Our Top 5 Posts of 2019

Here’s a quick look at our top 5 posts from 2019.

We took a look at how many views they got, how many times they were shared, and comments received. We always appreciate it when we hear how you’re keeping up with us on our website. We all lead such busy lives but it’s important to feel connected to your community and your food!

Plus we couldn’t resist a good end of the year countdown list!

5. The Uncertainty of Farm Life

Things don’t always go as planned, but you always have to keep a level head and do your best.

4. Crop Report (late) July

This one came at the end of July. We love the excitement at the market this time of year. So busy!

3. Crop Report (early) July

The first crop report in July  and starting to head into peak season, we posted what was out, what was new, and put this video clip of Sandi explaining why farming is so important.

2. How to Freeze 10 Ears of Corn

What really amazed us about this post wasn’t the response it got, but rather how many pounds of corn kernels came from just 10 ears

1.When Bad Things Happen to Great People

Re-read this post from Phillip and take perspective on the things that truly matter in life.

 

Happy holidays to everyone out there. We appreciate your friendship, kindness, business, and connection every day and we hope we never take any of that for granted. Everyone that visits with us is an integral part of this farm and raising our children. We are grateful and so excited to ring in the near year with all of you.

A decade is over and a new one is going to begin. We hope for the best for everyone and look forward to another great growing season.

 

 

Stewing Hens: Best Kept Culinary Secret

This weekend starts stewing hen season. But what exactly is a stewing hen?

Not all chickens are the same. On our farm we have two different types, one kind is raised for meat and the other is specific to laying eggs. Once a year we have a group of egg laying hens that have to be retired because they no longer lay any eggs. As much as we’d like to send them to Florida to play shuffleboard  and eat dinner at four o’clock, on the farm we make it a habit to use absolutely everything.

This week marks our stewing hen season. They will be fresh for this one market weekend only and then we will bring them to the markets with us the rest of the winter frozen. These hens aren’t meant to be thrown on the grill or sauteed with garlic and tomato. They need to be cooked low and slow.

One of our favorite stewing hen recipes is chicken pot pie. It’s a multi step process, but boy oh boy it will be an absolute favorite for everyone in the house.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Take the hen out of the bag, give it a rinse and set it in an 8 quart stock pot. Cut an onion into quarters, a carrot in half (don’t bother peeling it), a few cloves of garlic, and rough chop three celery ribs and put them in the pot. If you have a bay leaf throw that in there too. Add cold water to the pot until it covers the chicken and then about three fingers above that. Add a tablespoon of salt. Put that on medium heat with the lid on and forget about it for at least an hour and a half.

Now you can make the topping and put in the fridge for later. Instead of a traditional pot pie topping, use a biscuit recipe. Just roll it thin before placing it over the top. Make sure you cut a small ‘X’ in the center before you bake it or it could rise up and pop! Here’s a good recipe that just uses Bisquick as it’s base and probably a lot of other stuff you already have.

https://www.bunsinmyoven.com/biscuit-making-101/

When the stewing hen is starting to pull apart with a fork you can take it out of the pot and let it cool. Strain and reserved the liquid. That’s the chicken stock you’re going to make the pot pie with. Once the chicken is cool enough, remove the skin and pull the meat off. Chop it up a little and get it into bite sized pieces. Now you’re ready for the pot pie filling!

Dice onion, potato,carrot, celery and garlic and put it in a pan with some butter. Once the onions are translucent you can add the chicken stock you made. In a little sauce pan or a frying pan, make roux. You want a light roux. Here’s a step by step how to:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/articles/how-to-make-a-roux-a-step-by-step-guide

Once the stock is boiling and reduced a bit in your pan, add your roux to thicken, then add the chicken meat, and finally peas. Once this step is complete, make sure to taste it in case you have to add some seasoning. Fresh rosemary and thyme gives it a winter feel and don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste!

dutch oven

Place your pot pie filling directly in a pan that can go into the oven. Our friends grandmother used to put it in a hotel pan, top it with the biscuit dough and put it in the oven. We prefer a dutch oven. Roll out the biscuit topping and press it onto the sides of the dutch oven. Put it in the oven at 375. Since the pot pie filling is already hot all you have to do is watch for that biscuit to cook and you’re ready to eat.

We’ll have lots of other ideas for stewing hen use that we can’t wait to share.

 

 

Recipe: Brussel Sprouts

Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Brussel Sprouts are a super versatile little cabbage. They can be cooked so many ways it can be hard to choose which amazing recipe to choose.

