2017 Pastured Chickens are now ready for order!

Hi friends – We are a little behind in getting out our 2017 chicken order form, but here it is! We already have our first batch at the farm. They are enjoying warm days in the “brooder” under heat lamps and when they get their first feathers, they move out onto pasture. Here’s farm girl tending to “her babies.”

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We will have 3 pick up days this year – June 10, August 19, October 21. Please download the CWF 2017 Pastured Chicken Order Form, fill it out and get it back to us with your deposit however you can. As usual, birds go quickly, so make sure you get yours in soon! Payment is accepted via check, paypal, or cash. Let us know if you have any questions – callywoodfarms@gmail.com

 

What a half hog share looks like

We recently had another pork pickup day and took the opportunity to lay out a half hog share to demonstrate what it looks like and weigh how much exactly it is.

Hands down, the most common question we get is, “how much meat is a half share really?” With a the help of a 4-year old added for scale (and cuteness), below is what it looks like! We laid out the cuts in the shape of a pig, so that you can get a sense of where the cuts come from and how much to expect from each area.

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As there is a lot of variability in a how you can get a half hog butchered, this is just a common example and each order looks a bit different.  This customer did a great job maximizing their order for how their family eats and is a great example of why buying a half hog share is a fantastic value for the pork-lover with sufficient freezer space.

This particular half share had a hanging weight of: 127.5 lbs. which is an average weight, perhaps even a little on the big side.  Here’s the breakdown of weights from each section listed above:

Loin:

2 roasts – 2.12, 3.13 lbs.

Chops (4 packs of 2 each) – 2.5, 2.6 ,2.6, 2.3 lbs.

Shoulder:

Boston Butt – 11.3 lbs!

Picnic – 9.1 lbs.

Ribs – 2.8 (a lot smaller than most people assume that they are getting)

Belly (Bacon) – This adventurous customer chose to have the belly cut into 2-3 lb packs to cure and smoke at home: 3.4, 2.1, 3.5 lbs.  Most customers have the butcher cure, smoke & slice their bacon for them

Leg:

Ham 9.8 lbs.

Ham Steaks – 2.7, 2.8, 2.4, 2.5 lbs.

Sausage – 17 lbs. of various flavorings

Extras:

Hocks – 2 lbs.

Leaf Lard – 1.1 lbs.

Fatback – 7.3 lbs.

Bones – 2.1 lbs.

Neck/back bones – 1.6 lbs.

Ear – 0.6 lbs.

Extras that this customer didn’t take, but are available: Head, Liver, Skin, Heart, Tail…

Lastly, here’s a roundup of Callywood Farms pork on the plate from us and customers!

From top left to bottom right: Pork chop, pork meatball soup, pizza with ground sausage, fried pork chops, farm girl eating porkchop with bare hands!, braised pork with tomato-mushroom gravy, BACON, onion smothered grilled chop, bacon and apple cinnamon rolls, braised country ribs in tomatoes, pork roast in crockpot with herbs and figs, braised pork with tomato-mushroom gravy, boston butt and hocks/feet on the smoker, pork and beans stew with collards, homemade chorizo with blackbeans over pumpkin polenta, rendering lard, a whole hog on the smoker, grilled pork loin, rendered lard.

Pork Recipes

We here at CF successfully completed our first pork pick up day for our customers!   This was the end result of many firsts on the farm:  first “Mama Pig,” first litter of babies (10!), and first processing and distribution of half hog shares.  For those that have been following us for a while, this was a major accomplishment for this small family farm and a very long time in the making.  Farmer B didn’t sleep at all the night before and said the day felt like Christmas morning!

At the pork pickup, we served up some fresh breakfast sausage and had some of the best conversations about food and cooking with everyone. I was so inspired by the porcine pontifications and as promised, here are some links and instructions to recipes and tutorials; our tiny contribution to your pork education.  Let’s get the most out of your meat! Even if you aren’t in the business of trying to get the most out of a pork share and are just a casual cooker of swine, we hope this can help you discover new horizons in bacon, chops, and ham.

Over the years we have built quite a nice repertoire of skills and recipes, so enjoy our favorites. I have posted some explanations broken down by cut of meat, and at the very bottom you will find a list of books for your piggie pleasure for further reference. And we would love links and instructions to your favorite recipes too! Please post your faves and don’t forget to send pics of your finished products.

Cooking all of your half share of Callywood Farms pork…

Neck bones – We encourage many of you to take these. We LOVE this portion of pork. It is super easy to prepare and is good stand alone or part of a dish. Below you will see two different preparations. The first is the a pack of neck bones thrown in the crockpot with BBQ sauce. Farmer B often makes this when he has to make dinner for himself, ha! A typical man dinner: pork, slaw, beer.

