Monthly archives "November 2013"

The Farmstead Kitchen – Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is our FAVORITE holiday, perhaps because it is all about giving thanks for all the good things in life  and also eating a lot of amazing food!

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Cooking for Thanksgiving is not that hard, it is just a matter of preparation and timing. All the dishes served at Thanksgiving are simple comfort food, but the sheer quantity of dishes that most folks try to prepare is somewhat overwhelming. Fear not, in this installment of The Farmstead Kitchen we will give you step by step instructions on how we cook our turkey, and in the next few installments we will give you the tips and tricks that we use to cook up the rest of our Thanksgiving feast !

The centerpiece of our Thanksgiving is of course our own pastured turkey. Our method of cooking our bird is so juicy and delicious it is somewhat hard to keep leftovers around for more then a day.

 

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This method does not necessarily result in a spectacular golden bird ready to be carved at the table – we cook it slow and low until all the meat is falling off the bone. We highly prefer this method to any other, as the others result in dry meat. Slow and low is the way to go, we tell you.

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We start by raising the turkey right, on fresh pasture with plenty of fresh water and organic grain. You may choose to omit this step and buy a beautiful turkey from us! Then we harvest the bird in a quick and respectful manner here on our farm. The happiest, healthiest, and freshest turkey has the best flavor and texture.

After all the really hard stuff is done, then basically all you have to do is pop your turkey in the oven and you will have an amazing turkey with little effort.

Here’s how we do it:

Start your turkey roasting really early in the morning for a medium sized (15 pound) bird, approximately 6 hours before you want to be serving your dinner.

Start with a fresh or completely thawed out bird. Clean your turkey thoroughly and generously salt and pepper your bird. Find a big enough metal or ceramic cooking container, one that can be completely covered, or a deep roasting pan and cover it completely tight with foil. We have used a large enamel canning pot with great success. Put the turkey in the cooking container breast side down! That way all the fat and juices keep the white meat moist. Add 1 or 2 cups of liquid, wine, beer, stock, or water: all will work to keep the bird from sticking to the pan. You can also add the giblets and chopped onions, garlic, carrots, celery to the bottom of the pot if you’d like. These will all make your gravy more delicious. Cover your turkey and put in the oven, then set your oven to 400.

Once it hits 400, cook at that temp for one hour. Keep the oven shut! Bring temp down to 250 for another 4-6 hours. All the books say cook for an hour plus 20 minutes per pound or something like that, but what we do is cook it until all the meat is falling off the bone. It’s definitely done then. But to be on the safe side check the temps in the middle of the dark meat areas with a thermometer. Make sure it is in the correct safe temperature range 165+.

At this point, if you are using a quality bird from our farm, you may have over four cups of turkey drippings in your container. Somehow you need to get that out of there to make gravy. With our turkey method, if you try to lift the turkey out all the meat will fall off into the juice. This is not a bad thing, but instead of that try using a small cup to scoop out the drippings. This is also the time to put your oven to 450 in order to brown the skin if you so wish. It will take a bit of cooking at a high heat to get your skin browned to a golden hue. We almost always omit that because all we care about is making the gravy and eating the turkey pronto!

Here’s a little trick we learned: When making sauces or gravy, always add hot to cold, or cold to hot. Somehow this avoids creating lumps, and it actually works!

So take your drippings and start heating them up in a pot that can hold about 4 times as much volume as the drippings. Lets say you have four cups drippings. You are going to want to add about a cup to two cups of flour, so about 1 part flour to 4 parts drippings, or if you want  a thicker gravy 2 to 4 parts. Have the heat on low and stir vigorously with a whisk or spoon to prevent lumps. So now you have your roux – Keep the heat low! Do not burn this amazing substance or Thanksgiving will be ruined!

You are going to want to slowly whisk in cold water or cold milk, about 1 cup at a time. Every cup needs to be brought up to a simmer. You should use about 4-8 cups of liquid to make a thick gravy. Just keep adding one cup at a time until your desired consistency is met. Once you have it all simmering without lumps, then that is the time to taste, and season with salt and pepper if need be. Most likely you won’t need to season much if you already seasoned the heck out of the turkey.

That is the way we do it. No need to carve the bird, you can just pick out the juicy pieces and cover with gravy.

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Stay tuned for our next Thanksgiving installment of The Farmstead Kitchen!

Big Birds

It is a gloomy and wet day here on the farm but we are happy and satisfied with our work. We just finished harvesting our first turkeys and geese for the holidays, and they are looking fabulous. We had some equipment hiccups, but all in all the weather was nice, we had some excellent helping hands, and our birds look beautiful. Regardless of the trials and tribulations life throws at you, positivity is a strong force that can turn a grey day into a great day.

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Our lovely pasture raised geese are dressing out at about 10 pounds each with an amazing layer of goose fat. We are very excited about trying one for ourselves. Sometimes we are so busy we don’t even get a chance to try our own products – but we will make time to roast up a delicious goose for pre-Thanksgiving dinner for sure. We love raising these great and majestic birds.

