Results for category "pigs"

Spring tornado & all the updates

  

Last week a tornado came very close to the farm. It was the most surreal experience, my sister and I watched from inside the house as two enormous pine trees came toppling down, right into the driveway. Somehow, amazingly, the trees fell in the perfect spot, right between the two vehicles. After the storm passed (we didn’t know it was a tornado whipping by, just saw the insane straight line winds happening) we went outside. The barn was ok, the ducks were ok, the cows were terrified but ok, the hoophouse miraculously still had it’s plastic on. Then I saw that the monster maple in the front yard had succumbed to the wind. This tree is ENORMOUS….and it fell RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE, just hitting the very corner of the roof on the rather janky sunporch. What a blessing to not have that tree land in the middle of my house!!!! What a relief that all the animals were unharmed. What a shock. Neighbors from the region were instantly out driving around to survey the damage and check in on everyone and make sure no one was in major trouble. Sadly, the tornado did touch down north east of here and caused many injuries and one casualty. So much heartache and damage, and a completely unpreventable situation makes this tragedy even more frustrating. Feeling totally powerless as a human is humbling to say the least.

Otherwise, spring has been trucking along here at LTD Farm. The lady ducks have been totally joyous rabblerousers taking advantage of the wetness to find spots to sneak out of the pasture rotations! I have been enlarging their pastures and monitoring their fences, but ducks are sneaky sneaksters and they will always find a way to get their way! They are laying eggs like maniacs and this is the most lovely time of year for eggs with all their foraging of spring greens and bugs and worms. I have a special price going on at all 3 Mississippi Market Co-op locations through the end of May as a “Thank you” to all  my St. Paul customers!! You can find my duck eggs for sale all over the Twin Cities, click here for a list of all my locations!  Somedays I wish I could just let them all be out on the entirity of the farm land, but there are just too many predators around to allow that and keep them safe. I just saw an actual wolverine crossing the road just a mile away last week!!

Lola’s calf is due in the next week, she and the two boy calves (Mr. Flash and Shorty) are growing well and flourishing on the lush pasture. How I love cows, my friends! I can’t wait to see if Lola has a girl calf, she is bred to a jersey, so if she has a girl I could have a half scottish highland/half jersey milk cow in a few years. Lola won’t give much more milk than what her baby needs, as highlands are primarily a beef breed nowdays, although they used to be more dual purpose in Scotland where they originated. Someof you who have been following the saga know Lola lost her calf last year and I am happy to report that I am much better prepared this year to raise her baby safely.

I also got two sweet little piggies for my birthday, they are American Guinea Hogs and are helping out enlarging and fertilizing the garden for next year, as well as eating all my extra cracked eggs and surplus kitchen snacks. I named them Tom Tom & Muffin Butt. They are hilarious and gentle, and being heritage hogs, Guineas are known for their excellent fat and flavor. I like their size too, I think this might be the first year I am able to handle the entire processing of my hogs myself. I urge you to find a farmer who raises and harvests meat ethically and then go support the crap out of them! You will feel so good & the meat tastes so much better when you know it’s entire story and have a connection with the people who put in the work and love to raise it right. I am still considering raising pastured broilers and turkeys this summer for fall harvest, so let me know if you are interested.

Chocolate pudding & a NEW documentary!

 

What is it like to “Live the Dream”? Here’s the trailer for a short documentary made this summer on the farm, by the very talented filmmaker Jila Nikpay. Go to her website to watch the whole piece for free! Click HERE. It is very personal and honest and….it made ME cry! Jila was able to collect and capture all this information, all my ramblings, all these images, all the sounds and craft them into such a beautiful piece. I am so honored to have had the privilege of working with her. Thank you Jila and Mike!!

Dreaming with Lola (2016) / Trailer from Jila Nikpay on Vimeo.

