Congratulations to Sara L. on winning our 2018 Local Food Challenge. During the winter and spring she and others regularly commented on the food challenge for that month. Yesterday, her name was drawn and she won a $50 gift certificate to the farm. Congratulations, Sara!
It is time to send the pigs to the butcher. We purchased these pigs from another small family farm and have raised these pigs out of doors and fed them non-GMO grain, milk and cultured milk from our cow and day-old produce from a local grocery store and from our garden. They have been allowed to root and act like pigs. The plan is to use the location where they were as the start of a garden bed. They have done the tilling and fertilizing, we will do the planting and growing.
We have several sides available as halves or quarters. 1/4 side would take up about half the freezer over a refrigerator. We sell pork in bulk for $200 / quarter + processing costs (last time it was about $80/quarter). The total would be around $280, depending how much smoked meat and sausage you get. Assuming you leave most of the bones in, it would be about 35-40 lb. of meat. If you contact me by Monday, January 7, you can choose how you would like to have your pork cut up and what (if anything) you would like to have smoked or put into sausage. Payment can be made in late January when you pick up the meat.
In February we will again have pork available by the cut – $6 / lb. for unsmoked meat, $7 / lb for smoked meat and sausage. If you have cuts that you would like me to request from the butcher, please email me about that.
While reviewing his news sources recently, The Farmer saw a reference to a comparison of fertilizers on soil health.
In a study that spanned more than a decade, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used varying levels of manure on one field and varying levels of inorganic fertilizers on another. Yet another plot received no amendments, acting as the control.
Soil samples were taken in 2015 to assess how the soil fared with the different protocols used. And in September of this year the results were published by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). The executive summary states:
*Long-term annual application of manure maintained the soil pH but inorganic fertilizer decreased it.
*Manure application increased soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN).
*Higher manure rate helps in improving the water stable aggregates compared to inorganic fertilizer at 0- to 10-cm depth.
There was also a warning that higher electrical conductivity readings in the manure-fertilized fields could indicate salt levels being too high. But since The Farmer is not a member of the ASA, he cannot get the report details to read the specifics.
As someone whose farm includes animals, and whose animals provide much of the fertility for garden, this is a heartening study.
This post’s bottom line: using what comes out of your animal’s bottom will help your farm’s bottom line…or, the power of poo keeps your soil from bottoming out.
The meaty shank soup bone has long been one of my favorite cuts of meat. It is a thick piece of beef with a marrow bone in the middle. It can be boiled to make a delicious broth for soup. It can be sauteed and then simmered with veggies to make Osso Buco. The flavor comes from the marrow fat in the middle of the bone. Here are the recipes for Beef Barley Broth and my rendition of Osso Buco.
Each package of meaty shank soup bones are 2.50-3.00 lb. each. The cost is around $25.
This is a simple broth, simple to make, simple to eat. It is more broth than stuff. It is good with a hearty bread.
2poundsmeaty beef soup bones,can use beef shanks or short ribs
6whole peppercorns, opt
1cupchopped turnips (or 1 cup other veggies)
1/4cupmedium pearl barley
In a large soup kettle, combine soup bones, water, peppercorns and salt. Cover and simmer for 2-1/2 hours or until the meat comes easily off the bones. Remove bones; remove meat and marrow from bones; dice and return to broth. (Yes, dice the marrow and add it back into the soup. The fat gives the flavor!)
Add the veggies and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 1 hour or until vegetables and barley are tender.
Typically, I put everything in the pot about 2 hours before we are going to eat. Then about 15 min. before we are going to eat, I remove the bones, take off and dice the meat and marrow, and return them to the broth. Both ways work.
This is the season to use spaghetti squash. It looks like this:
If you look online, most folks recommend cutting it in half lengthwise from the stem end to the blossom end. But here is the secret that I learned thekitchn.com. If you want the strings to be longer, cut the squash around the middle this way:
Notice that the strings start in a swirly pattern from the bottom and circle around coming up. When you boil or bake this, and then let it cool, the squash strings will come out sort of like circles. I cut them in half and mix them with the topping for the day. I have used both a traditional spaghetti sauce and a veggie-chicken-sour cream mixture. Both tasted good and were well-received by the family.