Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Our Visit to Red Acre Farm - Cedar City

Early spring we had the opportunity to visit our friends Symbria and Sarah Patterson at their Red Acre Farm in Cedar City! Those two women are amazing!  Running a small farm full time.  Coordinating the southern Utah farmers markets (Zion Canyon Market, St. George Ancestor Square Market, Cedar City Downtown Market and Year Round Market) and fighting for greater consumer choice and access to local, healthy sustainable food for all.  While we were there Symbria also took Danny to meet and see a number of small farms in the area that go to these markets, all trying to make a go of local direct sales of healthy food.  Vote with your dollars and support local food production everywhere!  We have a long way to go in Utah with lots of opposition from the large commodity producers and their allies (Utah Department of Agriculture, Utah Farm Bureau, Utah Dairy Association, Utah Grocery Store Manufacturers Association, etc ), that are making us all sick and ruining the land.  Start opting out of that system!  It will change our world and your life for the better!   

Here are some pictures of our time at their farm.  
The favorite by far was the baby goats.  Saffron and Samira couldn't get enough of them!  Holding them.  Cuddling them.  Cooing them.  Feeding them.  The girls didn't want to leave.  They asked if we could bring one home!  That might be better when we live in a different place. 

Saffron and Samira loved the resident farm pig Virginia.  (This one is only for show.  Lucky gal!)

Red Acre Farms has a Cowshare and Goatshare program they operate as part of their farm.  Samira liked the milk cows! 

Saffron helped Sarah collect eggs from the hens.  She is such a great little farm girl!  

Red Acre Farms has a CSA.  This is one of their high tunnels for growing vegetables.  It was nice and warm in there on a cool early spring day!  

Shawnee, Samira, Sarah and Saffron

If you are down in the Cedar City or St. George area stop by and visit Symbria and Sarah and their farm!  They have a cool little farm store.  Buy some of their products for your weekend stay.  That's exactly what we did!  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aaaaaaah! Those long summer days in the sun!

A few photos of the animals on the farm this summer!!  As a reminder we don't give any of our animals antibiotics or hormones!  We don't need to with the rotational grazing methods and animal husbandry we practice.  All of our animals are raised on pasture for as much of their lives as possible.  In the winter they are all fed stored pasture primarily in the form of hay.  Cows and Sheep are herbivores and ruminant animals (more than one stomach) and are completely grass-fed and grass finished.  No grains.  Pigs and Chickens in addition to eating as much pasture and bugs as they can get outside are provided a grain ration as they are mono-gastric (one stomach) omnivores.   Enjoy!!

              Isn't it so cool to see pigs out in the pasture instead of inside some building or in some muck!  

McDowell Family Farms Grass Fed Beef!

Grass Fed Succulent Lamb!                                

And finally the laying hens wandering through the forest of pasture eating bugs and grass!
Yummy Farm Fresh Eggs!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Copper Moose Farm - Park City

Copper Moose Farm in Park City has asked us to make our Pasture Raised Meats (Beef, Pork, Lamb, Poultry) available to their customers and CSA members.  We will be having our first meat pick up at their farm stand in October.  The exact date will be forthcoming.  The goal is to eventually have enough demand for a once a month meat delivery/pick up at their farm store.  So if you live in the Park City area this will be a great opportunity to buy our products without driving down to Salt Lake City.  Pass the word around to all of your friends and plan your first order!  

If you would like to start a drop/pick up of meat closer to you let us know.  We would need you and your friends and neighbors in the area to order a minimum amount of meat & eggs.  

Daisy Fair who runs the farm invited us up for a tour this spring.  Shawnee wasn't able to make it as she was working at Primary Children's Hospital on that day so Saffron and Samira's Grandpa got to come instead (Danny's dad Garry).  What a treat it was for us to see and partner with such a marvelous local farm in the middle of the mountains of Utah!  

Saffron, Grandpa & Samira checking out the tractor with one of the garden areas and the ski slopes of the Canyons in the background.  

Danny, Saffron & Samira in front of the amazing passive solar building on the farm.  

