We’ve been absent from our markets for the past few weeks… settling into the new farm and getting everything ready for the farmer’s market season. We’re so excited to get back into the swing of things this afternoon with our first Summer 2013 CSA drop and with our first ever attendance at the Norcross Whistle Stop Market!! We’ll be in Marietta on Saturday at the Marietta Square Farmer’s Market.
We’ve been hard at work trying to catch up after some pretty heavy rains a couple of weeks back. The ground finally dried up enough to get in hundreds of tomato plants, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, and more! While we wait for those to ripen we’ll be harvesting a variety of late spring produce – Asian cabbages, radishes, turnips, baby arugula, raab, kale, mustards and more!
Baby Tomatoes – ready to go in the ground!
Beyond the garden, our flock of sheep is enjoying rotating through the lush green pasture! Both Mocha and Latte (or newest lambs) are doing great and growing so fast!
Our heritage breed pigs have been busy munching on acorns (and EVERYTHING else!) and clearing the woods! We’ll have pork available at our markets in a couple of weeks.
Springtime is a wonderful time of year. After the cold and grey of winter, the spring signifies a rebirth of life. Grass begins growing again, trees green up, flowers bloom, the days get longer and the weather warmer.
Nowhere is this felt (and appreciated!) more than on a farm. This time of year is exciting… you kinda feel a little giddy like a kid on Christmas morning. So much opportunity, promise, and work for the season ahead. A great time of year.
We’re a little ahead of the season – on the back end of winter still. But with daylight savings time this past Sunday we wanted to go ahead and share a few pictures of our early spring. New life sprouting up all over the place – literally. High hopes and big dreams, looking forward to the warm days ahead.
Our first new lamb in 2013 – Latte!
A few of the thousands of plants started for the garden.
Great quote from an innovative, inspiring leader of the sustainable food movement:
I find it amazing that the conservative/ liberal mantra, when it comes to resource stewardship, has flip-flopped. You would think the liberals, who can’t give other people’s money away fast enough, would be the ones wanting to strip out all the energy. But that’s not the case. The conservatives, who correctly think people should keep what they earn, are the ones seemingly least interested in conserving natural resources. These stereotypical political agendas always get squirrely to me. That’s why I call myself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic. It seems to cover all my important bases.
- Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, Inc., Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
In our supermarket world of boneless, skinless chicken parts packed on plastic trays wrapped in cellophane, the idea of working with a whole chicken can be intimidating. It’s okay, there’s no shame. Hell, you’d be more likely to see a frozen, vacuum-packed box of chicken nuggets in the grocery store than you would be a whole chicken. So what are you supposed to do with that thing that ACTUALLY resembles a chicken?
No worries. Truth is, there are few dishes of equal caliber that are as simple, versatile, and satisfying as roasting a whole chicken. And what better time of year to enjoy a roasted chicken than Fall? The cold nights and short days may keep you off the grill, but our whole roast chicken recipes keep your taste buds happy while you stay warm inside.
We recommend that this recipe be used with a real free range chicken – one that spends it’s life on pasture, munching on green forage and enjoying the fresh air sunshine. Look for the term “pastured” or “pasture-raised”, as free range has been hijacked by the industry’s marketing department. While we admit to being a little bias, the roasting process is perfectly suited to a pasture-raised chicken. The lifestyle, diet, and age of development create rich, complex flavors that are unleashed on the taste buds with this slower cooking technique.
Try the Garlic-Lemon Roast Chicken for a classic recipe, or for something a little more appropriate to the season, try out the Apple & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken. Either way you can’t go wrong.
Garlic-Lemon Roast Chicken- Serves 4-6
1 pasture-raised chicken
2 small lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 halved
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400. Rinse and pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan.
2. Put 1/2 of the sliced onions and lemons and all of the crushed garlic under the skin of the chicken. Stuff the remaining onions and lemons in the cavity of the chicken.
3. Truss the chicken.
4. Rub the skin with butter and then salt and pepper all over.
5. Put in the roasting pan breast side up. Put chicken in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until the thigh meat reaches 160 degrees and the juices run clear.
6. Cover with foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting.
Apple-Thyme Glazed Chicken – serves 4-6
1 pasture-raised chicken
1 small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
2 granny smith apples (or other tart variety), thinly sliced
2 small onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp apple jelly
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400. Rinse and pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan.