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Most often, we throw a package into the crockpot along with beans. The best pork n’ beans ever. The neck bones add fat, gelatin, and flavor without sacrificing your delicious bacon or another cut of pork. You’ll have to extract the bones from the crockpot  (pic on top left) and spend a few minutes picking out the chunks of meat (pic on bottom left) and then throw it back in the crockpot and mix it back in (pic on right), but we have found that it is always worth the effort.

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Ham – We have cured and smoked many hams over the years with great success. We have roasted a “fresh” ham as well and both preparations are delicious.

Finding a container large enough to cure and brine your ham is a challenge if you kept your ham whole. Many chose to order a half ham which is easier to wrangle. Below is a full ham submerged in curing brine. It then needs to fit in your refrigerator for a week or so, so you need to account for that too. We have only home cured using nitrites/pink salt, which we order online. I find Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book to be the best reference for curing pork (link to book at bottom).

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Out of the brine and to the smoker!

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And on the smoker. You can also bake after curing for a more honey-baked ham approach, as well.

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Out of the smoker and oh so delicious…

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Fresh Ham with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary – You guys. This is one of the best pork recipes I have ever tried. It was so so good. We made this last Easter served with freshly creamed spinach from the garden…it was one of those meals you’ll always remember. My picture looks quite different from the magazine, but one thing to NOT LEAVE OUT is the cherry jam sauce. DIVINE.

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Feet and hocks – The feet and hocks can be cured and smoked or used fresh. Most feet and/or hocks you find in recipes will call for cured/smoked hocks. It is often used as a sub for bacon in recipes, particularly soups. If you are curing a ham, just throw your hocks/feet into the same container and cook alongside your ham. Plan accordingly to weight with your brine and smoking time/temp.

You can also just throw the fresh feet/hocks into your dish like the neck bones. Just know that if your original recipe calls for cured/smoked hocks (example: split pea soup) and you use fresh, you’ll probably have to add salt.

Lard

Well, I could write a book on this topic. But here’s the low down real quick. There are two types of lard: leaf lard and not leaf lard. Leaf lard is the cream of the crop and is the coveted lard for baking and pastry. You can use it as a substitute for butter or vegetable shortening and it’s dairy free (for those with an intolerance), non-gmo (unlike shortening), and actually healthy. Lard has gotten a bad rap, but when it comes from heritage pigs fed a rich diet, it is actually very low in saturated fats and heart healthy. Leaf lard is the fat you find surrounding the kidneys and internal organs of the pig. It is pure and white. You might find some pieces of meat on it and that’s fine, but you’ll need to render it. You won’t have much of it, so you can choose to render it separately if you want to reserve it for pastry use or your can render it alongside all your fatback and get a large batch of lard.

For some, this combo lard comes out clean enough to use in pastry, for some it doesn’t and they choose to use it more like olive oil to cook with. Your choice. With leaf lard you won’t get any cracklins’ and with fat back it may not come out clean enough (white/odorless) to use in pastry. I love making a lard/butter pie crust myself. I also love using lard as a cooking oil, it maintains a high heat (unlike olive oil) and if it isn’t totally “clean” lends a bacon-y taste to your dish (hellooooo cornbread).

My favorite way to render lard is in the crockpot (my crockpot gets a lot of use and I actually have many sizes, ha!). You can also render on the stove top.

Rendering lard in a crockpot

To Render Lard – Stove top

Jowl/Cheek

Perhaps the most under rated cut from the pig. The jowl/cheek produces a very similar marbling to the belly. Many customers chose to cure and smoke theirs alongside the belly. The jowl is a smaller cut of meat that is perfect to try curing bacon at home with. If you would like to try something different, we have done a very nice braise with ours before that was a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner ragu over homemade pasta!

Pork cheeks braised in red wine

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Sausage

For those that get a couple packages of plain ground pork and would like to try your hand at sausage making, I highly recommend it! For our household, we order ground pork in 5 lbs. bags which we season and then re-freeze in packages of 1 lb. and take out as needed. Though our butcher uses top shelf organic spices to make the sausage,  we like making our own unique sausage flavors and enjoy the creativity and process of having one of a kind sausage.   Again, my favorite reference for the best sausage recipes is Charcuterie.  I particularly LOVE their breakfast sausage (fresh ginger, garlic, sage…is so so good), spicy italian (I add lots of basil and garlic), and chorizo.

I can recommend the kitchen aid grinding and sausage stuffing attachment. It’s good for a beginner and making small batches of sausage.

Other recipes 

Here’s a quick collection of some of our very favorite recipes that we keep coming back to over the years.

One pan whiskey pork chops

Cocoa and chile pork chops

Bourbon and apple juice ribs

Bacon Jam – You need to make this. This is a base recipe. Add/edit/ take out to your preference. This is perfect to make for a special guest, but be aware that it will go very, very fast.

Books & Products

Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and David Polcyn

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

Kitchen Aid Grinder and Sausage Stuffer

 

Call for Meat Chicken Orders!

Hey there friendly farm-raised food lovers…We are now accepting orders for Meat Chickens for 2015!

