to educate, inspire and equip the urban homesteader

The FARMcurious Blog

Cheesemaking – what to do with all that whey?

You’ve conquered your demons and made cheese- good for you!!  (If you haven’t yet made cheese, join one of our classes in SF & Oakland or check out our home cheesemaking kits – you won’t regret it).  Now you find yourself with a pound of delicious homemade cheese and three quarts of whey!  What to do with all that protein-rich goodness? First, some things to know about whey: Whey is milk with the fats and solids pulled out (the solids are now in your cheese).  It’s primarily water but also contains lactose (milk sugar) which is water soluble and ends… more

June 11th, 2013 | 95 Comments | Tags:

Using your FARMcurious Fermenting Set

Thanks for purchasing a FARMcurious Fermenting Set!  These instructions will help guide you through using and enjoying your set. 1) Wash the ReCAP lid in warm, soapy water and rinse well. 2) Open the flip-top lid on the ReCAP and insert the rubber stopper into the hole. Insert the narrow end of the airlock into the top of the stopper. 3) Remove the airlock lid to fill the airlock to the etched line (or about halfway) with water and replace the lid. 4) Wash with warm, soapy water any canning jar with the size opening that matches your ReCAP lid… more

June 2nd, 2013 | 17 Comments | Tags: ,

Finding the Perfect Chicken

By Nicole Easterday and Lisa Gasink The most exciting thing about planning to keep chickens has to be selecting the breeds you will keep.  There are so many varieties to choose from: great egg layers, fryers, adorable little puffy things with fuzzy legs and giant majestic creatures.  We examine some of the choices with the pros and cons and include resources for SF Bay Area as well as some online options for those of you who live elsewhere. Article TLTR?  We understand – you’ve got seedlings to water – skip straight to our awesome FARMcurious Breed Selector Chart. We can’t tell… more

April 13th, 2013 | 9 Comments

The Chicken Coop – a tour of the necessities plus some inspiration

Spring chicks are in but have you considered where your ladies will live once they’re fully feathered?  We explore the essential elements of a chicken coop and run and explain why each is necessary and then we show some inspirational examples of beautiful coops that others have made.   Please join FARMcurious in welcoming Lisa Gasink, our fabulous new intern and this week’s guest blogger.  This post is all about building a coop but you can follow Lisa as she goes through all the steps to owning chickens – from research, to building a coop from recycled wood, to finding… more

March 27th, 2013 | 9 Comments

FARMcurious is growing!

We’re a very small, family-run business and since conception we’ve always functioned in a bare bones capacity here at FARMcurious.  We’ve depended quite heavily on the generosity of volunteers and close friends to help us with our day-to-day tasks.  However, we’ve reached a point where we’re growing a bit bigger than our britches! While we’re not quite ready to hire paid help (someday!), we are ready to take on an official intern.  We’re thrilled to enter into this new phase of growth and we hope you’ll help us spread the word to find a good fit.  The description is posted… more

January 29th, 2013 | 1 Comment

Brew your own fish emulsion fertilizer

Did you know you can make your own fish emulsion fertilizer instead of buying it in the store?  Fish emulsion is an essential product for the organic and natural home gardener for years, proving its effectiveness in feeding the soil and plants with biologically available nutrients while increasing soil and microbe health. This week we’d like to extend a special welcome to guest blogger Stephen Scott, co-owner of Terroir Seeds, a family owned and operated heirloom seed company that focuses on the “Cycle of Terroir”- from the soil, to the seed, to the food you eat, providing heirloom seeds, education… more

October 2nd, 2012 | 9 Comments

Volunteers Needed for Eat Real Fest

Many of our followers have expressed interest in volunteering at our events – and for that we’re incredibly grateful!  We do several large events every year and it takes a lot of hands to pull it off. One of our busiest events of the year is coming up – Eat Real Fest in Oakland – and we’ll need a good number of dedicated volunteers so if you’re interested in volunteering read the details below then shoot us an email to be added to our volunteer list.   Dates and Times: Thursday, Sept 20 – 5-9:30pm is set-up day.  We’ll set up in… more

