Produce CSA 2016

It’s never too soon to pick the farmer who will grow your fresh produce all season long. At Barefoot Farm & Flowers we grow beautiful, healthy and delicious produce just for you! Our gardens are lovingly tended to provide fruits and vegetables of the highest quality and amazing variety. Go ahead and taste right out of the crate- we never spray with dirty chemicals.

What’s in a typical crate? So much mouthwatering goodness that you won’t know where to begin. How about starting with a full salad? The first week of June usually bears two heads of Romaine lettuce, a bunch of rainbow radishes, a bundle of touchstone gold beets, garlic scapes, fresh garlic, rainbow chard or dinosaur kale, a pint or two of super sweet strawberries,
a few baby zucchinis, a bag of premium cut salad greens, snow peas, basil and a carton of pastured eggs.

Our CSA will provide your family with a dining adventure for a full 25 weeks. Each week your farmer will harvest the best produce that is grown in season, to fill your crate. Salad items will be included weekly, along with other seasonal produce as it ripens. Carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers…sweet blackberries, fresh plums, crisp apples, melon…too much to list. 

Do you want to make pickles? Can your own tomato products? We’ve got you covered there, too. You can order bulk boxes of pickling cukes and canning tomatoes. Always wanted to try making your own sauerkraut? Kim-chi? Then you’ll want to order extra heads of our cabbage.

As the summer fades into fall and the weather takes a cooler turn our produce will provide a basis for hearty soups and sides. Purple potatoes, kale, onions, winter squash, pie pumpkins- all make eating at home a cozy affair. Along with the produce you’ll also find grass fed & finished ground lamb and beef, ground sausage from our pastured pigs, and even a holiday turkey.  Your farmer knows how to feed your family right!

Want to stock your freezer with exceptional meats that were humanely raised and harvested? Our pastured pork, grass fed lamb and beef shares might be just what you need. You can purchase pork and beef by the side or half while the lamb is sold whole.

How much will it cost? $900 will get you 25 weeks of nourishing, flavor packed local food grown by your farmer just for you.

Can I make payments? Yes! A non-refundable deposit of $100 paid when you sign up will hold your share. After that, your balance due is broken down into three easy installments.

  1. February 25th $300
  2. April 25th $300
  3. May 15th $200

Of course, you can always pay in full at any time. Paying in full helps your farmer to purchase the seeds, soil amendments and equipment needed to start planting right away. You can expect your first share between the last week of May and the first week of June, depending on when the strawberries are ready.

Where do I pick up my crate? You can pick up directly off our farm in Clatskanie, Oregon or at our conveniently located Hillsboro site. We will also be offering a pick up site in Astoria this year. Days and times for 2016 to be announced soon.

I’m in- Sign me up! Welcome to the farm, you savvy eater! Soon you’ll be dishing up some delightful fare.

Print out an Order Form here

Please mail payments along with order form to Barefoot Farm & Flowers 77568 Erickson Dike Road Clatskanie OR 97016

I’ll reserve your spot as soon as I receive your deposit.

Questions? Contact Farmer Linda barefootfarmflowers@yahoo.com

Muscovies or Satan’s Henchmen

Muscovy ducks are often promoted as well mannered and lovable, the perfect dual purpose breed for small farms and homesteads alike. They are supposed to breed like feathered rabbits while maintaining a friendly charm, if not quite warm and cuddly. So when the opportunity arose to trade some of my hens’ eggs for 6 young Muscovy ducks I jumped right on it with my usual enthusiasm. These guys and gals were great. They followed me everywhere, ate out of my hands, posed for pictures…I was smitten.

Until puberty hit. It hit hard and drew blood. My blood. I found myself perusing the internet at night, guiltily looking up recipes for duck. That came after I was bent over in the goat barn, tossing fresh hay to the ladies. Suddenly something heavy dropped off the top of the haystack and landed on the top of my head. I thought a bale had fallen until I realized whatever it was on my head was also using claws to pull out my hair. Oh- a Muscovy. Of course. It had climbed up the stack when I wasn’t looking and ambushed me. Sounds about right.