Inside the building.  

The two greenhouses on the farm and a couple more outdoor gardens.

Daisy introduced us to a couple of her staff while showing us around the farm.  Todd was working on  the greenhouses. 

Brian working on the farm gardens.

So when you get a chance check out the Copper Moose Farm website and blog.  Daisy and her team have been doing a wonderful job of providing local, organic, delicious vegetables to Park City area  residents and restaurants for years.  If you live in the area make sure and check out their CSA options or just stop by and pick up some veggies at their farm stand.  

The farm has a small flock of hens and the girls loved checking out the new pullets.  

So cute!!

And finally, over at the new farm stand Saffron found a friend.  

Our Winter Project: Lobbying for the Raw Milk Bill at the Capitol!

We are finally getting to a number of posts we haven't had a chance to put together yet.  While we don't offer Raw Grassfed milk through our farm co-op, we support anything and everything that has to do with small, local farmers and food production.  

 As you can see Danny, Saffron & Samira had a busy few weeks in February and March at the Capitol.  Symbria and Sarah Patterson, owners of Red Acre Farm in Cedar City, tenaciously led the fight against Big Industrial Agriculture in Utah (Utah Dairy Council, Utah Grocery Store Manufacturers, etc) and all of their friends (The Farm Bureau, Utah Department of Agriculture), which culminated in the passing of HB 104 Cow Shares/Property Rights bill.  We were there to ride their coattails, learn the ropes, help lobby and get in the Food Freedom fight.  And while we were involved for 2-3 weeks, Sarah and Symbria were there for two months away from their farm and family.  They are amazing women!  

Thank you to all of our customers who joined in the fight by emailing or calling your legislators.  It worked!  We constantly heard feedback from legislators about how many emails they were receiving on the Cow Shares bill.  

It was a little harder to get to speak with Senators as compared to Representatives.

Wow, we learned a lot about what it takes to pass a bill!  It was quite the process.  Getting a sponsor in both chambers, Committee hearings, Hearing on the House floor, over to the Senate, Committee hearing, Hearing on the Senate floor, back to the House, etc.  And that was just small part of what happened, see here  It was cool to witness and be participants in our legislative process.  We had some champions in both the House and the Senate.  Rep Mark Roberts and Senator Mark Madsen were heroes who didn't back down to the lobbyists and legislators in the pocket of Industrial Ag in Utah.  

Saffron and Samira both brought their stuffed milk cows to show support for HB 104.  They were the cutest lobbyist up on the hill for sure!  

They also developed some amazing tactics for catching legislators and speaking with them.  One tactic was the coatrack ambush!  

Cutest girls in the world!  

We will need all of your support as we and all of the small farmers in Utah now turn to passing the Utah Food Freedom bill next year.  The Wyoming Food Freedom bill set the bar last year.  Together we can be the next state to pass a Food Freedom bill.  Heck you can go to the Food Freedom Fest to prepare for next years bill.  

There will be huge opposition from Industrial Agriculture in Utah so we need you to stand up and support your local farmers and your right to fresh, local food directly from producers.  The Grocery Store Manufacturers Association will again be doing everything they can to stop the bill.  So will the Utah Dairy Council, the large Industrial Poultry Producers, the Utah Department of Agriculture and the Farm Bureau.  All of whom have full time paid lobbyists while farmers like Sarah & Symbria have to leave their farms, not get paid and lobby.  They won't let this pass without a fight.  

You can help by emailing, calling and writing your legislators and the governor.  Among other things highlight the fact that the Utah Department of Agriculture should not be in the pocket of Big Ag in Utah.  Our taxes are paying their salaries and the Dept of Ag is one of the largest obstacles to the growth of local food and farmers in Utah.  They are sneaky, adversarial, retaliatory and unprofessional in their treatment and interactions with small meat producers, farmers and butchers.  This long time culture of magisterial arrogance needs to be removed in order that a new culture of collaboration, cooperation, coordination along with healthy up front communication will be the new norm at the Utah Department of Ag.  Local producers will then be unshackled to bring the local meat products to the people in Utah who want it.   