The goldenrod has already come and gone and the hint of fall is in the air. This happens every year …What?! Summer’s almost done? If you live in the midwest you probably also “sort-of” like winter.14362436_10153954401246448_8669829185709533780_o

It has been a crazy but hard yet also wonderful summer for me and the farm. My Ducks are absolutely rocking it due to the cool and wet year, the geese are enormous, hilarious and LOUD, so they are ready to for harvesting (please contact me if you want a delicious all organic pastured Holiday Goose!) the broilers and summer turkeys have been harvested, the Thanksgiving birds are growing well, the two pigs are monstrously huge, and the two cows are up to their eyeballs in luscious grass.14188647_10153933162941448_2556383787366049248_o

Lola had her first calf this summer. It went wonderfully and I got to watch him being born, but tragically her calf died after being attacked by something. It was a horrible and extremely heartwrenching experience, but you cannot control everything, ever. I did want to have a Scottish Highland milk cow, so that’s what I now have. I milk her once a day and am making all kinds of dairy delights… my very first butter, melty cow cheese and an absolutely heavenly chocolate pudding which is completely ridiculous when made with Duck Egg yolks! Here’s that link, you are VERY welcome!! Make a double batch, you won’t regret it! A couple notes- I use semisweet chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet baking bar that you have to chop up, maple syrup instead of the sugar, and whole milk instead of the cream and milk. I pour the hot pudding into pint size canning jars and immediately put the lid on to avoid the “skin” forming. This recipe works great for frozen pudding pops too. Yummmmmmm.13937885_10153883152596448_6347625148290197272_o   14124246_10153928190096448_7425627787009195793_o

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Pastured Pork Pack! Straight to your door!

(UPDATE at the end of 2015- I no longer raise pork on the farm for sale. Please get in touch with Whetstone Farm for all organically fed pork from pigs raised on pasture!)

It is a beautiful and sunny day here on the farm. Our ducks are happy and laying their wonderful eggs in the hay-filled duck barn. Meanwhile our older pigs are getting to that age where they are ready to be turned into the most delicious pork products ever! We have decided to offer for a limited time our incredible Pork Package, where for just $200 you receive 20 pounds of assorted cuts of the best pork you have ever tasted, such as bacon, chops, ham, and roasts! Not only that but we will deliver right to your door (within the Twin Cities metro area)! This is a great way to sample our pork products and become addicted to the incredible flavor of pastured pork raised on organic grains and a lot of love!

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Try the Best Pastured Pork on the Planet! Send in your payment along with this form: http://ltdfarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2015-CSAform-new-1.pdf

Cross out Pig Share and write in Pig Package and we will email you a confirmation when we receive your payment – then we will be delivering the Pork Packages the last half of the month in April on a Sunday or Monday!

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The Farmstead Kitchen- Cuban Pastured Pork Chops

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I met my Dad for lunch at Victor’s 1959 Cuban Cafe in Minneapolis. My Dad is a big meat eater and expressed his worry I’d invited him to a vegetarian restaurant. I said no- Cuban cuisine tends to feature a fair bit of pork. While I don’t eat meat unless I know exactly where it came from, I studied the pork menu descriptions for ideas I could use later at home with our own pork. Lime, garlic, onions….At Victor’s I ordered a vegan platter of the most delicious yucca fritas, cuban black beans and rice, fried sweet plantains all drizzled with delicious mojo sauce. My Dad went vegetarian (what?!?) with his choice, and we also split a giant tropical salad. I think this may have been his first time eating both mangoes and avocados at 77 years old!

 

My recipe is custom combination of Guy Fieri’s Cuban Pork Chops w/ Mojo Recipe, and this awesome Closet Cooking recipe. I don’t claim it is authentic in anyway, other than delicious! We rarely do fancy things with our pork, as it is so dang good without any help, but it’s fun to try new methods, and these Chops with an uber juicy, citrusey sparkle were just so phenomenal I had to share.

 

2 (or up to 4) gorgeous pastured pork chops, defrosted

 

Mix all these ingredients together:

3 limes, juiced, plus OJ to make up 1 full cup of juice

4 cloves of minced garlic

1/2 onion finely diced

1/2 cup apple vinegar

1 tsp each salt, cumin and oregano

1/4 tsp black pepper

 

Pour this marinade over the pork chops, which you have laid out in a flat pan, let sit for 1-3 hours at room temperature. Occasionally turn the chops to ensure they get the full marinade bath on all surfaces.

 

While your chops marinate, make these luscious Cuban-style Black Beans.

Combine in a pot, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and stir occasionally, they just need time to combine and thicken together, I’d say give it about an hour. You could also put this in a slow cooker in the morning and it’d be ready for dinner time.

1/2 onion diced

1 green pepper diced

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 cups broth (or maybe more, depending on how long you simmer)

1/2 cup salsa or pureed tomatoes

4 cups cooked black beans

Rind from 1/2 a lime (remove before serving)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

optional- prepare a garnish of fresh cilantro and a simple salsa fresca

When you’re ready for dinner, make a pot of fluffy white rice and while it’s going, cook the Chops.

