Friday, October 25, 2013

Herman the Salamander

We are trying to create and protect living soils on our farm by not using synthetic insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides.  Living soils have millions of live beneficial bacteria, fungus, and microorganisms that we humans can't see without a microscope.
Here's one type of creature you can see without a microscope- what a good indicator of soil health!
Salamanders have specific habitat preferences and don't like to be disturbed.


Nancy, a friend at the Hickory market, named it Herman.
What a beautiful salamander!

It hitched a ride to market in some head lettuce.
We successfully caught it, transported back to the farm, and released the salamander in a nice damp spot with plenty of rotting leaves.

We're so happy that we can find this sort of amphibious evidence of the benefits of our careful land stewardship. Go Herman the salamander!

I haven't been able to indentify the species of salamander! We have so many species in North Carolina.
Here's some more infor about salamanders ...from http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_NC/salamanders/salamanders.html
Salamanders (Order Caudata) are a diverse group of amphibians.  They can be found in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, though water is essential for survival. Most salamanders are nocturnal and can be found under rocks and fallen trees.  North Carolina has an amazing abundance of salamanders because of its diverse geography from mountains to coastal swamps.  Some species are indigenous to only North Carolina and thus need to be conserved.  One such family of salamanders is the Plethodontidae family. This family constitutes more than 90% of salamanders and the southeast U.S. has more plethodontids than anywhere else in the world!


Last Saturday Market of the Season in Hickory and Morganton


We will have broccoli at market tomorrow- just a smaller amount- as the plants wind down.
Beets!
Carrots!
Scallions!
Oh My! Beets, carrots, and scallions will be making their appearances at market tomorrow.  These carrots just glow orange and the beets just drip their deep magenta color.  The scallions smell so savory and fresh!


We still have tomatoes- we picked them before the freeze and we are saving them in a sheltered spot away from freezing temperatures!



Last few regular Farmers' Markets, but we have monthly orders all winter!


Morganton:

Tomorrow is the last Saturday market in Morganton.  See below for out monthly meat orders November-March.


Hickory:

One more Saturday market (tomorrow)  and one more Wednesday market.  We will be at a November mini market at Youssef 242 from 11-2 on Nov 6, 13, and 20th.

Monthly Winter Orders-

Remember, we have monthly orders for meat from November-March in Hickory and Morganton. We'll send out an email, and then you can order as little as 1 pound of sausage to as much as you need to stock up!  
Meat Availability: We'll have all types of pork through the winter, chicken until around Christmas, and beef until it all sells- (February or March?) We won't have lamb cuts through the winter.



Fall Meat Packs. Buy in Bulk and Save.

Haven't ordered a Fall Meat Pack yet? Don't worry- we still have chicken, pork, and beef packs available to stock your freezer.  We have some lamb items still available.  Make sure to contact us for chicken, beef, and lamb- we will run out of these items, so order soon!

Enjoy whole chickens, lamb stew, beef roasts, and pork sausages. Delicious meals from humane, pastured meats.  We have all sizes of meat packs to stock your freezer for wintertime meals.  Order your Fall Pasture Meat Packs now.  Lamb, Pork, Chicken, and Beef.


Pastured Beef


Our steers are raised on grass pastures without medications.
Our animals are moved to fresh, healthy new pastures every week for the best growth from grass.   

We supplement the steers with small amounts of organic corn, alfalfa, and wheat to help supplement just the right amount of fat to ensure juicy beef.  We've partnered with our family friend, who is our neighbor and farming mentor to raise tender and lean beef on pasture.


Beef at Market!  Check out the market list below for some of the beef items we will have at market tomorrow.  

Check out these tips for grilling a sirloin steak- Remember lean beef is best rare to medium rare! Maybe on the threshold of medium.... http://www.grillingcompanion.com/rosemary-sirloin-steak/#

Market

Stew Beef: 1 lb packs

Sirloin Steaks
Beef Kabob
NY Strip Steaks
Sold out of Filet

Sold out of Ground beef- Pre-order a 10 one lb pack of ground beef and save 10%.

Why don't we have many of the beef cuts? Many cuts made it straight into folks' freezers through our Fall Beef Packs. Don't worry- you can still get our Fall Meat Packs and have beef, pork, chicken, and lamb this winter.



Vegetables

Always grown with organic methods- compost, cover crops, organic fertilizers, organic pesticides if needed.

No synthetic chemicals. No synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers.  

 

  • Arugula- Spicy!  

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Scallions

  • Broccoli! Sweet

  • Watermelon Radishes- Very crunchy with a little sweet and a little spice. Giant!