Making my rounds for last minute hay and water checks by the light of my head lamp suddenly I would hear it. The wet plodding of webbed feet coming at me- then the strike! One of the drakes would grab hold of my pant leg, using its claws it would try to climb my leg, beating its wings…some kind of weird duck mating ritual. Then plod!plod!plod! More of them would come out of the shadows, determined to get my other leg. Or one of the other drakes. It didn’t matter. I took to arming myself with a long pvc pipe to ward them off. But they were steadfast and held on.

Why didn’t I re-home them? Or eat them? Because I had a plan.  I was going to collect the eggs for eating. I was going to figure out which ones were the females…but guess what? You can’t tell the difference between males and females when it comes to Muscovies. Because they aren’t true ducks. No, they are really henchmen from satan. I’m sure of that. And I didn’t have a place to put them on lock down while keeping them separate from my well behaved poultry. So I let them roam. Like a gang of thugs.

I found myself telling visitors- “Just kind of shake him off.”  “Give him a little kick. A big kick” ” A bigger kick” then I’d go over and expertly pin his neck down to the ground with my boot, ignoring the bewildered look on my guest’s face while we chatted and he squirmed. Eventually it became evident that none of the ducks were female. They were all drakes. Except maybe that one that chased the truck in the road until the truck slowed and it attacked the tire…we’ll never know now. Definitely not the one that jumped on one of my rogue chickens and snapped its neck before I could save it.

Well mannered? Lovable? Perfect homestead duck? If you’re satan, perhaps.

thugs Satan’s Henchmen. More commonly known as Muscovy drakes.

Ghee, How I Love You

gheestep6

One of the perks of keeping dairy animals is that I get to stock up on all kinds of wondrous dairy products as often as I’m willing to put in the time and effort, and depending on my skill level.  The amount of milk and cream I have on hand ebbs and flows with the seasons and the schedules of my cows and goats. Right now I’m experiencing one of those peak moments where I have more milk flowing into my kitchen than space in the fridge to store it in its liquid form.  Enter Ghee.

Ghee- it takes my home made butter to an entirely different level. Golden and creamy, with a nutty full bodied flavor. If you’ve never made this at home, you are truly missing out. You can make it from any butter, I’m just fortunate right now to be able to make it from my own fresh butter, made almost daily.

Why ghee? For me it started as an issue of practicality. I already had an excess of butter in my freezers. Fully working your butter to remove all of the buttermilk is a chore that I don’t enjoy. It takes lots of time and if you don’t get it all out, the butter will taste rancid if you don’t eat it quick enough. Ghee is shelf stable, which means you don’t have to store it in the freezer, using up valuable space for meat. And I’ve found that when making ghee, it doesn’t seem to matter if you haven’t removed all of the buttermilk. The process of making ghee actually cooks off the milk solids. Win!

In the kitchen, ghee can be used in place of any other cooking oil. It has a higher smoke point which makes it great for stir frying. I used it to cook up my corn tortillas for enchiladas and it was wonderful. There is a difference between “clarified butter” and ghee. When making ghee, you cook it longer past the point of clarified butter. You need to wait for the milk solids to turn a medium brown and sink to the bottom of the pot.

Here’s a quick step by step to making your own ghee at home.

First, using a heavy bottomed pot, melt at least a pound of butter on low heat.

gheestep1I used my dutch oven and melted two pounds of my home made butter.

Keep the heat on low, be patient. Pretty soon the butter will begin to foam. This is what you want. Keep your eye on it, but let it foam away.

gheestep2Eventually, the foam will begin to clear and you will see bits of milk solids floating on the surface. You can use your spoon to move the foam around and see if the solids are beginning to sink. Just let it continue cook, keeping the heat on low.

gheestep3Finally there will be little to no foam on the top of the butter. Almost all of the milk solids will have sunk to the bottom. At this point you can turn off the heat. While all of this was happening, I ran several canning jars through the high temp setting on my dishwasher. I won’t actually can the ghee, but I do want very clean jars for storage.

gheestep4I filtered mine through a very fine mesh strainer into my jars. You have to be careful that you don’t contaminate the ghee with water or any kind of kitchen debris during daily use. Doing so will make the ghee turn bad. Put a lid on it and date it.

gheestep5

I just recently learned of a clever trick from one of my favorite forums to keep the ghee from getting a grainy texture. After you have filtered it, put it in your fridge to cool. Letting it cool at room temp is what prevents a creamy texture. I wish I had known that before I made my last batch. Truly it doesn’t matter if  the texture is grainy if you are just using it for cooking. But if you are using it as a spread on toast you will want it less grainy.

