Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nesting and Canning in the Rain

Sunday arrived with the glorious gift of a slow morning and rain enough to deliver us from a day of work outdoors. But, with a plan to can, we still needed a few more items, including a some bushels of apples. John and Flora headed out to our generous apple-clad neighbor's for some picking.

Flora didn't last long in the rain, preferring the work of nesting with the girls.

John arrived back at the farm with 4 different varieties to choose from: Baldwin, Cortland, Red Delicious, and Wealthy. We all participated in a taste test, sampling slices of all four varieties. Red Delicious brought us all into the school cafeteria (not much changes over 22 years, hmmm). Wealthy went into a pie, deliciously prepared by Emma. And all the rest are slowly finding their winter home in a canning jar.

Before this weekend, we hadn't canned anything so far this season. Busy weekends full of weddings and flowers and busy weeks full of produce and summer camp had taken all the steam out of our canner. The impending frost, lingering in the background and the empty shelf in my kitchen were starting to spur a modest anxiety. Ah, but remember, last week....simplicity....we can always go to the store and allow ourselves not to feel any guilt or lose any homestead security stripes over the lack of home canned goods. All this went out the window as everyone generously dove in to a day in the kitchen, without prompting. Even Emma left the lair that is her room to support our healthy eating habits.

Last week, we sent all the lambs off to the butcher. In my opinion, there is nothing finer that grass fed lamb (I say that now before the bacon arrives). What we've come to realize is that convenience food is a really important part of our sanity and it simplifies our evenings immensely. Sausage has emerged as my favorite farmhouse kitchen convenience food. This translated into 35 pounds of ground lamb transforming into a well seasoned sausage mix. I have served up all variety of sausage recipes but what consistently clears plates on my family's table is a blend of rosemary, mint and garlic.

 The recipe includes fresh mint and rosemary. When I open the lid to the Cuisinart after grinding the herbs, the smell is so heaven-scent, I want to climb inside the bowl and hang out for a bit.

Freshly ground pepper, salt, garlic and healthy dose of pork fat find their way in as well. The pork is mixed in at a 25% ratio to the meat.

(I love how her curls match the fat coming out of the grinder.... The original inspiration for all those playdough accessory kits?)

The pork fat aids in keeping the sausage together in the pan and keeps the meat from drying out. It also contributes to a familiar family reference, HMF or heavenly mouth-feel. At the table in the farmhouse kitchen one might hear the exclamation...."whooo....HMF dude!" upon savoring a delicious piece of bacon or some fresh cream drizzled over warm applesauce. We do love a little grass fed animal fat in our kitchen, I dare say.

 I make the sausage in 5 pound batches, tasting each batch as its made to correct for flavor and to keep the kitchen full of company who appreciates sampling sausage for a few hours.

So that ended our weekend, following a week that was full. Full of flowers for Michelle Obama's fundraising lunch in Cape Elizabeth. Full of terrariums designed and delivered to a dinner party at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Full of bags of freshly dug potatoes. Full of wooden crates brimming with onions. Full of lamb sausage in the freezer. Full of shelves of applesauce and tomato sauce. Full of time with family, eating, working and loving each other just a bit more after we feather our nest.

This week's harvest will hopefully include:
Squash medley (aka a variety of squash that survived the devastation)
Broccoli Raab
Bok Choy

Please mark your calendar for the last weekend in October for a fun filled weekend of farm-inspired theater with the Of Farms and Fables premier. Read more about the creation of the show here. It is going to be such a blast. Jennie Hahn of Open Waters Theater has been working for 2 1/2 years to pull this project together. Along with a talented group of artists, she is emerging with a fabulous show. I can hardly wait.

Don't forget to sign up for our turkey processing workshop:
2nd Annual Turkey Processing Workshop
On October 15 at 10 AM, you, along with 9 other students can come to the farm and learn how to slaughter -- eh hem -- "process" your own Thanksgiving turkey. Get this: for $115 bucks, you choose your own turkey, learn to kill it, pluck it, and gut it, along with many of the finer points of the trade so that you can raise one next year in your front lawn! You'll also walk away with a sack of potatoes, onions, herbs, and beets, AND an amazing conversation piece for your Thanksgiving dinner. We're really excited about this because a) we enjoy hands-on teaching with our hands-in a bird; and b) Maine's new regualtions restricting on-farm sales of poultry processing forbids us from selling you a turkey that we kill for you. There is no reason you can't do it yourself though! Sign-up yourself or sign-up someone you love! Send Stacy a message to register and mail a check to us at Broadturn Farm.

Blessings on the meal,


  1. Actually I have another word, but this one for the health and safety suits who are behind the law that forbids the selling of farm fresh meat in your area. I won't say it here though!

  2. What a beautiful telling and your photographs are simply gorgeous. Funny enough, yesterday my daughters and I were visiting our neighbor-down-the-road's gardens. They are showcase gardens and they profess to not know how/when anything will thrive or fail. However, I think they know a little something! Anyway, I left there sort of discouraged about my messes of gardens but announced to my daughters, "It's a good thing my gardens don't look like that! You wouldn't be able to live with me, I'd be such a bragger!" By the way, I had not thought about inviting the customers to the farm to help select and process their own turkey but I think that is a great idea. I actually had had one inquiry at the beginning of the season about purchasing a live one to process but the wife of the gentleman told him "No way!" Cheers from Vermont, and keep snuggling the young ones because you will never regret the time that you took for them!