Please follow the link below for the order form. Like last year,we do expect all batches to sell out, so the sooner your get your order in, the better. If you are interested in volunteering at any of the chicken processing/pickup days, let us know and you will receive a free chicken for your effort.

As we are a small, family run operation, we depend on referrals, recommendations, and the grassroots efforts of our customers to help us grow.  So, please share with your friends, family, co-workers, or anyone else you know that may be interested in pastured meat chickens.  Our growing participation in the local food community is our favorite part of what we do!

Thanks for your continued support and for letting us help feed you and your family…together we make the world a happier and tastier place, one chicken at a time!

Meat Chickens 2015

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Whew. We have had a busy, productive, and rewarding summer here on the farm! Between farmer’s markets, meat chicken processing, hatching three rounds of baby chickens, processing another pig, and growing a whole lot of food we haven’t made our website and podcast a priority, but we are getting back around to it, promise.

Anyways, we’ve been so busy that “Living the Country Life” magazine decided to write a little story about Callywood Farms! The story is featured on their website and we invite you to hop on over and take a read! Of course, Farm Baby steals the show with her prize beet harvest. Check it out here. Thank you to the magazine and Anna for thinking we are worthy of inclusion on their great website!

Here’s the story – http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/becoming-farmers

Also, if you happen to be an Instagram user, we are too! We post very regularly on Instagram and welcome you to join us as we continue to tell our tale in pictures. Search for us @callywoodfarms or look to the right towards the bottom of the website and you will find our Instagram link there too!

Homemade Chicken Stock

Chicken stock. The backbone of a delicious and nutritious kitchen. Chicken stock is the reason that chicken soup is given to those who are sick.  Chicken stock is not only a great healing food, it is incredible nutritious, has versatile uses in the kitchen, and making your own is a fantastically frugal and easy option. Skip the boxes and cans, this is the real deal.

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I want to explain a few parts of the recipe you will find below…

About the chicken part: While you can definitely use just the carcass (as opposed to boiling a whole chicken first and then stripping the meat off for meals), I get a better stock when I use 2 or even 3 carcasses. Sometimes, I use just one. It still makes a great light chicken stock, which is a perfect base for soup or risotto, so if you only have one, go for it! Add whatever parts you have: neck, gizzards (save livers for pate or another use because they are so good!), and feet. I’ll talk about the feet in a minute.

If you have an old chicken (stew hen), this is a great use for an old bird. As pictured, I used a stew hen here.  From time to time, as nature calls for, our older laying hens move on from the flock and serve yet another amazing purpose. What I will often do is boil the bird until tender, then remove and pick all the meat off and make something with the meat like pot pie or enchiladas. I reserve the leftover liquid for “cooking liquid” (which I use to cook grains or beans and in a pinch can sub for regular stock) and then put the carcass back in the pot with fresh filtered water for our amazing stock. Double score!

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Let’s talk feet. Chicken feet. Now I know some cultures eat the feet and many have tried it before. And I might one day, but that day is not today. Instead I use the feet in the stock. The feet are loaded with gelatin. Gelatin has been shown to help digestion and contains healing properties for our stomachs. Many resources say to blanch the feet, but I just throw mine in au natural. If you want to learn more, check out this website.

The next weird thing on my ingredient list, “random vegetables peelings.” Often I don’t even put onion, carrots or celery in and just use random vegetable peelings. I keep a bag in the freezer marked for this and fill it with onion ends and peels, carrot ends and peelings, celery ends and insides, potato peelings, herb stalks, etc. The only thing you want to stay away from is cruciferous vegetables or vegetables from the brassicas family (broccoli, cabbage, etc.).

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Okay last explanation. Why 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and why do you let it sit for an  hour before bringing to a boil? Great questions. Letting the bones sit in slightly acidic water before boiling helps bring vitamins and trace minerals contained in the bones out into the stock. If I have the time and the forethought, I always do this, if not, I just turn the burner right on!

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Ingredients:

  • A chicken carcass or stew hen including neck, gizzards, and feet, preferably from a pastured chicken
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (bragg’s)
  • 1 onion
  • Celery (I use the middle pieces and outer pieces that you don’t use otherwise)
  • Carrots (about 3)
  • Random vegetable peelings (as explained above)
  • Filtered water, fill up pot so that the bones and vegetables are firmly covered in water
  • 1 tspn. sea salt
  • Optional: Black peppercorns (1TB), Bay leaves (2), Herbs (parsley stalks, thyme, rosemary all work well)

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with everything listed. Let it sit for about 1 hour.
  2. Turn heat up to high and let it come to a boil. Once it does, turn it down as low as possible. You want a big bubble to surface every few seconds. Low and slow, baby.
  3. Simmer for 12-24 hours.
  4. When 24 hours is up, strain through a fine mesh sieve and place into glass jars/containers and freeze or refrigerate.