Each week is filled with harvest work and the effort to move Unity Farm Sanctuary forward. We�re finishing the inspections and well testing of the adjacent property this week and hopefully will progress to a formal purchase and sale next week. I�m already planning the new trails between the two properties - I�ll call them the Pine Loop, the Pond Trail, and the Coyote Path. When I�m done, the combined farm and sanctuary will have 3 miles of trails.
The Sanctuary will have an educational mission with an animal care training area, a mushroom cultivation area, a flower CSA, a farmer winery/cider demonstration area, and sustainable agriculture instruction classrooms.
The new property will have 3 new paddocks and a 5 stall barn. We�re already begin contacted by folks who have animals needing new homes. Likely our first addition will be a pair of donkeys - one age 12 an one age 20. They can live 30-50 years with the right conditions. We�ve been offered sheep, alpaca, and goats. We�ve thought about our ability to deliver the companionship, medical care, and quality of life needed by each of these species and we�ll probably avoid sheep, which bring different parasites and bacteria to the farm than the existing inhabitants.
The tomatoes are gone and the lettuce/spinach/carrots are thriving, but only in our beds with micxospray irrigation. Those in outside beds are struggling since the 3 month period with virtually no rain has turned our once fertile river bottom soil into hardpack. Here�s a New York Times article about our region
This weekend we�ll crush 250 pounds of Cortland and McIntosh apples for hard cider. Next weekend we�ll do the same. The following weekend, we�ll host a group of IT leaders and host the local 4H club to demonstrate cider making with just 120 pounds of apples. This will be the last year we use a hand cranked apple scratcher to create Unity Farmhouse hard cider.
From now on, a 2 horsepower stainless electric grinder will enable us to mill 1000 pounds per hour.
For next season, I�ll likely build a 60F climate controlled fermenting area with enough tanks to support our goal of 300 gallons of production from 5000 pounds of apples. We�ll still be a small producer but we�ll be efficient.