I like to keep a smaller jar of ghee for general use next to my stove. My other jars go in the back of my pantry, out of light and kept cool. Ghee should last kept this way for a year- unless you eat it first.

 

Hostage in My Kitchen

Late last night I realized what had happened. I had become a hostage in my own kitchen. And like most things around here, it all started with a cow.

For months I had been waiting for Daisy to have her calf. She had been tricky and dated our bull after our backs were turned. Which meant after her first due date passed and no calf had appeared we had to keep adding 3 weeks. That’s the typical cycle of a cow, every 19-21 days they can come into heat.

So for months we went without her milk. No extra cream, no ice cream or yogurt. We just waited and watched and wished. Then finally it happened. Almost 3 weeks ago Daisy delivered her handsome bull calf. And we had milk, too.  Gradually Daisy upped her milk production from 3 gallons, to almost 4 gallons. Then she jumped to 6.5 gallons and held steady for a few days. Until yesterday. My dainty Jersey cow outdid herself and blessed me with 8 gallons of milk. And a cup. I was floored. This was twice as much milk as she’d ever produced and twice as much milk as I was used to handling.

Never one to complain about an unexpected bounty I rolled up my sleeves and got busy. I knew there would come a time when I wouldn’t have all this fresh milk on hand. Just like preserving fruits and vegetables during the harvest season you have to preserve your milk when it’s flowing. And around here, it flows twice a day- once at morning milking and again in the evening.

What can you do with 8 gallons of fresh milk?

First I skimmed cream off of 3 gallons. That yielded a tad over 1 gallon of cream. Then I took the 3 gallons of skimmed milk,  which had now become 2 gallons and turned it into 2 pounds of ricotta. The left over whey went out to the barn cats and chickens. I froze the ricotta to use later in stuffed shells. Some people like to use whey from cheese making for other kitchen activities, but this wasn’t a sweet whey and I needed the counter and fridge space.

5 gallons of whole milk and a gallon of cream waiting for me to “Do Something”.

I took the gallon of cream, and made 2lbs of butter. But my freezers were already groaning with butter, so I turned the 2lbs of butter into (4) 8 ounce jars of Ghee, plus an extra 4 ounces. Shelf stable and will last for a year or so.

Back to the 5 gallons of milk. More ricotta, 7 quarts of Greek yogurt, more cream that will be used for ice cream and either fudge or caramel candy… At some point it was time to go back outside for evening milking. Remember, this isn’t a one time deal. It’s twice a day every day.

Did I mention I also milk Snow & Peaches?

By the end of the night I had frozen 10lbs of ricotta, made ghee, butter, greek yogurt. Fed the farm critters so much whey that they ran when they saw me coming with a pail. Well, not really “ran”. More like turned their backs and tried to roll away. And, every shelf in my milk fridge is full and waiting for me to “Do Something”.

I spent the entire day under my cows’ udders or in the milk kitchen. I had become a hostage in my own kitchen. And I loved every single minute of it!

 

 

Through the Looking Glass

Another year rolls by. It was a good year. It had ups and downs, just like each day does. Farming has a steady beat. Rhythms and routines that are followed day in and day out. I don’t need a watch to tell time. I just pause where I’m standing and I know what time it is. It’s time to feed hay, top off water, call the cows in for milking. But wait- I don’t need to call them. They are already there. They too know what time it is without looking.

cowsupformilkDays on the farm have a way of melding together. Sometimes it’s like highway fatigue. If you travel the same route over and over again you can forget where you are…did you already pass that milepost or is it coming up around the corner?

It’s the times where something is out of sync that causes you to refocus and pay attention. A ewe is missing from the flock at feeding time. One of the cows is by herself, under the tree. She’s giving birth. There is a smoky smell to the air. It’s your brooder house on fire.

Babycakes delivered Penny.

Babycakes delivered Penny.

The day the brooder burned.

The day the brooder burned.

