Monday, August 23, 2010

The egg and us.

I suppose many of you have already heard about the recent massive egg recall.
"egg recall" sounds funny to me. Food shouldn't be in the same company with lead painted plastic toys from China, or Car seats(or Cars!). Too much "consumer lingo" for my tastes.
Eggs have been recalled in 22 states. These eggs have been sold under 24 different brands. That's a lot of eggs. An FDA investigation has zeroed in on 2
Iowa based producers. Count them: 2.
Which makes me scratch my head when FDA commisioner Margaret Hamburg thinks the solution to these salmonella outbreaks is "GIVE THE FDA MORE POWER."
There is no mention of the terrors and errors of factory farming. No mention of scale.
Big farms are not good for chickens. They are not good for the eggs coming out of the chickens. They are not good for the people who eat the eggs coming out of the chickens.
But not to worry, because if we just give more power to the FDA, power to randomly raid and inspect every egg producer in the country, we should be able to clean up these salmonella outbreaks.
Ms. Hamburg's brand of comedy is rather tragic.
Here at the farm, we have no problem with government. We are not anarchists. We'd love it if the USDA saw fit to regulate the size of factory farms, and mandate pasture farming. If more regulatory power meant more crackdowns on mega-farms, and more opportunity for the small family farms, we'd cheer, and cheer wildly.
Unfortunately the FDA and the USDA aren't all that interested in regulating the big guys. Probably because the big guys have the big piles of money (that which runs the world)to lobby with...
while all I could offer them is a dozen (salmonella-free) eggs.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Julia's Stuffed Tomatoes Provencal

Last Tuesday our living room was a veritable sea of tomatoes.
The sun was setting, and flooding the window to meet them...and all these little happy cherub orbs glowed in the gloaming.

One of our members, Paula, wrote in an email:

"The heirloom tomatoes are so beautiful...Ifeel guilty just gobbling them down and not making an artistic display of them."

Julia Child has the most DIVINE way of both gobbling them down and making an artistic display. Simply delicious...

Yield: 6 tomato halves
*3 large firm ripe tomatoes
*salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Stuffing:
*1 to 1 and a half cups fresh bread crumbs
*2 Tbs minced shallots
*1 tsp herbes de provence
*3 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
*2-3 Tbs fresh parsley
*3-4 Tbs olive oil
A shallow baking dish, lightly brushed with olive oil

1. Set a rack on the upper-middle level and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half cross-wise. Over a plate or a bowl, squeeze each half gently to force out the seeds and juice. With your fingers, clean the cavities of any clinging seeds. Arrange in the baking dish cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Stir together the bread crumbs, shallot, dried herbs, grated cheese, and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Add 2 or 3 Tbs olive oil, tossing well to moisten the crumbs evenly.

4. Spoon the stuffing into the tomato halves, pushing it down into the cavities and mounding on top. Drizzle a scant tsp olive oil on top of each half.

5. Bake for approx. 20 minutes and serve hot. OOO LA LA.

Chicken Dinner

One of the things that small farms offer the world is transparency.

I know there are those that don't really want to see where their meat comes from and "how it's done". I used to be one of them.

But in this age of super-bugs and C.A.F.O.s it behoves everyone to find out about where Chicken Little and Mr. Moo came from, and how they spent the journey from farm to fork.

It is no compliment to the animal that has given it's life for you, to ignore the slaughtering process.

Little Flower Farm broilers are soothed by maidens, and held in the moments before they make the transition from bird to food. This is also how we say goodbye, and fully appreciate each and every bird that lives and leaves the farm.

With a pull and a twist, Shane quickly wrings the neck of the bird.

After the nervous system's reaction (flapping) we sever the head and bleed it into a bucket.

Then (having no fancy chicken plucking machine) we scald the bird in hot water,

and pick the feathers off.

Next, the feet are removed and set aside to be bagged and frozen for stock.

Then we make an incision between the legs, and gut the bird.
After a nice rinse in cold water, the chicken is ready for roasting! We bag them and freeze them.
Ask Tyson is they will let you tour their processing plant.

"Goat" is French for "OH HECKO"

basil still life

Last night I went out to the field to shut up the chickens for the evening. There was a lovely half moon, a gentle breeze...the soft rustle of grass as I moved past the silo, staring up at the clouds, accompanied by our devoted band of kittens. Think Cheezy smooth Jazz music, cliche'd and yet still moving....

My heart was full- the way all hearts are "full" when the hot and stiky days of humidity break for a spell of cool clean breezy days which cheer the heart and clear the head. I looked out over the fields we had worked in that day.

Hundreds of feet of beans picked...tubs upon tubs of tomatoes piled in....bunches of basil bucketed. My gaze scanned the neighboring pasture, combing the sheep and the goats. Hmmm. The goats looked somehow...taller. I kept walking. I looked again. I stopped walking. I ran back to the veggie fields.

"Hey there!" all 4 of them brazenly bleated. It was getting darker but I still maintain that I saw them blink at me. Several times. Nonchalantly. There they were, Ginger and her two babies doing a tap dance ON TOP of the broiler chicken tracotr IN the veggie field, on the OTHER SIDE of the fence from their pasture. Dixie was grazing the new beans coming up.

our new potatoes with thyme in olive oil

I raged. I fumed. I snorted in contorted anger. I moved mentally through all the profanity I have ever known (or read.) I envisioned roasted leg of goat, goat-skinned hand bags, and stuffed goat with new potatoes....I stomped through the rows of veggies in the moonlight, collared Ginger and Dixie and made my way back to the gate all the time, through clenched teeth, muttering the most potent cuss word I now know: "GOAT GOAT GOAT GOATS!!!" In the dark, as we (all 5 of us) tripped over row upon row of drip tape, I looked up to see 2 white shapes standing in the gateway. As we neared them I saw that they were my two girls "unable to sleep", bawling their eyes out in the dewy grass. As they trailed after me SOBBING, with a dairy goat to the righ of me, to the left of me, and two behind, all the "sighing heart-swelling night of peace and contentment"stuff became DISTANT memory. I did have the consolation, however, of finally solving the mystery of our hefty broiler chicken feed bills: fence scaling, tap dancing, midnight snacking DAIRY GOATS.


a little flower farm tomato harvest

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Zuchini Fritters (Kolokithokeftedes) from the recent issue of Saveur

*1 lb zucchini grated
*2 tsp kosher salt
*1/2 C minced flat leaf parsley
*1/2 grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
*1/2 C dried bread crumbs
*1 medium yellow onion, grated
* egg, beaten
*Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of Cayenne
and olive oil for frying.

1. Mix succhini and salt in a strainer; set a waighted plate on top; let drain for 30 minutes. Transfer succhini to a tea towel; squeeze out liquid. Mix zucchini, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, onions, and egg in a bowl. Season with pepper and cayene; divide mixture into 12 balls. Press balls into 3/4 inch thick patties.

2. Pour oil into a 4 qt. pot to a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 315 degrees. Working in 2 batches, fry patties until browned and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer to paper towels.

A note on this week's share of tomatoes galore:

The round cherry tomatoes that are yellowish should be allowed to ripen to a deeper orange.
Also the big orange blossom tomatoes can be left on a counter top to ripen to an orange too.

The Cherokee purple generally do have a greenish tint to their shoulders even when ripe....

The small yellow pear tomatoes should be yellow.
The Green Zebras should be green, with yellowish shoulders.

(Don't you just love refering to the "shoulders" of a tomato??)