Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whatcom County Farm Tour

We had the opportunity this year to participate in the Whatcom County Farm Tour sponsored by Sustainable Connections. I have to admit I was a little nervous because this is our first year and I was wondering if we would really have that much to tell versus some other, more established farms, that were on the tour as well. We did a couple of displays, one on rare breed animals and the other on heirloom vegetables, which are the focus of our farm. I then conducted a 20+/- minute tour and talked about the different animals that we have, a little bit about their history and why we chose them over more commercial breeds. I also talked a little bit about heirloom vegetables and some of the experiments that we were running this year. I am not exactly sure how many people visited the farm, but it was somewhere in the 400-500 range. By the end of the day I was exhausted and a little horse from talking for 8 straight hours, but based on the feedback we were glad that we did it and hope to have the opportunity to do it again in the future.

I want to offer a special note of thanks to Sustainable Connections for giving us the opportunity to participate. They do amazing work for local agriculture and I look forward to working with them again in the future to promote local farms.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toulouse Geese

The Toulouse Goose was originated near Toulouse, France. It is a large goose that weighs about 20 pounds. The grey colored breed has been recorded as far back as the 1500’s. Toulouse geese are fairly mellow and work well on small farms, but not with other more aggressive breeds of geese. They do not need a pond, although they will swim if given the opportunity. They geese also do not fly and will stay close to home, partly driven by the non-aggressive nature of the breed. Toulouse geese have been in the United States for at least 200 years and are also considered a colonial breed, having been part of the colonial farms in the 1700’s.

We got our 2 geese from the same place we got our Southdown Sheep. Gary Fisher at Camelot Downs Farm in Whidbey Island specializes in colonial breeds and has sheep and a number of types of fowl. We hopefully have a male and female and will have goslings next spring, but it is difficult to sex geese so it may be 2 years before we have goslings.