Results for tag "sustainable"

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!

 

frosty frost

After quite a brown & dry beginning to winter, the region has been blanketed with snow. In the mornings, we’ve had relatively warm air currents leading to some spectacular hoar frosts. Don’t you just love it? Our animals are all doing fantastic in this new season- rabbits come with their own fur coat, and we are raising our youngsters outdoors so they can grow healthy and sound with lots of hay and room to romp about in the sun and fresh air. We’ll be offering fresh rabbit throughout the winter, email us to reserve yours. Rabbit is an incredibly nutrient dense meat, very healthy and lean- delicious marinated and grilled, or stewed with herbed dumplings on top.

Rabbit is the new local grass fed meat!The ducks are insulated with not only a down jacket, but also a plump layer of fat. Our lady layers are blessing us with eggs MUCH later in the season than ever before….which can only mean they are very content and happy with their new duck barn, deep bedding, hay for snacking, constant fresh water and days spent sitting outside in the sun. We absolutely love our ducks! Look for the Holiday Special going on now until Christmas at several of the Twin City Co-ops. We did have a couple of episodes with a hawk scoping out our ducks, which is very scary for them and for us. The safety of our ladies is extremely important to us! And so- we got the ducks some guardians, a pair of French Toulouse Geese. They are drop dead gorgeous, very calm and are doing a great job patrolling the duck pasture and keeping an eye on the sky.Still scratching your head over gift ideas? Please know we have set up a PayPal account in order to sell our handmade goatmilk soaps online, and shipped directly to your door! These soaps are the most moisturizing EVER, being made up of 50% goatmilk! There are 8 “flavors” to choose from, let us know if you have any questions about ordering. We can customize your mix of flavors and wrap up gift bundles with festive ribbon so they are ready to go. Our soap is sold by the pound, as the bar sizes vary (they have a rustic look from being handcut.)  Thanks so much for your support!

Gluten Free Baking with Duck Eggs–a sampling!

Title: Gluten Free Baking with Duck Eggs–a sampling!
Location: Mississippi Market Co-ops
Description: Khaiti will be serving up samples of a delicious gluten free gingerbread cake made with the amazing duck eggs from our farm. Duck Eggs are simply fabulous for Gluten-free recipes, as they add a heavenly richness and also have extra protein, which helps bind the cake together better. Saturday 12/22 -Come visit the Selby store from 11-2, and West 7th location from 3-6!

Here’s the recipe!

Gluten & Dairy Free

Black Sticky Gingerbread Cake

adapted from www.101 cookbooks.com

by Khaiti French, LTD Farm

What more can you ask for? Moist, delicious, unique…this whole grain cake is easy to make, dairy free, has a crunchy, delicious top and serves a crowd!

3 large Duck Eggs eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Almond Breeze
1 cup / 8 oz earth balance
1 cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses
1 cup  flavorful, real honey
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups Cooqui Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tbl ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine the butter, water, molasses, honey and brown sugar in a large (10-12 cup size) metal mixing bowl and place bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir the mixture frequently until the butter is just melted, and all of the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 325F now, with a rack in the center. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the edges. This will help you remove the cake from the pan later.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice and cloves, and set aside.
When the molasses mixture feels just warm to the touch, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the milk and stir to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter, and don’t be overly concerned if you can’t get every lump out.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for ~45-60 minutes. Start checking for doneness after about 45 minutes. When the top of the cake springs back when touched you’re good. For me this is usually ~55 minutes, but the baking time will depend on your oven and the shape of your pan.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then, using the overhang of parchment (if you’re using a rectangular pan), lift the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. If refrigerated, the texture becomes dense and sticky – in a good way, just let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Serves 12-16.

how to properly cook a duck egg

How to cook a Duck Egg? Go easy on the heat. Here’s how we do it:

Warm a cast iron skillet on Medium high with a little oil in it. Crack your eggs in the pan, break the yolk if desired and salt and pepper them. As soon as you can flip the egg over “safely,” do that, and then TURN THE HEAT OFF. Leave the cast iron pan on the burner and then your egg will finish cooking for a couple minutes with this gentle heat. Duck eggs have a considerably higher amount of protein, so if you cook them too hot, too fast, the protein will seize up, causing a tough & rubbery egg. If you cook your duck eggs as described above, they will be silky, luscious & have a rich creamy texture.
We’d love to know how do you cook your duck eggs as well as your favorite recipes!

bunny bonanza

“I took your suggestion and used my raspberry-ginger brew in my slow cooker and the meat fell off the bone.