  • French Breakfast Radishes- little radishes.  Try…grate, slice, or chop and add salt and olive oil.  Let marinate for about 5-10 minutes before eating.

  • Tomatoes- grown under a hoophouse for best flavor.

  • Kale- Tender baby leaves

  • Baby Collards- Tender mild leaves

  • Head Lettuce, Red Buttercrunch "Skyphos"

  • Baby Lettuce Mix

  • Hawkerai Salad Turnips, Sweet white and Spicy red

Pastured Pork

We have a full selection of our delicious pastured pork. Our hogs are fed GMO-free certified organic grains and raised outdoors on pasture.·       

Order a Family Pork Pack and stock up for winter!  

Thick bone-in chops
Country sausage
Bratwurst
Shoulder roasts
Boneless ham roasts
Spare ribs and country backbones
Spicy chorizo sausage
Sweet Italian sausage
Thick sliced side meat
Ground pork


Free Range, Pastured Eggs-

The hens aren't laying as much during the fall/winter season.  Make sure to pre-order your eggs or get to market early!  Most of our hens will stop laying around November 1st.

Our hens are raised outdoors in the sunshine! The pastures are green and the hens are exploring with the sheep flock. 


Pastured Chicken-

Limited Supply. You can pre-order chickens on our online store and stock up for winter.
~Order 5 or more whole and/or cut-up chickens and save $0.50 per pound.


All of our meat chickens are fed Certified Organic Grains. The meat chickens are out running and flapping through the new lush grass.  We raise the Freedom Ranger meat chicken breed on grass pastures, and we feed 100% certified organic grains, GMO-free.

>>>See our Herb Roasted Chicken recipe here.<<<






Summer Flower Friends and the First Frost

There's been a killing frost here, and it's time to say good by to summer friends like some of the beautiful celosia flowers.  But we get to rejoice that the terrible spiky pigweed crumpled up and died with the frost.

 We harvested about 600 pounds of peppers and 400 pounds of green and red tomatoes a few days before this cool weather came 'round.  Pumpkins, garlic, and sweet potatoes  are brought down to a warmer place than the barn, so they'll keep for winter.


We are almost ready to plant garlic! Plant in November and harvest in June.  
Compost makes a crazy pumpkin jungle! These are heirloom South Mtn pumpkins. Grown in the area for about 50 years.
Carrot tops and celosia flowers in the background








Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bring on the broccoli!

The plants have been growing beautifully with these warm days and cool nights. 
“Okay, okay- hold up there fat groundhogs! Stop eating our broccoli, varmints!”

We’ve been muttering to the groundhogs that are hiding in tunnels along the brushy edge of our large summer field.  They sneak out of almost invisible tunnel openings when we are not around.  We have not seen 1 groundhog, but we do see their highways from their tunnels to the broccoli sections.  Several live traps and fresh sliced apples haven’t yielded any furtive critters either.  Half of 8 100 foot rows of broccoli have been munched down to a 6 inch stub.  They haven’t touched the other crops, not even their usual favorite- Laccinato kale or tender lettuce.  This broccoli sure tastes good. 

But even with the groundhogs, we still have a beautiful broccoli harvest to share with you this week!  
It is giant (some heads measure 8 inches across) and tastes sweet! 


Roasted Broccoli Recipe

·         Prep time: 5 minutes
·         Cook time: 30 minutes
·         Yield: Serves 3-4 as a side dish.
The measurements are just a guideline. Add more or less olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, or cheese to taste.

INGREDIENTS

·         1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
·         3-4 Tbsp olive oil
·         Juice from half a lemon, about 1 Tbsp
·         Kosher salt
·         2-3 garlic cloves, minced
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 400. In a large bowl toss the broccoli florets, chopped stems, and minced garlic with olive oil and lemon juice until lightly coated. Sprinkle salt over the broccoli and toss to coat.

 2 Arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Then uncover and cook until done to your liking.
3 Put the roasted broccoli back in the bowl and toss with lots of freshly ground black pepper and the grated parmesan cheese.
Serve immediately.
Enjoy! ~Marie

Assorted Photos from the Farm

Hello, all! I've had some time over the past few weeks to take some photos I thought I'd share. 


A  young Freedom Ranger chicken

One of our beautiful black pigs!

Pigs enjoying their new section of pasture

Baby Curly Kale plants

A section of the Fall Garden in it's young stages


Young leaf inside of a Collard plant

The center of a young collard

Mmmm... Collard Greens!


