The Best Chicken Stew You’ll Ever Eat

Best Chicken Stew - Fisher Hill Farm

We’re all in on this chicken stew recipe as you can see by the title. But one taste of this dish and you’ll agree with us. It’s easy to make and best of all you can get (almost) everything from us at the markets we attend. This recipe will easily serve 4 with leftovers.

What You’ll Need:

One Stewing Hen

3 Onions

4 Medium Rutabaga

6 Cloves of garlic

4 Medium Carrots

10 Ribs of Celery

2 tablespoons of AP flour

A few cheese rinds

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

What You’ll Do:

Take the stewing hen out of the package. Not sure what a stewing hen is? Check out our last post HERE. Give it a rinse and then put it in an 8 quart stock pot. Cut the three onions in half and put 3 halves in the pot along with 5 ribs of celery, 2 carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, the cheese rinds and the thyme. You can get these cheese rinds at the market from some of the vendors, or get them from Wegmans. The rinds will add awesome flavor and help add a little fat to the stock.

Local Rutabaga - Fisher Hill Farm
Local Rutabaga – Fisher Hill Farm

Cover the lid and place on medium heat. Forget about this for 3 hours. Occasionally come back to stir because the rinds can rest on the bottom and stick sometimes. After 3 hours, pull the chicken out to cool then strain the remaining liquid and put in another pot. Put this back on the stove with no top on it. Keep it at a simmer continue to reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stew Hen Stew - Fisher Hill Farm
Stew Hen Stew – Fisher Hill Farm

Peel and chop the rest of your veggies and put them in a soup pot like a dutch oven or an 8 quart stock pot. Saute them with 4 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper until they start to sweat. Add the flour and stir to thicken. Add the reserved stock that’s already hot. Reduce the heat down so it’s just barely boiling.

Strip the meat off the chicken. Discard any skin. Rough chop the meat and add it to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste one last time. Keep it warm and serve when you’re ready.

 

 

 

What do Farmers do in the Winter Time?

Fisher Hill Farm in the Winter

It seems like I get that question fairly often and certainly more folks are wondering than are actually asking, so thought I would share a bit about our winter season.

Winter is little different story for us compared to other farms because two of our ‘summer season’ farmers markets continue throughout the winter and I have a local restaurant delivery route all winter long. Between harvesting greens from the high tunnel, washing produce from storage, and taking care of the poultry we stay fairly busy.

Definitely, not summer time busy but steady nonetheless.

The first task of every winter is to order seeds.

Can’t grow vegetables without them! But before you can start placing orders you need to know what to get. I take inventory of what I had left over from the previous year and that gets the ball rolling. Then I have to look at the transplanting and seeding schedules from the previous year to see if I need to make any adjustments. I read through the stack of seed catalogs vying for my attention looking for improved or new offerings. Finally, I have a baseline of what I need and can start ordering.

Did you know that we purchase seeds from four different seed dealers?

One of the dealers is located right here in Rochester, NY. A few tweaks to the order may occur based on seed production availability or talks with the seed company reps and then the boxes start arriving. Funny thing is that even though I mostly place one bulk order with each company, they never send everything at once so it’s a steady trickle of boxes for the next 4-6 weeks, always with a surprise element of what each box actually contains!

This week I was working on getting some fields plowed for early crops.

I usually do this in the fall but it was so wet and muddy I could not get it done. Then after Christmas I started working on it and a part broke on the tractor. By the time the part arrived, Siberia had set in and the ground was frozen. Luckily, we had a February thaw and I got a chance to get back on the tractor. I finished the field that I started and got another one going. Unfortunately now it’s too muddy and I will have to wait till the ground gets a little freeze on it. There is a fine balance between muddy and frozen which can change within a few hours in the mornings and evenings.

Plowing in the Winter
Plowing in the Winter – Fisher Hill Farm

By the time the part arrived, Siberia had set in and the ground was frozen.

Another big winter task is getting all the accounting figured out for 2018 and meeting with the accountant. It usually takes a few weeks to get all the information into QuickBooks, and compile all the reports that the accountant needs to file the taxes. It’s not my favorite job of the year but a very important one.

After the taxes are all done and filed I can start working on machinery maintenance. All the tractors and RTVs need oil changes and service. Usually as you go through the machines you find little issues that need to be fixed. Then we start looking at the other equipment that gets used throughout the season. For the most part these are all tasks that we work in as time permits.

We finalized the plans this week to have a CSA pickup location in Victor, NY.

Victor Central School asked if we would be willing to setup on their campus Tuesday afternoons this market season, June-October. This will be a great opportunity for us to grow the CSA program and provide our products to the Victor area. (We did attend the Victor Farmers Market for several years from around 2005-2012.)

The sure sign of spring is getting the greenhouse ready for the first seeds. Around mid March we start early transplants of beets, chard, and tomatoes. Then every week after that the planting continues until July.

 

Phillip

Winter on the Farm

Fisher Hill Farm Winter

Even in the winter it’s business as usual on the farm. Even in these cold temperatures we still have to tend to our land and animals, although there might be a little more argument on who goes out to feed the chickens!

We can’t stress enough how much we love our job. There’s always parts of the job that we don’t like, and there’s probably parts of your job that you don’t like either, but we take a lot of pride and joy out of our work. Getting up and being at your job might sound terrible to some of you, but for us it’s a dream come true.

Our sincere enjoyment is yours actually. We have many repeat customers and many new customers who come to us for the food that helps sustain their family, themselves, and their friends. There is no greater feeling in the world than a job well done and when we hear the success stories of the dishes you made that your family and friends loved with our products it gives us true joy.

Shoppers at the Brighton Winter Farmers Market

Winter on the farm is a bit slower than in the spring, summer, and fall. It’s certainly a lot darker (although that’s slowly changing) and much quieter. But this time is essential for us to plan out our crops, spend some quiet nights with our girls, and think about spring!

We’re ready for it some days and other days we’re glad we have a few months. We hope this year is a good growing one not only for our crops that we bring to you but also for our three most important crops, our girls!

For the next few months you can find us at the Rochester Public Market and the Brighton Winter Farmers Market.

Check out our Farmers Market page for information and directions. 

It’s not too early to start thinking about our CSA either!

See you at the market!