Sunday, April 22, 2018

Farm Food Recipe Book

  Recently a customer, Liesel, sent me a text with a photo of her homemade pie.  She has been going through her grandmother's old recipes and was excited to use the lard purchased from the farm to make her 'from scratch' crust.  Ironically, I had also been thinking a lot about my grandmother and her recipes.  With the recent over abundance of eggs I was going to make her fabulous pound cake, which takes a half dozen eggs.  My grandmother grew up as a poor share cropper from Georgia,and all her families meals would have been cooked from scratch, using fruits and vegetables that were in season and meats from animals that her family raised or hunted or fished.  And even though later in life as 'oleo' and cake mixes became available to her, most of her cooking was still from the fresh or home canned goods grown in the garden, and eggs and pork chops right from the backyard.  All of this made me wonder, wouldn't it be wonderful to honor our grandmother's, aunts, mothers, or friends by compiling a cookbook?  Of course not a cookbook of modern, frilly, faddish recipes, but recipes of old, the ones that would have used locally grown, fresh, in season ingredients.

   So a 'farm' recipe book is the new project and Liesel and I need YOUR help to pull it all together!  Over the next few months, we would like you to submit your favorite recipes, the ones that use fresh local ingredients from your community farm, market, woods, waters or garden - no highly processed 'stuff'.  If they are a favorite passed down from a former generation, all the better. These could fit into all the usual categories: desserts, main dishes, sides, and even any great ways to preserve the harvest.  Also any cool kitchen and cooking tips or tricks. If your recipe holds a certain memory or tale, send that along too, we will include a bit of history or stories behind the food here and there. 

  We have no idea how this is all going to go, it is a bit of an experiment, so please realize that not all submissions will be included and we reserve the right to edit as needed.  Recipes can be sent to this address:  melissasfarmrecipes@gmail.com and please include your contact info just in case.  Once compiled and published, the books will be available for purchase!

  We are very excited about this new adventure, and can't wait to see what you have to share with us.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Real Maple Syrup

We have freshly tapped, super local, real maple syrup for sale in the store, self serve, on your honor.
Quart Jars  $22
Pint Jars $11.50

If you've never tasted REAL maple syrup, you really should.  It is so different than the processed version found in the grocery store.  The flavor is so intense and it seems to just melt on your tongue.  Maple Syrup, like honey, is a minimally processed natural sweetener that actually contains a few beneficial nutrients, like magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron.  It is made by collecting the sap from maple trees, sugar maples in particular, and heating that sap to evaporate the water content to leave behind a sweet thick liquid...Maple Syrup.  And it is completely organic, no one sprays chemicals on Maple trees!


Pictured above are Jeff and his son Mason collecting the sap from the 50 taps on our backyard maple trees.  This sap itself is full of minerals, and I love to drink it just as it is, with its hint of raw maple flavor.  They then heat the sap in a wood fired evaporator to 'steam' out all the water content until all that is left is pure, thick brown, sweetness.  The sap used in their syrup comes from only three sources, our yard- a 1/4 mile from the farm, their yard- about 2 miles from the farm, and the grove of another friend- about 3 miles away.  So everything in that bottle you buy at the farm is the most local Maple Syrup you will find.

And you can use it for so much more than pouring over pancakes or french toast!  Substitute this extra sweet goodness for sugar in any recipe, the only changes you need to make is to use HALF as much syrup as what was called for in sugar, for example if your cookies ask for 1 cup of sugar you only need 1/2 cup of syrup. And since you are adding a liquid sweetener instead of the solid sugar, if your batter is a bit too runny, just add 1/4 cup of flour to thicken it back up.

With our recent on slot of eggs, I wanted to bake my Grandmother's Cream Cheese Pound Cake, which uses a half dozen eggs!  The standard topping for this cake is whatever fruit is in season and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  But only suitable topping in early spring is....Maple syrup.  So instead of fruit, I drizzled my cake with a Maple Cinnamon Glaze which was really easy and quick to make.  The results were delicious! The one draw back is that pound cake is one of my Dad's favorites, but he lives 500 miles away.  I wonder how well this would ship??


Cream Cheese Pound Cake

3 sticks butter, do NOT use margarine
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
3 c sugar
6 eggs
3 c all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla

(This batter gets so thick it is best to use a stand mixer.)
Combine butter and cream cheese, beat well.  Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add vanilla.  Add flour, one cup at a time, beating well.  Liberally coat a bundt pan with butter and a dusting of flour, then pour in batter.  Bake at 350* for 1 1/2 hours.  (If in the last 15 or 20 min the top seems to be getting too brown, turn heat down to 325*, and may need 5-10 min. extra baking time.)  Let cool in pan for 15-20 min then turn out onto wire rack.

