Thursday, July 21, 2011

Colcannon with Bacon

Colcannon with Bacon
(Serves about 16 as a side)
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes, sautéed onions and sautéed Cabbage or Kale and is often served with Irish bacon.  This is my own twist on the basic that will get even non-veggie eaters to adore eating veggies!  This dish does take a bit of juggling around the stove but the results are well worth it and because this recipe makes such a large amount, you will have plenty of leftovers to go with lunches all week long or perhaps just enough for one meal that includes a few teenagers!

1 head cabbage, cut into 6-8 wedges
2 large onions cut into about 8 sections
2-3 pounds potatoes, cubed
8 slices bacon
Olive oil, salt and pepper.

  1. Preheat oven to 450’F.
  2. Boil and mash potatoes, adding milk and butter to make them creamy.
  3. Chop cabbage and onions into about 8 wedges, discard cores.  Lay on baking pans and drape bacon across wedges.  Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roast about 30 min.  Rotate at 15 min if oven cooks unevenly.
Combine bacon, cabbage and mashed potatoes.  Serve Immediately and Enjoy!

Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan Recipe

We love to hear how recipes turned out for you and how you might have changed it and made it your own for your family.  Please feel free to share with us here or at the markets as well as pass these recipes on!  Enjoy!

Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan
(Serves 4 as a side)
1 pound chard stems (approx. 12 large stems)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
¾ C. Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400’F.  Bring about 4 quarts water to a boil.  Lightly grease an 8 in. square baking dish.
  2. Add Chard stems and salt to the boiling water.  Cook until almost tender, about 8 min.  Drain.
  3. Lay 3 or 4 stems in baking dish in a single layer, cutting to fit.  Dot with some of the butter and sprinkle with some of the cheese.  Repeat this process three or four times, alternating the direction of the stems in each layer until all chard, butter and cheese have been used.
Bake until chard is very tender and the top of the casserole is lightly browned, about 25 minute.  Serve Immediately.

Garlicky Chard Recipe

Garlicky Chard
(Serves 4-6 as a side)
2 Tbsp olive oil or other oil of choice
2 med. Onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 med. Garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ lb Chard, stems discarded, Leaves washed, shaken and roughly chopped (about 12 packed cups)
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

  1. Heat oil in stockpot deep enough to hold greens.  Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 8 min.  Add Garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 min.
  2. Add damp Chard, stir well to coat with oil, cover and cook, stirring a few times until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If desired, simmer uncovered for several minutes to evaporate excess liquid or use liquid to moisten rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, pureed beans, or meat.

For an Asian style dish, replace olive oil with roasted peanut oil; add 1 tbsp minced fresh gingerroot and 2 med. Scallions, sliced thinly with the garlic to the Garlicky chard.  Substitute also, 1 tbsp soy sauce for the salt, or more to taste, and drizzle with a tsp or two of toasted sesame oil just before serving.

For a Mexican influence, add a minced jalapeno chile pepper with the garlic and serve the dish with lime wedges.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shepherd's Corner, July 20

Did you know that meats are seasonal?  Omache Farm works on a grass based system albeit we are learning the intricacies of the seasons on the Palouse as both Jason and Margaret hail from western Washington.  In a system that follows the natural fluctuations of grass and feed supplies there must be choices about which animals head to the freezer before winter and which ones are worth keeping over the hard winter months.
In the case of Lamb, they reach finishing weight in the fall.  Since it cannot be financially justified to feed them over the winter because they take several months into the spring and summer to increase their weight, they must be sent to freezers in the fall, before the flock needs to move to hay feeding.  Red meats like lamb and beef and fall pork can also be cured so as not to require refrigeration.  Most curing done today however still needs refrigeration.  Curing is as much of an art as it is a science.
Broiler chickens of a meat type breed can be ready for the pot in as little as 2 months.  Chicks naturally start to hatch in the spring as laying hens increase their laying of eggs with the flush of spring bugs and warmer weather.  Spring and summer chicks supply people with summer and early fall chicken dinners.  In the case of Pigs, piglets grow to market size in as little as five months.  If they grew all summer, one would likely have to split chops between two people for a meal!  If given enough facilities to farrow, or give birth, in early spring the first pork could theoretically be ready in time for the Fourth of July Barbeque.  Pork is sometimes called “The other white meat” and works well with lighter fare as well.
Red meats often feature in much heavier meals that are most welcome during the cold months of the year, when they are most available.  White meats however work much better in lighter fare during hot summer and early fall months.  While our mainstream culture may not generally promote meats seasonally, one might notice the prices of these meats fluctuate with the seasons because in many ways our conventional system has not yet conquered the seasons and seasonality of production.  With natural, grass-based systems, one can be allowed to revel in seasonal bounty with meals for each season!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Enterprises for Next Year

We are starting the process of evaluating possible enterprise additions to Omache Farm for next year.  We'd love to hear some feedback from all of our lovely customers, newsletter recipients, and possible future customers!  This way, we'll know that we are setting out in the right direction with our existing clientele rather than taking a shot in the dark, so to speak.  Keep your eye out for paper survey copies at the markets later this season to help us assess our options in these new endeavours.

Laying Hens

We have heard hundreds of times from people that they want to buy local, pastured eggs.  Current egg vendors appear to sell out every market and we know that there is certainly room for another producer in the market.  We'd like to hear from you as far as what you'd like available for eggs.  Dozens? half- dozens?  Egg shares done CSA style?  White? Brown? is fertilization important to any of our customers?  Are there any restraunts out there who would be interested in purchasing eggs?  What kinds of price points are families and businesses willing to purchase at?  All of these questions have a large potential impact on how we go about this business and whether or not we can rovide a sustainable business model while still finding ourselves capable of serving folks that may not have a large food budget available.