Tazi the sheep guard dog with her flock & laying hens

A brand new baby chicken that we hatched inside the incubator! Laying his head on a few eggs that haven't hatched yet-hatching is hard work!

I'll try to keep taking photos consistently & sharing them with  you all! Until next time ~ Hannah

Friday, October 4, 2013

2013 FALL MEAT PACKS


All beef, pork, and chicken fed certified organic grains, over 70% of our organic grains are grown in North Carolina!
All our livestock is raised outdoors with forages, fresh air, and sunshine.
No hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics.
Meats are individually labeled, vacuum-sealed and frozen, keeps well for 1 year from pack date.

~Most Fall Meat Packs can be picked up at the Farmers Market or at the farm, except ½ and Whole Beef. See dates below.


GRASS-FED LAMB
Available: Early October. Hurry! Our lamb packs sell quickly!
 Our mild flavored lamb is raised on grass pastures. No grain for fattening.  Fat from grass pastures only.  Vacuum-sealed, frozen.

Lamb packs: approx. 1/3 large lamb.  You’ll get a great variety of amazing cuts of lamb for roasting, stewing, broiling, and grilling.  Approx $175.
1 leg of lamb roast (average 2.75 lbs)2 packs thick lamb rib chops- 2 chops/pack (0.85 lb/pack)2 packages of thick lamb loin chops-2 chops/ pack, (0.55 lb/ pack)4   1 pound packs of ground lamb 2     1 pound packs of lamb stew/kabob meat 1  free pack of meaty riblets for broth 

Lamb Bone Box: Approx 10 lb box. Best stock and broth. Approx $10.

PASTURE CHICKEN
Available: October 9th through Oct. 30th

Our “Freedom Ranger” breed is fed certified organic grains and is raised on high quality pastures with forages, insects, fresh air, and sunshine.  Flavorful, tender chicken! Vacuum-sealed, frozen.
Order 5 or more of whole and/or cut-up chickens online, and save $0.50 per pound.
Order before October 5th to reserve your cut-up chickens, cut-up chicken after 10/5 is limited in availability.
           
PASTURE PORK
Available: October
 Our hogs are raised outdoors and root through brush, pastures, and deep hay bedding.  Fed certified organic grains.  Vacuum-sealed, frozen.
1/2 hog All the best cuts! 24 thick pork chops, 4 roasts, 1 tenderloin, and a great supply of your choice of sausages.  You can also have your pork cut just the way you’d like it. After you place your order, we'll help you decide your custom cuts. ½ Hog weighs approximately 85 lbs hanging weight. You’ll get about 65 lbs of cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled, and frozen meat.  $5.88/lb hanging weight. (15% discount from retail price)  Approx $500.  $100 deposit is required when order is placed.

Large Family Pack: This assortment of delicious pasture pork is a 10% discount from retail and costs approx $260. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  Weighs approx 30 lbs, includes:
12 Pork Chops (2/pack) • 4 Pack of Ribs • 2 Roasts (3 lb each) • 8 Country Sausage (1 lb/pack) •4 Sweet Italian (1 lb/pack) •4 Bratwurst (1 lb/pack)

Small Family Pack: This assortment delicious  pork will fit in your refrigerator’s freezer and is a 10% discount from retail and costs approx $130. Weighs approx 16 lbs, includes:
•6 Pork Chops (2/pack) • 2 Pack of Spare Ribs • 1 Roast (3lb) • 4 Country Sausage (1 lb/pack) •2 Sweet Italian (1 lb/pack) • 2 Bratwurst (1 lb/pack)

Sausage Sampler: 3 lbs each of Country Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, and Bratwurst Sausage, approx $70, 5% off retail price


BEEF
Available: October 19th- October 30th, November 22nd and 23rd (Hickory and Charlotte Thanksgiving Markets only). Please see Fall Meat Pack dates below.

Our beef is always grazed on pastures and is finished with a small quantity of certified organic corn, wheat, and alfalfa for lightly marbled, healthy, lean beef.  All beef hangs and ages for 14 days before being cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled, and frozen. All prices include all butcher costs.

