First of all, a great big hello, and thank you to all of our new and returning customers, both from our markets, and direct from the internet. We love meeting and catching up with each and every one of you, and appreciate the fact that you have entrusted your meat and poultry choices to animals that we have raised in an unconventional manner on our small New England farm.
We are pretty opinionated about the feedstuffs and manner in which we choose to raise our animals, and the manner in which our animals are humanely slaughtered. (Not only are the grains that the pigs and chickens fed free from animal derived proteins, but they are also the most local option available. The slaughterhouse is above all humane and trustworthy. Bar none. As those advertisements say “we have tried the rest” and they just can’t compare. We go the extra hour and a half, in order to have our animals slaughtered at a USDA inspected facility that is also inspected and approved by a third-party and is ‘Animal Welfare Approved.” Our magician with the smoking and curing is named Jake and we drive the extra hour and a quarter to get that super quality and consistency. That is the meat front.
Meat is not poultry in the eyes of Massachusetts or the United States Department of Agriculture. We may use the terms interchangeably, in casual conversation, but the regulations are very different and cause an entirely different set of bottlenecks.
In the news, in Massachusetts, there has been a lot of press about mobile poultry slaughter facilities, or Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (“MPPU”). For more information about how to get in on using one of those facilities, you should contact the New Entry Sustainable Farmer Sustainable Farmer Project.
Under current Massachusetts regulations, I can’t offer my meat birds for sale in my market freezer, yet. “Meat and poultry: USDA inspected products must bear the mark of inspection on each retail package. Must be slaughtered in a federal and/or state licensed and inspected facility.”
As I read the regulations, when the USDA processing facility in Vermont opens, I can pop those birds into my freezer. So, until that time, even though our sign on the freezer says “Turkey-Pork-Beef-Chicken” that really only is a farm sign that denotes what our farm raises: Turkeys, Pigs, Beef, and Hens, as well as veal, geese, ducks and some dairy cows. My goal is not to tease the customer, or to break any rules. You have got to believe me when I say that losing our farm is not part of my one, three, or five-year plans.
That being said, we do have some very delectable things in the freezer without chicken or turkey: Country Pork Ribs (which I came home to after yesterday’s market, made up with the recipe from my last blog post — that is a great recipe! Note: I did a free pour on the maple syrup – not a tablespoon or two) and sweet italian sausage, ground pork ground veal, maple syrup cured hickory smoked bacon, maple syrup cured hickory smoked thickly cut ham steaks, pork chops, hot italian sausage, various veal steaks, hamburger patties, and more!
Wells Tavern Farm Fresh Pork Kielbasa. Cased, and all-pork. $9.75 a pound.
Food Q & A:
Q: How could you cook up a fresh pork kielbasa? A: There are a ton of ways to cook it up! You can grill it, smoke it yourself, steam it, boil it, bake it, slice it up and fry it. Growing up, we usually had the kielbasa prepared in this manner: Using a large skillet with water at least halfway up the kielbasa. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, then turn and cook for about 15 minutes on the other side. Pour off the water, and then bake until crispy. To achieve that great casing “snap” finish off on the grill or bake at 325 until skin begins to brown.) *Remember to cook pork to an internal temperature of 165 F as measured by a meat thermometer.*
Kielbasa is great with Summertime salads, in the Springtime (Easter), in the Fall with Kielbasa Apple Pasta Bake, or other Corn and Kielbasa Chowder, and in the Winter with Lentil, Bacon & Kielbasa Soup, or Winter Kielbasa Stew. A great all-season meat we are proud to offer for a very limited time.
The other news: we will not have turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. We have had a terrible year, in general. Back in February, there was a tremendous ice storm that knocked over trees and utility poles and left us without electricity for a couple of days. We ran those things that we had to off of generator power. During the course of the power outage, the heat lamps, and incubators went out. We lost all of our turkey crop that would be appropriate for the fall this year. We had just finished a run of four years of selling Thanksgiving turkeys and really enjoyed the experience. After doing all of the calculations over the winter, though, on the previous batch, we discovered that we lost money on them (in money that just a little way) at $4.50 a pound. So, after losing all of our own prospects for this Fall, we definitely could not afford to put an additional nine dollars into each turkey to purchase day olds, and then to raise them and lose money. The long and the short of it is that we have a parent-stock flock of turkeys that are laying eggs out of season, and we are rearing turkey poults (babies) at all ages currently. I am pretty sure that we will not have any birds ready for Thanksgiving this year.
We will, however, have some available for the Spring ’11 and we hope to have a full complement of birds for Thanksgiving ’11.