March Newsletter March 23 2017

March Farm News: New puppy, news & updates, new regular drop site in Madison at vomFASS on University Ave. first drop off Tuesday, March 14th.  Order now. Also, weekly specials, photos recipes and meat CSA for March.
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Farm Journal

Puppies, mud, snow and lots of projects! The biggest news for the moment is the new puppy!  The poor thing has gone without a name for almost a week.  I told Bryce we needed to pin down a name before she starts to believe that her name is "puppy, puppy, puppy".

Leo, our Polish Tatra/Golden Retriever has been such a great teacher for her.  I must admit that I have completely underestimated Leo and his amazing "mothering" skills. He has not shown great Livestock Guardian Dog traits, but I'm realizing that this is probably from lack of training and experience.  We adopted Leo when he was two years old and did not give him a job beyond watching over the farmstead. Leo, however, has great insticts and has taught the puppy to respect chickens, cats, Caroline (small children), the road and taught her where to poop.  She has never had to be on a leash and she has a healthy fear of new people already.

The puppy's purpose will be to stay with and protect the hens in the pasture (if we ever have green grass).  She is a Bulgarian Karakachan Shepherd which is quite rare in the U.S., but are excellent Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) in the mountains of Eastern Europe.  They are being used more and more in the states as sheep, goat and poultry guardians. So far we are so thankful that the breeder mixed up the puppies and gave us our puppy, puppy, puppy! For more on the puppy mix up story visit our facebook page

We had a ridiculously early spring in February which made it difficult to haul hay out to the cows due to the mud, however, we now have winter back which is good for hauling bales, but really messes with all of the natural systems and cycles on the farm. 

We have tackled a couple house projects as well as the task of ripping a giant hole in the hen house to install a garage door. Photo below.  This will make cleaning out the coop so much easier!  In the past we have shoveled the old wood shavings bedding into bushel baskets and dumped them into the bucket of the skid loader then transferred them into the manure spreader.  Now we can simply drive the skid loader into the coop and then dump into the spreader. This will save so many hours of work and pains in the back!

One fun project/experiment we are trying this year is mushroom production!  We only inoculated 3 logs with one shiitake strain, and we won't know if it's going to work out for about a year, but the girls had fun with power tools.  If it works out we may branch out into oysters, wine cap and more. 

In addition to Tina, our part time worker, we will have a college student working with us this summer so we should be able to tackle all of the "someday" projects this summer. As soon as we are able to drive fence posts into the ground we will be fencing in another 75 acres and then planting that land into new pasture for our rotational grazing system.  More on that next month. 

Delivery Sites and Schedule

~Woodstock Winter Farmers Market is the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month through the end of April, which means we are down to our last 3 indoor markets before moving outside! Yeah! Come see us and the other fantastic vendors at the McHenry County Fairgrounds on March 18th, April 8th and 22nd, from 9-1. 

~vomFASS on University Ave. in Madison every second Tuesday of the month.  This month our delivery will be this Tuesday, March 14th from 5-6:30 pm.  Our April delivery will be on Tuesday, April 11th. Please place your order before noon on delivery day.  It's not to late for tomorrows delivery!

~Outdoor Woodstock Farmers Market starts on Tuesday, May 2nd!  Yes, we are now also participating in the Tuesday market.  We will be on the Woodstock square every Tuesday and Saturday morning from 8 am - 1 pm.  We should be in the same spot on the East side of the square where we have been for the past two seasons.  Look for our white trailer and blue tent.

Simple rib-eye salad: marinade and grill the steak, add your favorite greens and cheese and BAM...dinner!
March Meat CSA
Small: whole chicken, rib-eye or NY strip steak, fajita meat, ground beef, pork chops, ham steak
Large: whole chicken, rib-eye or NY strip steak, fajita meat, ground beef, pork chops, ham steak and pork roast 

Weekly special:
For the rest of the month of March pork shoulder or loin roast are $1 off/lb AND chicken breast are $1 off/lb.Help us make room in our freezers for more delicious meats!

Whole/Half Hog or Quarter Beef Available:
We have a few bulk orders available for pork and beef if you are interested in filling your freezer with delicious awesomeness, please contact Jen directly at RiemerFamilyFarm@gmail.com 
If that much meat is intimidating to you, please visit our website and browse our samplers and other individual pieces of meat! You can build your own order by picking what appeals to you from our price list and emailing us your list.  Pick up in Madison, at the farm or in Woodstock. 

Farm Recipes

Best Ever Meat loaf

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground beef
6 pieces of Bacon, cut in half
1 cup almond meal
2 eggs
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
1 red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 T sea salt
1/2 cup fresh basil, diced
1 t marjoram
2 t finely ground black pepper
 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven 350°F
2. Mix all ingredients by hand in a large mixing bowl
3. Place meat mixture into a large, glass baking dish and form into a loaf
4. Place strips of bacon across the top of the loaf
5. Bake for 1 hour or until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the middle

Sweet and Savory Pork Chops

Ingredients: 

4 thick pork chops
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 T avocado oil
1 T butter
2 cups onion, sliced
2 t ginger, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 t fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup apples of you choice, chopped

Directions:

1. Rub salt and pepper over pork chops. Heat avocado oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops over high heat (approximately 3 min per side)
2. Remove from skillet and place in bottom of slow cooker
3. Return skillet to stove top and reduce heat to medium to melt butter, Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ginger and cook until fragrant ( a couple minutes)
4. Pour in stock, vinegar and sherry. Now add the apricots, nutmeg, sage leaves and cinnamon stick. Bring this to a simmer for 2 mins.
5. While simmering, place chopped apples over the pork chops in crock pot.
6. Pour the  contents of skillet over chops and apples
7. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours
8. When finished cooking remove pork chops and chunks of fruit and onion onto a serving plate. Careful the meat will be very tender and will fall from bones. Pour remaining liquid into a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat. Pour over chops as a sauce.

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Ingredients: 

1-2 T coconut oil
2-3 poblano peppers, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t chipotle powder
2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
2 t smoked paprika
1 24 oz can tomatillos, drained and coarsely chopped
2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
4 cups chicken broth
1 avocado, sliced
Yellow corn tostada chips
 

Directions:

1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot
2. Saute peppers, onions, jalaenos and garlic until onions are translucent
3. Next add the two chili powders, cumin and paprika to the veggies. Mix well
4. Add tomatillos, chicken and broth
5. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 1-2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking
6. Garnish with avocado slices and corn tortillas