Spots for the CSA are almost gone. Only 15 left!

I visited Chickadee Farm today to check in on how things are going and discuss logistics for our Wednesday CSA deliveries.

Some of the green houses at Chickadee Farm
Some of the green houses at Chickadee Farm

I asked how signups for the CSA program are going and found out that there are only 15 spots left for this year! We have more people than that who are interested so if you are one of the ones thinking about it, better get your name in there because once the spots are gone, they are gone. We have fliers in the store with information, or you can visit the signup page at Chickadee Farms. 

For those that don’t know, Chickadee is an organic principled farm, utilizing natural products and processes to raise all of their products.

Onions growing through straw
Straw makes for an excellent mulch

Chickadee had just plowed some of their fields today and I was able to inspect their soil. For those that know me, I can talk dirt and grass all day. Well this soil looked excellent. Lots of organic matter and a perfect color. It was obviously well taken care of and ready to grow some awesome produce.

While we utilize chips in our operation, Chickadee uses straw (pictured above) for theirs . The straw holds moisture, holds topsoil in place, and breaks down much quicker than chips to add that much needed organic matter to the soil.

We are going to have produce boxes ready for everyone who signs up on Wednesdays. That means you can swing by and get your fresh produce, grab whatever else you need for dinner while you are here, and head for the house. It should be an easy visit to the farm for our CSA customers.

I for one can’t wait to have some fresh produce here on my table.

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.


Cube Steak Alarita Style

Have we all recovered from the “This is Us” crockpot episode? I may never! Rutabaga’s need to use my oven on the daily basis to bake desserts has me using my new trusty crockpot to all of my friends & family’s glee.  After my 2 decades of disdain for crockpot they are all getting a great laugh that I’m using one.  I’ll sit here and eat my humble pie. I’m still not happy with relying on the darn thing. My tween  baker though needs to experiment and bake tasty desserts much to my waistlines demise.

The crazy weather we have been having is wrecking my weekly menu. Today and tomorrow will be in the 60’s the rest of the week will be 40’s. The nice thing though is that it is sunnier here in Raleigh than it was in Nashville during February. I remember one February back in the early 2000’s that we had 0 days of sunshine in Nashville. Good sunshine goes a long ways on cold days.

The folks at Alarita are always full of sunshine though. It is a great family business where I have yet to see one of them smiling. It is pretty contagious when you’re around them. Their happiness for life translates into their products giving you bright happy flavors. Their dry rub has a great herb mixture for my tomatoes with just enough sweetness to dampen the acidity.  The dry rub also works well on roasted veggies. The first time I met Jeanette I took her roasted eggplant with Alarita on it. She was an instant fan & is the one behind my home canned tomatoes I’ll be using today.

Cube steak is a machine tenderized coming from the round. Typically top round. It is one that needs a slow cooking process to help make it tender. Hello Crockpot.  In each package  of NCF Cube steak there are 3-4 steak(mostly 4)  priced at $9 per lb. Perfectly portioned for a hearty meal when the sun goes down and it turns cold out.  Alarita Seasoning runs $8 a bottle, buy it this will not be the only recipe you use it for.  This is one spice I use frequently in my cooking. Finally I’m going to top this meal at the end with Redneck Romano as tomatoes slow cooked beg for cheese. Redneck Romano is sold for 9.45 per lb and is sold in 8 oz wedges in our store.

Now to  throw everything into the pot set it and forget it till dinner. Try not to think of Jack too much.


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.


Chocolate milk comes from brown cows

16.4 million americans thing chocolate milk comes from brown cows

Uh oh. I really didn’t think this was going to happen. I mean, I “might” mention that we get our chocolate milk from our brown cows on our tours. I always do it tongue in cheek of course. And we get a good laugh from it. Don’t we? I thought people understood I was kidding.

And 16.4 million people? I don’t think we’ve had that many people through here. We do see a lot of people, but not in the millions. Of course, there is that Winston Churchill quote,

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Does this mean we are going to have to start telling the truth on our tours? How boring! I like to have fun on tours and have people laughing. I’d hate to do a boring, Ferris Bueller tour.

