Pan Seared Chicken Hearts

I can see the Eww’s coming across the screen already. Hold tight though and take a trip further into the Culinary World.  Recently we’ve had several international clients request Chicken Hearts.  After consideration and a few rounds of cooking them. I declare they are tasty must have treats. Easy to make and man are they good, like I now crave them type of good.  The taste and flavor is as if a steak and a chicken thigh mixed together.

This past March my husband had to travel to Brazil on business. When he returned he raved about the food and being forced to try new things. Now the man is not the most adventurous eater due to some food allergies (okra and shellfish). In fact we were a bit worried about the language barrier and proceeded to take a crash course in Portuguese so he could safely eat. To hear he was trying new food excited me so I asked what his favorites were to spice up our weekly menu.  When he said chicken hearts I about dropped my jaw on the floor.  In fact he couldn’t wait to share them with the family. I’ll cook most anything he requests.  Let’s go!

Note: Your house will get smokey. Open 2 widows and place a fan in  each window. One pointing in one pointing out.

Chicken Hearts are provided by our wonderful partner Christy over at Brittany Ridge Farms located in Hookerton, NC. We charge $4 lb for these tasty morsels.  These are quite simple to cook quickly and would be great served with salad or as the meat component to a meal. Have a party and offer them as a daredevil bite. Drop by today from 2-6 to get your own.

Have I scared you off yet? Just remember in this whole Farm to Fork world we need to eat all parts of the animal not just a few.  Try them you won’t regret it.

We have eggs back in stock

  A number of you are waiting on eggs. I just stocked the fridge with a whole bunch of them so they are first come, first serve. 

Of course we have plenty of pork and a bunch of hamburger and roasts in stock as well, not the mention all the honey, soap, and jams from Buck Naked Farm. 
I will be around some today and all this weekend so let me know when you want to come by and pick up your loot. 

Egg rationing in the US?

SWMBO sent me the following article on egg rationing due to the Avian flu in the US. Since we don’t buy eggs, this was news to me. I don’t know if this is doom and gloom or just the latest weird happening in the world.

A dozen perfect farm fresh chicken eggs
A dozen perfect farm fresh chicken eggs

Either way the good news is, we still have plenty of farm fresh eggs ready to sell so if you need some eggs to go along with your fourth of July celebration, then make sure to grab some while you are getting your burger and sausage for the grill. Just shoot me an email if you want to stop by and stock up. dan@ninjacowfarm.com

We have eggs!

I was receiving a shipment from another farmer today and the owner mentioned that she had an extra case of pasture raised chicken eggs on the truck and didn’t know why. Must be some mixup when they were loading she assumed.

Me, “Um, so they are extra.”

Her, “Yep.”

Me, “Wanna sell them?”

Her, “Sure, why not.”

A dozen perfect farm fresh chicken eggs
A dozen perfect farm fresh chicken eggs

There are now 9 dozen eggs in the fridge for whoever wants to stop by and buy them. Since I get a request about every other day for eggs, I doubt they will last long so its first come, first serve. I’ll be here till about 4pm today and around all weekend so just let me know if you want to stop by and get some eggs, or chicken, or pork, or beef. We have it all right now!

We have pastured, Organic, CHICKEN in stock!!

We’ve had requests for long enough (mainly from SWMBO) and we’ve finally been able to come through with a quality source of Organic chicken. I had to drive nearly to Virginia to pick up these birds but I think the drive is going to be worth it.

The pork freezer, temporarily housing all the chicken we just received.
The pork freezer, temporarily housing all the chicken we just received. There’s lots more in there you can’t see. The lights are still not installed in the sales room.

I’ve been talking to John at Healthy Hen Farms for some time now, learning about his practices and today I was finally able to pick up my first order. John and his two oldest girls handled the whole transaction, including the tour of his setup. I saw their entire operation from brooders, to chicken tractors, to processing floor, to storage. Everything was small operation, small farm, grass based, and as clean as it could be.

Birds out on pasture, in Salatin style chicken tractors.
Birds out on pasture, in Salatin style chicken tractors.

His birds looked great and I’m looking forward to hooking up some of our long time customers to get their reaction to this new source of protein.

Chickens on pasture in Joel Salatin style chicken tractors
Chickens on pasture in Joel Salatin style chicken tractors

John has 6 kids, all home schooled, so I feel good about supporting his farm. This also lets us focus on pigs and cows and leave the specialty chicken farming to John.

A little closer view of the birds on grass.
A little closer view of the birds on grass.

Hurry and get by before SWMBO and my kids eat all this chicken. All the pricing and details on cuts are on our new chicken page.

A proper funeral for some chicks

Last weekend Miguel, Emily, and I were all running around trying to get all the farm work done. In the middle of everything going on, The Princess and Wildflower came over and started some sort of project in the barnyard. It’s not unusual for them to come out and play about something. Sometimes they climb the bales of hay, sometimes to make special meals out of the produce we have in the barnyard waiting to feed then go our and hand feed the animals.

This time they were digging a hole. I finally stopped to see what they were up to, and they showed me this.

Girls and a chick funeral
The Princess and Wildflower with their creation

I didn’t even get a chance to ask what they were doing. The excitedly told me that some of the new chicks had died (which we knew) and that they had taken them out of the barn and buried them. As you can see, the spot they picked was right off the main road in and out of the farm so the chicks wouldn’t get lonely with all the traffic.

