Fall Festival Scheduled + "Fake" Honey, Beef Sale, and Brisket Chili Recipe
Since my last update a few weeks ago, we have been fortunate to receive some timely rains after a long, hot dry spell during the month of August. With some moisture back in the soil we are hoping for a few good weeks of pasture growth to keep the cows grazing through late fall or early winter. While the grass at our Dundee farm in abundant, the more severe drought in Walworth county around our Wisconsin beef grazing operation has left us with fewer paddocks ready for re-grazing.
The cooler weather has helped us increase our raw milk production a bit from where we were several weeks ago. We had two new calves born today, and expect four more in the next few weeks which should bring a number of cows back into milk production that had been dried off for calving. If all goes well we should be in much better shape for milk availability by mid-October and thereafter.
Our egg production has been slowly declining with the shorter days, but we still have a couple days worth of inventory on hand so we don't anticipate limiting egg sales anytime soon. However, our broiler chicken (meat birds) production has been hampered by a bad batch of organic feed we received in early September. The feed didn't have sufficient protein (we sent samples to the lab for verification) and so our birds have not been growing at their normal rate. We had to skip this week's chicken processing date to give them another week to grow out. We do have new feed on hand now and they are eating like crazy so we hope to make up some for the lost ground over the last few weeks. Sorry but no fresh chickens available in the store this weekend, but we are planning to process that batch next Wednesday (September 27th) and so will have fresh chickens in the store Thursday through Sunday next week.
ROASTS AND BRISKETS 15% OFF
With the cooler fall weather coming, its time to dig out the crock pot or dutch oven and gets some roasts, soups and stews on the table. We have a good inventory of grass fed beef roasts right now so take advantage and stock up on chuck roasts, rump roasts, and briskets while they are 15% off, in store or online. The Slow Cook Sampler Pack, which includes 25 lbs. of roasts, is also on sale for 15% off. Visit our Online Beef Store to order. And when you get that juicy brisket home try the delicious brisket chili recipe below.
FALL FARM FESTIVAL - SATURDAY OCTOBER 14
Back by popular demand, we have scheduled our annual Fall Farm Festival on Saturday, October 14th from 12 Noon to 4 PM at the Dundee farm. Fun events will include hay wagon tours of the farm to see the animals, a visit to the pumpkin patch, and the always popular hay bale obstacle course. We will also have some fun games like the volleyball, corn hole, and badminton available if we can get the kids off the hay bales.
Food will again be provided by the La Adelita Taco Truck. They will be coming out from Chicago to serve up their famous street tacos - Carne Asada, Beef Birria, Chicken Tinga, Al Pastor and Mojo Mushrooms. All made with our own grass fed beef and pasture-raised pork and chicken. Side dishes will include chips and salsa, roasted tomato rice, refried black beans, and guacamole. All you can eat including soft drinks and water will be provided.
There are a limited number of tickets available, reserve your space now. $30 for adults, $20 for kids 5 - 12, and $15 for little tykes that don't eat much. Each ticket includes all you can eat tacos, plus drinks, farm tour, and a pumpkin for everyone. Pickup your wrist bands at the farm store before the event. Reserve your Fall Festival Tickets here.
FARM STORE UPDATE
With the summer growing season winding down we still have a good selection of local fruits and veggies in the farm store, plus we will start getting some fall squash and fresh organic Michigan apples next week.
Organic apple products expected next Tuesday include a variety of fresh organic apples, apple cider, dried apple chips, apple butter and no-sugar added apple sauce.
Local, chemical-free produce in the store includes heirloom tomatoes, green peppers, pears, peppers, kohlrabi, and carrots
We also received a shipment of wild-caught Alaskan seafood, including Halibut, Black Cod, King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, and Salmon caviar.
We just picked up from our processor more of our soy free/corn free chicken parts, including skinless/boneless breasts, thighs, ground chicken, and artisan chicken sausages.
As noted above, grass fed beef chuck roasts, rump roasts, and briskets are on sale this week (sale 15% off).
