September,2010

Dear Customers,

Fresh chicken time again,again!!  Seems it comes around like a sprint car every month and I’m always taken by surprise!  Anyway bring your bags,coolers,ice,etc. and come on out to the farm next Wednesday the 29th for fresh chicken.  Price is $2.45/lb as usual.  We will also be bringing fresh chicken to Binford and Carmel farmers markets this weekend the 25th.  The price is $3.45/lb

Thanksgiving and turkeys are just around the corner.  Be sure to order yours soon as they always go fast.  We’re enclosing a turkey order form you may mail if you wish,or you may order in person from either of our markets or club drops.

Fall is also the time to fill your freezer with a bulk buy in pork or beef.  We try to gauge our winter needs and grow accordingly during the green season but…many times by spring it’s slim pickings so we encourage everyone to buy during harvest when there’s plenty to go around.

A NEW PRODUCT: since I have a certified kitchen and a license I am considering some new things.  We have quite a few spent hens running around here barely earning their keep…so I think they’ll be heading for the soup pot soon.  Do you need Chicken Broth? I will be doing this on a one time a year,pre-order basis. Call or drop me a line and specify the following:Name,contact information,quantity,size (pint or quart),with meat or without meat,canned or frozen,.  Deadline to order is Tuesday,October 5th.  Price is $5.00/qt. or $2.75/pt.

I use the broth with meat for soup,stuffing,noodles,pot pie,etc. and the broth without meat for gravies,sauces,veggie soups,etc.  Chicken broth is very labor intensive,hence the once a year offer and the price.  Thank you for your consideration!!

In closing,we thank you for your continuing support of local farms.  Together we can  insure the future of farms and food!

Take Care—

Jonathan ,Lucinda and family

@Homestead Heritage

Honey Orange Chicken

Honey Orange Chicken

1 whole Chicken(5#) salt,pepper,garlic powder to taste

½ cup butter divided

¼ cup orange juice concentrate

¼ cup honey

Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Salt,pepper,garlic well inside and out. Put breast down in baking pan. Pour ¼ cup butter melted over chicken. Bake at 375 degree for ½ hour uncovered. This will crisp the skin. Combine remaining butter,orange juice concentrate and honey. Simmer until syrup like. Pour over chicken. Reduce heat to 300 degree and bake uncovered for 2 hours. About 30 minutes less for smaller bird,or until completely “melting off the bone” if a fork is stuck into thigh.

Bake some potatoes alongside,serve with raw butter and a spring green salad.

Awesome and so easy.

April,2010

Dear Customers and Friends,

Springtime greetings! My favorite time of the year! There just isn’t a time more energetic than spring! I always have a hard time deciding which way to fly first. I almost wish I could fly like a bird! Our Purple Martins are back from their winter road trip to the equator and beyond. The sound so cheerful,swirling,swooping,and busily chirping while they set about building this year’s nests. Tulips,peach blossoms,baby calves,spring rains,fresh air,green sprouts in warm dirt….I always feel like throwing my arms wide and spinning and singing my thanks and praise to God for the miracle of SPRING! Sooner or later though,I have to come down to earth and back to business!

Our first chicks are ready to go out to pasture pens as soon as the weather settles a bit. The first batch and they’re looking good which is exciting. Maybe we’ll manage some nice big 5# birds this spring. Jonathan thinks the feed from our new supplier might be better quality stuff,hence larger nicer birds…we’ll see!

While we’re on the subject of chicken I see I haven’t addressed the “How to cook a chicken”issue for quite a while. It’s one of my favorite easy meals. Dress it up or down it’s a sure hit for a week night rush or a “company’s coming ”occasion. Here’s a favorite revision of a recipe a customer shared.

Honey Orange Chicken

1 whole Chicken(5#) salt,pepper,garlic powder to taste

½ cup butter divided

¼ cup orange juice concentrate

¼ cup honey

Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Salt,pepper,garlic well inside and out. Put breast down in baking pan. Pour ¼ cup butter melted over chicken. Bake at 375 degree for ½ hour uncovered. This will crisp the skin. Combine remaining butter,orange juice concentrate and honey. Simmer until syrup like. Pour over chicken. Reduce heat to 300 degree and bake uncovered for 2 hours. About 30 minutes less for smaller bird,or until completely “melting off the bone”if a fork is stuck into thigh.

