Great news just in time for the weekend. Weeping Radish dropped by this morning and delivered Uncured Hot Dogs, Beer Bratwurst, & Linguiça. Hopefully next week they will have our Pastrami & Roast Beef ready for delivery.
Hot dogs $7 lb 4 per pack in pork casing
Linguica $10.50 lb
Beer Bratwurst $10.50lb
We’ll be sampling the new products this weekend, stock up for Memorial Day cookouts.
We recycle more than we actually farm around here. If you’ve been on a tour, you’ve heard me drone on about what we do, 7 million pounds of produce diverted from the landfill, two truck loads of pallets per month, 16,000 pounds of cardboard per month. Blah, blah, blah.
These numbers are estimates and averages. We know a box of food for the pigs weighs about 1000 pounds when full. We “know” because I know when the tractor starts tipping from being overloaded. Is it really 1000 pounds? I don’t know. Maybe it’s 900, maybe it’s 1100. Heck maybe it’s 1400 pounds. It’s not like I’ve actually weighed the thing. There is only one item that we weigh regularly and that is the cardboard.
Once per month, I take our big trailer and load 10 bales of cardboard, which should weigh about 16,000 based on the first few times we took cardboard to the recycler. That’s where the 16k per month number comes from. I take the truck and trailer over to the recycler off Poole Road and drive the entire rig across the scales where I’m weighed before and after unloading. After I get done, I receive a weigh ticket, that looks like this.
First you see our gross weight as we go across the scales inbound. That’s 40,460 pounds! Yikes that is heavy. This is why I insist on excellent brakes on our equipment. Then we see our Tare weight or empty weight of 18,400. The difference in these two weights is what the 10 bales of cardboard weigh. That weight for this load is 22,060 pounds! So much for 16,000 pounds per month. In fact, the last three tickets have averaged 19,773 pounds! That means that we are recycling, at this run rate, almost a quarter million pounds of cardboard annually! All of this cardboard previously went into the landfill along with the produce so this is true change for the environment.
This 250,000 annual pounds of cardboard is in addition to the 7 million pounds of produce we are recycling annually. And the 6 truck loads of plastic totes annually. And the 1000 yards of chips that we receive from tree companies annually for using in the pig paddocks. The chips were going to the landfill as well. And the various wood totes, boxes, etc. We don’t even count them.
I guess this might explain why I’m speaking at the FoodCon 2016 Food Waste panel at NC State in November. Looking at everyone else on the schedule, I don’t think I’m qualified. But looking at what we are doing, it looks like I might fit in. We’ll see. Hanging around academics and government types isn’t my usual day. I will have to remember to behave. And wear non-farmer clothes.
This past week, I picked up our first load of hay for the winter. This is the first of about 140 bales of hay we’ll bring to the farm this fall in preparation for winter munchies. Our cows are grass fed and grass finished so besides the green growing grass we have currently, this is what they get all winter. I get the vast majority of my hay from one farmer in Clayton but Dan the Hay Man, pictured above, had some cow hay he was willing to let me purchase again this year so I grabbed a load while he still had some available. This is a good deal because Dan only grows horse hay (a higher quality hay) but occasionally he’ll have a bit of hay that wasn’t just perfect, making it great for cows (they are less finicky).
The trick with getting hay to the farm is:
You need a day where both you and the farmer can meet. That means no tours or customers for me, and no day job or other commitments for the farmer.
You need a day where it hasn’t rained in at least a 3-4 days because, fully loaded, a hay trailer is very heavy and will get stuck in the field trying to get out.
You need a day where all vehicles are running with no break downs.
All employees have shown up work
And nothing has gone wrong on either end (sick cow, escaped pig, down tree, etc).
By the rules above, that means we can get one, maybe two loads of hay every third alternate Tuesday. Since it takes 9 loads of hay to get us through the winter, by my math it takes about two months to get our hay to the farm. That means I’m already behind! Only 120 bales to go.
Ninja Cow Farm is now carrying a wide arrange of lamb products from High Rock Farm and Thistledown Farm. Dan goes to great lengths to search out small farms that meet his standards. He wants clients to get the best flavor of ethically raised, local meat possible.
