Results for tag "goose"

March thaw

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March is here and everything is thawing out like crazy! The pigs are really happy to be able to get their snouts into the earth and grub around for any treats left after the frozen winter.  They are growing steadily and soon they will be out on pasture helping us regenerate our landscape while transforming into incredibly delicious pork. Meanwhile they are snarfing down our own organic hay with much appetite. It’s an exiting time of rebirth and growth – We’re gearing up for our next season of raising the best possible pastured ethical meat that we can, and we need your support! Sign up for any of our CSA offerings and you will partake of the best possible meats in the land this year! Go here for more information: LTD Farm CSA!

 

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Our lady ducks are gearing up to start laying as the warmer days and nights visit us regularly – the sun warms our hearts and bodies and we all feel more productive and ready for action. They are loving the ephemeral streams that meander all through the property as the whole world warms and snow disappears down gullies. Sap is flowing in the maples and birches and birds are flitting about searching for snacks after the long lean winter months. Seedlings are growing indoors under lights and we’re getting excited about rich green nettles popping out of the soil!

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Our Review of “Duck, Duck, Goose”, By Hank Shaw (Part 1)

At Living the Dream Farm we have a passion for raising happy ducks and geese on pasture. Waterfowl is close to our hearts for many reasons- they are a joy to raise, their eggs are amazing, the meat is delicious, and both ducks and geese are dynamic ecological partners for us on our farm. Hank Shaw’s new cookbook “Duck, Duck Goose” is right up our alley. This book truly is a beautiful piece of information and inspiration, thoroughly educational, and helps demystify some of tricks and techniques behind preparing waterfowl in the kitchen.

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Hank Shaw first came into our lives a number of years ago from an online search for “how to harvest waterfowl,” which led us to his award winning blog “Hunter Angler Gardener Cook” at www.honest-food.net.  Shaw’s beautiful website features recipes for and preparation of what many would consider to be exotic ingredients, the wild products from hunts and forages.

Shaw’s new book is focused on the joys of duck and goose cookery. “Duck, Duck, Goose” includes information about both wild and  domestically raised waterfowl, with an abundance of recipes for both. Since there aren’t many recipes for goose out there, we were elated to dig in and see what techniques we could glean.

Right away we noticed this is a very beautiful book, a lovely minimalistic hardcover with mouth-watering photos and a very clear layout. The glossy paper will help the cookbook last a little longer in the kitchen, working with these fatty birds.

Overall, the book is a detailed in-depth treatise on the the joys of cooking and eating waterfowl. Reading it, you can’t help but want to try out each and every recipe. As he purports in the book, waterfowl are the new pork! Delicious, fatty, versatile, and endlessly varied, cooking waterfowl can offer a lifetime of enjoyment. The joys of hunting are clearly illustrated in the book, and we would love to add that there is nothing more rewarding then raising these beautiful birds as well.

The book starts with an overview of  the different types of duck and goose, and proceeds to explain how to pluck and gut them. This is the kind of cookbook we like! Everybody plucks and guts there birds a little differently, but his methods seem tried and true.

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The book goes onto explain a few different methods of how to cook whole birds. Every recipe induces mouthwatering hunger, so make sure you are well fed. We found so many interesting and unique ideas that we are extremely excited to try – especially Smoked and BBQed duck.

Then we move into the biggest section of the book which is about the preparation of the various pieces of the bird; breasts, legs, wings, preparing sausages, and using duck eggs. At the end we find a section on stock preparation. We have our own method for preparing stock, using a slow cooker and vinegar, which has been tried and true for us, so we only glanced at these pages.

Overall this is fantastic book, one which every hunter, farmer, or cook of waterfowl should have on their shelf.

In Part 2 of this review we will document some of our own experiences with these recipes – Stay tuned!

 

Thanksgiving Gobble Gobble & Honk Honk!

tumblr_inline_mq5ms8uQ8R1qz4rgpThanksgiving is coming up, the snow is flying already. We’re wrapping up the fall garden and delivering very delicious CSA boxes full of the bounty. DSC01164It’s been a whirlwind of a season, and now we prepare for the final harvest days of the year. We are taking reservations for our Turkeys and Geese, both all organically fed and raised on pasture. Let us know ASAP if you’d like to reserve one or both. The turkeys will be 12-15 lbs and the geese around 10 lbs. We harvest them ourselves, on the farm they know and are comfortable on, and they will be available for pickup the weekend before Thanksgiving. Present a masterpiece of a bird for your holiday dinner, one you can tell the story of! tumblr_inline_mq5m345pwe1qz4rgpNot many birds served for the Holiday Dinner grew up living a life on pasture in the sun and grass, and you will not find an organic holiday goose anywhere! P1070646