"FAKE" HONEY COMING TO THE FARM STORE NEXT WEEK
A few weeks ago, our farm Instagram account was tagged with a video from a customer that purchased some local honey from our store and then claimed it was "fake honey" because a spoonful held over an open flame on the stove started bubbling. Having watched the Netflix series "Rotten", which has an entire episode focused on the global honey business, I knew that identifying fake honey was a lot more complicated than holding a teaspoon over an open flame. In the Rotten episode, they offered a glimpse into a very sophisticated laboratory in West Germany that was developed to test honey samples from all over the world to determine if the honey was pure or diluted, and also to identify the country of origin based on the pollen DNA. China is a huge exporter of fake honey (essentially colored sugar water) and evidently it can be routed through countries like Vietnam or Ukraine to make it seem more legitimate.
At any rate, we sent the video to a couple of very knowledgeable beekeepers and they scoffed at the idea that you could determine if honey was pure by holding a spoonful over an open flame. So I decided to test it out myself, pulling down a big jug of pure raw honey we harvested from our own hives a few years ago that we keep on the top shelf of our pantry. It has fully crystallized now, but I scooped out a teaspoonful and held it over the stove for less than 30 seconds, and sure enough it started bubbling just like in the customer video. Guess that is not a fool proof method for detecting fake honey after all.
On the topic of honey, our beekeeper Willie is harvesting this week from the hives he setup last March next to our certified organic alfalfa hay fields at the Wisconsin farm location. We should have this honey in our store by the end of next week, pure and raw straight from our farm.
BRISKET CHILI RECIPE
If you love serving up good food that leaves everyone warm and tingly inside, make this thick, hearty, brisket chili. Full of meaty, rich flavor, it’s delicious and perfect for leftovers throughout the week. It has a few secret ingredients that send it over the top.
(1) 3lb All Grass Farms Brisket, silver skin removed
1 tbsp salt (Redmonds Real Salt)
Drizzle of olive oil
1 of EACH green pepper, red pepper, 2
6 pieces of All Grass Farms bacon, chopped
2 medium size onions, yellow, sweet or white
5 garlic cloves
8 oz beer
2 tbsp chili powder (Frontier Co-op)
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp Smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp EACH Ancho chili, oregano, onion and coriander
1/4 tsp garlic and cayenne
2 bay leaves
Rest of Ingredients
(1) 15.5oz can diced tomato
(1) 15.5oz can tomato sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 cups beef broth, warmed
1.5 cups (15oz) black beans, cooked, drained and rinsed
1.5-2 cups red beans (Meadowlark “Cayenne” beans), cooked, drained and rinsed Sub: Kidney or pinto
1lb elbow noodles
Shredded cheddar cheese
Night before cooking, trim brisket of silver skin (some left is okay). Salt all over and let rest, uncovered, in fridge overnight.
Next day, over open flame, char peppers so they are mostly blackened. Place in a covered bowl or paper bag.
While peppers steam, cut brisket into 2-inch chunks. Chop bacon into small shreds.
Heat a large Dutch oven to medium. Render bacon. Set cooked bacon aside.
Brown brisket chunks, in batches, if necessary. Set aside. Turn heat to low.
Remove peppers from container, remove skins, seeds and stems. Pulse in a food processor with peeled and roughly chopped onion and peeled garlic. Slightly pureed is fine.
Add aromatics to Dutch oven. Cook until colored and fragrant. Add spice mix. Cook until pot is beginning to look a tad dry, and some bits are starting to stick to the bottom.
Deglaze with beer.
Pulse bacon in the food processor (no need to clean it), until finely chopped.
Add bacon, brisket, both cans of tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and 2 cups beef broth. Bring to a low boil, then to turn to low for a simmer. Cover for 4 hours. Check occasionally on liquid level, add more broth if necessary.
At the 4-hour mark, add all beans. Mix well. Cook until brisket falls apart easily. 8-12 hours. Remove bay leaves.
Serve with elbow noodles, cheese, scallions and sour cream.
For more details on this recipe, as well as pictures and preparation tips, please visit our recipe guru Jackie's blog.
Thats it for now. Please follow us on our Instagram Page where Anna posts photos and farm updates a few times per week. Hope to see everyone at one of the upcoming events soon.
Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team