Monthly archives "December 2013"

The Farmstead Kitchen – Pastured Chicken & Bone Broth

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We are signing up our Pastured Chicken Shares for 2014! This year we are raising our chickens in one group in the summer. Please reserve your Chicken Share before we sell out!

We have raised 2 kinds of chickens for meat on our farm over the past few years- the Cornish Cross, and the older heritage breeds such as Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Dark Cornish. The heritage birds are beautiful, active and very flavorful, but they only dressed out at a 2.5 lb average.478401_10151624861106448_347566145_oWe’ll be sticking with the Cornish Cross, aka the BUBSTERS, from now on for several reasons:

They are the most efficient chicken at turning organic grains into muscle. Efficiency is the most sustainable for the planet.

They are DELICIOUS, tender, juicy and extremely flavorful when raised on pasture to a more mature age (13 weeks vs. the standard 6 or 8 weeks)

They forage just as well as the heritage chickens if they are taught to enjoy greens from day one- we bring them shredded kale, grass and clover in their baby brooder until they go out on pasture

They are a beautiful sight to behold outdoors, running around in the sun and fresh air, in contrast to the crowded and dark factory farm barns where this breed is normally raised.

They offer 6-8 servings from their bounty, so one life goes a lot longer on your plate. (Cornish Cross 7 lb vs. Heritage 2.5 lb)

Contrary to what you might have read, Cornish Cross chickens are NOT a genetically modified organism. They are a hybrid, like many of the vegetable varieties we grow in our gardens- genetically selected from a secret patented combination of chicken breeds and parent crosses.

Crockpot Pastured Chicken and Crockpot Bone Broth

Our favorite and easiest way to prepare our Pastured Chickens is in a crockpot. Defrost the bird thoroughly, then rinse and place him in the crockpot breast side down, with a 1/2 cup of water, broth or beer. Generously sprinkle on salt and pepper, add some sliced onions and garlic around the sides, and if you’d like, some herbs and lemon wedges. Cover and set on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 10-12. The meat will be tender, falling off the bone and so juicy and flavorful! You’ll find a beautiful abundance of what’s called “schmaltz” in the bottom, it’s the juices and gelatin from the chicken.

Using a crockpot is a no-fail, energy efficient way to have a pastured chicken ready to go, and after eating dinner, you can stick the crock pot insert in the fridge.  Delicious and easy chicken sandwiches are waiting for the next couple days, while simply leaving the bones/skin in the crockpot. When all the meat is eaten off the bones, put the crock back into the crockpot base, and cover the carcass with water. Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar (we use home-brewed apple vinegar) to the water to pull the minerals and calcium from the bones into the resulting rich, delicious and nourishing bone broth. After simmering for 6-8 hours on high, the vinegar won’t be detectable. Strain your broth while warm into jars or freezer bags to use for soups or sauces. The gorgeous fat will rise to the top as the broth is chilled and can be spooned off to use for roasting veggies, or just left there and used as part of the broth.DSC01400

No Crockpot? You can roast a pastured chicken in the oven as well, we recommend that you keep it covered for the majority of the roasting time to have the most succulent results. We heat the oven to 350, lay the chicken in the roasting pan breast side down on top of a bed of chopped veggies (onion, celery, garlic) and fragrant herbs like bay leaf, rosemary and thyme, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and pour in a few cups of beer, broth or water to help keep the moisture level up around the bird as it cooks. Keep it covered as it roasts for 2-3 hours, check for doneness, and then carefully flip the bird over and stick back in the oven uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes to brown the breast skin. DSC01411

We are so honored to raise these beautiful, bountiful birds for your table. Please let us know if we can email you the Reservation form!

