Farm Update & Farewell to Sweet Lola
Wow what a blistering hot couple of days we experienced this week. Checked my weather app and the heat index at our Dundee farm was 118 yesterday! Hard on the farmers but at least we can escape to the air conditioned store or walk-in cooler when necessary, the livestock were suffering through the heat wave with no relief. Fortunately we have some shady paddocks for the cattle and pigs and the chickens are under shade in their shelters. Much more comfortable today with good cloud cover and Looking forward to the weekend when it is supposed to cool off to the high 70's.
With the crazy heat this week our milk and egg production is down. We may have to take the egg bundles off sale but for now do not expect to reintroduce any limits on egg sales. Will wait and see how quickly production picks back up once the cooler weather rolls back in.
This was a good week to have a break in our broiler chicken processing schedule, but our next batch is going in next Monday, so we will have fresh chickens back in the farm store Tuesday through Friday next week. We have just two more batches of chicks and one batch of Thanksgiving turkey poults left in the brooder house, so we will have everyone out to the field shelters in another few weeks. Our busy season starts to wind down when we can take the daily brooder chores off the schedule.
LABOR DAY BEEF SALE ON NOW
We have a good supply of ground beef and roasts in stock now so we are offering 15% OFF our ground beef and slow cook bundles on the website for the next week. Order now and get ready for those fall and winter roasts. All of our beef is flash frozen and vacuum-sealed so will keep in your freezer for at least a year. Or you can use one of the chuck roasts from the slow cook bundle to try out Jackie's delicious Barbacoa with Cilantro lime rice recipe described below.
REGENERATIVE GRAZING SCHOOL COMING TO ALL GRASS FARMS SEPTEMBER 15-16
We are excited to be hosting the Northern Illinois Grazing School next month, sponsored by the Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition. This two day event (Friday 15th and Saturday 16th) is designed for both beginning and experienced graziers. Topics & discussions to be covered:
Basics of Getting Started
Soil Fertility & Soil Health
Extending the Grazing Season
Water & Fencing Systems
Local Producers Panel
Q&A Sessions, and much more!
I will be leading a tour of our farm and also presenting on multi-species grazing. Registration is only $50 and includes lunches both days and breakfast on Saturday. Click here for more information and to register for the event. Should be fun and informative!
SPECIAL DINNER WITH YOUR FARMERS!
Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) is a local non-profit that has been working to build a regenerative local food system for over 20 years. I have served on the board since 2014 and am very excited to be part of the organization's shift in the coming years to providing not only beginning farmer training and education, but also developing an incubator farm program to help new farmers get their businesses launched at AOLCs farm near Rockford.
To help raise funds for the farm incubator program, AOLC is hosting a series of private dinners for groups of up to 12 patrons. Anna and I are planning to attend the Friday, October 20th dinner and will be sourcing most of the ingredients from our farm, with the meals expertly prepared by chef Andy Skupien. If you would be interested in sponsoring/attending one of these private dinners, please follow this link to the AOLC website more information on the dinners.
FARM STORE UPDATE
We are in the peak season for local produce and have lots of goodies in the store right now:
From our on-site organic grower Karolina we have cherry tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, green and yellow beans, carrots, chard, and scallions.
From our friends Tim and Delicia at Broadview Farm in Marengo we have their bagged salad greens/lettuce mix, slicing tomatoes, yellow onions, garlic, and kale.
Local pears from Bread Seed Gardens
Pasture-raised whole ducks and duck parts raised on our farm by employees Nicole and Paul. Fed all organic feed.
We also have fresh pasture-raised turkey parts in the store - ground turkey, tenderloins, wings, smoked legs, and several flavors of artisan turkey sausage prepared by Hometown Sausage Kitchen in East Troy.
A FAREWELL TO OUR SWEET LOLA
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the loss of our sweet pup Lola two weeks ago. She was our constant companion at the Wisconsin farm, always eager to jump on the UTV to accompany Anna or I with the daily chores, or standing guard nearby as we packed eggs, cooked dinner, or relaxed on the porch. At only seventeen months old we looked forward to enjoying her friendly, loving presence with us on the farm for many many years.
