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  • Writer's pictureCliff McConville

Holiday Farm Update - Porkapalooza + Cottage Pie Recipe

FARM HAPPENINGS

Happy Holidays to everyone! With just a few days to go before Christmas, I am listening to a steady rain outside and wishing it was snow. Rain means mud and when we are outwintering cattle on the pastures its much preferable to have them on frozen ground covered with snow than muddy fields getting chewed up and compacted with their hooves. But Mother Nature always has the last word and we have to deal with what she gives us.


The farm store will be closing early (4 PM) on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day. We will also be closing early on New Year's Eve at 2 PM so we can finish year-end inventory, but will be open normal hours for New Year's Day. We still have to take care of the animal chores and milking on holidays but usually will schedule a skeleton crew.


In other farm happenings, we processed our oldest flock of layers into stewing hens the last week of November, and brought the rest of the flocks together to overwinter in the hoop house. It's a really nice environment for them in winter - provides protection from rain and snow, but is also light and airy and well ventilated when the sides are rolled up. We put lots of straw down on the floor which provides for some nice insulation as it builds up over the winter. On warmer winter days most of the hens will wander outside in their fenced area to scratch around in the grass and wooded areas, returning to the hoop house to lay their eggs and at dusk where many will spend the night on the roosts inside.


Unfortunately, with the loss of the older laying flock and shorter, colder days our egg production is down about 25% from where we were a few months ago. So we had to put the 3 dozen limit back on, but are still selling out many days. Good news is their production usually picks back up in January once the days get longer again.

PORKAPALOOZA

We have picked up the pork from our first two batches of fall hogs that were processed in late November and the pork freezer in the store is full of goodies. For the pork lovers out there this means we have pork chops, ground pork, ribs, shoulder roasts, hams, spicy breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, and BACON back in stock! We even cut up a few larger ham roasts for those wanting a juicy pasture-raised ham for Christmas and still have some available in the store this weekend.


And we are still taking custom hog orders for a couple of batches of hogs going in for processing in January so it's not too late to fill up your freezer for the winter.


LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS

For those out there searching for a few last minute gift ideas (I always find myself in that situation), how about the gift of good food? We have a variety of different gift cards available on our website, or you can stop into the store and purchase one for any amount.


We also have a cool collection of healthy eating books on the shelf near the register, local hand-made wool mittens, and lots of local, hand-made soaps, lotions, balms, and creams that would make perfect stocking stuffers. And new in the store local beeswax candles.


FARM STORE UPDATE

The local vegetable growers we source from are all enjoying their winter break, but we do have some of their stored bounty available in the store. Squash and root crops like beets, onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots as well as cabbage. And we still have a good supply of organic apple products from our farmer friends in Michigan including fresh apples, frozen apple cider, no sugar added apple sauce, apple butter, and dried apple slices.


  • Turkey bone broth and short ribs are on sale

  • We have a full assortment of chicken parts available in the store now, including boneless, skinless breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, and necks. Also chicken bone broth as well as whole and cutup chickens.

  • Our grass-fed beef inventory is strong, we have most cuts of steaks, lots of roasts, ground beef, and even bones and brisket.

  • New items in the store include MASA beef tallow tortilla chips, several new flavors of Clover Creek Cheese, and Molly's Kitchen Cranberry Crumble (Yum!)

  • 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!

EASY COTTAGE PIE RECIPE

Cozy up with Cottage Pie, a comforting traditional dish that is as easy as it is delicious. Grass fed beef and veggies are seasoned to perfection, then covered in a blanket of buttermilk parmesan mashed potatoes before being baked in the oven until beautifully golden.


Cottage Pie is often confused with Shepherd’s Pie. For good reason! They are very similar with one key difference: the meat. Cottage Pie is traditionally made with ground beef while Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. Shepherds tend to sheep, not cows. Get it? Both dishes are common in the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, Cottage Pie is more prominent in Ireland.



INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 lb. All Grass Farms ground beef

  • 1 sweet onion, diced

  • 1/2 tsp salt (Redmond’s Sea Salt)

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup carrots, diced (About 1 large)

  • 1 cup celery, diced (About 3-4 ribs)

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings

  • 1/2 tsp EACH fennel seeds, oregano

  • 1/4 tsp EACH rosemary, red chili flakes

  • Couple cranks of cracked pepper

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 cup peas, frozen

  • 1 cup sweet corn, frozen BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES

  • 3 cups gold potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 4 tbsp butter, cubed

  • 2 tsp salt (Redmond’s Sea Salt)

  • 1 cup Parmesan, divided

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, melt butter. Add onions and ground beef to brown.

  2. In the mean time, bring a 3 qt stock pot of water to a boil, salt the water (not in ingredients list)

  3. Boil potatoes until tender (Around 15 minutes).

  4. To the beef, add salt, garlic, carrots, celery, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and all seasonings. Cook a few minutes.

  5. Drain the potatoes and place back in pot to steam dry a few minutes. Simply cover the pot with the heat off.

  6. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

  7. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and add all mashed potato ingredients. Mash until smooth.

  8. Add broth to ground beef. Let reduce a bit then add frozen peas and corn. Mix well.

  9. Press the ground beef mixture down slightly to make a flat surface. Layer the mashed potatoes on top, aiming to cover entire surface.

  10. Bake in the oven until potatoes are golden and bubbling on the sides, around 25-30 minutes.

  11. Serve right from the skillet.


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


That's it for now, wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends.


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.


Happy Holidays,


Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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