Spork gives most of the tours here now and when people come back into the store after the tour, I’ll usually ask them how the tour was. It routinely goes something like this.

Customer, “Great, Spork did a great job. Very informative.”

Me, “That’s great. And you got to see the (cows, piglets, baby chickens, etc)?”

Customer, “Oh yes, we loved it. They were so cute. Little (Timmy, Susie, Elvis, etc) really loved them.”

Me, “Did you have any questions that he couldn’t answer? Anything I can answer for you since I’m the farmer?”

Customer, “Oh no, he did a very good job.”

Me, “That’s great. Did you figure out the lie yet?”

Customer, “Wha…What? What lie?”

Me, “Oh, Spork always tells at least one lie during to tour to see if you’ll know the difference (totally not true). Did you figure out what it was?”

Customer, “Um, uh. No…..”

Me, “Oh, I’m sure he told you the truth this time. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

In all seriousness, I do actually tell the customer the truth. And I only do this little joke to people who seem like they would appreciate it. It always gets a laugh. But I do tell the kids that we get chocolate milk from the brown cow, and 1/2 chocolate, and 1/2 vanilla from Betsy who is white and black. So I guess I am responsible for this alarming statistic that started this whole post.

So the moral of this story is, be educated on where your food comes from. Know your farmer…and know when he’s messing with you.

Also, tours are free on Saturdays, so if you want to come and see where the chocolate milk comes from, schedule a tour for today and see for yourself.

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.


Farmer fun

 

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.


A classic email about the dangers of electric fences

I received this email many years ago from my neighbor Dustin. Dustin is now a salty farmer having been involved in fires, shootings, processing animals, and pretty much everything else that happens on a farm. You can’t really excite him at this point with farm shenanigans.

However at a time in the distant past, Dustin was a database nerd from California who knew pretty much nothing about farming and was a new tenant here on the farm.

He’d recently acquired a dog, Virginia, and he decided that she needed to be kept in the back yard, in the fence. Not wherever she decided to roam and to get in trouble.

This story is even funnier if you know the end, which is that Virginia since has run of the house and can come and go outside as she pleases. Despite this freedom, she can be found, almost incessantly, asleep on Dustin’s bed rather than outside causing any mischief.

But at this distant period of time, it was assumed she would make it her life’s goal to escape and cause havoc on the farm. Dustin, being responsible, was trying to assure she’d stay inside.

This email, which was recently unearthed from the vast archives of emails past, was the result.

So, this morning, after some poor life choices involving a very heavy roll of wire fencing, I decided to put up a hot wire to keep the dog in the back yard (and thus prevent her from eating the chickens).  Several stores later, I had a roll of wire, some insulater clippy things, and an ADU (Automatic Devil Unit) that would electrify about 10 miles of hot wire.  I brought it back to the house and, in pouring rain, started installing the clips.  I strung the wire, ran some Romex from the ADU to the fence – which I cut too long – ran some more from the ADU to the grounding rod – which I cut to short – and wired it all together.  Then I took it apart and wired it up the right way and plugged it in.  The light blinked as lights do, but there was no popping noise, I think I need to drive the ground in deeper, for which I’ll need a much heavier hammer than I have.  Still, I thought, it’s probably ok.

Now, damp from rain and perspiration, I went into the backyard to check the wire.  An amateur would have unplugged the ADU first, however, after careful consideration I concluded, “meh” and left it on.  I stood at the end of the wire, which looked fine to me, and thought that I should test it.  After all, if I wasn’t willing to get at least one shock, how could I inflict the several it would take Virginia to learn to stop biting it?  So, I decided to touch it.

Really.

Here we go now.

