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  • Cliff McConville

Farm update - eggs galore, summer farm camps, beef order changes, and more...

Updated: Apr 6

FARM HAPPENINGS

Sorry its been a few months since my last post. Things got a little crazy around Christmas and haven't settled down since. Our typical farm "slow period" from January - March really didnt' include much downtime this year. It was a lot of pressure trying to get a newsletter out every week so I am going to get back to the monthly schedule this year.


We moved the hens out to their pasture shelters this week...not because the pastures are ready yet but we have chicks and turkey poults coming in next week and need to convert the hen's winter housing into a brooder area for about 8000 chicks we will be raising this spring and summer. See the hens below enjoying a little bit of early spring grass!

The hens are still pumping out eggs at a high volume so we have the egg bundles back on sale, both in the store and for puchase online for curbside pickup. And the ducks are back to laying eggs - they got started early this year, we found a few frozen ones hidden in their coop in late February, before we got on the ball and started collecting them early on cold days. Now they are putting out about 5 dozen per day so if you have been waiting for duck eggs now is the time to take advantage.


In other farm news, our Guernsey cow Cinnamon gave birth to twins last week. Twins are always a high risk proposition for cows, so we have been keeping a close eye on her. We have gotten lucky with a few sets of twin heifers in the past but this time it was a bull calf and heifer so more than likely the heifer will be sterile. See picture of the twins with their big cousin Honey looking on...


And at long last we have been working on an updated website for the past few weeks. There are a few components left to finalize but I hope to have it launched in the next several weeks before the busy season really hits us. Much flashier, more modern, easier to order and very mobile device friendly.


SUMMER FARM CAMPS ARE HERE!

After years of getting requests and talking about doing some kind of kids farm camp, Aaron White on our team decided to take the project on himself and run a limited number of farm camps for kids this summer. We have organized four week-long, morning day camps, based on age. The kids will learn about raising chickens, cows, and pigs and also learn some useful hands-on survival skills as well. We only have room for 20 kids per camp this year, so sign up soon if you are interested I expect the camps will fill up fast. For more information on the camps or to register visit our camps page.


CHANGES TO BEEF CUSTOM ORDERS

At the request of our primary beef and pork processor, we have decided to discontinue offering custom beef quarters, due to the conflicts and challenges in splitting a beef side between two different customers. We will continue offering custom-cut halves, but limiting those to six custom cut halves per month so that we can keep the store stocked with grass-fed beef. However we will continue to offer the ready-cut quarters which we assemble from our beef inventory.


FARM STORE UPDATE

With spring approaching (sometime soon?) we are looking forward to getting more local, fresh greens and fruits into the store again. Until then however we do have a few local root vegetables available including organic potatoes from Igl Farms in Wisconsin, plus local organic, onions, and carrots. Other new and interesting items in the farm store:



  • Lots of PORK --- Pork chops, roasts, and ribs, plus nitrate-free bacon and hams and a good supply of artisan sausages, brats, and Kielbasa from our pasture-raised hogs.

  • Stewing Hens (also available for home shipping in the online store)

  • Big variety of grass-fed beef roasts, steaks, ground beef, and a more limited supply of bones and organ meats. Just brought back some nitrate-free beef snack sticks, jerky, and hot dogs from our processor in Indiana this week.

  • Karolina has opened up CSA subscriptions for her vegetables for this season (grown right here on our farm) visit her website to learn more or sign up


HEALTH NOTES - EATING MEAT IS GOOD FOR YOU!

A new study from the University of Adelaide in Australia demonstrates that meat eating extends human life expectancy worldwide. Study author, University of Adelaide researcher in biomedicine, Dr . Wenpeng You, says humans have evolved and thrived over millions of years because of their significant consumption of meat.


“We wanted to look more closely at research that has thrown a negative spotlight on meat consumption in the human diet,” Dr You says. “Looking only at correlations of meat consumption with people’s health or life expectancy within a particular group, and or, a particular region or country, can lead to complex and misleading conclusions. “Our team broadly analysed the correlations between meat eating and life expectancy, and child mortality, at global and regional levels, minimising the study bias, and making our conclusion more representative of the general health effects of meat eating.”


The researchers found that the consumption of energy from carbohydrate crops (grains and tubers) does not lead to greater life expectancy, and that total meat consumption correlates to greater life expectancy, independent of the competing effects of total calories intake, economic affluence, urban advantages, and obesity.


Click here to read the full study report


RECIPE OF THE MONTH - SHEPHERD'S PIE

This recipe is from our friends at Riemer Family Farm, and published in the Farm-to-Table cookbook published by the Band of Farmers (available in our store).

- 1 lb. grass fed ground beef

- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

- 5 carrots, chopped

- 1 onion, chopped

- 1 tbsp. butter

- 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion

- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

- 1 tbsp. olive oil

- 2 tbsp. gluten free flour

- 1 tbsp. ketchup

- 3/4 cup beef broth

- salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion, and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add carrots and cook until tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil in a large frying pan and add onion and cook until tender. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook one minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Thats it for now. For future editions I would love to get some great recipes from our customers, preferably using our farm-raised products. Feel free to email me your favorites.


Stay healthy out there!


Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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