We;ve noticed a very short supply of publicly available pastured pork available in the area.  We're positive there are plenty of backyard herds out there that are providing a few porks for friends and family and such, but we've also heard desires from our farmer's market customers for more pork.  We think that pigs could play a great role in the diversity of our farm but we would like to hear from our potential customers, familys and restaraunts alike, as to what they might be looking for.  We know availability of cuts is always a popular request. Tell us more about your timing desires, if you'd like whole carcasses or just halves available, prices you might be willing to pay, and any other things that you might consider when deciding what pork products you purchase for your family.

As I noted above, we'll be doing some paper surveys later this summer as we have some more solid info of our own to ask about but any comments left here will be greatly appreciated!  We have a lot of work to do in determining exactly how we'd like to market our products to you, our customers, while also creating a profitable and sustainable business model for our farm.  Please, let us know what you think and we'll be sure to take it into account!

July 13 Shepherd's Corner

We had an exciting adventure early this week when our new ram, Dillon decided that life was more exciting with the ladies than with his bachelor flock buddies.  Well on the one hand we know that Dillon is indeed interested in the ladies and on the other hand, we’ll know that any lambs born in January are his since he was the only ram that felt the need to mingle this week.  Hopefully we’ll have no more break-ins until something more like October so that we can wait for lambs to start arriving until March where hopefully we’ll have some milder weather.
            We are looking forward to lambing and more importantly receiving data from our lambs next year.  We’ll then have two years worth of lamb data and we can then start making some production decisions as far as lambing time and genetic quality in our lambs for both breed standard and production for your freezers.  If you have bought a lamb from us, we would love to hear back from you.  While we are providing a quality product now, we are always looking for ways to improve!  Your comments will always be instrumental in our production decision in years to come!

Weekly Newsletters

For those of you who do not recieve our weekly newsletter, sign up!  Otherwise, You can find a blog version of our newlsetters here on our blog weekly.  Each week, We'll also be trying to find some time to post fun stories and tidbits, recipes even here on our blog.  So, keep checking in and keep sharing.  Plese also feel free to post responses to recipes especially including how you liked it and any changes you made for your family!

Newsletter for July 13, 2011

The Zen of Weeding

Everyone has weeds.  Nobody likes weeds. Then again, shouldn’t that be more reason to find some joy in taking care of them?  There is certainly a satisfaction when one finally finishes weeding a row of vegetables.  Kneeling, crawling along on the ground, level with the cabbages or broccolis or chards or salad, searching for every last weed attempting to choke out the vegetable’s hold on resources, one realizes the benefits of a broccoli canopy to the soil below.  There is a detectable difference in moisture and temperature, a relief from the heat of the bright sun.  I’ve found that once I get into the rhythm of weeding there is a certain zen to the whole thing.

Where we grow our veggies, the weeds grow in entire matts.  Needless to say, we do a great deal of weeding here.  There is a certain triumph as one grabs whole fistfuls of weeds and stuffs them in the weed bucket. I only have to weed around about three nearly-grown cabbages to fill my bucket.  It’s a lot of work and not easy either.  But it also allows me time to exercise my imagination.  I’ve dreamt up products for gardeners who want to wear shorts while weeding on hot days.  I’ve thought about time management as far as the possibilities of producing such products as baby wraps, my personal favorite for carrying children when little.

I’ve thought about how to make a big enough jump in our farming to allow me to not have to work during the “busy” months of summers.  I’ve pondered over what it really would take for neither of us to have to work off the farm.  I’ve pondered whether we really can do what so many people have told us is simply not possible and truly support ourselves and our family on our farm income.  I’ve always thought so but I’m wondering just how close we really are these days.  I’m thinking pretty close.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!  We hope that everyone had a safe and fun holiday on Monday.  We sure did!  Independence Day is one of our favorite holidays.  The weather is nice but not blistering yet, the days are still long and it comes with no other stipulations than pyrotechnics.  But it also is a yearly reminder of the struggle and sacrifices made by our military since our nation declared itself free.  What better way to celebrate independence than by recognizing the hard work and delicious rewards provided by our local entrepreneurs.

Be they farms or a locally focused business, there is great satisfaction to be found in buying and supporting whenever possible the local people who work so hard to keep our local economy strong and vibrant by just being local.  Yes, American made items might be more expensive than their foreign counterparts but you know that at the end of the day, the extra money you spend on those goods is helping to support another American family.  The time you spend finding locally grown food is certainly more than that spent picking the first items found at a chain grocery store but the joy of growing and being part of such a community is more than the meals made from that food: it is the beautiful relationships and support structures nurtured by that time and knowing that being a part of your farmer’s life will be repaid in top quality foodstuffs year after year.

Many of the founding fathers were farmers, gardeners and businessmen.  Each year we are reminded of our unique connection to these people, being farmers, gardeners and businesspeople ourselves.  Each year as we take a few more steps towards owning a business that not only supports our own family but also supports other families in our community, we are grateful that these men made the choice to declare independence so that we might have the option of being independent businesspeople and have the freedom to choose exactly how we live our lives.

In remembering and thanking all those that played a part in earning the freedoms that we enjoy every day, thank a member of the military, a military family, and thank all the other folks out there who do what they can to keep America independent and free.