Sunday, December 6, 2015

Our First Pasture Raised Beef Cow - Pippin

Raising our own beef has been something we've looked forward to for many years, and have been awaiting impatiently ever since we got Rosie 3 years ago. Every burger we have had since then, we've looked at each other and said, someday, that'll be from our beef. That day is almost here, and just in time because his mom Rosie is about to pop with another calf any day now. We wanted to share our favorite photos of Pippin, from birth to butcher weight, and will be doing posts soon about how to make the most out of your cow or half cow when processing them and how to tan your own cowhide rug with almost no cost. 


Born during one of the passes of the Polar Vortex during January 2015


We spoiled him with once a day milking until he was 9 months old

He has a beautiful black coat, sometimes showing the red undertones of his mom

His 1 year old birthday





This fall, as big if not bigger than his mom.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 CSA Share 19

CSA Share 19

Our Ionia drop-off this week is delayed until Wednesday night, due to an unexpected cow escape Tuesday morning. Feeding the animals early in the morning, Farmer Figgins went to give the cows hay and water, to find the pastures empty. A line in the far corner of their pasture lay drooping, far up above the rise of the hill and usually out of sight unless you climb the hill. Deer, or the cows themselves, had run through the line, breaking it. They tromped through the hay field, gorging themselves, then gone down the hill to visit the sheep and further down into the forest to visit the pigs. There Farmer Figgins found the exterior woven wire fence mashed down, large hoof prints continuing into the neighbors woods. The cows were loose in the wide world! 




She tracked them through the forest, behind neighbors houses and yards, to a fallow hillside north of the Shire, where she lost the tracks. Backtracking to the farm, she went out with business cards and the truck, giving cards out to neighbors asking them to keep an eye out for two wild roaming cows. She spotted meandering tracks on Castle Road, not far from the farm, that linked back to the fallow pasture north of the farm. Following them led to a tractor road between a fallow field and a cornfield, where they were lost. Farmer Donnie came home from work and the two joined up to drive and walk and run around the nearby corn fields and tractor paths. Thankfully, drivers and neighbors started seeing them on the roads, first a mile west, then a mile east back where the tracks had been found and lost. A neighbor finally called saying they were in his fallow field, back on Castle Road where the tracks had been lost. The cows wouldn't let either approach for awhile, even with a bucket of grain. They plodded tiredly away down the tractor road between enclosing cornfields, until Rosie could finally be swayed with some corn and haltered. From there, it was just a long walk back to the farm, with Pippin dutifully following his mother. When they came in sight of the farm, Rosie started mooing and making small bellowing nosies, she knew she was back home.  The fence is all repaired, the cows are unharmed, and these two farmers are much relieved. 

Fall is settling in here on the farm. The garden has been picked clean, with little beyond apples, herbs, and lettuce lamely trying to regrow under constant overcast skies left for next week's harvest. This will be our last produce share of the season, and we've got some old and new fall favorites to end the season on. 



We will also be sending in the first batch of our pasture raised pigs at the end of this week, so shareholders who have a Pasture Raised Pork Share can expect a call soon from the processor to discuss options and cuts. 


Large Share pictured: 8 anaheim peppers, 8 sweet peppers, 4 bell peppers, 2 jalapeño peppers, 2 lemon cucumbers, 16 apples, 2 lbs tomatillos, 2 lbs brussels sprouts, 2 lbs ground cherries, 2 bunches parsnips, 2 heads of celery, 2 bunches of herbs


Parsnips


New this week, this root vegetable is similar to a carrot but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. Parsnips can be eaten raw, but more often are cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried, steamed, mashed, used in stews, soups or casseroles. It's long tuberous root is cream-colored skin, and it used to be used as a sweetener before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe.

Parsnip Recipes

Brussels Sprouts

New this week, Brussels sprouts orginataed in Europe and are related to cabbages. They have high levels of vitamin C and K and potential anticancer properties. They are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, sautéing, grilling, or roasting or even pickling. Just cut away any surplus stem and loose surface leaves, some cooks make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. Caution: overcooking can render the buds gray and soft, and then they develop a strong flavor and odor that is less than palatable. Common additions or toppings are parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar and pepper. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe



Celery


New this week, Celery is used around the world for the crisp leaf stalks, though in Europe it is more common to grow it for its bulb. The leaves are strongly flavored and can be used as a flavoring in soups and stews or as a dried herb. Celery can be stored for up to seven weeks in the fridge. Celery, onions, and bell peppers are considered the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine, or, try celery, onions, and carrots for the base of a great soup! 


Ground Cherries 

This strange golden berry is related to the tomato plant, and is indigenous to the new world. It has a similar texture to the tomato, but in flavor is more like strawberry or pineapple. The fruit are rich in cryptoxanthin, and contain pectin and can be used in pie filling. They can be eaten raw and used in salads, you can add them to dessert, use as flavoring, made into fruit preserves, or dried and used like raisins. 