Bake some potatoes alongside,serve with raw butter and a spring green salad.

Awesome and so easy.

While we’re on the subject of chicken,I’d like to explain chicken frames. They are what’s left when our processor takes the leg quarters,breasts and wings off for sale as pieces. Frames make wonderful stock for soup,stuffing,gravy,etc. If you have the freezer space you can buy a bunch,fill up your largest pot,cover with water,you might want to add an onion and a handful of celery. Simmer from 12 to 24 hours. Strain into small containers and freeze for busy days. Nothing beats homemade broth for flavor and nutrition and at $1.50 per pound they’re a budget stretcher too.

For all our Binford Farmer’s Market folks,mark your calendar for May 8th. The regular season starts then. We look forward to seeing you again!
Some of you have probably wondered what’s up with our various ground beef labels. We’re having a hard time keeping up with demand and so are buying some in from other reputable sources. Bear with us—we’re ramping up our beef production as fast as our grass will let us.

Speaking of grass,we’ve changed our management practices from what is known as New Zealand style Management Intensive Grazing to Holistically Managed Planned Grazing. WOW!!! What a difference we’ve seen in the past year!!! The plant growth has literally exploded. Plan to come to our customer appreciation day and we’ll take you on a tour and tell you all about it.

We’re planning all kinds of fun things for kids and informational educational booths and activities. We’re going to make this an all day thing to better fit people’s schedules. And as always,all the food you can eat! Plan to attend,we look forward to having you! More details and an exact date later.

Fresh on Farm chicken will be available June 2 after 1 pm. The fresh chicken price will remain the same at $2.45#. However,starting June 1,since we switched to grains grown without chemical our frozen whole chicken price will be $2.90# on the farm. Cut chicken will be increased 15 cents per pound and all other chicken prices will increase 15 cents per pound.]May Special runs until May 8th—10% off chuck roasts and yogurt

Thank you for making our farm a part of your life. We appreciate you greatly. Please let us know where we can serve you better!

Jonathan and Lucinda Gingerich@Homestead Heritage

March,2010

Hello to all our customers,

A few quick lines to bring you all up to date,and explain a few changes.

First of all,if you’ve seen our updated price lists you may have noticed a few changes. One is our ground beef—in an attempt to find a better balance in the ongoing struggle of supply and demand we are being forced to raise our price. One of the challenges in direct marketing of meat is in making sure we sell all of each animal. It’s easy to wind up with a pile of one thing yet not enough of another. I’m not complaining,just explaining. It’s just part of our job. Hence,ground beef prices have gone up and our T-bones are on a spring special for 10% off through the month of March.

Another new,happy change is that we’ve switch to chemical free grains for all poultry,eggs,and pork. Up to this point,we had been buying GMO Free grains from a local farmer. However,they still had a little (50% less than typical) herbicide sprayed on them. This has been a thorn in our flesh since day one. We wanted to support a local farmer but we also felt responsible to you;our customers,to provide the best food possible. So we are happy to report that thus far our relationship with Con-IN-Organics from Lebanon has been a win-win. We have solved the problem of pale egg yolks,they have all the chemical free grain we could want,and they even grind and deliver it to us. (Saves Jon a lot of precious time). Also,though we pay a little more,the price is still reasonable. Just wanted to explain all this so you understand the slight price raise in eggs and poultry.

Another change is in our maple syrup. From now on you need to specify grade A or grade B when ordering. The difference? Grade A is light colored,less maple flavor,and a little sweeter. Use on pancakes,in iced tea etc. Grade B is darker,stronger,and great for baking. If you’re a die hard lover of that maple flavor get the grade B. Yes there is a slight cost difference.

What happens is,at the first of the season as the sap starts to run it cooks down to a light amber,“clear”syrup. As the season progresses and “ripens”or “ages”so to speak,the syrup turns darker and finally to almost inky and heavy. Try them and see for yourself.