Imagine tasty lamb as a burger, now as a fancy cheeseburger. This is a meal to impress friends. The grand total for it should ring in under $25 for 4. I served this decadent slider with a small simple salad and vinaigrette. A great way to introduce your kids to a more complex flavor palate without spending $75 at a nice restaurant that serves lamb.
In this recipe, I’m going to teach you how to make Chevre into a condiment called crema. It is a simple way to use a semi-soft cheese, turning it into a spread.
1 small log of Celebrity Dairy Chevre
1/4 cup Simply Natural Dairy Heavy Cream
Slice all rind off of the chevre log. * While some prefer the flavor of rind I’m not a fan. It is not so friendly when melting down into a sauce.
Crumble or cut Chevre into small pieces we want this to melt into the cream quickly.
Using a heavy bottomed pan heat cream over a lo-med heat. Stir often as the fat & sugar content will cause cream to scorch quickly.
When cream is beginning to steam whisk chevre into cream. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, serve warm.
1 lb of Ground lamb from the NCF store
Salt & Pepper
Bring lamb up to room temperature by setting on counter for 1 hour before cooking.
Separate into 2 ounce patties. Yes they are small but with the bun and added ingredients it will be filling. Theses are sliders.
Season meat 5 minutes before frying.
Warm cast iron pan on med-hi heat, let this heat thoroughly, you want to get a nice crust on the lamb patty.
Add seasoned lamb patties to hot pan, after 2 minutes check to see if the release easily and flip. If they don’t wait 45 seconds and try again.
Remove from heat let rest for 3 minutes. Place on bun & dress to your liking.
These are rich flavors, the best way to not be overwhelmed by them is to add a bit of acid. To do that I added pickled red onion and a garden fresh tomato slice. Ru & my brother added ketchup to theirs. My husband (the short bearded man spotted periodically on the farm) added mustard to his. Lots of ways to dress a slider and none of them are wrong.
For dessert I highly recommend Celebrity Dairy’s Ginger Goat’s Milk Gelato.
I mentioned Benjamin in this morning’s post and it occurred to me that I had not actually made a post about Benjamin. Benjamin is a bull we purchased last year from a fellow cattleman who was getting out of the business. Benjamin is a Spring Field bull which means he’s a superstar, bred for performance. When we give tours, even people who have no idea about cows remark about Benjamin and how massive he is.
There is a bit of an exaggeration in the above picture because Ben is a bit closer but it’s close enough to get the idea. Benjamin is easily twice the size of the year old steer beside him.
I noted in some previous posts that the flies were especially bad this year. We did do something about it. We built the contraption pictured above, with Benjamin as the Vanna White model. This mobile back scratcher lets the cows rub the areas where the flies congregate and treats them to try to keep the numbers down. In case you’re wondering, the wheels and tires are from the bent axle we replaced on our little trailer. Nothing goes to waste. As you can see Benjamin barely fits under the metal cross bars. The year old calf in the first picture can’t even reach the white part to scratch his back.
Benjamin is a good bull, and will be with us another 18 months or so before he moves on to a new owner. At that time, Boyd will take over as our herd bull and we will sell of Curious so there’s no incest. That’s assuming father and son can get along for that long.
We’ve really added some nice genetics into our herd with Benjamin and that should continue with Boyd into the future. Boyd likely won’t be the specimen that Benjamin is, but after what happened to Maggie, I think I’ll take a bit smaller bull.
Wednesday of this week we were blessed with another little bull calf here on the farm. This is another Benjamin calf. For those that don’t know, Benjamin is our bull. Benjamin is HUGE and as nice of a bull as you’d want to meet. He eats out of my hand, gentle as a lamb and is usually the last one out of the paddock or to the food when we feed. However every once in a while a bull calf will test him and end up on his butt for the effort, usually after doing a flip or two. He does make some pretty calves though.
Benjamin is a full-blooded black Angus, with no white markings on him at all. Our cows are baldy Angus, with white faces and some white markings. It’s neat to see the calves which have smaller white markings but Angus shining through.
I didn’t want to take too long at this point. We had just ear tagged this calf and banded him (that’s how you castrate them young) so besides being born, he’d already had quite a day. I didn’t want to pose him too.