 

The Farmstead Kitchen – Winter Mode & Goose Confit

DSC01363DSC01376The lady ducks have declared winter vacation, and we’re quick to follow suit. They take a break from laying eggs for the winter, while we work on planning for the season to come. We love our farm, love being here and don’t really need to go anywhere exotic, not for a while at least. DSC01389

After our intense Fall Poultry Harvesting and a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner with family, it’s the time of year when we settle into winter mode. It’s a break from the hard work of a successful and busy season, although there are always year round chores. We so enjoy having this time of year to work on writing projects, get into big cooking experiments, spread out the seed catalogs and plan for our upcoming CSA season. Of course we savor the rest and the free time to read novels too! We’ll be taking cross country skis and walks around the perimeter of the farm, dreaming of years from now and how we might be utilizing and interacting with different parts of our land.

It always starts with a dream, then you do it.DSC01387

Winter means finishing up some projects, and we finally got around the using up the last of our apple cache. About 150lbs worth! Most of the apples were simmered until soft, strained and then the resulting juice was simmered down with honey to concentrate it. Super delicious on french toast! The warm apple pulp went to our very happy piggies. The rest of the apples were chopped up to ferment into a delightful apple vinegar.

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Goose Confit

We just made our first batch of goose confit. Look at how fabulously fatty our goslings are! Goose fat is one of the most healthy fats there is. DSC01306From the hilariously appropriately named website “Goosefat.co.uk”

  • Although animal fats are often considered to be ‘bad fats’, goose fat is one of the better ones and contains far fewer saturated fats than butter or lard. Goose Fat contains 32.7g Saturated Fat per 100g compared with 54g for Butter and 40.8g for Lard.
  • Goose Fat is high in ‘heart healthy’ monounsaturated (55g compared to 19.8g in butter) and polyunsaturated fats (10.8g compared to 2.6g in butter).
  • Goose Fat is also rich in Oleic acid C18.1 (a specific type of monounsaturated fatty acid) which can lower blood cholesterol levels. Goose Fat contains on average 58% oleic acid, C18.1, and is generally higher in comparison to other animal fats.

Confit is an old-timey way to preserve meat without smoking, freezing or curing. It’s basically meat, slow cooked in fat, and then you preserve the confit-ed meat suspended in that fat. Confit is a delicious condiment, you simply fork out some shreds of the meat and fry it – the crunchy and super rich, savory flavor goes well in so many recipe ideas! We put it in homemade ramen bowls, as part of a ravioli filling, or just served on top of a salad of bitter greens.

To prepare confit, we followed Hugh’s recipe in his book “The River Cottage.” You massage salt and herbs into the legs and let air dry in the fridge. 2 days later, sear the legs in a hot pan, then slow cook them in goose fat for a couple hours, until nearly falling off the bone. Cool and then place the seared legs in a jar and cover with more fat. Refrigerated, confit will keep for months, if you can keep your hands off of it long enough!DSC01307 DSC01309DSC01310

 

On Dec 14th Saturday from 11-3, we’ll be selling our delicious homemade apple syrup and honey applesauce, unique honey spice pickled beets,  pickled peppers, green hot sauce, homemade Sriracha and Sauerkraut, pickled green beans, and heirloom tomato sauce at the Lake Country Land School’s Holiday Fair. The “Land School” is a beautiful rural farm-based campus of the Minneapolis Montessori School. The junior high students will be there selling their handmade crafts and goods, experimenting with their entrepreneurial side. Everything there will be local  & good to support with your purchase, plus great to give as gifts!  Come early for first pick and the best selection. We appreciate your purchases as they will help us get through the long winter!holiday fair goodies 2013

The Land School is located at:

N13183 30th St.  Glenwood City, WI 54013

 Beware of using GPS and some mapping sites! The best directions can be found at www.lakecountryschool.org. Or, call us at the Land School: 715-265-7770.

We hope to see you on the 14th!

 

our CSA feedback survey

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At the end of the 2013 CSA season, we asked our members to participate in an online feedback survey. They gave us really honest responses about their experience with our LTD Farm CSA Program. You can review some of their feedback below. We’re SO honored to grow great food for such great people and treasure the connections we have with all of our members. Join us for 2014!

