Tag Archives: Hogs

Farm Breakfast!

A bunch of my friends have reclaimed sit-down Sunday Dinners by posting their menus on Facebook.  If you do a big sit-down it is a chance to see if you measure up, if you just graze on left-overs from the week after church, it is a bit ego-busting!  While we do the full meal deal periodically, Sunday sit-down’s aren’t a tradition at our house – but Saturday Farm Breakfast is a big deal!

We started this tradition years ago because my boys needed a decent meal because we sell hay from 9:00-1:00 on Saturdays and by the time they came in for lunch about 2:00 they were famished.  Cereal just didn’t cut it.  After a while a couple of our hired hands started showing up a few minutes early to catch what was left of the meal.  That became an issue because we would have customers lined up and the help would still be sopping up gravy in the kitchen.  Hence the rule, “Be here by 8:30 if you want breakfast!”

Most of my kids have moved on to other adventures, but we still do the Farm Breakfast for the hay crew, hubby and the occasional hay customer who has figured out what is going on! Recent offerings include buttermilk pancakes with fresh raspberries, french toast, breakfast casserole (eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, onions, peppers, cubed bread), eggs and hashbrown potatoes, and of course, biscuits and sausage gravy. I couldn’t do this without the farm.  Eggs from the chickens, milk from the cow, pork sausage and bacon from the hogs we raise, potatoes and veggies from the garden, and buckets of raspberries from the berry patch make all this possible.   Without this ultra-local bounty feeding 4-8 people every Saturday morning would be cost prohibitive but my girls (Lexie and the chickens) keep up their end of the bargain.

We’ve been blessed with a bunch of great helpers over the years – and the community we have built around the kitchen table has forged relationships that are why we keep doing the hay business – and the Farm Breakfast!  This week it was fresh chorizo, eggs, beans, rice, homegrown salsa, and tortilla!  Next week it is biscuits and gravy with fried red potatoes and eggs – by request.  Carlos is moving on to a new adventure as he leaves to go on a church mission for two years!  We will miss him, but when he comes home I am sure he will join us again for an occasional breakfast!  They always do!

Here is the recipe for the chorizo – it is also great for a quick taco dinner!  I always have the butcher grind my pork and leave it unseasoned when we do a hog – that gives me lots of flexibility in meal planning.  You can have most butchers grind up pork shoulder and do the same thing or buy some boneless pork spareribs and grind it yourself.

Chorizo

  • 2# ground pork
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more too taste)

Grind the meat if needed, blend spices, pour over ground meat, mix well with hands.  Best if it can sit in the fridge 24 hours to allow flavors to blend before using.  Fry it up and make a breakfast burrito!

Soup for the soggy soul

There are days that challenge my commitment to farming.  Like today.  Cold, wet, slushy, rainy, soggy…sick cows, muddy pastures, backed up storm drains in the milking area, I am tired and feel sick….it goes on and on.

So, as an antidote to all the woes of the world I made soup.

We had a hog butchered at Home Meats in Shelton.  They do an old-fashioned slow cure on their hams and bacon.  Very tasty indeed.  We had the ham for dinner earlier in the week and all that was left was a meaty bone.  I tossed it in the crock pot this morning with a pound of white beans, a chopped onion, a couple bay leaves, 3 quarts of water and about 1/2 cup of pan drippings from roasting the ham.  Pan drippings are my secret ingredient any time I need to give a soup or gravy a boost.  Intense, smoky and salty, the pan drippings  are strained and defatted and stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  It is so salty that it doesn’t really freeze properly, just getting firm but not solid.  A couple tablespoons adds life to potato-corn chowder, or gives an added layer of flavor to sausage gravy.   #2 son is always saying, “Everything is a little better with some pig on it!” and I think he might be right.

This afternoon when the beans were cooked I tossed in a couple potatoes, peeled and diced and half-a-dozen carrots, sliced up.   I stripped the remaining meat from the bone, chopped it up, tossed it in the pot and gave it a couple turns of the peppermill.

When we got in from doing chores this afternoon, chilled and soaked to the bone, it really hit the spot.  It will be even better tomorrow but for tonight it was good enough!

The Dark Days Challenge

The 2012 Dark Days Challenge is upon us.  Shannon, who is more motivated to participate in these sort of things than I, signed us up.  And then today, she had a dinner failure.  So, it falls to me to keep our end up.  Good thing that we had a decent dinner tonight.  Those Sundays when we eat left-overs, chips and salsa and scrambled eggs for dinner don’t really make for a very convincing blog about sustainable, local or organic meals….all winter long.

During late summer and early fall the blog world is full of folks posting about eating local, 100-mile diets, 100-foot meals…ad infinitum.  Now, I am not a complete zealot like the 100-mile folks.  I am not going to run down to Scenic Beach and dip water out of the Hood Canal to evaporate and make sea salt.  We grow and raise about 90% of what we eat and I cook from scratch much of the time – which upon reflection makes me sound sort of Amish which isn’t the case (the bonnet not withstanding) – but let’s just say we are less dependent upon the grocery store than the average family.

