Farm Markets, Nettles, and the Start of Summer

This past weekend was the annual nettle harvest, and Chad made a batch of nettle and asparagus soup (a favorite of Chad’s homemade soups, perfect with crusty bread, and a dish the vegan will eat). I’m excited to begin the Farm Market Season. This weekend, Cairn Hill Farms will have a stand at these markets:

  • 5/25 Middleville (8-1)
  • 5/26 Hastings (9-1)

We offer the following products:

    • Beeswax Lip Balms: A blend of coconut oil, avocado oil, beeswax, and vitamin E
    • Sprays: Enjoy as a room spray or facial toner
    • Essential Oil Blends: Add to a favorite lotion, make a spray, or use for aromatherapy
    • Salt Scrub: Treat your feet with this lovely new product!
    • Farm Fresh Eggs, Veggies, and Nettle Iced Tea

Can’t make it to the market or want a custom blend? Please message me cairnhillfarms.net

Orders can be shipped.

Nettle and Asparagus Soup

Below is Cairn Hill Farms Summer 2018 Newsletter.

Thanks for reading!

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Cairn Hill Farms Summer 2016

We have had a busy spring, hatching chicks, harvesting nettles, learning to grow fodder, another graduation, and preparing for the 2016 season at the Hastings and Middleville Farmer’s Market. Included are a few pictures of the fun times on the farm:

Last month, Chad loaned me a pair of chemist gloves, and I set out in the nettle patches, collecting the healthy plant to dry for tea and fresh nettles for pesto.  While the pesto sold out within a few days, I’m excited to offer some tea at the Farmer’s Market this year.

  
 

MK working with Reuban and Rosie…

  
Some of our new layers, hatched on the farm in March…  

 

You may also enjoy reading our 2016 Summer Newsletter.

This season we will carry beeswax lip balm, goat’s milk soap, nettle tea, lavender or citrus spray, body butter, eggs, fresh veggies, and some other treats. Hope to see you at the Farmer’s Market!

Middleville, Friday 8-1

Hastings, Saturday 9-1

You can also find our products at the Farm Store.

Chevon: The Other Red Meat

My adventure with goats started through a unique set of events. I made the decision to sell my dad’s 1957 DeSoto because we lacked the proper space to store and protect her. I wanted half of the money from the sale to go to the kids’ college fund, but I wanted the other half for something special, an adventure for me. I decided to hire the local high school building and trades to construct a 24 x 24 barn. I wanted to raise goats (and other farm animals)!

mk and goats

Two goats and two lambs joined our farm in the spring of 2014. One of the goats and both lambs were processed for our freezer. Darryl, the freebie goat, ended up becoming my daughter’s pet. Unfortunately, he thinks he’s human and hops the fence and climbs our back deck to look in our slider, wanting company (hubby wants to shoot him). Back to the reason for this post, we now have a goat or two per year for our freezer. When I mention that we eat our goats, or chevon, most people are grossed out.

mk and d

I will admit in my current foodie status, chevon is still in the beginning phases. However, this meat source is a healthy, low-fat option (similar to venison), and I question why more families do not try chevon. While a few dishes are not worth repeating, the following were worth our time. Here are a few options added to our family menu:

Chevon is ideal low-fat option to add to meatballs, spaghetti sauce, and chili.
My daughter, who wishes to be a vegetarian, loves this dish!

Goat Italiano:

1 lb. ground chevon
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced onion
5 shakes hot sauce (or more if desired)
Salt and ground pepper

Form in patties, coat in bread crumbs.
Heat oil on skillet. Cook until medium.
Add a slice of provolone or mozzarella for last few minutes of cooking.
Heat up one cup marinara. Coat top of each burger. Coat each plate and set burger on top.

Roasted Leg o’ Goat:
This recipe tasted even better as left overs!

Whole Leg o’ Goat:

Mix the following and coat leg:
Fresh Rosemary, minced
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Place the following in covered cooking dish:
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
Place veggies on bottom of dish
2 1/2 cups white wine
Coated goat leg

Place cooking dish in oven and cook covered for 30 min.

Then, reduce heat to 300 degrees and cook covered for 3 1/2 hours.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! I hope you give goat a chance!

Ovens Need Not Apply

slow pot turkey

 

One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching. I love spending time planning the large meal, shopping for ingredients, and getting an early start making dishes the night before. In the past few years, I learned a trick to prepare the main event, the turkey. Do you feel overwhelmed with preparing a 20+ pound bird? Do you find the breast meat dry? Is the gravy perhaps a bit bland? Is the oven prime real estate? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to bring out your Thanksgiving helper, the slow pot.

