Monthly archives "December 2009"

farm satisfaction

Little Blue, quite infamous with all farm visitors

Little Blue, quite infamous with all farm visitors

These first days of December, 2009, I want to sit back and relay my extreme satisfaction with how this first year of serious, on the books, farming went.

I started out this whole project last fall, when I ordered thirty baby girl ducks to start my duck egg business the following spring. This was a leap of faith, based on just knowing how delicious these eggs are, and that I would be able to sell them and build my reputation. I attended two CSA fairs this spring with my share offering; 2 bars of my homemade goatmilk soap and 2 dozen duck eggs every month from April through November. The first CSA fair was at the River Market in Stillwater, and the next was at the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis. Generally I received the same response from most folks about the concept of duck eggs. Duck eggs, hmmm, what do those taste like? Some had a look of almost disgust at the idea! I had only my passion for these eggs to explain how they taste (better than chicken eggs), how much better for you they are (more healthy fats and protein), and why they should try them (because they are so dang good!) Not many people have ever tried duck eggs, or even heard of them. This is the Midwest, so that doesn’t surprise me. We grew up on corn fed beef and potatoes. I did too. But as culinary traditions and cultures continue to be intermingled and explored, people’s taste buds are becoming more adventurous. I signed up seven subscribers for my shares, and I am so grateful to those customers for taking a leap of faith WITH me. From the feedback I got from them through the months of receiving their shares, and waiting for the next one, I know I wasn’t pulling anyone’s leg. If you are going to sell a product from your farm, you better love it yourself. I was selling what i believe to be two of the very best things on the planet- homemade milk soaps and duck eggs! Lucky for me, I had now developed other addicts for these goods. Through word of mouth, people heard about my eggs, purchased a dozen here and there. But suddenly, I was swimming in eggs. Time to go out there again. And so I brought samples to a handful of really stellar restaurants in the Twin Cities.

goaties!

goaties!

Low and behold, the best chefs all know about duck eggs already. But it seems there really isn’t a steady supply and the price, when they could get them, they were close to a dollar an egg- and for a restaurant, that is a lot of money for a single ingredient. I mean, they ARE that good, but for a wholesale price, yikes. I was warmly received with orders from two of the best local-food-specializing restaurants in the Cities; Heartland in St. Paul, and The Craftsman in Minneapolis. These two had regular weekly orders this season that I delivered to their kitchens with a giant smile on my face. The amount of pride and joy I feel to be working with such fantastic establishments is kind of embarrasing! Both accounts have done me proud. One night I heard Heartland had a duck egg dessert,as well as hand rolled duck egg fettucine on the menu, and on a whim, i decided to go indulge. Do you know how awesome it was to go sit and eat there, with Executive Chef Lenny Russo hanging out? The meal was amazing, and I felt so full of gratitutde for my ducks, my accounts and my successful year.

This year I also perfected my feta cheese making technique, with my girl’s fresh raw milk. It took alot of time to build up that perfect culture to get consistent results. This season I was making three gallon batches (that equals more than 3 lbs of cheese per batch) almost every other day in my tiny kitchen. I just went through my cheese journal and discovered I made over 70 batches. A few were lost to molding when the weather was super hot and humid, but most of them turned out gorgeously. I learned NOT to salt the crap out of my cheese too. Salt as a preservative as the slabs of cheese air dry in the third step of the process, and then in the brine the cheese is stored in. But too much salt is a big turn off, even though it can be soaked off the cheese, which what i had to instruct folks to do.

feta cheese is born after an over night culturing

feta cheese is born after an over night culturing

feta after hanging over night

feta after hanging over nightcut into slabs to air dry for a couple dayshomemade pizza with feta- I'm drooling!

Lots of yogurt was cultured, paneer, queso fresco….goat milk is invaluable for every use imaginable. My favorite thing discovered this year is how good cold press coffee diluted with fresh cold raw milk is….I did about half and half when I needed a big caffeine boost in the morning. Yum. The milk is naturally sweet, super smooth and creamy. Love my girls!

I will continue my story later- so much went down this year…too much to get accounted for in one sitting!