Posted by: Kate | August 5, 2010

Online cooking class!

If you are interested in learning how to cook some of the more rare cuts of meat, there is an online cooking class opportunity coming our way. It looks amazing! I wish I could take it, but I will be out of town.

Check it out!

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Posted by: Kate | June 23, 2010

We’re still here!

Well HELL-o there! We’ve been neglecting this little farm blog due to…you know…farming.

The weather has been terrible for honey production. Normally by this time of year, we have a couple of honey harvests under our belts. So far we have nary a drop! It’s frustrating! But that’s the life of a farmer! We signed up for this! Luckily we still have plenty of fall harvest wildflower from 2009.

The farmers markets are in full swing, and we are busily loading up the car, heading to markets, and then coming home to load up again. The pork is flying out of the coolers and everyone is praising the lard! (phrase stolen from Prather Ranch)

The bacon and sausage is almost all gone bye bye. So come fight over the last packages at this week’s markets. But fear not, as both will return in late July/early August.

That brings us to yet another unique Lovers Lane Farm commodity: The honorable BERKSHIRE PIG .We are excited to add these gems to our heritage breed crew.

Until recently, the major market for Berkshire pork has been in Japan, where the meat is prized for it’s superior flavor. They call it Kurobuta (Black Hog). Ever heard of Kobe Beef? Well Berkshire is the pork equivalent. It is juicy and tender like Tamworth pork, but it’s high fat content make it suitable for long cooking and high temperature cooking.  The cuts tend to be marbled, with a pinkish hue.  Chefs in the US have caught wind and now it is all the rage in them there fancy restaurants.

The least publicized fact about Berkshires is this: they are incredibly goofy. They joke around with each other all day long. They run around like dogs and nip each others’ ears and crash into one another. They try to get the Tamworths to lighten up, and sometimes they succeed. Then you will see a thundering herd of pigs dashing crazily around the pasture. You might find that your sense of humor improves after tasting this pork.

We have some Berkshire piggies that are just about to harvest weight, and that means will will have whole and half hogs in late July. We like to pre-sell whole and half hogs first because it is the more humane way to go.  When we collect a deposit for a whole or half hog, the customer then owns the pig. We kill the animal as a courtesy and send it off to the butcher. The animal dies on the field it was raised on, munching on delicious food. They don’t feel fear or pain, and they never have to deal with the stress of transport to a USDA facility. When we take pork to the farmers market, it has been transported to Eureka to be slaughtered in a USDA certified facility. Unfortunately this is currently the closest facility.

We have a limited number of whole and half-hog pre-order allocations for late July, so get in touch with us as soon as possible.

You can:

  • call us (707) 463-2658
  • come by the farmers market
  • email us (loverslanefarm@gmail.com)
  • shortwave radio
  • Morse Code
  • pigeons
Posted by: Kate | May 24, 2010

are you hungry?

Want to eat some amazing local food and drink some tasty local wine? Want to hang out with us farmy rockstars? Then you should definitely come to this event. 

There will be pork galore, seasonal veggie creations, beefy spectacles, honey masterpieces, and I am going to whip up some goat’s milk ice cream and top it with pollen granules. Because I can.

Go to magrudergrassfed.com to learn more and reserve a spot.

Posted by: Kate | May 20, 2010

Sproing

The weather has to be just right for perfect honey-making conditions. We need a wet spring, and we need late spring rains, but sunny days are also important in allowing bees to get out and work the nectar flow. This soggy and cold spring has been glorious for water reserves and fire protection, etc, but it hasn’t really allowed our girls to make a whole lot of honey. They have been focused on keeping the hive at the correct temperature, and staying dry inside.

Most of our hives are behind in honey production right now. We probably won’t see much Vetch Blossom honey at all this year. This will  be sad news for those die-hard Vetch customers who line up at the late May and early June farmers markets.

Keith says that we will probably see an intense honey flow come all at once as soon as the weather turns warm, however. Then we’ll scramble to get it all harvested.

