Thursday, November 6, 2014

Heirloom crops

NPR has a story about preserving Appalachia's heirloom crops.

"Appalachia may be one of the poorest regions of the U.S., but when it comes to heirloom crops, it's got the riches.

"James Veteto is an anthropologist at Western Carolina University and an apple farmer who directs the Southern Seed Legacy Project. He's has spent the past 16 years traveling throughout Central and Southern Appalachia, talking with farmers about the heritage fruits and vegetables they grow.

"That journey lead him (and other researchers) to realize that, with some 1,500 heirloom fruits and vegetables under cultivation, Appalachia is the most diverse foodshed in the U.S., Canada and northern Mexico. Among that bounty are 633 distinct varieties of apple and 485 distinct varieties of bean."

They haven't gotten around to heirloom poultry or chickens yet, or even heirloom livestock in general. but they are on the trail!

Back to front: Speckled Sussex, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Welsummer and Ancona.
 These girls are having a nice social dirt bath together in my yard. Right now, in November, none of them are laying. The senior hens are molting and the spring chickens haven't started to lay yet.

I started thinking of them as slackers, but then realized that it's all in how I think of it. It's a normal cycle to slow down as the days get shorter. I know they will start to lay again after the solstice. Why do I want to be demanding on them? I enjoy them whether they are laying or not.

There's a farm outside town where I can buy eggs. They don't have many at this time of year, either. so I get there early.

Better to slow down and take some time off. Another lesson from my hens.

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