Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wendell Berry Quote - The Art of the Commonplace

"If we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce. We will see that beauty and utility are alike dependent upon the health of the world. But we will also see through the fads and the fashions of protest. We will see that war and oppression and pollution are not separate issues, but are aspects of the same issue. Amid the outcries for the liberation of this group or that, we will know that no person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place - a much humbler place than we have been taught to think - in the order of creation.
(pg.89, "Think Little")"
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Slow Roasted Beef

It you have time, thaw the roast and set it on a rack over a plate in the fridge for 3 days. Trim away any leathery, dry bits. This gives the best flavor with the most tenderness.

1 Grass-Fed roast - Sirloin, Rolled Rump or Round- around 3 lbs
salt and pepper
1 tbs olive oil

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 250F. Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven or heavy-duty roasting pan over medium-high heat until just smoking. Sear the roast until well browned, about 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reaches 120F for rare, 125F for medium-rare, or 130F for medium, 10-20 minutes longer. Remove the roast from the pot and transfer to a cutting board. Tent the roast loosely with foil and let stand for 20 minutes. Cut crosswise into thin slices and serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cut of the Week: Roast

Over the many years we have been butchering grass fed beef we have made several different types of roasts available for our customers. These different cuts can be confusing especially when some names differ even between butchers.

For simplicity's sake I will divide all roasts into three categories:
  • sirloin - coming from the lower back
  • round - coming from the back leg
  • chuck - coming from the shoulder
Meat becomes tougher the more it is used and that makes the cuts cheaper but much more flavorful. This toughness however, dictates different cooking methods.

I have found that all roasts from the sirloin and the round are best roasted in a slow oven (250F) with liquid filled to the halfway mark on the roast. Too little water causes the meat to dry out and too much liquid makes more of a stew, which is not what we're going for here.

For the quintessential sliced roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, I like the tri-tip sirloin, round roast or the rolled rump. If I am looking for the break apart, impossible to slice, melt in your mouth roast with tons of flavor I go for the chuck.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Raw Milk News

Those interested in raw milk issues may need to learn some of the goings on in Washington this week which will certainly affect us all.

A new Food Safety bill was passed last week with new wording and an amendment that would exempt small farmers who sell directly to customers within a 275 mile radius. Hopefully the bill will reach the President with the new amendments intact.

There have been rumblings in the recent months regarding changes to Tennessee's stance on raw milk and raw milk products. As many of you know, we fought the state of Indiana for the right to make raw milk products available through cowshare programs and it looks like that fight may be coming to a state near you! Tennessee plans to change wording in the present code and require inspections for all raw milk dairies. While we support inspection of dairies and required testing we are always concerned that the new rules will be aimed at closing the diaries rather than working towards true food safety issues. Kentucky has also laid down the gauntlet and has begun to harass farmers producing raw milk. Keep your ear to the ground and we will be sure to keep you all informed on the happenings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Farm News: Sheep

A Visiting Ram

One of our most urgent jobs last week was the introduction of the new sire into the sheep flock. Due to our extensive losses from neighborhood dog attacks last year, we lost our precious rams. In keeping with the amazing camaraderie within the farming community a fellow farmer loaned us her beautiful Romney ram for the season. We are so excited about this new fellow. I think he will throw some beautiful babies and you can bet that plenty of lamb pictures will ensue five and a half months from now.

The Sheep Are Shorn

Another job for this month was the shearing of the girls for breeding. Don't worry, the girls are kept in the barn until the fleece grows back enough for warmth. We are thrilled with the fleeces this season and will have yarn and roving available as well as raw fleeces for the spinners among us.