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  • Cliff McConville

New cows, tornado hits the farm, upcoming events, grass fed meatloaf

FARM HAPPENINGS

We had a lot going on last week and unfortunately I was not able to get a newsletter out. First I will mention the good news...our new additions to the Moo crew that I picked up over Labor Day weekend are doing great. They are giving us enough extra raw milk production that we are meeting the demand on most weekdays (i.e. not selling out), and even on weekends we have milk available through mid-afternoon. So...no need to line up at the store an hour before opening to get milk!


The new girls names are Gladys, Gaby, and Eden, and I asked Anna to take some pictures today so that we could show them off.

The first cow on the left is Gaby, she is a spunky little thing but a little flighty. The second is Eden, I think she is might be my favorite of the three, and last laying down in the grass is Gladys, She has a ton of mik but might not be the brightest cow we have. All three of the new gals are fitting into the herd well, making new friends, and seem to be enjoying their new home.


SMALL TORNADO (GUSTNADO?) TEARS THROUGH THE FARM

We have written about some of the weather challenges to hit us this year, first the ice storm that brought down our hay shed in February, then the wind tore the roof off our hoophouse in April, and of course the ongoing drought primarily affecting our Wisconsin farm location. Last Tuesday around 4 PM I was putting away two pallets of beef that arrived from our Indiana processor when a thunderstorm rolled through. I was literally tossing the cardboard boxes into the freezer door to keep them from getting wet, then ran around to the front porch of the old shooting club building to get out of the rain.


As I was standing under the cover of the porch in the pounding rain a powerful wind came through shaking the nearby trees and throwing some of the gardening equipment around. It lasted only for about 30 seconds and then moved on, but I was worried that it might have damaged some of the mobile range coops holding our Thanksgiving turkeys out in the beef pasture. Just as the rain was easing up I got a call from our vegetable gardener Karolina that a small tornado had just come through the gardens and torn through our hoophouse while lifting up a bunch of equipment and flinging it out across the fields. She was hiding under the desk in her vegetable hoophouse and actually observed the funnel cloud circulating above her with debris.

As I surveyed the damage I realized how lucky we really were. While half of the hoophouse was damaged all of the chicks and turkey poults had been moved out already so we just had some equipment and hay stored in there. The one big eggmobile that was picked up and moved a few hundred feet was empty of chickens at the time. And we would normally have about 30 dairy cows lounging under the shade of the three big 100-year old maple trees that it brought down, but the cows were all in the barn for milking when the storm came through. We will be cleaning up the mess for a few weeks but I feel fortunate that it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.


UPCOMING EVENTS

On Saturday, September 25th we will be exhibiting at the Algonquin Harvest Market in downtown Algonquin, from 9 AM - 4 PM, We will have a limited selection of our most popular products there, and will be exhibiting alongside Douglas, our baker who will have his fresh sourdough breads available at the market as well. Follow this link to learn more.


The next day, Sunday, September 26th we will be one of twelve farms participating in the McHenry County Farm Stroll from 10 AM - 4 PM. During that day we will be offering short 20 minute free farm tours throughout the day so visitors can experience our farm. And we will have extra staff in the store to help with the large number of expected visitors. Learn more about the farm stroll here.


FARM STORE UPDATE

This is our last chicken processing week of the year so we will have fresh chickens available in the store through Sunday while supplies last. Just whole chickens only this week as Twin Cities Pack was not able to do any fresh cutups for us. However we do have ample supplies of frozen whole and cutup chickens as well as parts in the store.

  • This week Karolina is harvesting the last of her heirloom slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, squash, peppers, cabbage, and green beans from her organic gardens here at the farm.

  • Fresh local and organic fruits and vegetablels from other nearby farms include peaches, plums, onions, shallots, potatoes, plus acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash.

  • We do have pork breakfast links (Maple/Sage/Ginger) and plain brats back in stock, and by end of next week should have smoked and fresh Kielbasa as well as the Jalapeno brats back in the store. And ground pork which you will need for the meatloaf recipe below.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK - GRASS FED MEATLOAF

This recipe is our own that we published in the Band of Farmers Recipe Book a few years ago. The Band of Farmers is now defunct but we still have a few of the recipe books laying around. This is one of my personal favorite fall and winter dishes, usually a Sunday night dinner when I have a few hours to cook.


- 1 lb. lean grass-fed ground beef

- 1/2 pound ground pork

- 2 medium onions, chopped

- 2 celery stalks, chopped

- 1 pasture-raised egg

- 17 crumbled saltines

- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

- 2 Tbsp. ketchup

- 1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients with your hands, shape into a loaf and place in a 5 x 9 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Make gravy for potatoes from pan drippings, if desired. Delicious served with mashed potatoes and green beans.


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Have a wonderful weekend, looking forward to cooler weather next week. Don't forget we offer a free hay wagon farm tour every Saturday at 2 PM through Thanksgiving, no reservations needed. Also please bring us your recycled paper and plastic bags and egg cartons so we can keep them out of the landfills and oceans.


To Your Health,


Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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