½ Beef Butcher Day Special: $4.15/lb hanging weight, 20% off retail price. Approx 285 lbs hanging weight, yields about 180 lbs of dry aged, cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled meat.   Enjoy a variety of steaks, roasts, and ground beef when you make a custom order.  After you place your order, we'll help you decide your custom cuts.  Farm’s scheduled pickup/delivery dates. Approx $1185. $200 deposit is required when order is placed.
Farm Pickup:  ~Friday, October 18th 3:30-5:00pm OR ~Friday, November 22nd 3:30-4:30pm
Delivery: ~Friday, October 18th 4:30-6:00pm OR Friday, November 22nd 4:00-5:30pm
$30 delivery fee between Hickory and Morganton

½ Beef: Other 1/2 beef pickup/delivery days can be scheduled, price is $4.45 lb hanging weight. Approx $1268. 15% off retail price. $30 delivery fee between Hickory and Morganton


Beef Quarter: A quarter is 15% off retail price, weighs approx 85 lbs, and costs approximately $575. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.
A typical quarter includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
6 N.Y. Strip          1 bone-in chuck                                45 ground beef (1lb/pack)
6 Ribeye               2 Sirloin tip                          9 stew beef
4 Filet                                                                    4 beef kabob (1 lb/pack)
1 Skirt steak                                                        2 Short Ribs (2 lb/pack)
1 Flap steak (similar to skirt steak for fajitas)
1 Flank steak                                                                                                     

Beef Value Package: A Value Pack is 15% off retail price, weighs approx 45 lbs, and costs approx $293. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  A typical package includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
2 N.Y. Strip          1 bone-in chuck                                25 Ground (1lb/pack)
2 Ribeye               1 Sirloin tip                          5 stew beef
2 Filet                                                                    2 Short Ribs (2 lb/pack) 
1 Sirloin Steak                                                                                   

Beef Sampler Package : A Sampler Pack is 10% off retail price, weighs approx 20 lbs, and costs approx $162. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  A typical package includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
2 Ribeye               1 sirloin tip                          12 Ground (1lb/pack)
1 beef kabob                                                     2 stew beef
1 Sirloin Steak                                   

Ground Beef:  10 lb box, 10% off retail, $6.12/lb. Each pound of ground beef is individually packaged, labeled, and frozen. Our ground beef is lean and flavorful.

Mix and Match Package: Select 25 lbs. of your choice of roasts, ground beef, short ribs, and stew meat and save 10% off retail.  Steaks not included.  Shop and select from available items on our online farm store selection, and we will discount your total upon pickup. Example: 12 lbs ground beef, 8 lbs of stew meat, and 2 chuck roasts.)

**A $200 deposit is required when order is placed for all 1/2 Beef orders.
**A $100 deposit is required when order is placed for all 1/4 Beef, Beef Value, 1/2 Hog, Large Family Pork Packs.

You can choose from the following pickup dates when you place your order on our Online Store.
Please email us if you have questions or want to place your order by email.

Fall Meat Pickups:
10/5 Saturday, Hickory or Morganton: Lamb and Pork
10/9 Wednesday, Hickory or Bluebird Farm: Chicken, Lamb, and Pork
10/12 Saturday, Morganton ONLY: Chicken, Lamb, and Pork
10/16 Wednesday, Hickory or Bluebird Farm: Chicken, Lamb, and Pork
10/18 Friday, Bluebird Farm or Delivery: ½ BEEF SPECIAL, Chicken, Lamb, and Pork
10/18 Half BEEF, Request pickup/delivery dates
10/19 Saturday, Hickory or Morganton: Beef, Chicken, and Pork
10/23 Wednesday, Hickory or Bluebird Farm : Beef, Chicken, and Pork
10/26 Saturday, Hickory or Morganton: Beef, Chicken, and Pork
10/30 Wednesday, Hickory or Bluebird Farm: Beef, Chicken, and Pork
11/22 Friday, Bluebird Farm or Delivery: ½ BEEF SPECIAL
11/22 Half BEEF, Request pickup/delivery dates

            11/23 Saturday, Hickory or Charlotte Thanksgiving Markets only

Rockin it on the farm

Sweetest broccoli
Thomas, Hannah, and Keegan are keeping us going! With their help, we have a smooth flow to the farm work right now- there is even a bit of an easiness to the pace as we grow veggies, tend to animals, and prepare for winter.



Watermelon radish
Golden rays and arugula salad
 We have been rockin' it on the farm this fall!  Really getting a beautiful garden planted, watered, weeded, harvested and all the important details in between.

Baby lettuces 
Heirloom Garlic- such a warm sweet garlic flavor
baby lettuce mix in the bag- ready!
Sweet Asian salad turnips. so crunchy.



















The animals have been so content.  Fresh grass, cool water, and good organic grains that magically appear when the humans show up.  We let them root, peck, graze, and nap and check on them to make sure everyone is doing okay.
Every animal appreciates being an outdoor critter!


Thanks to everyone who is supporting our little sustainable farm and enjoying our farm meats and vegetables! We can't do it with you.  We're growing for you!.