Animal Glimpses in January

Here are the animals in their winter environs:

Ted, the calf, resting
Butter and Honey lounging outside
Goats nibbling hay
Goats nibbling hay
Goat close up
Goat close up
Barred Rock Hen
Barred rock hen wandering
Piggie close up
Piggie close up

Thankful List

Thanksgiving is the season for reflecting on our blessings! From Beth, the face and voice of the farm, here are some of ours –

Butter and Honey
Butter, the mom, and her heifer calf, Honey
Free range chickens
Free range chickens
Cows
Cows
Gaia, our livestock guardian
Gaia, our livestock guardian
Goats
Goats
Pesch, our milking goat
Pesch, our milking goat
Piglets rooting in their pen
Piglets rooting in their pen

I am thankful for the family involved in our farming venture:

  • For The Farmer who is the brains
  • For the Sons who are the brains and brawn
  • For the Young Crew who are the faithful helpers

And most of all I am grateful for our customers, Typically, they are a customer at times and a friend at all times. Relationship is what it is all about!

In this season, may you reflect and come up with your own thankful list!

Winter Squash Vegetable Medley

Recently I designed a recipe using winter squash. I like it with ingredients we have saved from the garden. But it can be made with any 6 cups of veggies + the winter squash. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2 in. thick slices
  • 2 cups snowpeas, in bite size pieces
  • 2 cups green beans, in bite size pieces
  • 2 cups Swiss chard or other leafy green veggie, in bite size pieces
  • Olive oil or other fat

Instructions

  • Prep veggies.
  • Put oil in Dutch oven, covering the bottom well. Heat over medium to high heat. Saute squash in 1 layer for 2-3 minutes one side and about 2 min on other side. Move squash to another dish or plate, do more squash, repeat until all squash is sauteed. If other veggies are not cooked, lightly saute them in batches, adding oil as needed.
  • Mix all veggies together, adding oil. Stir or toss as best you can.
  • Cover and cook over low heat. Check and stir every 5-10 minutes, until all are cooked and soft, probably around 30 minutes.
  • OR Put in a crockpot and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low until ready to serve.

Notes

This was fashioned after reading about sauteing winter squash in Ruffage: a practical guide to vegetables by Abra Berens. 

Janet’s Chicken BBQ Sauce

Here is a BBQ sauce contributed by one of my regular customers.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems simple enough and looks to be tasty.  While it especially works with chicken, I imagine that it could also work with beef and pork.  Enjoy!

Osso Buco – Crockpot variation

2 meaty soup bones sit side by side in the package.

Osso Buco - Crockpot variation

The meaty shank soup bone is browned, put in the crockpot, then veggies are added and all of it is simmered on low for 6-8 hours. Yummy-licious!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil, butter, or fat
  • 1-2 meaty shank soup bones
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 18 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups broth Opt.

Instructions

  • Brown meaty shank soup bones in oil for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to crockpot or slow cooker.
  • Add veggies to crockpot.
  • Cover with diced tomatoes. Add broth, if using. Cover with lid.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Take meat out, cut into fine pieces or shred. Cut marrow into small pieces. Add back to pot and stir it all together.
  • OPT - If you used up to 2 cups of broth, drain liquid and cook down on the stovetop.  Add back to meat and veggies.
  • Serve as is or over rice or potatoes.

Notes

This is my stovetop Osso Buco recipe modified to be done in a crockpot.  2 cups of liquid are optional in the crockpot.  The tomatoes, veggies and meat will make their own liquid which will work for this meal.

Garlic Scapes

It is garlic scape season again!  This is a 2-3 week period in June and July about a month before the garlic is ready to harvest.  Scapes are the flower umbrel of a hardnecked garlic. Since we want the energy of the plant to go into the garlic clove, we remove these and eat them.

Garlic scape in the garlic bed

  • Uses for Scapes –  We use scapes in 2 ways – as a green vegetable and as a major ingredient in pesto. Raw, scapes taste like a solid green garlic. They are rather strong. Cooked, they mellow in flavor. The texture is somewhere between cooked green beans and cooked asparagus. The flavor sort of resembles a garlic-y green bean.
    • Green Vegetable – We chop the scapes to a size similar to green beans and cook them in a similar manner. They can be steamed, sauteed or boiled. They can be added to soups, stews or stir-fries. They can also be blanched and frozen – we blanch them for 2 minutes.
    • Pesto – For our family, I take 1 part scapes to 1 part nut or seed to 1 part cheese to 1/2 part oil. I blend these together in the blender or food processor. The blender takes more oil, the food processor less. I have found that any nut/seed, cheese or oil will work. We don’t like the traditional pesto nuts and cheeses, so we use the ones we have, usually walnuts, cheddar cheese and olive oil. The flavor of this mellows with refrigeration. It can also be frozen. We eat it with veggies, crackers or bread OR eat it plain.
  • Just for reference or planning, 1/2 lb scapes chopped = about 2 cups.

Pastured Chickens

We have been raising chickens on pasture again this year.  We purchase day old chicks from the non-GMO flock of Freedom Ranger Hatchery out of PA.   These arrived by mail in late April, brooded in our brooder and moved to our field in May.  Once in the field we kept them in a moveable pen.  This protects them from the local predators – dogs, coyotes, and foxes.  And we move it daily so that they can get fresh vegetation.

Here is the pen:

and the path that they followed.  You can sort of see how they ate down the grass.  And later this summer if we look at the path, we will see that it is greener than the rest of the pasture because of the fresh natural nitrogen application!

We will be processing them soon as whole frozen birds.

Featured Herb – Mint

Mint, probably peppermint

Mint is our herb this week. It is a hardy perennial with aromatic leaves. I like to dry it and use it as tea in the winter. Several leaves can be added to salads or stirfries for a change in the flavor. And some add it to drinks to make them more minty. This is $1/bunch.

Featured Vegetable – Green Garlic

Green garlic to be bunched

Green garlic is immature garlic.  Like all alliums – garlic, shallots, onions – parts of the whole plant are edible throughout its life cycle.  If it is soft and not stalky, it can be eaten.  It can be used in stirfries or soups OR it can be used in salads or eaten raw, depending how well you like the garlic flavor.

Featured Vegetable – Rhubarb

Rhubarb plant

Rhubarb is plentiful this time of year. The tangy, tart stalks taste good with sugar or fruit usually in a dessert type dish. We like Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. The Farmer has also started adding a bit here and there to his veggie stirfries. It adds a little tang and softness. And I want to try to make some jam with it this year.

Rhubarb stalks

Just a note – .6 lb. is about 2 cups, which is usually what a recipe calls for. Rhubarb freezes easily. Cut it into 1/2 in. slices, put it in a freezing container, and put in the freezer. Voila! Then you have it to use later in the year. We like the coffee cake as part of our Easter breakfast, so each year I try to make sure I save some frozen rhubarb for that.