It's our egg-less season again. Bummer, I know, but it's just the natural course of things in a hen's annual cycle. By October the girls start to molt, a roughly month-long process wherein they gradually lose their old feathers, and grow out a shiny new set for the winter. Feather-growing requires a lot of energy and protein, which means their egg production drops.
By November we see another significant drop in production. Chickens are highly photosensitive (some of us humans feel pretty unproductive through the gloom of winter as well), and as the days grow short and dark, they lay even fewer eggs. Right now we're picking up about one quarter the number of eggs we gather every day as when they're laying at their peak in spring.
Some farms get around this glitch in egg production by purchasing new chicks every month or two, in order to have continuous fresh new layers, or the farmer will install artificial lights in the chicken coops to trick the hens into thinking the days are still 15 hours long. I don't have the space for a new flock every month, nor do I want to crowd that many birds into the space we do have available. To do that would make the operation not much better than a factory egg operation. I also don't want to push production artificially with supplemental lighting, for the health of the flock. If you gave birth nearly every day for at least half the year, wouldn't you want a little break, too? We all need our winter rest.
And so our ladies are on their annual vacation until about February, when the days start to get noticeably longer. We have a very limited number of eggs to sell. We will limit eggs for the next few months to one dozen per order. We try to fulfill our CSA member's requests first, then fill out additional requests as we receive them. Please remember that this is a mainly vegetable-producing farm!
That said, the produce list is admittedly a little light this week. We're letting many of the veggies rest and bulk up a bit in anticipation of all your pre-Thanksgiving orders next week. If you're already starting your holiday menu planning, in addition to the list below, we should have lots of cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, leeks, fennel, and possibly some early winter celery. Don't forget that the Midtown Farmers Market's Holiday Market is Saturday, Nov. 22, 10am - 1pm.