Our beehive sales went very well. We sold tons of packages of bees this week, and are getting ready for the customers who bought full hives. Our first beekeeping class is this Sunday, May 23rd. Wish Professor Keith good luck with his first teaching assignment. Hopefully no one throws spit wads or bee larvae at him.

The pork is back, baby! And we are all so very excited. The bacon is still curing at Roundman’s Smokehouse in Fort Bragg, but we have plenty of other goodies in the coolers at the farmers market.

We had shoulder steaks last night with a mustard-apple reduction sauce. It was pretty all right. You might like it if you like sweet and smoky sauces paired with succulent meat, or whatever. And the chops: they are juicy. We are trying sort of very hard not to eat all the pork out from under our customers’ noses.

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements once I can get my act together!

Posted by: Kate | April 19, 2010

“I laid ‘im out with a shovel”

When I saw Keith in his new chore coveralls, I said, “You look like you could kill someone with a shovel!” (In a good way. I’m a John Steinbeck fan.)

Posted by: Kate | April 19, 2010

Golden Granules of Glory

During the past few years, many customers at the farmer’s market have occasionally asked us about local pollen.  There are many stories, remedies, and folklore regarding the use of bee pollen to relieve and even cure seasonal allergy symptoms. It is said that pollen is a remarkable energy restoration and weight loss supplement. This year we decided to try our hand at harvesting it. It is surprisingly exciting! We check the tray every day to see what different colors have been brought in that morning.

We have nearly 100 pollen traps that have been sitting and collecting dust in a shed. Jack Booth used to trap pollen and sell it at local health food stores before he retired from beekeeping.

Keith’s dad Rick, cleaned 10 of the traps up and replaced the old cloth baskets that hold the pollen.

The traps use 3 layers of screens inside of the entrance. The bees must go through the entrance of the trap and climb up through the layered screens. This dislodges the pollen from the bees’ legs and the pollen pellets fall into the cloth collection basket at the bottom of the trap.

This is what the collection basket looked like just 3 hours after we installed the trap. We assume these pollen pellets have been collected from Valley Oak, Lavender, Storks Bill, Wild Radish, Mustard, Willow, and possibly dozens of other plants.

The pollen ranges in color from gold to orange to bright purple. We are having fun figuring out which flowers the different colors come from. Look for fresh, local pollen at the Farmers Market in mid May!

Posted by: Kate | April 5, 2010

High-quality, real food is better for your health?

Fat. It’s almost a bad word in our culture. We Americans are obsessed with non-fat, low calorie, overly processed food. We love our food replacement products. We love to belly up to the coffee bar and order a massive cup of coffee laden with milk that has had the fat solids removed from it. We make up for the terrible taste by adding “Irish Creme” or “Caramel Flavoring” or six packets of Splenda.

Unfortunately, we have started training our children early with baby formula to replace breast milk, and sweet tasting drinks like Pediasure to replace vitamins from real food. We have gotten so used to food tasting chemically altered, that some people find food in it’s natural state to be repulsive.”What? You kill those sweet little piggies and eat them? Barbarians! If you need me, I’ll be at Burger King”

All this low fat, low carb, fake food is making us sick. And ironically, overweight.

Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma talks about this in depth. When I sit down to plan our meals every week, this quote from his book runs through my head over and over.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants

That’s it. Very simple and very radical. It’s kind of sad that we have to work to make sure that we are eating actual food.

So back to the topic of fat. I’m a big fan of fat in moderation. It makes our food taste delicious, and it has a special place on our plate. Did you know that dietary fat helps us absorb the vitamins in vegetables? It also enhances the immune system, aids in the structural integrity of cell membranes, protects the liver from harmful toxins, and protects the digestive tract from harmful microorganisms. We need fat to aid our brain and heart functions as well. This is all according to Sally Fallon’s, Nourishing Traditions: another great book that guides my food choices.

With all this in mind, I set out on a pork fat rendering adventure this weekend. We had some un-rendered back fat that didn’t sell at the farmers market, so I decided to try my hand at rendering it.

