Milk reinforcements, we make the news, Labor Day specials, burger grilling tips
As noted in last weeks update, our daily chore schedule is a little less demanding now with no baby chicks or turkey poults to care for in the brooder house. And with another batch of broiler chickens going into the processor on Wednesday, we only have four mobile range coops to move and service daily (two with Thanksgiving turkeys, and two with remaining batches of broiler chickens).
With a little extra time on our hands we are making good progress on long overdue special projects. One such project is the construction of two nice calving/maternity pens on the south side of the barn where we can put the mama cows right after they have new babies so they can be together and bond without interference from the other cows. We have found that if they can be alone together for about 3-4 days the calves will get strong enough to run with the herd and not be left behind, especially when they are grazing in a paddock far from the barn. We hope to have the maternity pens fully constructed and ready for use by the time Daisy has her calf, which is due September 9th.
MILK REINFORCEMENTS ARRIVING SOON?
Last week we learned of a small Guernsey farm near Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota that was selling their herd with the owners retirement. They have about 30 cows on grass, all with A2 genetics. Given our ongoing milk shortage and the fact that we won't have any of our heifers ready to milk for at least another nine months, we decided to purchase three of their younger cows that have recently freshened (dairy lingo for had a new calf). I am planning to drive up Sunday afternoon with the trailer when chores are finished and then pick them up first thing Monday morning for 7-8 hour drive back. Assuming all goes well we should have extra milk from the new girls in the store on Tuesday. Will send pics of the ladies in next week's newsletter.
ALL GRASS FARMS IN THE NEWS
Two weeks ago Cat Sandoval, a reporter for Newsy, called me with lots of questions about our chicken enterprise. Then she decided to come out and film part of her story about the global shortage of chicken at All Grass Farms. So we made the national news even though we aren't really a "chicken farm". Watch the story here.
One of the drivers of skyrocketing chicken prices is the rising cost of grain to feed chickens. We have already been hit with four price increases this year from our organic feed supplier, and therefore will be raising our chicken prices for the first time in five years later this month. But the good news is we have plenty of chicken right now on hand, including whole chickens, cutups, boneless/skinless breasts, wings, ground chicken, chicken sausage, and even chicken bone broth. Get them now before the price increase goes into effect.
LABOR DAY HOURS AND GRILLING SPECIALS
Since Monday is a holiday we will have shortened hours, with the store opening at 10 AM and closing at 2 PM. We still have a lot of our grass fed ground beef in the freezers so we will continue the 20% off ground beef sale through the holiday weekend, including ground beef patties. packs, and individual packages in the store. Pickup in the store or order online for curbside pickup or delivery (next week of course). Visit our online beef store for more information about our assortment of ground beef bundles. Excellent opportunity to try our best ever burgers recipe below, cooked to perfection using the burger grilling tips.
FARM STORE UPDATE
We do have fresh chickens again this week available in the store through Sunday. Whole chickens and 8 piece cutups. Plus the laying flock has finally hit their stride with the cooler weather so we have plenty of eggs for the first time all summer and have removed the three dozen limit on egg purchases.
This week Karolina is harvesting cherry tomatoes, heirloom slicing tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, and several varieties of squash from her organic gardens here at the farm.
Fresh local fruits this week include Michigan blueberries and red grapes, and watermelons from Broadview Farm in Marengo.
We will also have green peppers, cabbage mushrooms, microgreens, and lettuce mix fresh from other local farms.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK - BEST EVER BURGERS
This recipe came from Tina Sawchuck of Muriel Creek Cattle Company in Alberta, Canada and is published in the Grass Fed Gourmet Cookbook, available for purchase in the farm store. Makes 4 hamburgers.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 80%-90% lean
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, minced onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour over the ground beef. Using your hands, lightly mix all the ingredients together. Cook according to the instructions below.
TIPS FOR COOKING THE ULTIMATE GRASSFED HAMBURGER
From Loren Olsen, M.D., Malabar Farm in Iowa (also published in Grassfed Gourment)
The ideal patty is 6 ounces of raw meat, shaped into a 4-1/2 inch circle, 3/4-inch thick on the edges and 1/2-inch thick in the center. To do this, simply form the burger, then gently press the center on one side to form a small depression. These patties will cook evenly, and they will not end up puffy and round.
If you're grilling our burger, be sure the grill is hot and that the grate is clean. This should help ensure the burgers won't stick, but its OK to brush a little oil before cooking as a preventive measure.
Burgers should be seared over medium-high heat for a nice crusty exterior then allowed to cook indirectly for a juicy interior. According to Loren, you can tell if your grill is hot enough if you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill on the hot side of the rack for 3 to 5 seconds, but no longer. The other side of the grill should not be lit.
Leave the grill uncovered while the burgers sear, then move them to the other side and put the lid in place for the indirect cook time.
Six-ounce burgers do not require much cooking time - searing three minutes per side and then cooking indirectly for 8 minutes should yield a medium burger.
Don't press the burgers with your spatula while you are cooking - you will squeeze out the juices.
To toast the buns, split them open, and lay the halves , cut-side down, on the grill rack for the last 45 to 60 seconds of cooking time.
If you like cheeseburgers, try shredding the cheese and mixing it in with the ground beef before you make the patties. The cheese will be more evenly distributed, and you won't risk overcooking your burger while you're trying to melt a slice of cheese on top after your burger is done.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, hope to you soon at the farm or in the store.
To Your Health,
Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team