Maple Cinnamon Glaze 

1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
(you can leave this out if it isn't the flavor you're going for,
 or substitute some other creative flavor)
1 Tbl softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c maple syrup

Stir all ingredients together till smooth and creamy.  If it's a bit too thick, add a touch more syrup till a good pour-able consistency.  Drizzle over cooled cake.
(This would also be wonderful over cinnamon rolls.)






Thursday, April 19, 2018

Our Rude Society


Yesterday evening I posted this picture on the farm's FB page with a simple caption, "Grass Fed Beef, $8/lb, While Supplies Last".  (And I literally mean, while supplies last, 2/3 of this beef is already sold, I would like to get what is left sold by the end of the weekend so I can buy new tires!!) I then shared this post to three different local 'Buy/Sale' groups.  I know that most of the people in these groups are not my target audience, but I always get a few more page views and likes and a few people actually stop at the farm and make a purchase.  But a snowstorm in April must bring out the worst in people cause some of the comments turned ugly.

I have learned from a good friend's previous experience with these groups, if there is something bad posted about your business, just ignore it, trying to chime in and defending yourself just adds fuel to the fire.  And the more people comment, the more the post is going to circulate!  But I WANT my post to circulate.  No, the rude people are not going to come to my farm and buy ground beef, but there are a few that see this post that want locally raised, healthy, super flavorful food, they want to support their local farmer, cook a fabulous meal with the best ingredients, and actually be able to see the animals and the land that they are raised on and realize that, yes, it is higher in price, but they place more value in their food.  So I just sit back and watch the show.  I do respond to any relevant comments but ignore all the rest.  The farm's page has gotten 10 new "Likes" in the last 12hrs, three people have messaged me with legitimate inquiries on how and when they can make a purchase.  And I have made new customers.  As for the RUDE people, my existing customers, people that love our eggs and beef and stop weekly at the farm to buy these 'expensive' foods,  are on these same 'buy/sale' pages too, and they chime in and set the rude people straight.  And that is better advertising than anything.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Planting Future Food!


These two trenches are about 80 feet long and were just yesterday filled with 146 asparagus root.  This is one of those projects that I have wanted to do for  3 or 4 yrs but it just never seemed to happen.  Time is always one inhibitor, but money had been another as the plants cost around $120.  Now in the grand scheme of things, and for the huge area we were filling, that isn't a considerable amount of money, but when there are so many other places that need the funds more urgently, this project just wasn't ever in the budget.  But this year I didn't care how tight the budget was, I was going to get these plants in the ground.  The main reason for getting these planted as soon as possible is because asparagus is a true labor of love, we won't get a full harvest for 3 yrs.  After prepping the bed, we had to dig two 6" deep trenches, lay out the little 'squids' (that's what the roots reminded me of) every 12-14 inches, cover with a dusting of composted chicken manure and then a little dirt.  After waiting a few weeks for green growth, I will then cover with another couple inches of dirt, and keep repeating this thru the summer.  There will be no harvest this spring.  Next year, if all has gone well, we can pick just a few green shoots, but need to leave the majority of the springs alone, as they will contribute to the overall development of the plant itself.  And finally, the third year, spring of 2020, we will be able to enjoy our labor's full bounty.  Asparagus are a perennial plant and will yield a bounty of food thru next 15 yrs! This two days of hard labor and three years of patient watching will produce organic fresh food long into our future!

Friday, March 23, 2018

My Old Farm Girl


If you have visited the farm, you have very likely seen this truck at some time or other; my beloved, old, Xterra that I have been driving for more than 15 years.  As my youngest son once said, while I was making sure it was locked up at the mall, "Mom, it's muddy, it's rusty, and it's missing some of its parts."  Yes I know, but if anyone knew how great she runs, how dependable and hardworking she is through mud and snow, how many miles hither and yonder she has traveled, they might just try and steal her.  But alas, her days are numbered.  While the engine still keeps chugging along, the heat barely warms up, the transmission hesitates, a leaf spring is broken, the shocks are shot, and the undercarriage is so rusted that it is unsafe for my mechanic to even work on her, much less, it isn't even worth the money to do so. (I didn't even know till a few months ago that a mechanic can actually condemn a vehicle, eek!)

So my girl is going into semi-retirement.  Since she will only bring in a couple hundred bucks at the scrap yard, I am going to hook her up to the 300 chicken egg mobile so it will be quick and easy to move every couple of days, once the weather is a bit warmer, and ALL of the laying hens are back in the woods and brush, popping out fabulous tasting eggs.  This will actually save a ton of time; opening the fence and driving thru without chickens escaping, backing up just so to hook the coop to the hitch, and after pulling forward, unhooking, and getting back out of the pasture without chickens escaping.