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments

How To Turn A Mason Jar Into A Fermenting Crock

Welcome to our guest blogger Erica Strauss who joins us from her blog NW Edible Life, one of our favorite urban gardening/simple living blogs.  I’ve admired Erica’s writing and work from afar but when I saw her post on using reCAP to make a DIY fermenting crock from a simple mason jar, I knew I not only needed to carry reCAP in the store, but I also needed Erica to share her post with the FARMcurious crowd!  We’re happy to host her clever fermenting crock article here: You can spend a lot of money on specialized pickling crocks. Go ahead, be my… more

August 14th, 2012 | 7 Comments

Small garden tips and a book giveaway

My very favorite Bay Area gardening book is Golden Gate Gardening, a work of genius written by Pam Peirce.  I love the book so much that when I speak to serious SF Bay Area gardeners and find that they don’t own it I’m shocked.  I reference it anytime I plant something new and frequently before harvesting a new crop.  If you’re growing veggies here in our climate, I consider it a must-have, which is why I’m going to give one away this month. Here’s why you need Golden Gate Gardening:  The climate in the San Francisco Bay area is unlike any… more

April 15th, 2012 | 21 Comments | Tags: , ,

A Fermentation Primer

Fermentation is an age-old practice that may date back to as many as 12,000 years ago during the Paleolithic period. That said, it’s a practice that holds as much value today as it did thousands of years ago.  Not only is fermentation a time-honored way to preserve the harvest or create a mind-altering beverage, it’s also a healthful and natural way to boost the nutritional value of the food. History: According to Sandor Katz the author of “Wild Fermentation”, early methods of fermentation may date back to as early at the Paleolithic era, 12,000 years ago based upon evidence found… more

April 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,

How to make sauerkraut

Fermenting cabbage into a cultural delicacy such as sauerkraut or kimchi is an age-old practice that is still appreciated today; indeed is experiencing a renaissance of sorts.   The good folks at Cultured in Berkeley plus the popularity of a class we’re teaching at Workshop in SF on April 28 can attest to this new-found love of sour things.  How could we help but be inspired to write this post on how to make delicious fermented kraut and kimchi? Perhaps you read our earlier post about fermentation and the benefits of raw, fermented foods or maybe you’ve just always known you… more

April 9th, 2012 | No Comments | Tags: , , ,

The glories and the trials of farm-fresh eggs

It’s indisputable that free-range and farm-fresh are the best type of egg you will ever eat.  With their steep, rich yolks, orange as a midwestern sunrise and their thick whites that don’t run across the pan, they astonish the newly indoctrinated.  The variety of colors heritage breeds lay can take your breath away before you’ve even cracked the thing open. If the appearance isn’t enough to convince you of the superiority of a backyard egg, fresh eggs also boast a flavor like no other -rich and almost sweet at the same time with none of the heavy, slightly off flavor… more

April 4th, 2012 | 3 Comments | Tags: ,

How to peel a farm-fresh egg

Have you ever tried to peel a super-fresh egg straight from the backyard or farm and found yourself hovering over a piled of shredded egg pieces wondering what went wrong? Yeah, me too.  I suspect all us backyard chicken-tenders have.  Lucky you, I’m about to blow your mind with a little-known trick for peeling the freshest egg you can find.   Here’s the trick: Cook the eggs to your liking: My preferred method of preparing soft boiled eggs is to add the eggs to cold water in the pan.  Hell, add a little baking soda if you’re a believer.  Turn… more

April 4th, 2012 | 99 Comments | Tags: ,

Our backyard homestead infant death trap

When you don’t yet have a child, you don’t really realize how toddler unfriendly your home is.  It takes a pint-size visitor or two to open your eyes enough to see that your backyard homestead could be an infant death trap. I used to be of the rather selfish mind that it was the parent’s responsibility to keep their child safe and out of trouble when they visited my house.  Now that I’m three months away from having a child of my own all the preconceived notions are melting away. This all came to light about a month ago when… more

March 2nd, 2012 | 4 Comments

Guidelines for Gift Swap/Seed Exchange at our Underground Homesteading Party

We’re hosting another Gift Swap event during our Underground Homesteading Party and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’re also adding an heirloom seed exchange component this year so bring the heirloom seeds you’ve saved to trade with other enthusiasts!  We’ve had a lot of questions regarding how the swap will work  so we thought we’d include some guidelines. How it works: We anticipate this part of the event to last about an hour.  Starting at 5:45pm you can begin setting out your items to trade.  From 6pm-6:30 you will be able to walk around and see what items others have… more

February 26th, 2012 | No Comments