Heat up a big cast iron skillet on medium high. Lift the chops out of the marinade and let them drain on a paper towel. Now -scoop out all the onion and garlic bits out of the marinade, and reserve both elements. When your pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil (we use lard) and then set your chops down in the pan. They will sizzle and crackle with the moisture, but do not turn them. Let them get a good dark sear before turning, for our thick chops this took about 6 minutes, use your eyes to judge when yours are ready, then flip over and turn the heat down to medium. Add the reserved marinade’s chopped onion and garlic bits to the pan to sear them a little bit, and then 1 minute later before the garlic would want to burn, pour the reserved marinade juices into the pan alongside the chops (not on top of them.) Simmer down the juices until they are thickened, and at this point your chops will be done- you can check with a meat thermometer to be sure it’s 145 degrees inside.

Plate up with the steamy rice, the luscious black beans, and then the chops, with the sauce drizzled all over the top. Garnish with salsa fresca and cilantro if desired. PROVECHO!

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Heritage Large Black Hogs- a story

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A story I wrote about picking up our new heritage piglets back in November.

“Yesterday afternoon I found an ad on Craigslist and immediately emailed the ad’s poster. Large Black Hog piglets for sale, they were 8 weeks old and located not too far away. I was so elated when the guy emailed back last night- you have to act fast on craigslist- he said he had 13 available. I told him I’d come in the morning, cash in hand.”… (read more)

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The Farmstead Kitchen- Pastured Pork Roast

 

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This recipe features one of our most favorite foods from our farm- PASTURED PORK! To give our pigs the good life is such an honor, and after they live a full, active, healthy and happy life they become jaw-droppingly delicious pork. Pork from pigs raised with sun, fresh air, lots of room to root and ramble, organic feed, as well as a peaceful ending, is night and day different to the sad, dry, white factory-farm pork in the grocery stores. Here’s our 2015 Pork Share Sign-up Form! In the third picture above, you can see our pigs actually have intramuscular-fat, which is what makes the pork we raise so entirely different- juicy and flavorful.

A Pastured Pork Roast may be one of the most surprisingly versatile cuts. Our Pork Roasts are so richly flavored that, even just seasoned with salt and pepper, a gorgeous roast can stand alone as the feature of your meal, or it can be turned into pulled pork sandwiches, used as carnitas in tacos, breakfast hashes, a stirfry, or an unctuous heirloom bean soup.

To make a Pastured Pork Roast, thaw a 3-4lb sized roast in the fridge the day before you want to prepare it. 2 hours before dinnertime, preheat your oven to 350, remove the roast from the package and place in a oven-safe skillet or roasting pan. Sprinkle liberal amounts of salt and black pepper on the roast, and then rub it in all around the roast (approx 1 T of salt, 1/4 tsp pepper for a 3 lb roast.)  Stick it in the oven, and then after an hour flip it over so the whole outside gets nice and roasty. Continue roasting for another hour (or until your meat thermometer reaches 145 internal). That’s it!DSC02234

There are a couple of easy things you can do add subtle flavor components if desired. One is add a half can of beer to the pan when the roast goes in the oven. Another is to bed the roast on thick slices of onion and whole garlic cloves, or any firm and aromatic vegetable or fruit- think fennel chunks, firm apples, rutubagas, celery, thick slabs of cabbage.

You can also prepare your Pastured Pork Roast in a “Sunday pot roast” style, surrounding the roast with potatoes, carrots, onion, bay leaf, and then either cooking it in a crock pot, or baking it in a covered roasting pan. The resulting textural difference is softer and succulent, versus robust and roasty. Crock pot cook time is about 4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low, oven time would be less (use your meat thermometer.)

For our Pork Roast dinner, during the roast time I had separately steamed a couple of cups of pink potatoes, winter squash and carrot chunks, as well as few garlic cloves. After the roast was removed from the oven, I set it on a plate to rest and added the softened steamed veggies to the roasting pan and roughly mashed them there, in the succulent pork fat. The sliced pork roast and veggie mash were dished up on a layer of Angelica’s Garden Sauerkraut, which provides a fresh and crunchy contrast, as well as beneficial probiotics. The pictures aren’t too great, but the feast was stupendously awesome!DSC02236DSC02237