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“LTD is the real deal! They are serious about sustainability and provide fabulous food to their CSA members. An added bonus is that they are super smart and kind folks.”

‘I LOVE having Khaiti and Andrew as MY personal farmers, and knowing where my food comes from and how humanely and organically everything is raised. I love having Happy Food!’

“The wide range of products and high quality of food inspired me to cook and eat a healthy diet all summer.’

‘Each box from LTD Farms was a present. Quality produce, delicious eggs. I prefer using duck eggs to chicken eggs in baking. The goat milk soap is great for the skin and the flowers are a nice treat.’

“Even though I read the email about what’s going to be in the box it still feels like a wonderful surprise to open it and hold the beautiful produce and farm products in my hand.”

‘Our highest recommendation for fresh, tasty vegetables with lots of variety and friendly service.”

“We are thrilled with our CSA share from LTD Farm! The quality of the produce and excellent service by Andrew and Khaiti made it a truly first class experience!’

“An LTD CSA box will change the way you eat – for the better!”

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Around 50% of our members filled out the survey, and this is what we learned:

  • 19 out of 23 were “very pleased” overall, the other 4 said they were “pretty happy”
  • 18 out of 23 said the variety in our CSA boxes was “just right”, the other 5 would like more variety.
  • “anything in particular you loved or hated” brought strong responses, with the same products being in both columns! – spring nettles, cilantro, tomatillos, lots of apples, the abundant amounts of lettuce. Our Tasty Carrots, sweet beets, wildcrafted ramps and our duck eggs had an especially vocal fan club!
  • 20 out of 22 rated the quality as “very high,” 2 said “pretty high”
  • Quantity of produce in the box – 18 out of 22 said that “the amount was perfect,” 1 reported “too much,” and 3 would like more. A couple of interesting comments- “great value, but hard to use it all up,”  “3 adults could easily eat the whole box in a week,” and “it’s a lot at once but I process and store.”
  • The majority of members said actual recipes and information on how to store/preserve would be the most helpful information for us to provide them with.
  • We asked how we could improve our service to our members: “we love your service and wouldn’t change a thing,” “I love the idea of a CSA but for a single person it is too much all at once,” “we’d like to be able to purchase meat products from you not on the farm,” “we look forward to 2014, don’t change a thing about your service!” “sometimes the bouquet is a bit wilted, not sure if you can do anything about that,”   ” you guys are the professional farmer epicureans!” “I trust you and am happy to learn about growing and eating with you,” “sometimes the basil was blackened by being refrigerated at River Market.”
  • We’re so proud that 22 out of 22 said that they would recommend our CSA to their family and friends!
  • We asked our members what they thought about a Whole Farm CSA share that included some of the meat that we raise. 16 out of 20 said they’re interested. This is a model we are very interested in pursuing in the next couple years, meanwhile, we do sell our pastured meats as separate but very complimentary CSA offerings for 2014.
  • We asked about a CSK (Community Supported Kitchen) meal subscription service, where we’d create ready-to-eat meals in a commercial kitchen, from the products of our farm, as an alternate way for people to support local food and eat healthfully. Many said they like to cook themselves, and due to the complicated logistics/time required, we’ll be shelving this idea for now. But it’s an exciting idea.

Sometimes asking for feedback opens you up to criticism that you might not be ready for. Hearing that our CSA boxes had too much produce for some, or the apple quality was mixed, or there were too many tomatillos, or we should skip the bouquet, or there was too much sage…all these things are honest reports, and we really appreciate knowing what it was like for our customers. For some, joining a CSA isn’t a good fit for their lifestyle, for instance if you don’t really eat salads, then you might not be able to enjoy the bountiful lettuce harvest from our farm. The survey emphasizes that we need to focus more time on helping facilitate the use of the products we grow and put into our CSA boxes. We’ll be focusing more time and energy on providing easy, tasty and inspiring recipes, as well as sharing techniques to preserve produce as long as possible. This will help prevent food waste, and help our members savor their food and get the most bang for their buck!