Spring is here. It kicked down the door without so much as a knock!
We saw the addition of the final lamb of the season (unless the ram has one) and another calf this week. We are now grandparents…sort of.
One of the first bovines to be re-introduced to my beloved, grown-over hillside pastures is still with us, and she is still throwing calves. Her name is “Red”. This newest calf is from Red’s daughter. Though the mother looks to be a pure-bred black angus, the calf resembles grandma. Hopefully she will be a good a calver, milker, forage-to-beef converter, carbon sequester-er, and a generally nice and life-enriching beast, just like her mother and grandmother. If there were a way to separate out people who like the smell of a group of cows (not manure, but “cow” smell) from those who don’t, it would a great tool when getting to know someone. I digress…
While the rain fell, we kept busy with planning for the upcoming season, securing supplies, and finishing up seed orders. There was some work performed in the hoophouse, but not nearly enough! On the dry days, we ground several tons of feed for the hogs, hens, and new chicks. They arrived on three different days this week. By the time the last chirping box arrived, the post office employees had calmed, ceasing the frantic calls at every stop between here and Pennsylvania (once at 10 p.m.).
We now have 400 new little fluff-balls pecking and chirping beneath heat lamps in a warm, dry chick-Nirvana we call “the Brooder”. There isn’t really a human equivalent to this luxury (if you think you’ve found one, let me know). Some of these chicks will be new hens, some will be raised as meat birds, and there are also several new turkey poults.
Come on out to market at Clark, Sunday from 10am to 1pm, and buy some potatoes. They are sprouting because it is Spring. If they are a little soft or shriveled, take heart! This is as nature intended! The real freaks are the mummified conventional potatoes at the grocery store. The shriveled appearance of our never-sprayed spud is from water loss due to transpiration; water that you generally try to remove while cooking, so using these will give you a headstart! Paradigm shifted. You’re welcome.
We’ll have pork in basically all possible configurations, plenty of beef, an ample supply of chicken, and turkey thrown in for good measure. We’ll have limited eggs. Squash will make a diminished appearance, as the curtain is about to fall for the year.
As always, we enjoy seeing all of our wonderful customers. You amaze us with your dedication to local food and farmers, and we are honored that you keep coming back to us week after week.
Jerry and Elizabeth
The Eaton Farm
Feed the Farmer
A peek at what we’re cooking and eating this week
We all have weeks when life seems to demand that we rush around, accomplishing this and that, which often results in our cooking routines taking a back burner. This was one of those weeks for us. We did quite a bit of “grazing” of quick foods that don’t take much prep and less sitting down to actual meals. We did, however, manage to squeeze in this homemade pizza…
While it may initially seem time-consuming and difficult, homemade pizza can be a great medium to get nutritious ingredients into a form that is consumable. There are lots of possibilities for improvising and using what you have on hand, and adapting recipes to meet specific dietary needs. We have an ample supply of dehydrated cherry tomatoes* and tomato sauce, all made from last year’s bumper crop (thanks goes to our good friend, Jenn, who canned produce for us in exchange for some of her own–a win-win arrangement, IMO). Along with the tomatoes, the pizza was topped with dried zucchini*, red and yellow bell peppers from the freezer stash, and local Parmesan.
For the crust, I like to use this basic brioche dough. I love that you can utilize high-quality pastured eggs and butter for added nutrition. This recipe also makes a fantastic all-purpose loaf (made by hand or in a machine). I like to do a 50/50 mix of white/ whole wheat flour. The eggs act as a natural dough-enhancer, and help make a light, fluffy loaf, even when whole grains are used. You can ask Jerry about my past whole grain baking endeavors: typically they resulted in dense, inedible bricks. Finding a recipe that puts the joy back into eating bread is a great family victory.
*Dried zucchini and tomatoes can be re-hydrated in warm water for a few minutes to prevent burning in the oven.
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