Chick grave site
Hard work for a nice chick grave site

There are multiple layers here, including a hay bed above and below the chicks so they don’t get cold, moss covering, of course dirt, some rocks, and a grave marker. Of course I thanked the girls for taking such good care of the little chicks and informed everyone to avoid this area as long as possible so as not to disturb the site. Eventually this grave, like all of us, will return to the earth but in the meantime, I’m thankful for little girls on the farm.

No more chickens available at our farm

Chicken puppet
The Princess’s chicken puppet.

We have been raising meat chickens for a few years now and have yet to do it profitably. We just don’t have the desire to go large scale on chickens to make the financials make sense and small scale is a lot of labor for very little return. With that said, we are getting out of the chicken business for now to focus on our beef and pork business, which do make financial sense.

That doesn’t mean you won’t see chickens running around here when you come for a tour, but they will be for personal use or for egg laying. I’m taking the chicken page off of our website and off of our advertisements. I know a lot of you are looking for a good source of chicken in our area. I’m sorry we aren’t going to be able to help you out however we will be able to keep you in pork and beef going forward so there is some positive. There may come a time in the future where we do dive back into meat chickens but for now I need to focus on the main product, which is beef and pork. If we get back into chickens, you’ll be the first to know.

What our animals eat, besides grass.

Cows enjoying a buffet of fresh vegetables
Cows enjoying a buffet of fresh vegetables

I’ve posted here many times before about this topic, but it’s routine that I get questions from a new reader or customer.

“Do your cows eat GMO grains?”

“Do your cows eat corn feed?”

What you see in this picture is an example of what our cows eat every day, except for in the winter when they eat lots and lots of hay. Our cows eat produce coming from two different farmers markets every day, 365 days a year. Here you see them happily munching on a large pile of summer sweet corns husks. Each pallet (there are two full pallets in this picture) is full of watermelons and mixed in the whole shooting match is tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cantaloupe and anything else you can imagine growing in a garden in the heart of summer. This fall there will be winter squash, pumpkins, lettuce, collards, etc. The cows have about 1000-2000 pounds of this produce a day. This is a supplement, one that they LOVE by the way, to the intensive paddock shift grazing that we do on our farm assuring that our cows get the best of the grass we have each day. At no time do our cows get ANY commercial feed. In fact, at this point, nothing on our farm is getting commercial feed, including the new batch of meat chickens we just received.

Speaking of the new chickens. Here is a test run of the new setup for feeding them. We scavenged a sink and disposal from someone’s kitchen remodel. Luckily we were able to get a nice big 3/4 hp garbage disposal in excellent shape. A quick build by Miguel to get everything mounted and wired and we have a very functional food mill. It does a great job grinding produce into a mush and along with a little water it makes a wonderful chicken food mash. The baby chicks have been started on this mash since day one. At first I was worried they wouldn’t like it but after giving them a little time to figure out what it was, we found that not only did they eat the mash, they absolutely cleaned the bucket. By clean, I mean it looks brand new and polished when they are done. There is NO waste, NO cast-off like there is with chicken feed. For those of you with chickens, you know that they toss an unnerving amount of their feed when they eat. They aren’t messy, they just don’t care much for the commercial feed. Every single speck of mash is gone when they get done with this new setup. I’m already excited for October when this batch of chickens is ready, to see what a difference sunshine, exercise, and a pure vegetable/bug diet does for them.

Anybody want to come process chickens in October?

More work on our bloated steer, #40

bloated cow having a trocar installed
#40, back in the head gate awaiting his shave and trocar install.

I’ve written already about treating #40 for bloat. Yesterday we had to continue our treatment and expand what we were doing. Before we could do anything though, we had to get him in the head gate. Unfortunately, by this point he’s pretty aware of what happens when he gets in the head gate and we spent quite a bit of time chasing him around the barn yard. Usually a cow will go where you point him, or at least away from you however this particular cow has ninja blood in him and he decided that the best thing to do was to run straight through Miguel and I. After I landed on my posterior the second time I decided to go get the one cow implement I’d never used, the cattle prod. The batteries were old because it had been sitting in the corner for years, never opened, but it seemed to work well enough to get our little ninja back in the mood to do what we said. I don’t like shocking cows, but I don’t like cows that don’t behave either. So dripping with sweat we locked him in the head gate and went to work.

We tried to be minimally invasive on our previous treatments with our steer since we had had such good luck with the other cows. We only bled off the offending gas and did a small treatment of DSS. Then we monitored the steer for how he was doing and repeated the treatment if things were not progressing well.

Finally yesterday we decided that minimal care wasn’t enough and we had to install a trocar. The trocar holds the rumen and skin open and allows the gas to vent outside allowing the rumen a chance to settle down and pretty much guaranteeing no more bloat.

Our steer is still not feeling chipper but now we have ready access to his rumen to apply more DSS or whatever else we need to try. Hopefully tomorrow will see him feeling better and things beginning to progress towards him getting back in the pasture.

Lastly, a shout out to Summit Equine in Apex, our vet, who helped us through all these bloat cases and helped us with the gear to be able to treat the easy cases ourselves on farm. Being able to treat on-farm is better for us and better for the cow.