Posted on

Still, snow

Spring is here!  Wait… spring is here??  Could have fooled me.  May not be much more snow in the forecast, but there’s too much on the ground for my liking.  Even with all the melting, there’s still too much snow in the pasture behind the barn for us to get out and fix the electric fence.  Looks like the cows will be cooped up for a little while longer.

I think it was two years ago that we had an incredibly mild winter, almost no snow.  I was out in the fields on the tractor in the last week of March, turning the soil.  This year, we’ll still have snow on the ground in April, and who knows when the ground will firm up enough for tillage.  The good news is that our first leeks and onions are sprouting in the greenhouse.  Let’s hope for some heat so that we can get a home ready for them in the garden.

As long as winter intends to stick around for at least another week, you may as well do some more roasting and braising.  We have several different cuts of beef and pork that would be great in the oven or crock-pot.

We should have some carrots this week, but the supply may be limited.  Either way this will be the last week for carrots, still just $0.75 / lb on account of their rough outside appearance.  Also, note that pickup will be at the Brigham Hill Community Barn FROM 3PM TO 6PM through the end of April.

Posted on

February homegrown dinner

IMG_20130329_115452_026

Made dinner last weekend, looked at the plate, and realized that everything was home-grown. Even at the end of February.  Skillet pork chops, oven-steamed balsamic beets, mashed celeriac and carrots, sauerkraut.  For the beets, I used one very large Cylindra beet that yielded dinner for two with plenty of leftovers for a cold beet salad.  Seems to me that the Cylindra beets take a bit longer to soften up, and are even good with just a bit of crunch left to them.  Great flavor.  If crazy big long beets aren’t your thing, the Detroit Dark Red round beets will do just as well.

Nothing fancy, not more than two or three ingredients per dish.  But so good.  And it’s taken me longer to write this than to actually do all the cooking.

Do the beets first, then the chops so you can just turn down the heat in the oven when the beets finish.

Oven-steamed Balsamic Beets:  Heat oven to 450F.  Peel and chop beets.  Place beets into some kind of baking dish that can be covered.  Add salt, pepper, a few tablespoons of olive oil,  and a lot of balsamic vinegar.  Add enough vinegar to get to the point where you think to yourself, “Man, I think that’s too much vinegar.”  Cover the beets and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.  Stir them around a couple of times during baking.

Mashed Celeriac and Carrots:  Peel and chop 1 medium celeriac and 3 large carrots, so that you have about equal amounts of each.  Bring a pot of slated water to a boil, add chopped roots, cook until tender.  Pour out the water and then mash roots with a couple tablespoons of butter (or a few, but several might be overdoing it), and enough milk (or cream, or half and half) to get the consostency you want.

Perfect Pork Chops: Heat oven to 350F. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of a couple of chops. Really, don’t be shy with the salt. In a hot skillet, sear one side of the chops for 1 minute. Flip them over, and sear the other side for another minute. Put about a teaspoon of coconut oil on top of each and finish them in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, move to plate or platter, and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Posted on

Hey, hay buffet

IMG_20150220_121459618

Busy morning today.  Up to Tufts to grab a round bale for the cows, but now they are all set for the next few days, at least.  Paul and I spent some time trying to rake the snow drift off of the barn roof, to make room for more coming.  Looks like some snow – just a bit – this weekend, but hey, at least it will be mixed with some rain.  And then possibly some more mid-week, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.  One thing is certain – this year, we’re going to have one heck of a mud season.  Might have to invest in a pair of bog waders just to get anything done during the month of April.  But spring will come, one way or another, and we better get ready.  Time to get the seed order finished, and to start tracking down some animals to stock our pastures.

More snow may be in the forecast, but it looks like we are in the clear for Monday.  Plenty of carrots, beets, and celeriac to go around, and still a decent selection of beef and pork.

Posted on

Back in Business

IMG_20150127_113859215

Just before the first big storm in this completely unholy string of snowstorms, the John Deere tractor decided that it was not going to start.  And so, in spite of the kind efforts of some neighbors and a mysterious stranger with a very large machine, the snow has really been piling up in front of the barn.  Well, after a lot of head-scratching and a full complement of scraped knuckles, I finally got the tractor running again.  Starter motor had finally given up the ghost after 40 years of service – a relatively simple and inexpensive fix once I finally figured out what the problem was.  There’s really nothing like the sound of an old diesel motor turning over and roaring to life on a cold winter afternoon.  And those fumes, those incredible fumes!  That is the smell of victory, my friends.  And just in time to get things cleared up a little bit before we get whacked with another foot of powder.  Let’s hope that the old tractor can push through the accumulated snow drifts deposited in front of the barn by a very crotchety Old Man Winter.

Looks like we’ll finally have a snow free Monday, so we’ll be back in business at the Brigham Hill Community Barn.  Hit the website to place your orders.

Thanks!!