The septic shock that took her came on very quickly and was not diagnosed correctly on our first urgent care vet visit. After another local vet visit we rushed her to the pet emergency/critical care hospital near Milwaukee, hoping they could stabilize her and resolve the source of the infection causing the sepsis. Unfortunately we received the dreaded call later that night that her organs were shutting down and she only had a few hours left, just enough time for us to get there and say our tearful goodbyes to the best dog we could ever hope for.
We laid her to rest under her favorite oak tree in the backyard, where she can still keep a watchful eye over the farm. Lola's absence in our daily lives has weighed heavily on us over the last two weeks. We miss her so much and are not sure if another dog will ever be able to fill that longing. But we are comforted by the thought that she will be waiting for us in heaven, tail wagging at the door, ready for a sunset stroll across the farm, through the green pastures, around the pond, chasing chipmunks into the woods. Hopefully those thoughts will keep us going through this difficult period.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK - BARBACOA WITH CILANTRO LIME RICE & PICO DE GALLO
This Mexican inspired barbacoa recipe is incredibly tender and juicy. Chuck roast is slow cooked with a feisty, flavor packed chipotle, guajillo pepper sauce. The extra juices are soaked up with cilantro lime rice and a radish, black bean Pico de Gallo rounds out this Mexican inspired feast.
Description Tender, juicy chuck roast slow cooked with a feisty, flavor packed chipotle, guajillo pepper sauce. The extra juices are soaked up with cilantro lime rice and a radish, black bean Pico de Gallo rounds out this Mexican inspired feast.
3lb All Grass Farms chuck roast, bone in, cut into 4 chunks
1 tbsp salt (Redmonds Real Salt)
2 sweet onions, chopped
Drizzle of avocado oil
2 dried guajillo peppers
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp EACH coconut sugar, chili powder, oregano and cumin
1 tsp EACH smoked paprika, ancho chili powder
½ tsp coriander seed, whole
4 cloves, whole
½ cup orange juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 heaping tbsp Chipotle en Adobo sauce
5 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 big bay leaves
2 heaping tbsp pickled jalapeños
Cilantro Lime Rice
4 tbsp butter
2 cups brown rice, rinsed
4 cups beef broth
4 green onions, divided
Zest and juice of 3 limes
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp of cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ cup juice (Au jus) from barbacoa
Pico de Gallo
¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 chopped radishes (about ¾ of a cup)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (if in season)
1 green onion, green parts only
2 tbsp pickled jalapeños, chopped
1 tsp jalapeño pickling juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Drizzle of avocado oil
Rub 1 tbsp of salt on all sides of chuck roast. Refrigerate overnight uncovered.
Next day, preheat oven to 425F. Drizzle chuck roast chunks, onions and guajillo peppers with oil. Sprinkle ½ tsp salt on onions. Roast 20 minutes.
In the meantime, bring the broth to a simmer on the stove. Remove guajillo peppers. Cut the tops off and discard seeds. Submerge peppers in broth, turn heat off and cover.
Toss roast and onions and return to oven for 10 minutes or until roast and onions are browned.
After 10 minutes, transfer guajillo peppers to food processor along with all seasonings (except bay leaves), orange juice, apple cider vinegar, lime zest and juice, Chipotle en Adobo sauce, garlic cloves and tomato paste. Process until sauce consistency.
Put onions, roast and all pan juices in a slow cooker set to low. Pour sauce over top. Add bay leaves and broth. Cover and slow cook 6-8 hours. Beef should shred easily.
Discard bone, bay leaves and remaining fat chunks. Top with pickled jalapeños.
While beef cooks, melt butter in a 3qt pot.
Add the white parts of the green onions. Cook until softened.
Add rice. Coat in butter. Pour in broth. Bring to a boil. Set to low and cover.
At around 30 minutes turn heat off, fluff with a fork, then cover for another 10 minutes. Uncover, and add remaining ingredients.
Combine all ingredients for Pico de Gallo in a separate bowl. Serve all three together for an easy family dinner!
Visit Jackie's blog My Roots and Recipes for the full details on this recipe, more pictures, and lots of other recipes made from our products.
Please remember to bring us your old egg cartons, and paper or plastic bags so we can recycle them over and over again.
Please follow us on our Instagram Page where Anna tries to post photos and farm updates a few times per week.
Cliff, Anna and the Farm Team