Also,I thought I would mention,we still have quite a few chicken frames for stock/soup. Nothing soothes and nourishes quite like chicken broth. It ranks way up there on my list of favorites. Especially in soups or the crock pot. (Or noodles!!) Try using some chicken broth in place of some of the liquid in sauces,gravies,or casseroles. Also pour over a roast and bake. It’s just a great insulator against drying and adds flavor too.

So many people ask for chicken breasts…sorry! sorry! We greatly underestimated the demand for chicken breast! We knew they were popular,but whoa! we had no idea. We will try to do better next season. June 1st will probably be the first available.

Also,be anticipating the arrival of Goat Milk,coming in May!! If you are interested please let us know.

Oh yes,mark your calendars,Binford Market has their first Spring Market date set for March 27th.

Hope to see you there!!

Until next time,

Jonathon and Lucinda

Amanda’s Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

Amanda’s Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

1 ½  cup Sucanat                                         2 ¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup Lard                                                     1 teaspoon Soda

2 Eggs                                                            1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

¼ teaspoon Salt

Cream sucant and lard.  Add eggs.  Add sifted dry ingredients.  Mix well.

Chill dough overnight.

Form into balls.

Mix ½ cup sucant and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Roll balls in the mixture and bake at 350 degrees

February,2010

Dear Valued Customers,

Greetings from the Gingerich’s.  Isn’t February great?  The sun’s out most days and everything is bright and cheerful.  Even the cold wind doesn’t have the bite that it does in November when winter is coming on instead of going out.  The days are getting longer and the grass is starting to green up a little.  I have to chuckle at myself—I guess I’ve truly been transformed to a farm girl….I paid very little attention to the weather before we became farmers.

Maple Syrup season is just around the corner.  Our neighbor,Stanley Miller is dusting off his equipment and getting ready.  We feel blessed to have maple trees and a neighbor who’s capable of tapping them.

Jonathan is developing cabin fever.  It’s hard for him to sit in his office and work on the books when he’d rather be out doors.

A quick lesson on the nature of grass-Think of a green blade as a solar energy collector.  The larger,taller,broader,that blade gets the more energy it captures.  The taller the grass,the greater the root mass.  Root mass=organic matte=microbial activity=mineralization=fertility.

Highly fertile,mineralized soil grow highly nutritious plants.  So…along comes an animal doing what it does best—eat,fertilize and tromp the leftovers into the soil.  Aha!  He just started the cycle over again!  The animal moves on and the grass starts doing it’s solar thing over again.  Truly this is the song that never ends…provided we work with Nature instead of against Nature!

What does that mean to you and me?  Nutritious plant=healthy animals=nutritious food for us.  God never plans anything less than perfect.  I stand amazed.

Now think about the opposite side to all this,the dark side,if you will.  Crowded barns,animals under stress,grass ripped up to make more space for more corn grown with fossil fuel and petro-chemical fertilizer.  Corn forced on animals along with antibiotics for the stressed immune system.  Hormones to make the animal grow ever faster,in an effort to produce “cheap”government subsidized food.  Add a “glitzy,safe and nutritious”label and it’s ready for some unsuspecting family’s dinner table.  Sad,huh?  I have to think it must make our Creator cry to see how men have abused his perfect creation.

However—a word in defense of the modern American commodity farmer.  For starters,he has no control over what he gets paid for the food he produces.  Those prices are determined by the “powers that be”a thousand miles from the family farm.  Commodity farmers haven’t gotten a pay raise for 30 years.  But land,fuel,etc. have all sky rocketed.  So the farmer has a couple bleak choices.  Leave the farm and go work for the automotive industry or the construction industry,etc,etc.,or –push production-think produce more meat,milk,corn or soy beans on a larger scale than the land willsustainably support.  Hence the temptation to start down a slippery slope to crowded animals,hormones etc.  Oh,and swallow his pride and accept the tax payers money that the Government gives him at the end of the year.  After all he is feeding the world isn’t he?  So why does it feel like a rope around his neck?

