New lambs are a breath of spring.
Over the past few weeks, the ewes have begun to lamb out on the pasture. Seeing the new life is refreshing. Within minutes after birth, the new lambs energetically race around and frolic behind their mamas, even in the ice and snow. They seem to be unaware that we are in the midst of one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, and it reminds us that spring is really not so far off.
This is the first crop of lambs on this farm in as long as anyone can remember. At one time, the area boasted many flocks, but not in the recent memory. The old woven-wire fence, half-grown into tree-trunks two feet in diameter, is a silent chronicle of a bygone pastoral era.
The new enterprise was hatched last year after reading a book by Ohio agrarian writer, Gene Logsdon. It got me thinking that parts of our farm might be better suited to sheep than cows. While the new flock has been a beneficial addition overall, sometimes when the wind is still and the sheep are out of their fence, you can hear Mr. Logsdon’s name being muttered by a contrary farmer…
Stay tuned for news of when our grassfed lamb will be at market this fall. In the meantime, if you’re inclined to break the cabin fever and head out in defiance of the weather, come to winter market this Sunday, March 8th, from 10am to 1pm. As of now, we plan to attend. We’ll have our 100% grassfed beef, pastured, non-GMO fed chicken, turkey, and eggs, and our silvopastured pork, from hogs that are finished on non-GMO feed and acorns in our forest. This includes our naturally-smoked pork items, which are back in stock after a hiatus. Our storage potato and winter squash supply is still going strong, so stock up. Winter might be lingering on and on, but don’t let that stop you from eating well!
We still have spaces in our CSA, which is a great way to get local meat and produce into your eating routine. The next round of our farm buying club, the Good Eaton Club starts in April, so signup ASAP if you’d like to participate in monthly pickups of our meat and eggs in Clifton. More info about both programs may be found on our website.
It is a gift to be able to share our farm’s harvest with you each week, and we are grateful for your support of our little place on earth.
Jerry and Elizabeth Eaton
The Eaton Farm
I’m a big fan of simple, no-fuss meals, which can be both nourishing and tasty. Breakfast wraps fit the bill. This one is made with our eggs, crumbled breakfast sausage, Nicola gold hash brown potatoes, local cheese, and served on an organic tortilla. The secret to good hash browns is to parboil the spuds until they are just barely soft. I rarely peel them. Plunge into cold water, and as soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, shred (in a food processor or by hand) or cube them and fry in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Preferably in lard. Keep the skillet covered between flipping, and add a few tablespoons of water to prevent burning. I like to parboil a huge kettle of these potatoes and store in the fridge until I need them. They cook up in no time when life calls for a fast, convenient meal.
Keeping roasted winter squash around can also help to make local eating prep a speedy process. I like to roast 8 or 10 at a time and use them in all sorts of meals throughout the week. In its simplest form, the roasted squash can be scooped into a baking dish, mashed with butter and a little salt, and warmed up for a satisfying side dish that will be ready in a flash. Savory herbs, cheese, and, sausage can turn this into a main dish. Or, go the dessert route, and drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon for a not-too-sweet treat. Take the squash a step further, and puree it to have on hand for soups, stews, and baked goods, whenever a recipe strikes your fancy. The cooked/pureed squash will keep for 5 or more days in the fridge, and it also freezes beautifully. If you’re new to squash roasting, here’s my simple method: Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse the squash to remove any dirt, and split lengthwise down the middle with a sharp knife (carefully, as squash have very tough skins!). Scoop out the seeds, place the squash cut-side down onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until very soft. This method works for any type of winter squash, including butternut, acorn, delicata, kabocha, hubbard, or any variety you can get your hands on.