I got a new job! I’m now the Livestock and Pasture Manager at Hampshire College. I’m very excited about the transition, but it does mean there are some big chnages afoot at Mockingbird Farm. We’re no longer attending farmer’s markets, no longer raising pigs, and no longer raising chickens for meat or eggs. We’re keeping our beef herd, though!
We will be selling yearlings for people to finish and a few finished animals to be sold as halves and quarters.
We do have some inventory (mostly sausages) that I’m looking to move. If you’re interested in a larger amount, there are bargains to be had. Please email me for details.
Thanks for you patronage these last few years, and I’ll see you around.
Recently a friend wondered if I had stopped farming because I hadn’t updated this blog. I told him, I was farming so I didn’t have time to update this blog. I do post (slightly) more frequently on the ol’ Facebook. If you’re really interested in knowing what’s been going on, come visit at farmer’s market.
This is a trial run to see how much I enjoy running a CSA. We are asking for a four-month commitment. Every month, you’ll come to pick up your share at our farm. You share will consist of 1 incredibly delicious pasture-raised chicken, five pounds of our grass fed beef and five pounds of our forest-finished pork.
We are asking $440 for all of this yummy stuff. The price works out to around $7.33 per pound, which if I do say so, is a bargain.
We’re pretty excited about the idea of a meat CSA and hope that you are, too.
Since we only sell whole chickens, I am often asked “What do I do with a whole chicken?” Apart from the snide reply of “Eat it,” I usually suggest roasting. It’s simple and provides for leftovers without much fuss. However, not many people are interested in roasting in hot weather, so here is a pretty neat workaround.
Take the chicken and cut out the backbone. I have found that a good pair of poultry shears or kitchen scissors works very well. Save the back for stock. Flatten the chicken out and rub both sides with this paste:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
some oregano and some thyme
Heat up your grill and keep it with a low flame. Put the bird on the grill, skin side up. After about 15 minutes, flip it and cook it until a probe thermometer inserted in the breast or thigh reads 155. Remove the chicken from the grill and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Wait 5-10 minutes. Eat. It’s very easy, very tasty and you don’t need to heat up your kitchen.
I know that it is very early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but you should.
Our turkeys are a little less than two weeks old and are doing very well. We are raising 150 birds this year and are about to start taking deposits for them. We are asking for $20 per bird. We expect them to dress out in the neighborhood of 12-20 pounds. The cost is currently $7 per pound. If there is a significant increase in the price of feed, we may have to adjust that price.
In the next few days, I hope to have a form on here which you can fill out to reserve a Thanksgiving bird. Until then, you can just come see me at any of the farmer’s markets at which I sell.
I am eating the following right now and it is very good.
1 T Salt
1 T Black Pepper
1 t Cumin
1 t Tumeric
1 t Zaatar
Mix up the spices and rub them all over a couple of nice chops. Heat one half of your grill on high. Sear the chops for one minute on each side. Move them to the other side of the grill and cook them for about eight more minutes or until they are as done as you like them. Eat.
I have long held that buying a whole chicken is much more thrifty and economical than just buying parts. However, for some recipes you do need to know how to break down the bird into parts. It used to be that this was a skill everyone had (mainly because chicken only came whole) but it seems to have faded. Fear not! Here are some instructions, based on the ones in The Joy of Cooking.
1) With the bird breast-side up, cut the leg away from the body. Pull on the leg as you cut and find the hip joint. Cut all the way around the thigh on the back side of the chicken. Once the joint is exposed, crack it and the leg should come right off. Do this with the other leg, too. Set them aside.
2) pull the wings away from the body and cut around the joint. I usually leave a little bit of the breast attached to the wing to make a bigger serving. Once you find the joint, cut through it. I also remove the wing tips and reserve them for stock or give them to a deserving dog.
3) to separate the breast from the back, cut through the ribs on either side with a sharp knife or shears. Make sure to cut close to the backbone or you will lose some good meat. Reserve the back for stock.
4) To split the breast, find the wishbone–it is at the thick end– and scrape it free. Lay the breast skin side down. With a large, sharp knife cut through the breastbone down the middle. Sometimes you may want to quarter the breast. To do this, lay the breast skin side up and cut diagonally through it.
5) Now back to the legs: flex and crack the joint between the drumstick and the thigh. There is a thin layer of fat between these two pieces. If you cut along it they should separate with relative ease.
And now you should have a bunch of chicken parts and some stuff for amazing stock. Get cooking!