Basic Roasted Chicken

Folks you have blown through our Chicken Freezer this winter. Poor Christy at Brittany Ridge Farms cannot keep up. Normally winter is a downtime for chicken. This year you fine folks said, “NOPE!”.

Since this burst of chicken flying off the shelves has hit I have been bombarded with emails and texts. “Why is my chicken tough? Chicken from XYZ store is never tough” At first I was perplexed, then I asked how it was cooked. Now this is where I giggle.  350 is not the magic oven on the  oven folks. It seems that is the go to temperature that most folks set their oven at.  Please stop cooking everything at 350.

You see chicken at XYZ regular ol’ grocery store is pre-brined. It is pumped full of a saline solution. This tenderizes the muscles & weighs more per pound for the grocer. This also allows for the water to cook the chicken at a lower temperature. Having less moisture in it to begin with our chicken requires a higher cooking temperature.  Brittany Ridge pasture raises their birds allowing them  free reign over what they eat. They are given access to a milled grain with 21 % protein from Statesville. Keep it local folks.

Beef & Pork Roasts= 280 F, roughly 1 hour per pound.

Chicken skin on bone in should be cooked at 425F unless it is whole. Then we have some fun. With a whole chicken  you want to start off with a hot oven at 475F then after 20 minutes drop down to 425F for the remaining time.  How long though is up to the state of the chicken. Completely defrosted 50-60 minutes. You want the thickest part of the chicken to reach 165F. This is not negotiable.

There is trick though to help insure super crispy skin, dry off the chicken thoroughly first with paper towels. You do not need oil or any thing else.

For crispy all the way around I suggest. lining a  sheet pan with tinfoil then place a cooling rack in it.

Below are prices and cooking times, remember they vary on size and temperature when going in.

For the price I recommend Quarters-at $5 per lb= 40-45 min ,2 per pack. Each person receives 1 as a serving,

Drumsticks- at $6.50 per lb = 30-35 minutes 4 per pack typically.

Thighs-at $6.50 per lb ( they are currently out of stock),= 30-35 min. 3-4 per pack. Each person receives 2 as a serving.

Split Breast-at $10 per lb 40-50 min, 2 per pack. Each person receives 1 as a serving,

Boneless skinless breast at $12 per lb, 2 per pack 1 per person. Cook at 375 for 20-25 minutes until 165F. Each person receives 1 as a serving.

 

 

 

 

Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC

Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you’ll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She’s cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.


#46 has a new calf, #93

It is calf-a-palooza around here! #46 just had a little bull calf, #93.

#93, banded and ear tagged
#93, banded and ear tagged

Miguel and Vicente grabbed the little calf and made sure he was tagged, banded, and nursing his mom. All was good so they went about the rest of their morning. But of course Miguel went back and checked again just to make sure. He found this cow nursing #46 instead of the wobbly just born calf.

#79 in the head gate
The criminal, #79 in the stockade

#79 was being aggressive and stealing milk, and the little calf wasn’t able to get any. #79 has a mom and is more than big enough to not need to nurse. She was simply being greedy, at the expense of the little calf. Miguel brought her up to the barn and we put her in the head gate, as you see here. I had something on hand for a greedy calf.

#79 with a weaning ring
#79 with a weaning ring

This is a weaning ring. It clips on like a clip on earring and just hangs off the cows nose. They can eat, they can graze, they can do pretty much everything they normally do, except if they try to nurse a mom. The ring is covered in spikes that point up. If the cow tries to nurse, the spikes poke the mom in the udder and she kicks the calf or moves away. No more nursing for greedy calves .

We then turned #79 out in the milk cow pasture to make sure she was away from the just born calf. She’ll spend a couple of days there surrounded by all them milk she could drink and no chance to get any. Seems fair.

We’ll go back and remove the weaning ring in a few months. After our calves are born and this girl has learned her lesson.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


We are back to milking and #91 has a new home

Our little Orphan Annie calf, #91 has a new home. Miguel posted a picture of her on Craigslist and had a tremendous response. We found a farmer in Siler City who specializes in animals like #91, who are orphans or their mom doesn’t want to take care of them.

#91 making friends with her new mom
#91 making friends with her new mom

The farmer said in this particular case, he’d just bought a little bull as well so he planned to keep both #91 and the bull and raise them to make their own babies. I certainly hope that #91 is a better mom than her mother was. At least this way she’ll have the chance to be.

#91 at her new home and with her new family
#91 at her new home and with her new family

Today is the first day that we are back to milking like normal. That means we’ll have a normal days worth of milk in the fridge today, but we don’t have any back stock from previous days to help with demand. So as of today, we are still on the one gallon per family restriction but by Wednesday of next week, we’ll be back to buy all you want.

