Sunday, September 15, 2013

Come See the Farm for Yourself!

Earlier in the week we shared some of the wonderful aspects of the animals here on our farm. The pictures and stories are great, but nothing can match seeing them for yourself!  We’d like to invite you to our annual Harvest Party next Sunday, September 22nd – we’ll be taking wagon tours of our fields, having a potluck and pig roast, pumpkin picking and a variety of activities. This is a great opportunity to come out to your farm, see where our happy animals roam the pastures and hillsides, while also having a great day of fun. The party starts at noon and goes until 5pm. Bring the whole family! RSVP to let us know you’re coming and don’t forget to bring plates, utensils and something to contribute to the potluck! We (and our animals) hope to see you at the party and share all that the farm has to offer with you! 

Harvest Party - Picking Pumpkins!

Harvest Party - Picking Peppers in the Pepper Field!
Some of our beautiful fields and hillside pasture

Captain Jack and his Pumpkin!
Mama Goat and her babies - come see the goats at the party!

Our Angus cattle grazing on the lush grasses

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Meet our Meat Shares and Another Special Offer!

We ranted and raved about our wonderful Meat Club yesterday and if you missed the special offer we have running through the end of the month, be sure to check it out here! In addition to our meat clubs, we allow individuals to also sign up for one-time deliveries. We have several different packages to choose from. Like our meat clubs, you can sign-up now for a delivery in November, December and/or January. 

We sometimes hear people voice concerns about their freezer space when it comes to the different meat packages. We’re here to ease any of those worries! Take a look below – You’ll first see a freezer that has a 15-pound meat share in it. (This picture is repeated from yesterday, for anyone who may have missed it when we shared it with our Meat Club Promotion special). The 15-pound share fits in a 10”(L) x 10”(H) x 14”(depth) space. In addition to that, we also wanted to share a picture of a 25-pound meat share. This share took up 16”(L) x 10”(H) x 14”(Depth). These pictures are in our very own standard freezer in the kitchen. We hope that if the size of these various meat packages seemed intimidating at first, you now feel like you can confidently order and know your freezer will suit you just fine!

 Here we have a 15 pound Beef and Pork Variety Pack (contents may vary):
 1 pkg of T-bone or Rib Steaks (2 steaks per pkg)
1 pkg Beef Sirloin Steak (1 steak per pkg)
1 Beef Chuck Roast
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 pkg Pork Chops (2 chops per pkg)
3 pounds Ground Pork
3 Pkgs Bacon
1 Ham Steak

Here we have a 25-pound Beef and Pork Variety Pack (contents may vary):
1 T-bone Steak (2 steaks per pkg)
1 Rib Steak (2 steaks per pkg)
1 Beef Sirloin Steak (2 steaks per pkg)
1 Beef Chuck Roast
5 pounds Ground Beef
3 pkgs Pork Chops (2 chops per pkg)
3 pounds Ground Pork
4 Pkgs Bacon
1 Ham Roast

We offered a special promotion on our meat clubs yesterday, but lucky for you, we felt like we couldn’t stop with just one special offer though this week! In addition to our Meat Club special, these offers will also be good on orders postmarked by September 30, 2013:
  • Purchase any 15 pound meat package and receive your choice of 1 pound of free stew meat or ground beef. (FreeStew15 or FreeBeef15)
  • Purchase any 25 pound meat package and receive your choice of 2 pounds of free stew meat or ground beef. (FreeStew25 or FreeBeef25)
  • Purchase any 50 pound meat package and receive your choice of 4 pounds of free stew meat or ground beef. (FreeStew50 or FreeBeef50)
Our meat order form can be found here:

When ordering, include the below coupon (be sure to circle if you would like your free offer as stew meat or ground beef – sorry, no mixing) or mention the appropriate coupon code, as listed on the coupon. (Offer is valid on orders post-marked by September 30, 2013. Delivery must occur with our November 2013, December 2013, or January 2014 meat deliveries. No mixing of stew meat and ground beef for special offer. Not valid on previous orders. Coupon or coupon code must be included to redeem offer. No cash value. Limit one per customer.)

Friday, September 13, 2013

We Bring You Our Meat Clubs - And a Special Offer!