And, like a junior high girl dissecting a frog (like, eww) I brushed the wire with the tip of my finger.  Nothing happened, naturally causing me to snatch my hand back like I’d been hit with a hammer.  I tried again, nothing.  I touched it longer, waiting for the pulse, nothing.  I grabbed it and shook it, hoping to unclog the automatic devils.  Nada.  I drew upon my vast electrical knowledge and decided that Something Was Wrong.  I walked the perimeter and found that the wire was touching the metal fence – ah ha!  An amateur would have checked for that first, pfft.  Now, it didn’t immediately occur to me that the wire was touching the fence between me and the ADU, thus shunting the current into the ground before it got to me.  That turned out to be important.  I went back in the house, retrieved not one but several clippy things (I know, smart, right?).  While I was sure the hot wire was anything but, I nonetheless exercised caution while threading the clip onto the wire.  An amateur would have turned off the ADU first, but being not an amateur but a great fool, I decided to leave it on and just “be careful”.  One clip installed.  Cake.  Moving on.  I found another spot where the wire wasn’t touching, but if, say, we had a hurricane or very strong earthquake, it might have touched.  I threaded another clip onto the wire and tried to attach it to the fence.  It resisted, so in an effort to force it, I grabbed the steel pole driven into the ground with one hand and the wire with the other.

At this point several things happened at once, most of which I can’t remember.  What I do remember is thinking very loudly “Fu©k”, which came out verbally as “Hngh”, and letting go of the wire.  Deciding that “Safety Third” isn’t always the best policy, I unplugged the ADU before finishing the adjustments.  If the dog gets the same jolt I did and still gets out, I’m just going to buy Dan more chickens.  If she can shrug that off, I’m not messing with her.

My fingers feel salty, and my hamburger tastes like the color blue, and I think I can see glitches in the Matrix out of the corner of my eye, but I’m sure I’m fine.

Dustin

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.


#23 goes to the processor

January and February are our slowest months of the year. It is a bit of a shock after November and December, which are our busiest months of the year. But after the craziness of the holidays, most people tend to hunker down for the rest of the winter and nurse their expanded waistline (me too!) and the bloated credit card bills. Come March, things start picking up and then by April we are back into the swing of things.

Because of this timing, I have to schedule my times with the processor accordingly. June? Need two cows that month at the processor. January? I don’t need any. Why process a cow and stuff the freezers full of beef, only to have it sit till March anyway?

Except this year, I guess everybody went on the hamburger diet. I don’t know. But we are nearly out of hamburger, and short on a number of other things. I have a cow that is slated to go as our next hamburger cow, but it takes 90 days to get on the schedule there, meaning it will be spring before I can get any meat back. That just won’t do.

Fortunately, a local processor has been trying to get me to bring them a cow so that I could try out their services. They are not nearly as backed up as my normal processor, which could be a sign. But they are an old processor under new ownership so they are supposedly trying to turn things around. We can give them a try, and get ourselves out of this bind. A win-win.

We should have fresh beef back from the processor next week, probably Thursday. It will mostly be hamburger, because that is what we are short on, but I did select some ribeyes and filets in the cut sheet as well.

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.


Tacos

Has Taco Tuesday been a regular event in your household for years? It has been in mine. Our daughter loves Taco Tuesday. We do a variety of tacos, fajitas, & enchiladas to keep up variety. Rutabaga never realized that Taco Tuesday was an actual thing until the Lego Movie came out.  Now that she knows it is a thing she is try to also get a Taco Thursday on the schedule every week. Some weeks I give in. My tween could eat tacos at every meal.

 

One of the things that I like to do is avoid spice packets. High Blood Pressure and Heart disease run through my family like the Mississippi.  Those nice little flavor packets at the grocery store are easily reproducible at home with an even better flavor.  And the great news is that you can control the sodium. While I love Pinterest for their recipes I hate the “packet of this, packet of that” recipes. When you look at the sodium suddenly you’re eating a weeks worth of sodium in one sitting. Eeek! In the NCF store we sell the taco shells for $5.75 per pack.

Let’s talk taco shells for just a moment. While the  filling of the taco is important so is the shell. Typically I prefer soft shell, however we recently began carrying Mamacita’s Taco Shells.  You know those yummy Tortilla Chips that we carry. They’re now making them into Taco Shells.

This recipe is simple just use quality ingredients. Ground Beef in the NCF store is $7.99 a lb. Ground Chuck (if you want a steak flavor) is $8.75 lb. Both of these grounds run fairly low fat. I do not drain off the fat. I’m a believer that fat is what makes your brain release the hormones to let you know to quit eating.

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.