Frankly, during that time of year I am too busy canning, freezing, picking, weeding, feeding, milking, and mucking to blog about what we are eating.  I think about blogging a lot while I am doing those things!  But until they develop the technology for me to plug a USB port unto my ear and download all those great blog posts composed in my head it isn’t happening.  The really interesting thing about those days in the garden and nights canning and freezing is that I am doing all the time consuming and hard work associated with warm winter meals.  Beans frozen in August take minutes to heat for dinner in December.  Tomatoes blanched and canned in September make pasta dishes in minutes for mid-week meals – garlic harvested in July is Fettuccine Alfredo when I have  a yen for something rich and creamy.

So, as we kick off the “Dark Days Challenge” I thought it would be interesting to go back in time and take a look at the genesis of tonight’s dinner!

The menu -

  • Pork Chops – the last of the chops from a hog butchered last spring.  We buy piglets from a neighbor, fatten them on extra milk and grain and butcher about twice a year.  We don’t buy any extra meat and eat out of our freezer all the time so we go through a whole hog, half a beef, 20 or so broilers and 10-15 stewing hens a year.
  • Smashed red potatoes – from the garden with fresh cream and salt and pepper.
  • Milk gravy – pan drippings, milk and Shepherd’s Grain Washington grown white flour!
  • Sauerkraut with apples and onions – we had great plans to collaborate on the ‘kraut this summer but the day we were planning on doing it I got side-tracked so Shannon made it.  She jump-started the fermentation with whey from some homemade yogurt and it has a wonderful zing to it.  The King apples were picked at my mom’s house right before Thanksgiving and the onions were from the garden.  I season it with a bit of brown sugar, pepper and caraway and saute until caramelized.  Very tasty.
  • Applesauce – from Mom’s apples.  I typically can 15-20 jars – need to get around to doing that.
  • Pickles – dutch spears made from the abundant cucs we planted last spring.  This is a refrigerator pickle recipe that I got from The Joy of Pickling.  I only made a few because I didn’t know if we would like them.  Need to make more next year!  Sweet, tart and spicy!
  • Green beans – from the garden.
  • Milk – from Ellie
  • Raspberry Juice – from the berry patch

And the best part about this meal?  It was a meal eaten around our family table with my husband and children, we were truly grateful for the bounty of our life, and were able to talk and laugh as we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  Regardless of whether your food comes from 100 miles or 1000 miles from your home, if you are unable to eat with the people you love, they are dark days indeed!

“This Little Piggy…”

Ever wondered what it takes to raise hogs, keep them in a pen or get them to market?  Have we got a class for you!  Join the WSU Small Farms team and learn how to successfully raise hogs from “field to fork!”  For beginners or more experienced farmers, this class covers all aspects of raising hogs for your own family, custom slaughter and USDA slaughter. Workshop topics include weaner pig selection, feeding and managing feeder hogs, marketing farm-raised pork and farming systems and husbandry to raise and finish hogs.

Hogs 101
Saturday, April 30, 2011
10:00am – Noon
At Possum Run Farm
9931 Bethel Burley Rd SE, Port Orchard, WA 98367
$35/ person or $50/ family
Register Online: http://kitsap.wsu.edu

Kitsap Farm Calendar

Upcoming WSU Kitsap Extension Small Farms Team Classes!

Chickens 101: Backyard or Barnyard! April 9, 10:00am-Noon
At Kingston Farm, Kingston, WA
Hogs 101: Field to Fork! April 30, 10:00am-Noon
At Possum Run Farm, Port Orchard, WA
Cows 101: Got Milk? vs Where’s the Beef? May 14, 10:00am-Noon
At Blackjack Valley Farm, Port Orchard, WA.
Preserving the Harvest!
In a Pickle: Make great crunchy pickles of all types! Learn how to make fermented and vinegar brined pickles.
April 16, 1:00-4:00pm at Silverdale Community Center
April 19, 6:00-9:00pm at President’s Hall Kitchen
$35/person or $50 per family.  4-H & FFA youth FREE.  Take two classes for $60! For information and class registration: http://kitsap.wsu.edu or (360) 337-7157

Local Events

Peninsula Fruit Club Spring Grafting Show ~ March 26, 11:00am- 5:00pm
Learn how to graft, buy rootstock and make a tree or add to an existing tree.  Information on pests, diseases, native pollinators and much more.  Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way.
Grow Your (Kitsap Community Food) Co-op! ~ April 2, 5:30-7:30pm
At Seaside Community Center in Bremerton.  Our “1st Annual Grow Your Co-op” event! This potluck dinner will be open to Member-Owners and the community. http://www.kitsapfoodcoop.org/Welcome.html
Cooking with Kale ~ April 3, 2:00-400pm
Cooking with an unfamiliar green can be intimidating. Explore cooking with delicious, healthful and easy to grow green: Kale. RSVP to 360.813.1301 or cynthia@rlf1916.com by Saturday, 3/26.  At Carter’s Chocolates, Port Orchard Town Center.  $30/Member-Owners & $40/community members.
Sound Food ~ April 7, 9:00am
Regular monthly meeting at the Marge Williams Center Conference room, 221 Winslow Way West, Bainbridge Island.  For information: Sallie Maron sallie@soundfood.org
Dan Hinkley: Design Elements in the Garden ~ April 9, 2:00pm-5:00pm
Master Gardener Foundation of Kitsap County Gala Event and Silent Auction to Benefit the Master Gardener Program in Kitsap County including food-production and demonstration gardens, clinics and educational outreach. To order tickets http://www.kitsapgardens.org/.  At the Sons of Norway Lodge, 18891 Front Street, Poulsbo.