Several years ago, we started cooking smaller turkeys (8-10 lbs) in a slow pot. Need more bird for the crowd of guests, purchase two smaller birds and borrow another slow pot. These birds have more flavor and are more tender. Best of all, the oven is free for all the other goodies being prepared!

If you want to take your cooking another step, consider purchasing a Heritage turkey. These birds are descended from the wild turkey. Where your local grocer’s turkey is raised in 4-5 months, a Heritage turkey requires 6-8 months to mature. The added time is worth the wait and price. Domestic turkeys tend to be penned up in a cramped space and only eat grain, but most Heritage turkeys forage for food during the day and are supplemented with grain at night. Free ranging and extra time gives these birds a deeper flavor. It makes the gravy richer and provides an added flavor boost to those after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.

 

baby turkeys

 

Three Heritage Turkey poults hatched on our farm this spring. Pliney the younger, Pliney the older, and Pompeii were easy to raise and were foraging within three weeks (My mom was visiting the weekend they hatched and named them after the people and town associated with Mt. Vesuvius). Unfortunately, our dog ate the Plineys, but Pompeii has grown quickly and will be our Thanksgiving star.

 

Pompeii

 

The preparation is similar to an oven turkey. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines: Use a completely thawed turkey, wash hands and any surfaces that touch the turkey, make sure the internal cooking temp reaches at least 165 degrees, and due to build up of juice in slow pot, stuffing is not recommended. However, cooking the turkey breast side down will immerse the meat in the natural juices, an added treat. Cooking time will vary based on the slow pot settings.

**Note: Slow pot turkeys do not have crispy skin, but there are several slow pot recipes on-line that include directions for an oven finish to create this effect.

**Note: Heritage turkeys can be quite expensive. However, I found many local farmers through Craigslist who offer these birds at reasonable prices.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Observations and lessons learned from living in the country

School is back in session, football season has begun, and harvest time is in full swing. Since life is so busy for all right now, I wrote a quick list, reflecting on our first year in the country.

egg pic

  1. Never, I repeat, never wear dress shoes to the barn!
  2. Farm fresh eggs really do taste richer.
  3. Living so far from town, we learned to make due with what was here instead of a quick trip to the store.
  4. In the days of teen drama and mean girls, watching my daughter embrace her inner farm girl gives us great joy and relief.
  5. That welcoming call of the goats and sheep at feeding time, so simple, such happy and friendly animals, I look forward to night time chores.
  6. A clear, country night sky for star gazing
  7. The magic of the woods: Fiddle-head hunting on a rainy spring day, the refreshing coolness of the creek in summer, autumn’s fire and beauty…
  8. Watching the garden grow and learning to incorporate endless meals with tomatoes…
  9. Peace and happiness…

MK goat selfie

Happy Fall!

veggie pic

Down on the Farm

Farm pasture

 

We have added some new farm animals and had some new adventures here at Cairn Hill Farms. In addition to our flock of chickens and Heritage Turkeys, we purchased two goats and two lambs. They are settled in, but not without some challenge. The large goat (named Darryl by the high school building and trades) gave us a great deal of grief. He is a one year old 1/2 Alpine 1/2 Boer and thinks he’s human. Refusing to remain in the barn or pasture, Darryl wanted to be in the house with us, as he would frequently try to accomplish by jumping the fence, climbing our porch, and looking at us through the window. Luckily for Darryl’s sake, he agreed to stay in the pasture after the installation of an electric fence.

 

Farm Darryl

 

Farm lambs

 

We also had five Heritage turkey poults. We lost the first one because he was alone and refused to eat, another fell out of the nest, and a third was the victim of the local nocturnal population. The two that remain are an 8 week old who thinks she’s a parrot and one that hatched yesterday.

 

Farm parrot

 

The poult that arrived yesterday reminds me of the power of life. Its mother and the other 11 eggs were destroyed last week. I found the single egg in a pile of feathers and my daughter put it in her room, under a heat lamp. While I assumed the endeavor to be a lost cause, these hardy birds keep proving that “life goes on.”

My daughter and I are also running a stand at our local Farmers’ Markets. We have ten products under development over the past nine months. Two are ready for sale, all natural room sprays! I started making these for our kitchen and bathrooms because I found the chemical sprays smelly and bad to breathe. We hope to add items throughout the summer as they are ready for use. Stop by and see us!

 

Farm Product