Ground Cherry Jam
Ground Cherry Pie


Apples

More apples this week, we believe they are Jonathan apples. You may notice some spots on these apples, this is just a mild mold from lack of ventilation. If you wash and peel these apples they are still good to eat! 

How to freeze apples 
Sour Cream Apple Pie

Tomatillos


More tomatillos this week. We enjoy making a salsa verde out of these or for enchilada sauce with chicken or pork. They also go well in a pot of chili or soup! These are easy to preserve for another day, just take out of the paper-lantern like husk, wash and then freeze whole for later. 



Cucumbers

We couldn't believe it but the cucumbers managed one last picking for our last share. We had cucumbers from the end of June till the beginning of October, not bad!

Peppers

This week we have bell peppers, jalapeno, Anaheim, and sweet snacking peppers for everyone. 

Herbs

This week we have parsley and sage for everyone. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 CSA Share 18

CSA Share 18

We've been enjoying lovely fall weather, which has let us continue to enjoy all the bounty of the garden and orchard. This week we have a lot of new items, apples and pears from the orchard, acorn squash and pumpkins, and the mixings for a fall salad with mixed greens, radish, and the last of our cucumbers. Hopefully the weather will hold for another week or two. We have more apples in the orchard, and Brussel sprouts, parsnips, and celery to come! 

We will also have available:

Carrots-$1/bunch
Radish-$0.75/bunch
Mixed Greens-$3.00/.5 lb bag
Apples-6/$2
Pears (small)-6/$2
Watermelon (small)-$1 each
Ground Cherries-$1.50/.5 lb bag
Lemon Cucumbers-3/$1
Free Range Eggs-$3/dozen



Large Share Pictured: 2 jac-0-lantern pumpkins, 2 pumpkin pie pumpkins, 2 decorative squash, 2 eggplant, 2 lemon cucumbers, 2 bunches radish, 6 anaheim peppers, 2 hungarian peppers, 2 jalapeno peppers, 4 bell peppers, 6 pears, 16 apples, 2 acorn squash, 2 lbs green beans, 1 lb mixed greens, 2 bunches herbs.


Pumpkins

Just in time for October, we have jac-o-lantern and pumpkin pie pumpkins! We also have some odd small or tall ones for decoration. 

How to Make Pumpkin Puree 
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Greens Mix

Back for the fall we have fresh cut greens of romaine, oak leaf, green leaf, red leaf, baby spinach and arugula!

Radishes

Back for the fall we have french breakfast radish, perfect for a fresh salad. We also enjoy these sliced on buttered and toasted sourdough bread. 

Pears

New this week we have pears from our orchard. They are just starting to ripen on the tree, so you may need to give these a few days to ripen. 

Cucumbers

Still hanging in there, we have the last lemon cucumbers of the season! Enjoy these with your fall greens. 

Apples

More apples this week, we believe they are Jonathan apples. You may notice some spots on these apples, this is just a mild mold from lack of ventilation. If you wash and peel these apples they are still good to eat! 

How to freeze apples 


Acorn Squash

Enjoy some baked acorn squash for desert on a cold fall evening!


Eggplant

Everyone gets an eggplant this week, we enjoy these sliced and grilled with olive oil, salt, pepper,  and cumin. 

Green Beans

Our green bean mix includes purple, yellow and green beans, which will all turn green, except strangely the yellow variety, when cooked. 

Peppers

This week we have bell peppers, jalapeno, Anaheim, and hugarian wax peppers for everyone. 

Herbs

This week we have sage and thyme for everyone. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 CSA Share 17

CSA Share 17

Nights are getting cold, enough to leave black drooping leaves on more warm-loving crops like basil. We've still been enjoying lovely 60-80 degree weather during the day though. This week we have some fall favorites: Apples, beets, and carrots, as well as a welcome surprise, a return of tomatoes! We harvested all the large green tomatoes from our plants in the greenhouse last week before we tore out the sickly plants. The fruit have lasted quite nicely, some even ripening. So this week we get a mix of two seasons, the end of summer and the bounty of fall. Unfortunately, looking through our field, some of our winter squash like butternut and spaghetti squash did not do well this year, so we won't be seeing them until next fall. 

We will also have available:
Carrot bunches-$1.25/bunch
Green beans-$1.25/1 lb bag
Snacking tomatoes-$1.50/1 lb bag
Okra-$2/bag
Ground Cherries-$3/1 lb
Free Range Eggs-$3/dozen

Large Share pictured: 2 bunches beets, 2 bunches carrots, 2 slicing cucumbers, 2 lemon cucumbers, 4 bell peppers, 4 snacking peppers, 2 anaheim peppers, 2 hugarian wax peppers, 2 jalapeno peppers, 2 lbs tomatillos, 16 apples, 4 green tomatoes, 2 red tomatoes, 2 lbs green beans, 2 bunches kale, 2 kohlrabi, 2 bunches herbs



Apples

New this week we have apples from our orchard. Small Produce shareholders should have enough this week to make an apple pie or just to snack on.