Well folks, now is the time to get your order in for either a goose or turkey. When all is said and done, everything we do on our farm comes down to a few days of harvesting or processing every month, and this is one of our big harvesting times. Supporting us is not hard: You get the best food you will ever taste from the happiest animals that ever lived.

We hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving! We will be posting our tips and tricks for cooking the best Thanksgiving in the coming days – Check back often!

2014 CSA Shares Now Available!

LTD Farm CSA Shares – 2014

Our drop sites include Seward Co-op, Linden Hills Co-op, MAGNA Health & Fitness in Minneapolis, & River Market Co-op in Stillwater!

The LTD Farm CSA program is unique:

Diversity & QualityOur CSA boxes are full of fresh organic vegetables, rich duck eggs, silky handmade goatmilk soaps, wildflower bouquets, wildcrafted foods, and other fruits of our farm!

Monthly– Our Original Share is a perfect compliment to your monthly cooking plans if you enjoy shopping at the farmers market, love gardening in your backyard plot, or have an active lifestyle.

Can’t get enough LTD goodness? We also offer a Deluxe Share which is Twice a Month, and NEW for 2014 is the Full Share Option- a bushel box every week for 26 weeks!

Sustainability– On our small farm we focus on bio-intensive and permaculture methods for building soil fertility with the helpful assistance of our animals in many mutually beneficial ways. We also preserve patches of  savannah and woodlands in order to secure habitat and food sources for our wild helpers, including the all-important bees that pollinate our gardens and fruit trees, wild birds that snack on pests, and toads and frogs that enjoy slugs and cutworms.

Small-Scale Farming- As a husband and wife farming team  using mostly manual labor on a small-scale farm we offer a limited amount of CSA Shares every year in order to be able to put our full effort into each and every one of P1080607the boxes we produce.  By becoming a member of our CSA you’ll be happy to know that you are supporting the small-scale pasture-based sustainable and organic food revolution.

Half a Year – Our CSA Shares span 6 months of the year, May- October, giving you a seasonal taste of what we produce on our farm from the beginning of the growing season to the end!

Connection– We love to share our always-engaging farming experiences! We post regular updates on our website, Facebook & Twitter.

Pastured Meats– We specialize in raising delicious and nutritious pastured meats, which come from our lovingly raised & humanely harvested animals. See our CSA Meat Offerings.

Convenient Drop Sites– As a member, you will be able to choose from 4 locations to pick up your 2014 CSA shares: the Seward Co-op Grocery in Minneapolis, Linden Hills Co-op near Edina, MAGNA Health & Fitness in Minneapolis, or River Market in Stillwater, MN.

VIP Harvest Party– As a member of our CSA, you’ll be invited to come on out to our special CSA Member Appreciation Day in the fall, with food, fun and farm tours!

Email us to sign up-  farmers (at) ltdfarm.com

We prefer full payment to purchase your CSA Membership,  but you can hold a CSA Membership by sending us a 50% deposit, with the balance due by March 1st, 2014.

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Our CSA Share is a Bushel box full of fresh seasonal vegetables, 2 dozen duck eggs, 2 bars of handmade goatmilk soaps, a wildflower bouquet, wildcrafted foods, and other fruits of our farm!

  • The Original Share is $350. Once a month delivery, for six months! May-October
  • The Deluxe Share is $650. Twice a month delivery, for six months! May-October
  • The Full Share is $1250. Once a week delivery, for twenty six weeks! May-October

-Meat CSA Shares require a deposit to reserve, with the balance due based on actual weight. Poultry requires On-Farm Pickup, Pork will be delivered in the Metro Area.-

  • The Pastured Chicken Share – Receive 5 pastured jumbo broiler chickens 100% organically fed, $4.50/lb with a $100 deposit required and balance due on pickup day in October based on dressed weight.  Average weight 6-8 pounds each
  • The Thanksgiving Turkey Share – Join the loyal group who returns to LTD every fall for their AMAZING Thanksgiving turkey! They average 15 pounds each, but we will have some that are 10 pounds and some that are 20 pounds. We charge $3.50/lb, with a $20 deposit to hold your bird. We process our own turkeys, and on farm pick-up is required the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • The Free-Range Goose Share – 100% organically fed free-range goose! They average around 10 pounds and are $8/lb. Your deposit of $40 will reserve your goose, and on farm pick-up is required in Late Fall (we intend to harvest our Geese at the end of October and/or Thanksgiving time)P1080331
  • The Pastured Pig Share – We also love raising our happy pigs! You will never taste better pastured pork in your life! We only raise a small number of pigs, and they live outdoors on pasture, rooting in the soil, with fresh water, organic grains and all kinds of other special morsels. Our pigs are great farm workers- they clear areas of weeds and brush that we turn into gardens or plantings later on. These pigs get the best life- lots of playtime, love and scratches. When you reserve your Pig Share, you are purchasing ½ of a pig, which will become about 80-100 pounds of amazing pork. Our butcher processes them into a variety of Chops, Ribs, Roasts, Bacon, and Ham. Our pigs are $8/lb, and your deposit of $200 will reserve your ½ pig for harvest in Nov/December. The remaining balance will be due after harvest, and based on the actual hanging weight. We will deliver to you in the Metro Area. Any questions, please let us know. P1000353

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