end of Sept 2012 frost and rabbit-touille

pesto

turns out only the tops of the basil plants got blackened- it was a light frost two nights ago. Nevertheless, I went and snipped down most of the plants last night, their trunks resembling wooden tree branches. Into a big tarp they went, into the hoophouse for safety. Today I stripped the good leaves off, enjoying the warmth an rain cover in the hoophouse. Got a 5 gallon bucket full of basil leaves!

Into the cuisinart they went, batch after batch, with olive oil, sunflower seeds, garlic and salt. I ended up with a good amount of pesto for winter use, it freezes beautifully and is very multi-purpose. Chevre pesto bread, or mixed into hot pasta, or used as pizza sauce, or in lasagna, or in a minestrone….it’s important to put these things up when the ingredients are fresh, local and cheap. Who wants to pay $10/lb for California basil in the winter? Not me! Or pay $5 for a couple ounces of prepared pesto in the store? No way! Get to a farmer’s market, barter with friends who have basil NOW and get some of this goodness in your freezer!

rabbitouille

While I canned mega-hot salsa and made duck egg pasta, Andrew harvested 10 rabbits today for a customer picking up tomorrow. After that, we moved one of the rabbit tractors down to the new garden area and put the next 2 litters of kits in there to graze for the last months of fall. They’ll be helping us get the area ready to be a garden next year, eating the bigger grasses down and fertilizing all in fell swoop. I love rabbits. They are so peaceful and such happy little beings. Eating grass means they aren’t high on the carbon-footprint like grain eaters. But we haven’t gotten to eat many of them because our customers are really loving this unique offering for their own culinary use. Which is awesome! We kept 2 from the last harvest for ourselves, and have had 6 meals from those 2 rabbits so far. Amazing. Rabbit meat is high in protein, and very dense, so really filling. A little goes a long way.

Ratatouille means something like “everything thrown in” in french. I strive to keep our fridge on a constant turnover without waste, so this type of dish sounded like a perfect fit. I also had lots of random garden things sitting around and a couple cups of leftover roasted rabbit pieces from a few nights back that needed to get used up. We discovered EGGPLANT had actually formed on the big plants right before the frost, but we don’t even really like eggplant. (It’s…..well….blah. ) But they are tiny and so beautiful, and I wanted to do them justice. So Rabbittouille was born.

Take a couple chopped red onions and start to saute in olive oil. Add a few little eggplants, also chopped into chunks. 2 or 3 smaller bell peppers, and a hot one for fun, add to the sautee, then after a minute, add some stock. I used rabbit bone stock I’d made after we roasted the rabbits and took the meat off the bones. Always add some vinegar to your stock as it simmers, to pull out the minerals and calcium from the bones. You don’t need to use vegetables or herbs in your stock, you’re just making a nutrient dense broth, which you’ll season as you use it in your dishes.

I have gotten distracted from my Rabbitouille tale. You’ve sauteed the veggies and added broth. Now add a good handful of basil and parlsey, chopped. Salt and pepper to taste. Throw in a bay leaf or two. Grab a handful of green beans and chop and add to the pot. Or you could use zucchini chunks. Tomatoes- take all those weird ones on the counter, about 8 or so, chop and add to the pot. Lastly, toss in the rabbit meat. When it’s been roasted, it’s very soft and you don’t want to put it through much more cooking time. Simmer for about 20 minutes, and serve hot with crusty bread. Super Yum!

no big deal

farm vs farms. Is it just a natural thing to pluralize a noun? So many people throw an “s” onto the word farm. Why? In the case of multi-million dollar businesses doing business as a “farm” such as Jennie-O or Applegate or Tyson, farms makes sense. They are not a singular farm that produces food, they are actually the company that contracts the farms under their umbrella to grow the food for them to sell.They make millions on the backs of the real farmers. If you’ve seen Food Inc, you know the financial slavery this entails for those contracted farmers.

Maybe that’s why it bothers me a bit to see LTD Farms written on a check, in the “Pay to the Order of” line. I’d say it shows up there about 50% of the time! Our farm is obviously not a bunch of farms. We’re obviously not a large company that distributes food others produce. It’s no big deal, our bank doesn’t question it, but it has had me pondering for a long time.

bubs harvest

Well, I’m tired. We harvested 66 chickens today. I don’t think we’ve ever had that many to do in one day before. We’re SO lucky to have our amazing customers come out to be a part of this and lend us a helping hand. It’s life-changing for all involved. We all appreciate the meat so much more, knowing the beings who were harvested, and learning how to properly scald, pluck and eviscerate. These Bubsters are so very appreciated by us, and by our customers. Could a chicken being raised for meat live a better life? I really don’t think so. How many cornish cross have a caretaker who sits with them in the evenings, enjoying their sociability as they crowd around ones legs and settle down for some gentle pats? A caretaker who delights in their bulbous biggness as they come running to her in the early evening, hungry for dinner. Who has cornish cross chickens who can actually run? We do. Or we did. Or, wait, we do still- there are 25 smaller ones we have kept back for a couple more weeks for ourselves and a couple of family orders. I just went out to their electro-net paddock with their dinner, and what a small herd it is now. Instead of going through 50lbs of feed a day,we’ll be down to 15 or so. Instead of needing 35 gallons of water, we’ll be going through 5. We’ve suddenly downsized on the Bubster herd, and it feels so odd. I’ve loved tending them so much this year. But we can’t just keep them around as live birds because I love them. They will bring so much gustatorial delight to so many. We all have to play a part in paying bills here, in one way or the other. Blessings to the Bubs. I love raising them so much, and going through today completes the cycle.

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