This week we’ve focused on sharing with you the different aspects of the meats we offer through our CSA – from how it is raised to how to best cook our certified organic, 100% grass-fed Angus beef and organic pastured pork. So what’s the best way to get some of this delicious meat into your freezer at home?

Let us introduce you to our Meat Clubs! No worries, there is no password or secret hand shake to this club – all are welcome equally. So what are these meat club shares that we are so excited about? Our meat club shares allow individuals to sign up for multiple 15 pound meat packages to be delivered throughout the year. With the meat club you are able to sign-up for these deliveries with one easy purchase and at a discounted price! We deliver our meat shares five times a year: May, June, November, December, and January. Our 3 delivery meat club signs you up for a delivery in June, November and January, whereas our 5 delivery meat club gets you a delivery on each these five deliveries. You can choose to start whenever it is convenient for you! The packages will contain either all beef or a mix of beef and pork. 

Wondering if you’ll have freezer space? Here is a picture of our own freezer with a 15-pound meat share tucked inside! It only takes up a 10”(L) x 10”(H)” x 14”(Depth) space! Plenty of room for all your other frozen goodies!

Why sign-up for our Meat Club? There are plenty of reasons! Here are a few that we think are worth highlighting:

  1.  Save money - When you order up front, you’ll save money versus buying individual packages before each month’s delivery.
  2. Order once and be good to go for the year – No need to pay attention to deadlines for sign-up. You’ll be scheduled across a whole year so you can sit back and relax
  3. These shares were designed to better meet the needs of smaller households or for those with limited freezer space - 15 pounds takes up very little space in your freezer but it will always be stocked with freshly frozen meat.
  4. You can spread your payments out over 6 months when you sign up for our meat club.

So now that you know all the reasons why the meat clubs are a great option, what comes with each of these deliveries? We have preselected different meat packages for each meat club option. Below is a list of the different packages for each club and their delivery month (The descriptions of these different packages can be found here:

3 Delivery Meat Club (all packages are 15 pounds each):
June: All-Beef Mixed Pack
November: Beef and Pork Variety Pack
January: Beef and Pork Family Pack

5 Delivery Meat Club (all packages are 15 pounds each):
May: All-Beef Burger and Steak Pack
June: All-Beef Mixed Pack
November: Beef and Pork Family Pack
December: Beef and Pork Variety Pack
January: Beef and Pork Variety Pack

If this doesn’t have your mouth watering yet, wait until we tell you our special offer that is running through the end of September:

Sign-up for either our 3 or 5 delivery Meat Clubs by September 30, 2013 starting in November, December or January and receive a free copy of Shannon Hayes’ “The Grass-Fed Gourmet Cookbook.”

Not only is this cookbook a great resource for recipes, it is loaded with tips on cooking grass-fed beef and pastured pork in addition to educational materials surrounding a grass-fed and pastured lifestyle. Visit Shannon’s blog to learn more about this cookbook: Use the coupon below or mention ClubCookbook when ordering to take advantage of this offer. (Offer is valid on orders post-marked by September 30, 2013. Meat club must be started with either our November 2013, December 2013, or January 2014 meat deliveries. Not valid on previous orders. Coupon or coupon code must be included to redeem offer. No cash value. Limit one cookbook per customer.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Pig on Pasture

We have always enjoyed having animals on our farm, both for the ambiance they add to the farm as well as the multiple purposes they serve.  But then there is just the sheer enjoyment of watching their behaviors.  If you were to take a moment to observe our pigs, you would quickly learn that their days are not so rough, they are very happy and content creatures and quite entertaining as well.  So just what exactly do our pigs do all day?  More than you would think!  They are very busy creatures, or at least they appear so!!!