Here is the fat still on the skin, set out to thaw.

I had to cut the skin into chunks to fit nicely into the pot.

I threw it in a pot with a small amount of water in the bottom to keep it from sticking.

And then heated it on low. For about 10 hours.

What resulted was rendered fat, and crackling. If I had waited a little longer, the crackling would have crisped up and been tasty. But it was getting late and I was impatient and I just wanted to be finished already. The crackling was still too slimy to eat, so I threw it out.

I strained it through cheese cloth.

I poured it into small jars to give away and use myself.

I put it in the fridge to set and the product that resulted was rich and creamy and smooth. I slathered some on a bunch of fingerling potatoes and roasted them in the oven with herbs from my garden. Then I died. Of deliciousness.

Posted by: Kate | March 29, 2010

New pastures all around!

Springtime is exciting for us farmers. New life is everywhere, and with it comes the promise of new possibilities.

We rotate our pastures with the seasons and this week it was time for a new pig pasture. They had rooted up the last one entirely. This can be great because they rid the land of weeds, ivy, poison oak: leveling the field for the grass next year. It is an eyesore too, however. Such is life with pigs.

Thank goodness for move-able electric fences! This is what we use for goats and pigs, and it is very effective in keeping livestock in and predators out.

Posted by: Kate | March 22, 2010

I wrote this last week when we had no internet

Our apartment on the ranch is on a second story, and we sometimes feel like we live in a tree house because of the panoramic view of our farm. I often stand at the window and look out at the barnyard when I am rocking Linnea to sleep at nap time. Today I was watching the barnyard action as I swayed back and forth and Linnea’s eyelids drooped.

The sun was just coming out after a long, hard burst of rain. Piglets started venturing out first: always the boldest of the barnyard crew. Their round bellies swayed as they sauntered out. Next came the chickens, cautiously stepping and pecking here and there. The goats are always last. They hate rain and wet with a passion. The little kids leapt and bounded past their mothers once they got the “all clear”.

The barnyard was full of life again, with goat kids goofing off and leaping off of things, piglets dashing around and taunting the chickens, and earnest hens searching for worms washed up by the rain.

I could see the bees rushing out of the hives below our house to take advantage of the sun and haul in nectar and pollen.

A few drops started to fall again, and everyone paused. The rain began again in earnest and the goats were first to dash like mad back into the barn. The kids bumped into one another and jumped over the backs of the piglets. The piglets were triggered by the goats and crashed into hens in the pandemonium. The hens started running, head down, for the coop.

The barnyard was deserted almost as quickly as it was filled, save for a few bedraggled hens pecking at the ground.

Posted by: Kate | March 4, 2010

Get yer beehives here!

Hey everyone!

Lovers Lane Farm is proud to announce that we are starting to sell beehives!

Here’s the info:

Start Your Own Beehive!

Lovers Lane Farm is now offering beehives for sale for Spring 2010. We can provide you with everything you need to get started plus a free 3 hour class. We will ensure you have everything you need to begin and succeed at beekeeping. Reserve a hive now, as hives and classes are limited. $100 deposit required.

Starter Package Includes:

2 Deep 9-5/8″ hive bodies
1 bottom board
1 hive lid
20 assembled frames
entrance reducer
veil with helmet
leather gloves (available in S,M,L,XL)
hive tool
1 3 lb. package of bees with Italian queen
1 3-hour Introduction to Beekeeping class with experienced beekeeper
Total Starter Package: $300

Deluxe Package includes everything above plus:

Bee Suit (available in S,M,L,XL,XXL)
Smoker
Smoker Fuel
Book
$450

If you already have all the equipment you need, and you just need the bees, we will  have packages available for $85.

But wait! When does the class start?

Unfortunately, we cannot nail down an exact date at this time because we depend on the bee supplier. We will give you a call with notice. It will most likely be early to mid May

Call 707-463-2658 or email loverslanefarm@gmail.com to sign up

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