Looking back over the past year it’s hard to remember the days as distinct events. Some days were definitely out of sync while the others were fluid and sweet. The sweet days are the ones that fill the farmer with hope to keep going, continuing on to the next milepost that waits just around the corner.

Here’s to each of you, wishing you and your families a new year filled with love, joy and all the sweetness a new year has to offer.

Honey harvested 2014

Honey harvested 2014

Getting My Goat…

It finally happened. I went to the other side. It was always just a matter of time, really. I’ve come full circle back to where I first started. I got goats. Not just one, or two so they wouldn’t be lonely. No, I got four pregnant does and two bucks. At least I showed restraint this time.

When I first started farming, over six years ago, I thought I would raise goats for meat and milk. Not being the kind of person who sticks her toe in to test the waters, I jumped right in with gusto. Kind of a belly flop, really. I bought 20 bottle baby kids and began a short lived adventure that ended with me swapping out my dream of milking goats for a Jersey cow and a big sigh of relief.

As the years went by and I grew my herd of milk cows, I never forgot about those sweet little bottle babies. There is something completely irresistible about baby goats. This time however, I wasn’t a complete novice to livestock and the unique needs of dairy animals. I started getting excited thinking about the possibility of adding a couple of adult does to our farm. I found myself scouting out unused areas that the goats would enjoy exploring. At night I was visiting goat forums, asking questions, reading up on everything goaty. I made a list of what I needed to have on hand before I brought the goats home, checked it twice and with a quick “click and drag” of the mouse they were on their way.

A couple of weekends later and the goat barn was ready and waiting. I didn’t actually think I’d end up with pregnant goats to start. But as luck would have it, a friend of mine put me in contact with a lovely lady who had been raising goats for over thirty years. She was ready to cut down her herd a bit and had two beautiful Nubian does, both pregnant, that she was willing to let me purchase. “Pia” and “Sister Midnight”. At about the same time, I stumbled across a pair of Saanen goats and their respective boyfriends. The goat barn was full.

The goats have been a comical addition to our farm. They are curious, sweet, and possibly a bit mischievous. I’ve spent a lot of time letting them get to know me. The Saanens are more laid back, they stroll over to check me out. The Nubians are a bit more high strung. The first few nights they spent just as much time standing in an upright position, peeking over the stalls as they did standing on all fours. But things are calming down now, falling into a steady rhythm of routine.

We don’t have exact due dates on the goat gals. So I spend an inordinate amount of time checking out the back end, looking for changes in the udders, hoping to see some clue that will tell me kidding is going to happen soon. I scrolled through the pictures I’d been taking because I wanted to find some that captured the different personalities. Thirty pictures, and every single one of them was a snapshot of udders….
sisterudderdaisygoatudder
As I stand there in the goat barn, taking in the sweet smell of hay and watching them watch me I can’t help but think of all the adventures ahead of us. And I can’t help but grin as I look at those growing bellies, imagining the sweet little kids that will soon be jumping around the barn. I’ve come full circle and I finally got my goats.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This coffee cake has a delicate crumb texture and a crunchy topping crumbled over its layer of fresh blueberries.

It’s one of our families go to recipes. I love it because I always have the ingredients on hand and it’s a great way to use up the blueberries I froze from the previous summer. My son rates it an “11” on a scale of “1-10”

Makes one 8 inch square pan

Topping

1/3 cup all purpose flour, unbleached

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup of one of the following (rolled oats, chopped pecans or chopped walnuts)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 TB (1/2 stick, or 2 ounces) of softened, unsalted butter

Batter

1 cup all purpose flour, unbleached

1 tsp baking powder, alum free

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

4 TB (1/2 stick, or 2 ounces) of softened, unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla or rum

1/2 cup sour cream, or greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or previously frozen, thawed and drained)

What to do

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8 ” square pan. I like to use coconut oil.

2. Prepare the topping. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and cut in the butter to make a crumbly texture.

3. Prepare the batter. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients, stir to mix.

4. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat until blended. I use my kitchen aid. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.Then beat in the sour cream. With a spoon, stir in the flour mixture to make a thick batter. Spread evenly over the greased and floured pan. Scatter the  blueberries over the batter and then crumble the topping over the berries. Bake 50-60 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on rack and serve warm.