Sour Cream Apple Pie


Beets

A spring and fall favorite for some, for others beets can be more of an acquired taste. Roast 'em, fry 'em, grate 'em! There are many recipes for you to try to come to know and enjoy beets. 


Carrots

Another spring and fall favorite, try these roasted, in soups, raw in salads. There are as many options with carrots as you can imagine!


Green Tomatoes

We picked the largest green tomatoes from our greenhouse tomatoes before we tore them out. They have held up well this week, some of them even turning! So enjoy these pickled or fried!


Tomatoes

We picked the largest green tomatoes from our greenhouse tomatoes before we tore them out. They have held up well and some have even turned, so surprise! One last week of tomatoes. 


Kohlrabi

The word Kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. We usually eat them raw, just peel off the skin and slice them like an apple and sprinkle with a little salt or dip in your favorite dressing and enjoy! They're also great raw on a salad, or roasted, or baked. They are also popular in Indian food, in dishes like Kohlrabi Curry.


Roasted Kohlrabi

Butter-Braised Kohlrabi 

Kale

Try making kale chips, or sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne. Or have a raw a kale salad with shredded beets and carrots. You can't go wrong. 

Tomatillos


More tomatillos this week. We enjoy making a salsa verde out of these or for enchilada sauce with chicken or pork. They also go well in a pot of chili or soup! These are easy to preserve for another day, just take out of the paper-lantern like husk, wash and then freeze whole for later. 


Green Beans

Our green bean mix includes purple, yellow and green beans, which will all turn green, except strangely the yellow variety, when cooked. 

Peppers

This week we have bell peppers, jalapeno, anaheim, sweet snacking peppers, and hugarian wax peppers for everyone. 

Cucumber-Slicer and Lemon

The cucumbers in the greenhouse are beginning to succumb to downy mildew, so enjoy these now, we won't have them much longer! This may be our last week of cucumbers, which is unfortunate because greens will be starting again. We like to eat the lemon cucumbers raw, like an apple, but they can be pickled or used in salad or cucumber salad just like any regular cucumber. 


Herbs

This week we have lemon basil, citrus mint, and catnip for everyone. 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

2015 CSA Share 16

CSA Share 16

Fall is here, and we can tell in the garden. Nights are getting cold, one night in the high 30s, so we close the greenhouse in the evening now. This week we have the last taste of summer with watermelons and the last tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers of the season. Our tomatoes in the greenhouse have succumbed to late blight, so this is the last week for tomatoes. We even get to enjoy fried green tomatoes one last time, since there are so many gorgeous unripe fruit still on the plants. We also get the first taste of fall with the first winter squash. 

We will also have available:

Snacking Tomatoes: $2.50/lb
Green Beans: $1.50/lb
Ground Cherries: $3.00/lb 
Free Range Eggs: $3/dozen

Large Share Pictured: 2 melons, 2 watermelons, 2 acorn squash, 2 lbs green beans, 6 bell peppers, 2 japans, 2 hungarian wax, 2 anaheim, 2 slicing cucumbers, 2 lemon cucumbers, 2 lbs tomatillos, 2 roma tomatoes, 2 slicing tomaties, 2 lbs snacking tomatoes, 6 green tomatoes, 2 bunches herbs. Large shares only: eggplant and okra


Watermelon

New this week are an heirloom variety called Moon and Stars watermelon.

Acorn Squash

The first of the winter squash, these are a colorful variety called Carnival. Try these the old fashioned way, with butter, maple syrup , and brown sugar, for a warming evening dessert on a chilly night. 

Classic Baked Acorn Squash


Tomatoes

The tomatoes in the greenhouse have succumbed to late blight, following our field tomatoes. Enjoy these last tomatoes of the season! We will have a last slicer, roma and bag of snacking tomatoes for everyone. We will have extra snacking tomatoes for sale as well. 

The Mothership Tomato Salad

Green Tomatoes

Our tomato plants in the greenhouse are dying before the fruit can ripen. So lets take this as an opportunity to enjoy fried green tomatoes one last time. Goes great with watermelon! 


Melon

The last of the melons, sadly all have been pretty undersized and underripe this season, c'est la vie. 

Tomatillos


More tomatillos this week. We enjoy making a salsa verde out of these or for enchilada sauce with chicken or pork. They also go well in a pot of chili or soup! These are easy to preserve for another day, just take out of the paper-lantern like husk, wash and then freeze whole for later. 