All this means I need a 'new' truck, which said mechanic has already found for me, an old Toyota 4 runner, but it has spent most of its life in Florida, so NO RUST!!  This will be a great vehicle for maneuvering around the farm in mud or snow season, hauling straw and feed, and pulling a small trailer of lumber or fence posts.  I have some of the money saved, but if I could have some really good sales of eggs and beef in the next couple of weeks, I could easily come up with the rest of the funds.  After feeding all of those chickens all winter with little return on my money, it's time for the hens to pay up.  They are laying great, their eggs have beautiful orange yolks and taste fabulous. 

So please take a few minutes to make a quick stop at the farm, grab a dozen eggs, or two, local raw honey, a very local maple syrup (all the sap was collected within 2-3 miles of the farm).  These things are all self-serve, priced as marked, and leave cash or check in the box.  You also have the option of setting up a store account, if interested, just email or call me for details.  On Wednesday and Friday 4:00-6:00 and Saturday 9:00-1:00 you can also make purchases of the last of our Grass Fed Ground Beef, Liver, or Soup Bones.  We won't have beef available again till fall, and then only a very small amount.

So please support our local small farm, and in doing so add some very healthy very, tasty food to your meals!




Thursday, March 22, 2018

Well, Hello!

I have not posted in a very long time!  Life just gets too crazy sometimes.  I have conjured up many a post in my crazy head, they just never make onto 'paper'.  These days the little computer usage I do can mostly be done on my phone, and in the mornings when I have the time to sit at the computer and type, I would rather sit in my comfy warm bed, with my hot coffee, reading a book, or more likely scrolling mindlessly thru FB.  And in the evenings, when I have the time, I would rather sit in my comfy warm bed, with a glass of wine, reading a book, or more likely, scrolling mindlessly thru FB, or I might be playing Freecell instead.  Either way, I'm too tired or lazy, or both, to boot up the computer and sit in front of the bigger screen. 

So here I am, let's see if I can get this little farm story going again.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Learn to be a Farmer

When visiting the farm, I get lots of requests for volunteers.  People want to come and collect the eggs, feed the chickens, and pet the bunnies.  But running a farm is ALOT more than that.  It takes me 1 1/2 to 2 hours each morning and evening to water, feed, collect eggs, and milk.  Those are just the basic chores.  In between there I have to clean the brooder for 100 new chicks, clean nesting boxes and stalls, mow lanes and move fencing and steers, haul feed and hay, wash eggs and stock the store, take chickens to the butcher and pigs to the slaughter house.... the list goes on and on.  As of Saturday, I am running the farm entirely on my own.  My two boys that live close by can help every so often with a 'project' and I have one high school boy that can help with chores a couple of afternoons per week, but what I need is someone that really wants to learn to farm, learn how the concept of pastured rotational grazing works, learn how to build and operate all of this from scratch on a very meager budget, and learn what it takes to produce good food for your family and community.

*Ideally I am looking for one person to work around 20 hours a week. You will be paid in food and learn the  basic knowledge of how to run a farm.  (I myself am still learning, and always will be!)

 *Because this is hard, physical work you MUST be at least as strong and fit as I am (thats not saying alot, I'm a 47 yr old, 5'4", medium build woman!!), be able to lift a 75 lb bag of feed and carry a 5 gallon bucket of water (not at the same time!)   You will be working in all weather conditions.  Animals still have to be cared for weather it is 90* and humid or 0* and blizzard.

*Need to be at least 16yrs old, but any age above that is totally exceptable, I didn't start farming till I was 43 yrs old.  Male or female, but ladies you have to be strong.  You won't believe how many things I can't do myself for the simple fact that I just don't have the 'man power' to do it.  It's so frustrating.

*I need someone dependable, once we set an agreed upon schedule of hours and days you can work, you have to be there.  Animals  have to be fed twice a day everyday, fences have to be moved once a pasture has been grazed down, and chickens have to be delivered to the butcher on schedule.

*Experience in basic mechanics (how to start and run a weed eater or chain saw) and construction (using drills and saws to build all the crazy projects) would be of great benefit!!!

*You must realize that the animals here are being raised to produce food, this is NOT a petting!

*Looking for someone that can start working ASAP.

*If interested, please email, melissasfarm13@gmail.com, or call.  262-719-3503

I am also looking for people that would like to help with occasional projects, clean up jobs, tending the garden, mowing, painting...all those little things that just take time and energy but just about anyone can do them.  There so many things that just need an extra set of hands to get done so anyone can help, but if you are under 14 yrs old, you will need a parent helping with you.  If you would like to be added to this 'volunteer' list, email me at melissasfarm13@gmail.com, include your phone number and hours/days you would be most available and any special talents you might have that might be of benefit.  When I have a project I can put a shout out to those that are interested in helping.