I’m not sure when the rest of our production will be back in business, but for now we are keeping up, barring any more issues like with #91. Once the rest of the cows deliver their calves, we’ll be back to milkapalooza.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Milk supply is being interrupted. #70 has a bottle calf, #91

Monday we found that we had another little calf on the farm. Seems February is a popular time to drop a calf around here.

Vicente came and told me about lunch time that there was a new calf, but no momma that appeared to be taking care of it. I told him to give it a little time, maybe the mom was recovering, grabbing some food, getting water, whatever. No sense rushing into these things if you can help it. Momma cows have been taking care of calves for a lot longer than we have.

But then Miguel got back and they went to go take a look together. There was a new momma, but she had no interest in the calf. #70 is a first time mom, and apparently had decided that this motherhood thing just wasn’t going to work in her life. The guys brought the mom and daughter up to the barn where we could put them together in a relatively small space. Maybe the mom would figure it out? The baby was immediately trying to nurse but the mom kicked her away, pretty hard actually. Then she head butted her away again. So we took mom back into the barn yard and put her in the head gate. This is the contraption we use to handle sick cows, do surgery, administer medicines if needed, etc.

We got mom inside and then locked her up. We have an access panel to the cows feet so we completely removed it to give calf level access. We also took the cows back leg and tied it up so she couldn’t kick (she tried). This gave access to mom’s area for nursing.

Getting that first so important milk from mom
Getting that first so important milk from mom

The little calf went right to work. It was obvious she was hungry and despite the terrible treatment from her mother she was still at it trying to get milk somewhere. The first milk that a mother cow makes is colostrum. This is the milk that passes down the antibodies and the disease resistance from mom to child. It was vitally important that we get the calf to nurse from her actual mother.

More nursing from #91
More nursing from #91

We spent about 30 minutes letting the little calf nurse all that she could. This entailed hovering over the calf because even though these pictures look calm and cute, the reality was the mom would go crazy trying to get out and away from this little parasite. I’d have to scoop the baby up to keep her from getting hurt, let mom tire herself out, then put the calf back to go back to work.

After the calf had obviously gotten some milk, we put the two back in the stall to see if mom could figure it out now that she’d done it once. She immediately kicked the calf and wanted nothing to do with her. With that result, we went and got Hedy, one of our milk cows.

#91 nursing on Hedy in the milking parlor
#91 nursing on Hedy in the milking parlor

Let me just say for the record. It is AWESOME having a milk cow who was just standing there watching all this going on. Hedy walked up to the barn with me, cool as a cucumber. I put her in the milking parlor, gave her a treat to snack on, and put little #91 in the right spot. She immediately started nursing while Hedy happily munched away. Once the calf had gotten all there was to get, we put everybody back where they needed to be.

Erin, our milker and milk cow wrangler, volunteered to come up and bottle feed the calf that night (Thanks Erin!!) She then put Hedy in the stall with #91 the next morning (while I slept) instead of milking her. Thanks again Erin. I forgot to set my alarm.

#91 nursing in the stall
#91 nursing in the stall

The calf went to town and had a big breakfast and last I looked in on her was running around and bucking and happy. All was good with the calf. Hedy wasn’t really excited about the change in schedule nor with being locked up for the day but we need a mom to take care of this little calf while she gets her strength. She’s going to need it.

This afternoon, we are turning Hedy back out with #91 at her side. At that point, her existing calf is going to take back over the nursing duties. We will have three calves, and two milk cows, all sharing the same pasture. We may have to supplement with bottle feeding as #91 gets her strength and fights for her share of milk. Miguel is going to list her for sale as a bottle calf which some people like to raise. Hopefully we can get #91 sold to a good farm where she can have a good life. I don’t need an extra cow that doesn’t have a mom.

As for #70? We have a good hamburger customer who routinely needs product. She will be taking our next slot at the processor. I’m a big mean farmer with no heart who eats his cute animals. How terrible and dead inside I must be. But you don’t kick a calf around here and get away with it. Especially a cute little defenseless new born calf. #70 is outta here.

I know we were just getting to the point where we had milk routinely in the store. I’m sorry. Things are going to be disrupted for a while until we get this sorted out. I was just about to the point of telling people you can buy all you want, restrictions are over but it looks like we will be on restriction of 1 gallon per family for a bit longer.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Cookies made by the girls

With the colder weather, the girls have gotten back into making their famous cookies. Just in time for me to have to go onto a post holidays diet. Ugh!