Now,here’s where YOU come in.  What if farmers and consumers were to join hands and say “WAIT!  Stop the insanity,I know there’s a better way!”  What if we could find farmers and consumers who share a concern about the safety of our food,land,and animals?  What if we can find farmers who have an “open door”policy—no secrets,and a strong code of ethics that demands producer integrity….Join them with consumers who are concerned about the quality of their food and who are willing to pay what it takes to allow their farmers an honest living…Perfect solution to everyone’s problems.  The farmer can do what he loves to do best—FARM!  And consumers can feel good about the food that they’re eating!

As for farm news—here’s on we have hesitated to announce but decided the time is right:  Starting March 1st we will begin having store hours.  Wednesday 1:00-7:00 p.m. and Friday 1:00-7:00 p.m.. Due to increased customer traffic we are becoming a little frazzled around the edges.  We love to visit with our customers and don’t like to have to hurry people through while juggling our family and farm responsibilities.  We hope this will not be an inconvenience to you.  It will certainly simplify our life!

I’m sharing a recipe with you that is a good way to use some of our delicious lard rendered from our own pigs.  Some have asked how they can use it so why not try Amanda’s Cookies.

As always we thank you for your continued support!

The Gingerich’s @ Homestead Heritage Farm

January,2010

Greetings,

Time to touch base with all our faithful customers once more…….We trust you had a good holiday season and are looking forward to a New Year.

Probably the most important item to mention right now is that the PORK is FINALLY here!!! Thank you for your patience. We have ground pork,sausage,chops,ribs,etc. in stock now and the bacon and ham will be in sometime around the end of January due to curing time. Oh Yes—LARD is here too.

Our processor told us the state inspector was amazed by our hogs. ALL of the livers passed inspection. The Inspector says \”industry standard\”is 70% rejected livers due to parasites and excess protein in the feed turning livers \”spotty\”. I guess that says it all for grass based production systems,HUH?!

And,speaking of grass (or lack there of) brings me to eggs. Proud as I am of the pork I’m almost embarrassed by the eggs! I wish there was a way to keep yolk color and flavor up during the winter months. We scatter a bale of hay every day for the chickens to pick on but there just is no substitute for green growing grass. Another possible factor,we’ve started getting feed from a company in Lebanon that works with organic farmers. The came highly recommended and we thought we’d give them a shot. Saves Jon having to grind feed. Now we’re wondering if that might not be such a great idea?? They’ve been very nice to work with,and we’re trying to trouble shoot together. Stay tuned—Who knows where this will go.

About beef,we had several people ask whether they could still get a quarter or half. Yes,we still have a few quarters left. Just give us a call if you’re interested. Generally buying in bulk saves you about 20%.

I learned a new cooking technique I’m just in love with and though I’d share it with you.

Dredge meat in flour,salt and pepper
Brown in preheated pan with some melted butter or coconut oil
Reduce heat and pour broth over (enough to cover the meat)
Bring to a slow simmer. Just so bubbles break on the surface
Simmer uncovered for 6-8 hours,.
Delicious

So far I’ve used this method for stew meat,roast,and even short ribs,and I was amazed!! (I confess…I’ve hated short ribs in the past)

At the end of the letter I’ve included my favorite pizza recipe,the one my children be me to make. I rarely make pizza but there’s something about winter that begs for comfort food so thought I would make pizza sometime this week,now that the pork is in.

Oh yes,we still have a few 25# plus turkeys in the freezer that would make nice soups,burritos,lunch box sandwiches etc. these cold winter days.

–Did You Know—

Grassfed beef and dairy has up to:

4 times more Vitamin E

5 times more cancer fighting CLA

3 times more heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids

2 times more Beta carotene

and less total fat then that of their conventional counter parts

Interestingly if that same cow has ever been fed grain it will never have quite the nutritional profile as the one that has eaten only grass and hay and Mama’s milk from birth.

The laws of nature must be respected. God knew what he was doing when he designed the cows composting stomach—we need to let it do what it does best,compost grass! So make sure your beef is 100% grass fed!

As always,our goal is to serve you. Your thoughts are important to us! We welcome your input—is there a service or product that we could improve/provide for you? Let us know,we’ll give it our utmost.

Thank-you for your continued support or local food and local farmers!

God Bless,

Jonathan,Lucinda &family @ Homestead Heritage