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  • Writer's pictureCliff McConville

October Healthy Eating Newsletter


We've had a super busy summer and early fall, and unfortunately I haven't been doing a good job keeping up with the monthly newsletters. But once we get through Thanksgiving I hope to have a little more time to get caught up on office work and more consistent newsletters and blog posts.

We loaded up the last batch of 500 broiler chickens early this morning and dropped them off at Twin Cities Pack for processing. They will be back in the farm store tomorrow afternoon, so this is the last weekend for fresh chickens this year. We are excited to be finished with daily broiler chicken chores for the first time since April! One less thing on the chore list...

Of course the turkeys are getting bigger and requiring more frequent moves, every other day now we are moving them to fresh grass. The pic below was taken a few weeks ago when they were close to the farm store, now they are almost on the other side of the field. We are still taking reservations for fresh Thanksgiving Turkey in the farm store or our website. One of the pickup days is full but we still have some turkeys available on the other three days. We expect them to be a little smaller this year as we received the poults a week later than expected, most probably in the 14 - 22 pound range. With smaller family gatherings expected maybe that will work out well.

In other farm happenings, we have worked through most of our Guernsey calving "season" and have lots for little heifers running around which is a good thing for future milk production. I lose count but believe there are 10 or 11 heifers born this summer, which is a record year for us. They are still all in with their mama's drinking lots of milk but we have a good amount for sale in the store every day.

Our laying hen's egg production has been slipping recently with the shorter days and cooler weather. I am rigging up a solar powered lighting system on a timer in their portable shelters this weekend to hopefully get them up a little earlier in the morning so they will give us a few more eggs. Fingers crossed, until then we may have egg shortages in the store.

With the pasture season coming to an end we are shifting to some long delayed projects including building a perimeter fence around the pig pastures so they can't escape any more, and renovating the worst parts of the 70+ year old concrete cow yard behind the barn.

The free Saturday farm tours on the hay wagon will continue through the weekend before Thanksgiving, weather permitting. We won't go out if it's raining or snowing.


We have added some great new items in the farm store recently and I am picking up beef and pork from our processors on Friday so we should have a well stocked store this weekend:

  • Fresh chickens through Sunday, while supplies last.

  • Good selection of organic pumpkins and variety of fall and winter squash.

  • Local, organic cabbages, p0tatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and apples.

  • Microgreens from Hometown Acres in nearby Crystal Lake

  • Fresh, dried garlic straight from our partner garlic farmers, grown right here

  • Organic, fair-trade coffee from Just Coffee of Madison, Wisconsin


One of the most frequent questions we get in the store and from our website is how our turkeys (and chickens) are different from store-bought organic poultry. The big poultry industry (Tyson. Perdue, etc.) now control most of the organic brands in the market, and they do a great job of using pretty pictures of little farms on their labels to convince buyers their organic turkeys and chickens are raised outdoors on a small family farm. Nothing could be further from the truth. They have done a masterful job of manipulating the organic standards to get their chickens and turkeys certified organic even though they never step foot outside the massive, smelly confinement buildings they are raised in. And I just learned today that their "fresh" turkeys are slaughtered weeks or months before Thanksgiving and lightly frozen at 29 degrees F, then defrosted by the grocery stores and sold as fresh, which is allowed under USDA labeling guidelines.

Of course we do things differently, as anybody that has visited our farm can attest. All of our turkeys and chickens are raised outdoors once they are feathered out, about 3 weeks of age. Then they are moved to fresh pasture daily or every other day for the remainder of their lives, with foraging accounting for 20%-30% of their diet. The remainder is certified organic, non-GMO feed purchased locally. The combination of green forages, fresh air, sunshine, and more room to roam and scratch makes a huge difference in both the flavor, the nutrient profile, and the overall health and welfare of the bird.


With fresh chicken available this week and a good supply of raw local honey in the store, I though this recipe from Rae Ellen Freeman of Freeman Homestead in Stockton, NY would be timely:


3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 - 5 lb. pasture-raised chicken, cut up

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, sucanat, or granulated maple sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Rinse the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, and then dip the pieces into the flour mixture, turning until they are thoroughly coated. Place on a rack, and set aside.

Pour the melted butter into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Add the chicken pieces, turning until they are coated with the butter. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Mix together the sugar, honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, and curry powder. Pour over the chicken, and bake 45 minutes longer, basting occasionally with the pan drippings. Serves 4.


That's it for this month, I will try to get more posts out in the coming months, my goal is one per month at least. We look forward to seeing everyone in the store or on a farm tour soon.

Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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