Sprigs of green!
There are now two dozen hogs pastured in the woods that are growing by leaps and bounds, while clearing the forest of undesirable invasive species and incorporating a stagnant layer of leaf litter into the soil. Pretty cool stuff, if you’re a hillside farmer!
The hens are picking up the pace, so be on the lookout for awesome egg recipes. A few weeks ago, in what seemed like Siberia, we averaged about three dozen eggs a day. We gathered ten dozen today, and it is going up! This is the part of the year during which being a chicken farmer is over easy.
The soil has finally dried enough to start some tillage for the early spring vegetables, and we were able to do some plowing today. There are seedlings up in the hoop-house, too. The lambs and calves are frolicking on an ever-increasingly green pasture as the bluegrass springs free of the cold. We have three sows that are starting to ( in the local parlance) “bag up,” meaning that piglets won’t be far off!
So stop by the market and see your farmers! We’ll have all our pastured meats, eggs and a selection of storage vegetables for a while longer before the greens kick in. As always, don’t despair if a particular cut is sold out–improvise! After all, immutable lunch menus are then thing of prisons (and schools…)!
Jerry and Elizabeth
The Eaton Farm
Feed the Farmer
A peek at what we’re cooking and eating this week
Along with the grassfed and pastured meats from our own farm, we do our best to consume grassfed, non-homogenized dairy products. Good quality milk is readily available, through local herd share programs in the area, or creameries like Snowville, but it can be a challenge to find other dairy products that are truly grassfed. Butter and yogurt are huge staples in our house, and so we’ve been trying to get back into the routine of making them at home from local milk.
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at yogurt making, I highly recommend using this tutorial from Kitchen Stewardship. It is very reliable, and I’ve never had a batch go wrong. Along with very detailed instructions, there is a handy troubleshooting guide if something does turn out less than perfect.
For the butter, this is a great recipe. A 1/2 gallon of cream yielded about 2 pounds of butter and a quart of buttermilk. Authentic butter by-product buttermilk has excellent qualities when it comes to baking. I also like to culture the cream before churning, which is very easy to do. Gently stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of plain additive-free yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk per quart of cream, and let it hang out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours for a delightfully tangy dimension in your finished butter.
And if you do take the time to make this creamy, whole-milk yogurt, or fresh cultured butter, you owe it to yourself to break out the last jar of 2014 strawberry jam to serve with it, right?
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