Pigs in a wallow
Their day starts out once the sun is up.  They don’t rise and shine quite like the chickens that share their pastures, there’s a little more grunting involved.  Once they’re up and moving, they wait for breakfast, which is their modest morning ration of organic barley, corn and flax meal.  They get just enough to take the edge off and give them some energy to go exploring.  Seldom do you see them at “home” during the day.  There is far too much excitement up on the hillsides.  They busy themselves rooting around their 20 acre wooded hillside and pasture, exploring every nook and cranny to see what treat they can find.  Eating a bite here, a dug up root there.  They look like they enjoy it and they are just doing what pigs are naturally inclined to do—root around and use their snout to dig up underground treasures!   These days they make a special effort to check the hundreds of wild apple trees and berry bushes every day to find fallen fruit.  They also like to check their favorite nut trees for acorns or hickory nuts, but once they’ve had their fill of roaming around, it’s time to work in a nap.  Depending on the weather, they nap in their straw-lined huts or in the shade of trees when the sun is shining.  They like to make dirt “wallows” to lay in and cool off when it is really hot.  If you look at their pasture, you might think it looks a bit like a “pig sty.”  Don’t hold this against them, it all goes along with their natural behaviors!  Muddy patches and some uneven, dug up ground is just the way they like it!

Running to the their culled vegetables!
While we seldom hear our cows “moo,” you can often hear a myriad of sounds coming from the pigs.  Squeals, grunts, snoring, snorting…these are all very common sounds for pigs to make.  The time of day when you’ll hear them squeal the loudest is when they hear the skidsteer making its way to their pasture with culled vegetables from the packing shed.  They aren’t shy either, they’ll throw themselves right into the pile…literally!   They are very good vegetable eaters, eating most any green or root crop, but it is clear that they do have favorites, like melons, tomatoes and carrots.  (Check out the pictures!)  They don’t seem to mind if the vegetables aren’t perfect, as long as they are organic.  They are just a plain “riot” to watch, especially when they have pink lips after eating beets!  

Just as with other animals and food crops, the way in which an animal is raised is directly related to how the meat tastes when it gets to your plate.  Our pigs are very active and eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and roots in addition to their organic grain.  As a result, the meat they produce is often darker in color with a rosy hue and is very flavorful.   If you are accustomed to eating conventionally raised pork, you will notice a difference in not only the appearance and flavors of certified organic pastured pork, but also in the way it cooks.  Here are a few things to consider when cooking Certified Organic Pastured Pork.

Tip number one...Don’t overcook the meat!
Pastured pork is very flavorful and juicy, but you can easily overcook it by using too high of heat or cooking it for too long.  Don’t forget that meat continues to cook with the residual heat held within it even after you remove it from the heat source.  If you think your pork is not quite done, remove it from the heat right then.  By the time it finishes cooking it will likely be perfect.  Checking the internal temperature of the meat is a good way to gauge the degree of doneness so you know when to take it off the heat.  The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 170°F, but that will likely result in a very dry piece of meat.  A range of 145-165°F will give you a juicier, more tender piece of meat. 

Tip Number Two…Choose an appropriate cooking method!
The second important thing to keep in mind is to make sure you are using the right cooking method for the cut of meat you are preparing.  There are two main cooking methods, moist heat cooking and dry heat cooking.  

Cuts of meat that come from a part of the animal that is used and exercised more will be tougher and may have more intramuscular connective tissue and gelatin.  To tenderize these cuts, you should use a moist heat cooking method which will use a longer cooking time and lower temperature with added moisture or liquid to help tenderize the meat.   As the meat cooks, the connective tissue and gelatin in the meat will melt down making the meat tender, moist and very delicious. 

  • Moist heat cooking methods include: braising, stewing, boiling or cooking in a crock-pot. 

  • Cuts of pork that are most appropriate to use with this cooking method include: Pork Shoulder (Roast or Steak), Country Style Short Ribs, Spare Ribs, Ham and Pork Hocks.

Cuts of meat that come from muscles of the animal that are not as active will be more tender.  These cuts of meat can be cooked for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures. 

  • Dry heat cooking methods include: grilling, sautéeing, roasting, broiling, stir-frying, pan-frying and deep-frying. 

  • Cuts of pork that are most appropriate to use with this cooking method include: pork chops, pork tenderloin, bacon and ham.

Tip Number Three….Let the meat speak for itself
Don’t forget that pastured pork is very flavorful, so let that flavor work in your favor.  Use simple seasonings, herb and spice rubs or just a little salt and pepper to season the meat.  Simple marinades and sauces are nice accompaniments to pastured pork as well.  Whenever possible, make the sauce in the pan that the pork was cooked in, or cook the pork in the sauce or braising liquid.  The flavors of the pork will seep into the sauce adding a fuller pork flavor to the sauce.