Green Beans

Our green bean mix includes purple, yellow and green beans, which will all turn green, except strangely the yellow variety, when cooked. 

Peppers

This week we have a hungarian wax pepper, jalapeño, Anaheim, and a bell pepper for everyone. 

Cucumber-Slicer and Lemon

The cucumbers in the greenhouse are beginning to succumb to downy mildew, so enjoy these now, we won't have them much longer! This may be our last week of cucumbers, which is unfortunate because greens will be starting again. We like to eat the lemon cucumbers raw, like an apple, but they can be pickled or used in salad or cucumber salad just like any regular cucumber. 


Eggplant 

For large shares only this week. We like to grill these with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. 


Okra

For large shares only this week. This is an heirloom variety of Okra called Hill Country Red from Seed Saver's Exchange. Try them fried, baked, in soup, we always like to make cornbread with them. The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic "goo" or slime when the seed pods are cooked; the mucilage contains soluble fiber. Some people prefer to minimize the sliminess; keeping the pods intact, and brief cooking, for example stir-frying, help to achieve this. Cooking with acidic ingredients such as a few drops of lemon juice, tomatoes, or vinegar may also help. Alternatively, the pods can be sliced thinly and cooked for a long time so the mucilage dissolves, as in gumbo. The immature pods may be pickled.


Herbs

This week for herbs we have Italian basil and onion chives. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 CSA Share 15

CSA Share 15


Fall is coming and we are starting to feel it on the farm. Our tomatoes in the field have been lost to light blight, cucumbers and squash in the field are now sadly goners too. In the greenhouse the cucumbers are speckled and brown flecked with downy mildew and the first brown spots of what could be late blight are showing up on the tomatoes. We still have a few weeks to the season though, still watermelon and apples, come the frost we will have parsnips, brusel sprouts, winter squash and pumpkins. We planted some quick growing cold season crops, so we will hopefully see a return of lettuce, radishes and greens toward the end as well. 


The sheep have been acclimating well to the farm, our livestock guardian dog Korra has been staying in their pasture with them and bonding. We hope to fence in an area around the barn for the ram, Henry, to get some fresh air and fresh grass. 

Also, earlier this week Farmer Figgins and Farmer Don got to have a practice run of castrating piglets. One of our friends had pot belly piglets unexpectedly, all boys, and they needed to be taken care of while still young. Next time will be in the spring hopefully for our own piglets! 

We will also have available:

Snacking tomatoes-$3.00/1.5 lb bag
Ground Cherries-$3.00/1 lb bag
Lemon Cucumbers-4/$1
Slicing cucumbers-2/$1
Okra-$1/bag
Tomatillos-$1.50/bag



Large Share pictured: 4 melons, 4 cucumbers, 4 lemon cucumbers, 2 summer squash, 2 eggplant, 2 lbs tomatillos, 2 hungarian peppers, 2 bell peppers, 2 bunches herbs, 2 lbs ground cherries, 2 lbs green beans, 3 lbs snacking tomatoes, 2 slicers and 2 roma tomatoes.



Eggplant

New this week for everyone are some eggplant! We like to grill these with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. 

Tomatillos


More tomatillos this week. We enjoy making a salsa verde out of these or for enchilada sauce with chicken or pork. They also go well in a pot of chili or soup! These are easy to preserve for another day, just take out of the paper-lantern like husk, wash and then freeze whole for later. 


Ground Cherries 

This strange golden berry is related to the tomato plant, and is indigenous to the new world. It has a similar texture to the tomato, but in flavor is more like strawberry or pineapple. The fruit are rich in cryptoxanthin, and contain pectin and can be used in pie filling. They can be eaten raw and used in salads, you can add them to dessert, use as flavoring, made into fruit preserves, or dried and used like raisins. 

Ground Cherry Jam
Ground Cherry Pie

Melons

More melons this week. They are small this year, small shares get two melons this week, large shares get 4. 

Tomatoes

We have a bag of snacking tomatoes for everyone this week, a large slicer, and a red tomato.

The Mothership Tomato Salad

Green Beans

Our green bean mix includes purple, yellow and green beans, which will all turn green, except strangely the yellow variety, when cooked. 

Peppers

This week we have a hungarian wax pepper and a bell pepper for everyone. 


Cucumber-Slicer and Lemon

The cucumbers in the greenhouse are beginning to succumb to downy mildew, so enjoy these now, we won't have them much longer! We like to eat the lemon cucumbers raw, like an apple, but they can be pickled or used in salad or cucumber salad just like any regular cucumber. 


Summer Squash


Probably the last of the summer squash for this year this week. Try these sautéed or steamed or grilled, but they also make a great addition to a quiche or frittata.  Sadly the squash beetles have been holding back our zucchini, so we haven't been able to get any good size zucchini for zucchini bread. 


Herbs

This week for herbs we have Italian basil and parsley.