2. Arrange half of the sliced onions and apples and a few sprigs of thyme on the bottom of the roasting pan.
3. Stuff alternating slices of apple and onion under the skin of the chicken. Place the remaining sprigs of thyme under the skin. Like so:
4. Stuff any remaining apples and onions in the cavity of the chicken and truss the chicken.
5. Place in the roasting pan breast side up. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put butter, jelly, and vinegar in a saucepan and just melt to combine.
6. Remove the chicken from the oven and baste using all of the glaze. Return to the oven for 40 minutes or until the thigh meat reaches 160 degrees and the juices run clear.
7. Cover with foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting.
The Mondays… ehh. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Think Office Space (see below clip – I can’t resist). Think, “Wow, that weekend went by way too fast.” Think – traffic, work meetings, office politics, and 5 days straight staring at the same damn computer screen. It seems like Friday is forever away, and – wait a minute – is the second hand on the clock ticking slower than usual? Weird. The computer fires up. Whoosh! A flood of emails commandeers the screen. BRRIIINNGG!The phone starts ringing off the hook. You feel your blood pressure rise, sigh deeply, sip some coffee. Settle in, it’s going to be another long week.
Oh yeah… the Mondays. Part of the reason why I left my comfy desk job in the city. The steady paychecks, the nice benefits, the climate controlled office and reasonable work hours. I needed a change, a different pace, something more fitting to my personality.
Fortunately – and I use the term loosely – I’d recently been reading several books by Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms and a featured personality in the documentary Food, Inc. Megan (my wife) and I have always been into food, for health and enjoyment reasons. True foodies, we’ve worked in restaurants and catering, owned (very briefly) a small catering company, and even contemplated starting a restaurant. She’s taken it even farther than that – with a degree in Nutrition and culinary school on the résumé. Naturally we have taken an interest in sustainable and alternative agriculture. We’re concerned both about the quality and flavor of our food, as well as the long-term sustainability of our food system. So Joel’s books were right up our alley, we were (and still are) eating it up. Visions of days frolicking in the pastures with our animals and nights spent sipping wine on our front porch while eating homemade charcuterie and farmstead cheese proved irresistible. We took the plunge. We moved out of the big city to Ringgold, GA, where we’d begin chasing our farm dreams.
Fast-forward six months, and here we are. Monday. Except, this time I’m not sitting in traffic on my way to the office after a nice relaxing weekend at home. Hah. Nope, I was up way before dawn after a weekend packed with two 15-hour workdays and a total of 6 hours sleep. Slipping on work clothes to head over to the farm, I’ll battle the early morning chill to feed and water our 600+ pastured chickens, our small herd of Berkshire pigs, and our growing flock of heritage breed sheep.That will be followed with an array of construction projects, work on the wife’s garden, and then an afternoon spent reviewing finances (see: stress), calling potential customers, and dealing with vendors. Then back to the farm for evening chores- who knew animals eat so much? I imagine sometime through the day I’ll look at what used to be a fairly nice piece of clothing and wonder, “Hmm. I wonder how I got manure there?” Just another day on the farm.
I admit, at times it’s overwhelming – the pigs break out, the kids are crying, and I write another curiously large check for an invoice – and I’ll catch myself reminiscing. I don’t remember the Mondays at those moments. Nope, I remember the steady paychecks, the cushy office chair, and leaving work at 5 on Friday to head out for dinner and a relaxing weekend of nothing. For a split second, I think, just maybe… but before I know it, it’s on to the next project. The weekends aren’t too short, the weeks are. And the clock? It seems to be moving faster than ever. So much to do, and so little time.
Lest I sound like I am complaining, I’m not. It’s a thrill. Sure, we’re a little tired. And yeah, I believe the stress may combine with the Davis genetic propensity for hairs to turn loose, accelerating the cause. But that’s okay. We’re having a blast. Lots of temporary failures dotted with intermittent successes. Just enough to keep us hungry, and looking forward to tomorrow.
So, whether you’re interested in sustainable agriculture, a foodie looking for good food sourced locally, or you just want to know what the hell is wrong with us, we’d like to invite you to join in on our journey. We’ll update regularly…happenings on the farm, relevant news, upcoming product availability, and lots of culinary musings and recipes provided by my lovely and talented wife.
It’s Monday. So sit back in that office chair, sip that coffee, and – S#!T! Really? How’d that poop get there?