It is fat-free and very dense.

I stir-fried some scallions, China choy, and beet tops with ginger and garlic in sesame oil and topped the rabbit with teriyaki sauce.

I have enough for lunch today and tomorrow and more bunny goodness for later this week.

I wish I had picked up another, as I love pork ribs with sauerkraut and potatoes, and this would be another perfect white meat for that German comfort food.”

-Terry, LTD Farm Customer and CSA Farmshare Member

Now that we’ve raised a few rabbits in our rabbit tractor and sold them to our appreciative customers, we feel much more confident about this project. We have a few more litters almost ready to go out on pasture, and it is really a great feeling to be able to give these bunnies a really good life in the short time they are with us, with grass to nibble and good cool earth to lay on. We keep the breeding stock, 1 buck and 4 does, in our shed in cages for now, for a few reasons. One is that we need to be able to make sure they have plenty of food and water and have good appetites. We need to be able to breed them on a schedule, and we need to monitor and take care of newborn kits for a few weeks as well. We also like to collect their poop from under the cage and are using that as our primary source of fertilizer in the garden this year.

Now that we’ve started this project, we want to sit back and figure out if it makes sense to continue.

Here are the pros of rabbit raising:

  1. They provide these products: meat, fur, and fertilizer
  2. They are herbivores and can survive on food inedible to humans, i.e. grass, twigs, weeds, hay, leftovers
  3. They have a feed conversions ratio (how much feed per pound of meat produced) of 3-4:1 versus  2:1 for chickens (which are fed mostly grains), and 8:1 for cows
  4. They are quiet and don’t require a lot of space, although like all animals they will enjoy as much space as you can give them
  5. Butchering them takes 1/2 the time as butchering a chicken does for us, and we’re getting better at it every time
  6. Rabbit meat (lapin) is dense and fine grained, has the most protein of any livestock meat, has less cholesterol then any other livestock meat, and is low in calories
  7. Lapin can be used in any dish that calls for chicken. As consummate chefs we will be experimenting with lapin to see where it really shines.
  8. We are two hungry people, and one 2-3 pound rabbit provided us with two meals and a snack. We don’t really know how that happened, but it proved that the dense lapin meat made us feel fuller with less empty calories.
  9. Rabbits are intelligent and inquisitive; Momma rabbits and their kits are delightful to watch and be around.
  10. They are not fazed with cold weather, and can breed year round.
  11. Each of our does can provide us with more then 10 times the amount of their body weight per year, i.e. one 10 pound doe can have up to 5 litters a year, at 8 kits per litter. That’s about 40 kits a year, and at 3 pounds each, she will produce about 120 pounds of meat. That’s a good size pigs worth of food right there, all from one momma, and all contained in a space smaller then the footprint of a compact car.
  12. Their poop comes in a convenient dry pelletized form: organic fertilizer at it’s best.

The Cons:

  1. They are fazed by hot and humid weather, and may suffer from heatstroke or miscarriages.
  2. You do have to clean their cages and nest boxes every now and then.
  3. They can be keen on escaping, and aren’t too fond of humans or hubbub. Unlike chickens, cows, or pigs, once a rabbit escapes, they are probably gone for good. One reason could be that they are closer to their wilder relatives then chickens or pigs.
  4. Some people think they are too cute to eat.
  5. They do have sharp teeth and claws.
  6. They are prey animals to most everything stalking around your house looking for a meal. But so are chickens.

The positives definitely the small list of negatives. When looked at in light of other animal’s negatives, they are certainly an easy and pleasant animal to keep. The only thing that is making it more difficult for us is that we are attempting to raise the rabbits on pasture. This eliminates the convenience and safety factor that caged animals bring to the farmer, but we think it is by far the best way to raise all of our animals; near the nourishing ground, in the sun and rain, with the green grass and bugs.

As we go on prototyping our rabbit raising experiment, we will continue to share with you what works and what doesn’t. Meanwhile, if you would love to taste this unique new pasture based food, please email us at farmers@ltdfarm.com to get on the lapin list.