Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Eating Locally Produced?

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I guess that the secret is out… not only are residents of the Pioneer Valley and across the Commonwealth eating locally grown and produced meats (like ours:  Wells Tavern Farm), vegetables, beer, grains, and just about anything else that you are looking for, but the United States Department of Agriculture is now looking at this “locally produced thing” (the quotes are mine, not theirs).

USDA meets with NE commissioners on regional food

Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee says he and his counterparts from New England are talking with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about how to develop regional food systems.
Allbee says he and other New England agriculture commissioners met with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan in New Hampshire on Friday and discussed how to use USDA resources to move forward with regional food systems, including dairy.
He says with the local food movement and concerns about food safety, people more than ever want to know where their food comes from.

Listen to your local National Public Radio station (I personally recommend 88.5 WFCR) or read your favorite paper to follow this story.  I will be keeping tabs on it as well — because, personally, I think that eating locally and supporting sustainable farming in our region is not only a logical thing to do, but it is also a somewhat strange thing to do in 2010. I am not complaining, or trying to undermine the movement, but simply saying that it is such an odd, lovely pre-industrial system that so starkly contrasts with our connected, fast-paced lives.  Is it necessary to slow down and savor? Yes.  Is it perhaps the only way to really trust the ingredients, handling, and farming practices associated with your foods. Definitely.  Is it the easiest way to stimulate your local economy? No doubt. Absolutely. Unquestionably.

Please: keep eating local foods purchased directly from your trusted local farmer, and  shopping at local small-town grocers (such as Fosters in Greenfield, or your local Coop)  — it supports your small towns across New England because your small farmers shop locally, use local processors, and pay your local taxes, buy gas at your local service stations, and are often your neighbors.

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At our farm, we have committed to raising many, many meat chickens this spring, and we will have our first installment of 175 birds delivered in early February.  After hours of research, I decided on two breeds: Dark Cornish, and White Rocks.

On the milking Jersey front: last week we were saddened to send one to the slaughterhouse after she sustained an injury. We also sold another Jersey and her summer calf to a small farmer in Southern New Hampshire.  That leaves two Jerseys that we milk twice a day.  The milk is used to feed calves and our family.

On the Rose Veal calf front: We sent two out for processing, and are eager to offer that meat for sale in the coming weeks.

Pigs:  Large Black-Red Wattle Pigs are happy, healthy and living happily with our Lilac turkeys.  They eat communally and spend many hours a day together in the snow. If my camera lens would stop fogging up, I might sometime be able to get a snap of that and post it. Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs are healthy and happy, though they were slated for meat last week.  Through a long, drawn out ordeal and comedy of errors their appointment was postponed and they will be processed in the coming weeks. The Tamworth and Berkshire pigs are healthy and happy, and hopefully, pregnant, with the exception of the boar, who does the impregnating. 🙂

Turkeys are laying eggs for incubation.

Chickens are laying eggs that we sell for $3 a dozen at our farm, and offer for sale through Enterprise Farm in Whately.

Our grassfed Belted Galloways and White Galloway Bull are doing great.  My new acquisition, the Murray Gray heifer named Brandy, is going fabulously.

The lambs went to our butcher to be converted into  meat last week.  That is how I explain these things to my four year old.  We have a trusted facility convert a certain number of our animals into meat that we sell so that we can keep farming.  He likes that explanation.

What are you looking for?

Rose Veal?  A young, milk and local grass hay fed male calf that lived a full and happy life with room to stretch, jump around, with sunshine to provide it Vitamin D, among other natural amenities. The veal meat will not be pale and traditional. It will be rosey and from a healthy, happy animal.  Hungry?

Lamb for Easter? Yup, got it for you, until it is gone.

Taking reservations on heritage, pastured pork.  What is your favorite cut?  I will be getting HOT PORK SAUSAGE, in addition to BREAKFAST PORK SAUSAGE, and GROUND PORK (plain) after many customer requests.

Stay warm!

Local Breakfast with Wells Tavern Farm Sausage

In Chickens, General Farm News, Pigs on January 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Do you have plans for January 30th? It is one week from today.

There is a great benefit breakfast next week, held in Whately at Enterprise Farm, to benefit the Northampton Survival Center.

Locally Grown Pancake Breakfast, Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9am-noon.
The breakfast will feature local ingredients including:

* pancakes made with locally grown and milled whole wheat flour from Four Star Farms of Northfield
* local maple syrup from Bree-Z-Knoll Knoll Farm of Leyden
* local sausage from Wells Tavern Farm of Shelburne
* local bacon from Austin Brothers of Belchertown
* local apple sauce from Bashista Orchards of Southampton
* plus local apple cider and locally ground coffee!

You can purchase your ticket on Enterprise Farm’s website,


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In other news:
The farm has been looking very New Englandy, and picturesque with all the snow capping everything,  but the icy cold weather has meant extra care for the animals – we are busy keeping them warm, fed, watered (water pipes are long frozen) and happy. And of course we are looking forward to spring and warmer weather.

  • We are bidding adieu to the Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs.  They will leave the farm next Wednesday and return about a week later as Hot Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, Chops, Ribs, Ground Pork and other tasty cuts.  Is there a specific cut that you like, and would like to reserve?  Please make sure to contact me before Wednesday for last minute requests.
  • Chicken and roaster, broilers.  We are ordering our meat birds and this is last call for chicken meat for March 2010.  We will have subsequent batches available later in the year.  We are looking at the Label Rouge-esque-Freedom Ranger-esque-K22-esque-colored Cornish birds.  They are not Cornish Crosses, and they are purported to be slower growing, with more dark meat, and a more pronounced keel, much more like a regular chicken, but with a broad, pointier, breast.  We are also ordering standard chickens – Rocks — the kind that are the backbone of the small farm.
  • Sweet Italian Sausage!

Sweet Italian Sausage & Spinach Casserole


3/4 pound Wells Tavern Farm Italian sausage
2 10-ounce packages fresh spinach, cooked and well drained, or two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 19- or 15-ounce can white kidney beans (cannellini) or great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons margarine or butter, melted

Directions:   Preheat oven to 375.

1. In a large skillet cook sausage over medium heat until no pink remains, turning often. Drain on paper towels, if you wish.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine cooked sausage, spinach, beans, onion, milk, 1/4 cup of the Romano or Parmesan cheese, lemon peel, lemon juice, nutmeg, and pepper. Transfer mixture to a greased 2-quart oval or square baking dish.

3. For topping, in a small mixing bowl combine bread crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup of the Romano or Parmesan cheese, garlic, and melted margarine or butter; sprinkle atop casserole. Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degrees F oven for 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 regular servings. Fewer servings if you really like it  😉