We pastured birds out in our hayfield this year. It had it’s pluses and it’s minuses. They had tons of room, and fresh pasture each week, but we had issues with them being so far from our farm-base. We literally ended up camping out there with them each night for 3 months straight to ward off nighttime predators. What farmers do that?! We do!P1080607Now that the cold has really come, we’ve moved the turkeys into the hoophouse to help clear out the summer’s plant growth in there, and for them to focus on fattening up. On pasture, the turkeys were constantly running around so much they weren’t gaining much weight! Our young geese are now full grown and are living on a portion of our garden, honking across the valley and flapping their wings wildly all day long, adding fertility with the help of our morsel seeking and dirt scratching flock of heritage roosters. We believe it is very important to enrich and expand the bio-diversity of our soil, while letting our birds live happy and natural lives outdoors, doing what they love to do best.1375877_10151729814946448_1258595371_nP1070649

Soon we’ll be opening up our 2014 Season CSA for memberships. We’ve gotten SO MUCH GOOD FEEDBACK on our share boxes, it’s just wonderful to know our members are so happy with what they receive from our farm. We make our CSA boxes full and beautiful, as they reflect our farm and our attitudes about life. Our specialty is a “Once-A-Month Box” featuring our Duck Eggs, all kinds of seasonal chemical free produce, apples, wildcrafted bouquets, fresh herbs, and handmade goatmilk soaps. Details will be posted soon!

snowmaggedon, again!

We’re having the most crazy spring here. It is May 2nd, and we woke up to over a FOOT of SNOW!!!!!!!! 

 

Just a week ago, we decided we to delay the start date of our CSA. Because the soil is too wet to work, we are seriously a month behind with all the field work required to begin growing in the garden. We had sugar snap peas sprouting in the garden on April 2nd last year, and this year we STILL can’t even WALK in the garden without sinking up to our calves! Once this nonsense is over, we’re be ready to go….we have many thousands of plants started indoors, ready and waiting to be moved outside.

Learning to grow food in this changing climate is going to be a struggle for gardener and farmer alike. The growing season in the Northern Midwest is short enough already, and now with the highly variable weather extremes on either end of the season, we need to choose breeds and varieties which are resilient and can handle these fluctuations.

Luckily we have the most hardy heritage ducks!   ducks going out in the May 2nd snowstorm!   Our Khaki Campbells  are laying their decadent eggs in the early morning and enjoying going outside every day, even in a snowstorm! We’re excited to have just added the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis as one of the stores selling our delicious duck eggs! We love Co-ops! And boy, do we love our duck eggs….

2 over-easy peppered duck eggs on top of creamy grits cooked in chicken broth, with sauteed mushrooms, onions and pinto beans. YUMMMM.

Fried Duck eggs with goat cheddar and sauerkraut on toast- Our new favorite combo. The trick for a perfect fried duck egg is using medium heat, and for not too long. Duck eggs have more protein and require gentle cooking, but reward you with a luscious texture and a divine, rich flavor!

The geese were moved out of the hoophouse last week, in anticipation of spring. We really thought that would be the very last of the snow for the year!

We just got the first three goslings from their eggs, hatched by a friend. Here’s a little video clip: the new goslings We hope to have quite a few more goslings from our goose experience, but hatching these eggs in an incubator is proving to be very very difficult. The next angle is to allow the mother geese to set up their own nests and incubate their own eggs. We’ll see how that works out. So far they’ve made elaborate nests out of hay and pine needles, but after this snowstorm….we’re not sure how it will go.

Gaggles of Geese

On Valentine’s Day Eve, we brought 2 gaggles of geese home, from Botan Anderson’s Mystic Prairie flock. We’d been thinking of adding a goose breeding flock to our farm for some time, but it just hadn’t happened yet. The breeds are Pilgrim and Toulouse, and we couldn’t be more excited! For the first week, the geese have been getting adjusted to us & their new home, which is the hoophouse until the pastures are clear of snow. They are gearing up for the spring breeding season now that they’ve settled in. Geese only lay a small number of eggs in the spring, so we were lucky to bring them home right before this began. There is not much information available about raising geese in larger numbers than a couple pairs or so, so we’re learning as we go. Thankfully, observation is a very powerful learning tool. Animals give plenty of clues about their state of being, if you just pay attention.

We’re passionate about raising animals on pasture, giving them a natural and good life outdoors with fresh air, sun and a diverse diet. The most amazing thing about geese is, like rabbits, they can eat and grow almost 100% on grass. We’re care about grass-based meat because it is the most ecologically sound choice for our planet. When animals eat grass, they not only utilize something we cannot eat, they harvest it themselves and enjoy this natural behavior in the process, and while grazing, they help build the soil by preserving and stimulating the turf. If more farms preserved grasslands by raising animals on pasture, we wouldn’t be losing so much topsoil from our fertile farmlands.

A goose will usually lay between 20-50 eggs over the course of 2-3 months. Our plan is to incubate the first eggs, and then let the mothers build up their nests and hopefully hatch out goslings. We are excited to be one of the few local farms raising real pastured goose. Grocery-store goose is usually raised indoors in dark barns, stimulating fast growth, but depriving these intelligent & noble birds of a natural, healthy life.

As we continue on our farming journey here at LTD, we’re realizing that one of our major missions is to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” We do not want animals to be subjected to factory farm conditions ever, anywhere. While we cannot stop it, we can provide an alternative – we can raise animals how they ought to be raised and we can know we are doing our part in fighting the good fight. Our customers truly complete the cycle by purchasing our products. Thank you for your support of our farm!