The United States grows a lot of Brussel Sprouts, around 30 tons per year. Which sounds like an awful lot until you learn that The Netherlands grown over 80 metric tons per year! With all these sprouts kicking around the globe you bet there are some pretty interesting recipes to choose from.

Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts Recipe
Halved Brussel Sprouts

But we have one today that’s pretty darn easy and take very little prep time. It will take just over an hour in the oven, but the result will be well worth it. This recipe also tastes awesome the next day, cold, right out of the refrigerator.

Our recipes are never exact. We couldn’t tell you how many Brussel Sprouts to use by weight, but we just use one stalk. For the purposes of this blog and our website we try to get amounts down. So for this one we did what we could.

Maple Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

What you’ll need: 

One stalk Brussel Sprouts (halved)

1/4 cup local maple syrup

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 one gallon bag

Salt and pepper

Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts Recipe
1 Gallon Bag of Goodness

What you’ll do: 

Take the sprouts off the stalk and cut them in half. Then put them in the plastic bag. Pour in the maple syrup, the dijon, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well in the bag and then let sit for an hour. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Spread the seasoned sprouts out on a baking sheet. Line with foil or parchment paper. Use a little pan spray for easy clean up. Bake on the top shelf in the oven for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes or until the sprouts start to caramelize and crisp.

 

 

The Uncertainty of Farm Life

Fisher Hill Farm

Every day is something new on the farm. You never quite know what’s in store for you. Go in with a strong monthly, weekly, or daily plan and those plans can change in the blink of an eye.

It could be anything, too. Truck breaks down, tractor gets stuck, unexpected rain storm washes you out, anything to throw you off your game suddenly can happen. You kind of start to expect the unexpected, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you have to stop what you’re doing to take care of something that you weren’t prepared for.

We’ve always been farmers so we can’t speak from personal experience, but in talking with friends and family it doesn’t seem that much different from any other job out there! Things come up constantly and you are always having to find new ways to make it work.

Life really isn’t much different. Things come out of the blue to throw you off your game all the time. Could be something as simple as a child getting the flu or as serious as someone close to you getting seriously ill. Those things are game changers in one way or the other and there’s no real way you can prepare for something that you don’t ever expect.

All you can do is try and keep your cool, stay centered, and make smart informed decisions as much as possible. The other thing you can do is ask for help. Never feel bad about asking for help when you need it. Too often we try to tackle projects that are just beyond our scope of comprehension and it only makes us more frustrated which never helps to solve any problems.

This is all stemming from us losing water pressure the other day and finding out there was a massive leak that needed to be dug up. Turns out it was a pinhole leak in the plumbing. But, man can that be frustrating. We had to bring someone else in to fix everything up and get the water back on. Never ideal to stop during peak harvest season to fix something you didn’t expect. But that’s life, the uncertainty of farm life!

 

 

 

The First of this Year’s Cantaloupe

Fisher Hill Farm Local Cantaloupe

Well, they’re finally starting to get ripe enough to take to the market with us. They came out beautiful this year despite the late start and we couldn’t be happier.  They’re a little smaller this year but they are super sweet!

There’s nothing quite like a nice ripe cantaloupe especially if its local. It’s healthy, delicious, and so juicy that it’s actually thirst quenching, especially on a hot dry day like the days we’ve had recently. It’s a pretty soft start so far so our supplies might be limited at market this weekend but we’ll bring as much as we can. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about them so we’re glad we can bring some!

In other news, we’ve spent a lot of time planting. Beets, chard, and kale are constantly being planted since April so we have a steady supply for the whole season. We also planted broccoli, lettuce, scallions, rutabaga and kohlrabi for fall harvest and winter storage. The season is absolutely flying by. Can you believe it’s August already?

Eggplant and peppers should be coming soon for those of  you who have asked. They’re almost ready. We don’t expect to see them this weekend at the market. The sweet corn has been a huge hit. Thanks to everyone for the compliments. Nothing makes us happier than hearing about how much you enjoyed what we grew and how you cooked it. We like recipe sharing too so don’t be shy!

Here’s a list of what to expect this weekend:

Bunched Beets

Spring Onions

Sweet Onions, bunched with greens

String Beans

Shallots

Swiss Chard 

Kale (curly, red russian)

Lettuce

Radishes

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Cucumbers

Basil

Sweet Corn

New potatoes, red

Carrots

Cherry & Grape Tomatoes

Hope you have a great weekend. Come by and visit us at the Rochester Public Market and the Brighton Farmers Market!