited here also by day length.  Onions are classed as long, intermediate and short day length varieties.  Most of the onions are grown either far south (Texas with short day lengths) or north (New York with long days).  We are smack in the middle of the intermediate zone so are limited by the varieties we can choose.  Fortunately the Stockton Sweet Red is a really good variety.  Enjoy them for the next month or so.

The next batch of turkeys arrived on Thursday and we were able to get the Broad Breasted Bronzes that we wanted and have been trying to get the last several years and couldn’t.  As these are large turkeys they grow much faster than the heritage birds so we want to get them later (closer to Thanksgiving) so they don’t get huge.  The problem is that there is only really one breeder for these Bronzes and the later into the summer you go there are fewer available because the their fertility goes down and so the hatch rate is low.  We have wanted to raise this type because although they are a broad breasted type which means they are prone to the sorts of inbreeding problems associated with large birds we think that they may be hardier than the white kinds and also be more adapted to our outdoor, pasture management system.  We’ll see.  They look great so far!

Picture of the Week
A peek at good things to come, Big Beefs

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