Farm Journal 11/28/21

NOTICE THAT DATES AND TIMES OF PICK UP HAVE CHANGED. (hopefully they coincide with the website.)

Where to find our stuff! (There’s still fresh veggies!!) Place your online order here. Give us a 24 hours heads up please!

The Farm – WEDNESDAY (11 – 7). We’ll set your order out, you come pick it up.

Northside- WEDNESDAY 12:30 – 1:00 at the parking lot on Union Place by Allegheny Commons. Ask about delivery options.

Squirrel Hill – WEDNESDAY at the Farmer’s Market Parking lot (Beacon/Bartlett) – 2:00 – 2:30. Ask about delivery options.

Herman has been busy trying to break into the high tunnel… his favorite place to sun himself. A variety of barricades are being constructed…. dependent on time, resources, and stubbornness of the pig, we’ll see who wins!

Field Update

We woke up to a good amount of snow this morning. The kids were excited, but the first thing I thought about was… the veggies. I wonder which ones will make it through? Actually, snow helps to insulate the veggies from the cold nights. We have most everything out there covered with row cover, providing a couple degrees of warmth. Lots of crops are cold-hardy and often do better when kissed by frost. That said, we’re also into the Persephone Period where there’s not enough day light for the plants to grow. Basically, we do our best to get the greens filled out and headed up before this time. Then we can harvest until there’s nothing left. That’s kind of where we are with the kale in the fields. We’ve picked over the majority of the big leaves and are now down to harvesting the “baby” leaves.

The bok choy and the cabbages are a little damaged at from too much freeze/thaw, but they taste sweet and still have nutrition, so we’re still harvesting them.

Pig Wifery – by Greg

Bones are so boring, and seemingly so worthless, that we often find our farm freezers brimming with trotters and bags of bones. They are often thought of as a waste product and many folks shy away from them because they can only make one thing, broth. Good broth takes 12+ hours to make. The bones are thrown away after broth is made, which does not reduce any waste.  So, after a long process, you get heavy garbage, and big dishes. 

While it seems wasteful, broth has been the basis for nearly all human cultures since prehistoric times.  Villages worked together to make it in bulk.  Making it for your tribe is still very cheap and critically nutritious. The protein density is high compared to most foods (about double the protein of almonds) and about half the protein of lean meat.  

Collagen is one of the main structural proteins in our body, making up about 30% of all the proteins we use. Bones are collagen that has attracted mineral crystals, usually calcium. Connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments (the grissle in steak) are all made of non-mineralized elastic collagen. This elastic collagen is also the main structural protein in our skin. 

Bones, especially trotters, are an excellent source of this critical protein and its associated minerals which build and heal our bodies. Boiling the bones with acid and salt releases the proteins and the minerals. The food additive version of collagen is called Gelatin. And YES, a well made bone broth will set up like Jello in the fridge. 

Marrow is another unique broth thickening substance found in ribs, spine, pelvis and upper limb bones.  Those compounds are involved heavily in manufacturing blood cells.  Cave folk began using tools regularly to extract marrow.  The delicious driving force behind our creative use of rocks. 

Beyond the animal kingdom, adding vegetable scraps like peels, crowns and stalks provides an even more diverse array of mineral compounds, including fiber and color (antioxidant) compounds. More diversity of plant nutrients are found in the rinds, because the skin of the plant performs many metabolic functions (water and air regulation, immune defense, reproductive attractants/colors, etc) rather than the meat, which tends to be a light colored or clear starch/sugar, basically just energy storage. 

Good broth is about creating a thick base liquid with high mineral content.  So the rinds, and odd bits from the vegetables and fruits add more than the starchy centers.  To help liquefy the minerals, we like to roast (or blanch) the bones and dowse them in vinegar. The acid is quickly absorbed into the hot bones, and helps break down the collagen and mineral bonds. 

This recipe hits the broth nail on the head, except that it doesn’t use vinegar.  We would add 1/4cup vinegar per pound of collagen after the blanch/cleaning step.

The recipe also references ‘bean paste’, which is also called Miso. It’s fermented, not just mashed.  We choose the oldest, most aged miso available, our current jar is 3 years old (before we bought it, lol).  It is a dense probiotic that is activated in the warm broth. Don’t boil the miso, or you’ll kill the microbes. Instead, add it to the broth when you are ready to serve.

Bones, and especially the shanks and trotters, can provide more nutrition than any of the primary lean and fat cuts on the animal. 

If you’re ready to Stock UP – place your order for Trotters Here.

“Farm Art” – where art and function merge. Here we are trying to keep animals both in and out. Baling twine at it’s best.

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