I’ve been pretty slack about advertising the cookies. Partly because we’ve had a few Saturdays (they only make them on Saturdays) that the girls haven’t been home, or something went wrong, so there were no cookies. But we are back in a groove and I finally was able to get some pics.

The Princess mixing the cookie dough
The Princess mixing the cookie dough

When I tell people we have home made cookies. I mean it. The girls get up on Saturday mornings and start with flour, sugar, fancy chocolate chips, etc and make true home made cookies. It is their little side business that they do. Well, and making scarves, and hats, and whatever else the dream up. But cookies were first. The cookie sales are independent of the store, they sell them directly. At this point I don’t make them buy ingredients so it is VERY much like a lemonade stand. Plus, if nobody buys any, somebody has to eat all those cookies, right? Guess who that is. It is a pretty sweet deal for the girls (pun intended).

You’ll note that the girls are strategically cropped out of the photos. That is because we have reached a milestone of tween girls. I went from this being funny and no problem to post.

Crazy bed head
The Princess, first thing in the morning, with crazy bed head.

To dad! Don’t take my picture, I haven’t brushed my hair. And don’t you DARE put this on your internet thing! Ahh, girls.

Cookies, ready for sale
Cookies, ready for sale

But I have to admit, the girls baking skills have improved and they need pretty much no hand holding at this point. They get up on their own, make the cookie dough, bake them, pull them cookies and let them cool, wrap them, and bring them to the store, pretty much by themselves. They also wash their hands, put their hair back, and more importantly, remind me to do the same if I get near their work. (Putting my hair back is another story).

This batch of cookies came out a bit flat, which is exactly how I like them. It pained me to not eat them, to me they were perfect.

This coming Saturday, they will probably be fluffy like they are supposed to be because I won’t be helping. Regardless, grab a cookie when you come by. They are $1.00 and go directly to support Barbie dolls, Legos, and stuffed animals.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Two new calves born, #99 and #100 to #61 and #54

Why do things always happen on Sundays?

Apparently when I was feeding, I missed the fact that two calves had been born on the farm. It was raining, and I was desperately trying to get finished so I could go drive about 1000 miles starting as soon as I was done, so maybe I was distracted, or maybe they were born later in the day. Who knows?

Miguel saw the calves first thing Monday morning when he went to check on the cows. #54 and had a little girl, who was tagged as #100. #99 had had a little boy, who was tagged as #99.

Vicente with #100 after checking, tagging, and if it is a boy, banding.
Vicente with #100 after checking, tagging, and if it is a boy (this was a girl), banding.
Mom checking out her calf after tagging
Mom checking out her calf after tagging
#99 just after being ear tagged. Mom is right there. You can tell by the drool on his head.
#99 just after being ear tagged. Mom is right there. You can tell by the drool on his head.
Mom and son together after tagging
Mom and son together after tagging

This whole affair was pretty good. Other than some warm rain, and a delay because I didn’t see the calves, it all went well. Compared to what you ask? Well this was the picture in 2014.

February 13th, 2014

We don’t plan on our calves being born in February. We let the moms and the dads work it out. But I sure am glad for these 60 and 70 degree days. It makes everything much easier.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


How CSA pickups will work, the logistics

Wednesday are going to be the days we handle CSA drop offs and pickups. Our plan is to utilize boxes that are pre-prepared for each customer by Chickadee. They will swing by sometime on Wednesday, prior to our opening at 2pm, and drop off the boxes of fresh produce. By fresh, I mean picked that morning. Each box will be named for each customer.

We will store the boxes in our climate controlled store room, or if it’s too hot, in our walk in cooler to keep everything fresh.

In addition to the boxes of produce, Chickadee will often, but not always, bring some extra produce. This will allow the CSA customer to mix and match their box of produce a bit to suit their needs and preferences. For example, maybe, like me, you don’t like beets (because they are evil). Or maybe, like my wife SWMBO, you think beets are the greatest thing ever (because she, follow the logic here, is obviously evil).

Chickadee will have some extra produce available so that maybe you put back your beets, as any sane person would, but pick up some extra spinach because, yum, spinach salad!. You still get a great box of fresh produce, but you don’t necessarily get locked into that one…weird…vegetable/fruit/thing. 

What is kholrabi anyway? Is it a vegetable? A fruit? An alien construct? I’ll take a tomato sandwich, with a side of hamburger, thank you very much.

There are only a few spots left for the Spring CSA. If you haven’t signed up yet, now is the time! Once the last spot is sold, that is it till the fall CSA.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.