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  • Writer's pictureCliff McConville

Crazy Winter Farm Update + New Store Products, Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

FARM HAPPENINGS

Wow it's been a challenging few weeks for us livestock farmers. What started out as such a mild winter in December turned into a beast quickly. First we get buried in close to 2' of snow (more at our Wisconsin farm), followed shortly by a ferocious week-long polar vortex, then a week of rain, melting snow, fog, and mud. Yuck.


We had been outwintering both the beef and dairy herds on the pastures before the big snow moved in. Fortunately we have a big 3-sided cow shed with a concrete pad and feed alley on our Wisconsin farm that is big enough to house the entire herd, and I got them moved in there in the midst of the Friday snowstorm. I was hoping to get them back out to the pasture after the cold snap moved passed but now it's way to wet and sloppy so they are still in the cow shed.


See below daily hay feeding of the beef herd while they are in the cow shed, dropping large square flakes of grass and alfalfa hay off the hay wagon while driving along the feed alley. Unfortunately we have to push the hay up with a pitchfork 3-4 times per day so they can reach it through the rails. Good winter workout! If we can get the ground frozen up again we can move them back out to the pastures and just drop the hay on the snow.



PRODUCT UPDATE

Of course all this crazy weather has impacted our milk and egg production. The dairy cows have held their own and the milk production has actually rebounded relatively well, but demand is still very strong and we are selling out quickly. Egg production is back up a bit from the depths of early January, but we are still selling out daily, and bringing in eggs from other local farmers raising hens on pasture that have a surplus. This weekend we should have extra eggs in the store from Three Brothers Farm in Oconomowoc, WI. Michael is a very inventive farmer with lots of interesting ways to solve the labor-intensive issues involved in raising chickens on pasture. Like us he uses organic feed for his hens but does not certify his eggs.


We also have a broad selection of pastured pork products in the store with recent harvesting of more fat hogs. Along with pork chops, shoulder roasts, ground pork, ham slices, and bacon, we recently added fresh supplies of artisan brats and sausages, including kielbasa, chorizo, and the always popular maple-sage-ginger breakfast links made by our friends John and Tom at Hometown Sausage Kitchen in East Troy, WI.


FARM STORE UPDATE

As our local veggie partners relax for another month or two before their seasons get going, we still have a good supply root crops like beets, onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots in the store. And a fresh supply of organic apple products from Michigan including fresh apples, frozen apple cider, no sugar added apple sauce, apple butter, and dried apple slices.


  • For the bakers out there, Janie's Mill just delivered a pallet full of local, organic stone-milled flour, including the Einkorn, spelt, and artisan high protein.

  • New from Willies - Bee Propolis. This is the sticky bee glue they use to build their hives, it has many health benefits

  • MASA organic corn tortilla chips made with beef tallow

  • Sprouted organic corn tortillas from Azure

  • Elderberry juice and syrup to boost immune systems

  • New local handmade breads with Parmesan Garlic and Raisin Cinnamon

  • Good inventory of grass fed beef cuts, including roasts, steaks, brisket, ground, and bones.

  • Please remember to bring in your used paper and plastic shopping bags next time you visit the store - we are getting low and hate to buy new bags when there are so many out there going into landfills!

LOYALTY PROGRAM UPDATE

For those customers out there that have been faithfully accumulating reward points from in-store purchases, we have finally got the system configured so that you can redeem those rewards points - $25 off your next in-store purchase for every 25 reward points accumulated. Our next challenge is to figure out how to send a message to everyone that has reached this reward level. We will get that figured out soon.


CHICKEN BONE BROTH MADE WITH STEW HENS

With pretty much everyone I know either sick now, recently sick, or soon to be sick, we thought this was a good time to publish this simple recipe for chicken bone broth made with our stewing hens. And if you don't feel like making it at home we have it frozen in the farm store.


Rich and savory stew hen bone broth that goes down smooth and when refrigerated, gels up beautifully. This is the bone broth recipe to use for everything– stew, soup, flavor pops, sauces, marinades, straight up–anything! After making this bone broth recipe, I feel no need to ever buy store bought bone broth again.



Ingredients

  • (1) 2-3lb All Grass Farm stew hen, organs removed

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 4 ribs celery, chopped

  • 1 sweet onion, halved

  • 6-8 garlic cloves (1 head), smashed

  • 3 sprigs Rosemary

  • 2 tsp salt (Redmonds Real Salt)

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • Pinch of red chili flakes and course pepper

  • 16 cups water

Instructions

  1. Add everything to a slow cooker set to low.

  2. Slow cook 8-10 hours. Strip the meat. Set aside (Use in other recipes).

  3. Return carcass to slow cooker. Cook 10-12 hours longer.

  4. Strain and place in jars or containers. This recipe will yield 12 cups, perfect for (3) quart size mason jars.


For more details on this recipe, as well as pictures and preparation tips, please visit our recipe guru Jackie's blog.


Please follow us on our Instagram Page where Anna posts photos and farm updates a few times per week. Hope to see everyone soon at the farm.


Stay Healthy out there....


Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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