Finally HB 104 wasn't the first time the McDowells had been to the capital to support freedom, health & community.  This is us at the first clean the air rally in 2014.  We also made it an afternoon to attend this year.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Pictures - Year in Review

With turkey season over, our side of the farming is slowing down a bit now.  We’d like to post a little about the year.  We’ve had a good year full of little surprises, which is quite usual!  Our friends/partners, the Batty's,  do the hands on physical farm work (which they love)(and they are quite busy getting the farm ready for winter now that Turkey season is over) while we do the distributing and the direct work with you (which we love).  It has turned out to be a great partnership.  We are posting some photos of the farm in Vernal from this year.

We will have meat available through the winter.  This includes Beef, Pork, Lamb.  Chicken will be available until it is gone.  We’d like to thank all of you for following our farm, stopping by at the farmer’s market, and supporting local and sustainable farming.  Hopefully you’re finding huge benefits for yourself and family including  the satisfaction of knowing your farmers, knowing how your food is raised, and tasting the difference!  Always feel free to call or email to find out what we have before you stop by.

On another note, we purchased a cookbook by Shannon Hayes which is specifically for grass-fed meat and pastured poultry.  We are learning ways to cook our meat to enhance its natural flavor (and we are learning ways not to cook it).  Please share your feedback with us as we are always open to improving!  Season’s Greetings – and we’re looking forward to a slowed down simple winter season (we’ll see if that actually happens).  

Lilli helping out with the Turkeys.

Dale giving the egg layers some Chicken scratch.

Pastured Pigs!

Grass fed, Grass finished, Pasture raised cows.

Peyton kissing one of the new piglets. 

Peyton & Sasha with a new lamb.  

Neighbor Adam's new foal that is now Kayla's

New weaner pigs!  

 Lilli helping out with the pigs. 

And finally Saffron & Samira with some of the fruits of our garden.  Floriani Red Flint Corn.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving...and turkey roasting instructions

We promised directions, so here they are.  If turkey is frozen, place the wrapped turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days to thaw (allow 5 hours per pound of turkey to completely thaw) OR placed wrapped turkey in a sink and cover it with cold water – allow 30 minutes per pound of turkey to thaw. Change water frequently.

Once thawed, brush turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs. Place turkey, breast side down, on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan, about 2 inches deep. Some like to add 1 cup stock to the bottom of the pan before cooking, which creates some steam and helps keep the turkey moist but doesn’t prevent browning the skin. Turn the turkey over to breast side up during the last hour or so – this results in moist, white meat. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer (inserted deep into the thickest part of the thigh next to the body, not touching the bone) registers 165-170 degrees F and drumstick is soft and moves easily at the joint.  We often find the breast gets done before the legs, so we'll pull the turkey out, remove the legs and put them back in to finish cooking while we make the gravy.  

Approximate Roasting Time for a pastured turkey (at 325 degrees F. oven)

Weight Roasting Time Roasting time (unstuffed - if you stuff your turkey it will take slightly longer)

6-8 lbs. 1 to 2 1/2 hours 

8-12 lbs. 2-3 hours 

12-14 lbs. 2 1/4 to 3 hours 

15-17 lbs. 3 to 3 1/2 hours
18-20 lbs. 3 1/2 to 4 hours
21-22 lbs. 4 to 4 1/2 hours
23-24 lbs. 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 hours

Time is affected by type of oven, oven temperature, & degree of thawing.
When skin is golden brown, shield breast loosely w/ foil to prevent over-browning.  

Here is a link I found quite helpful: pastured turkey cooking tips
Shannon Hayes also publishes cookbooks and cooking tips for grass fed and pastured meats so you can always look her up as well.  Enjoy your thanksgiving - and while we're on that topic - we are thankful for our farming adventures, the wonderful food we enjoy, and to you for supporting our little farm!  

Our customers have told us about many of the other ways they have cooked their Turkey so don't feel confined to following this process if you find something else you want to try.  You won't be disappointed if you follow these instructions though.  Most importantly, don't overcook your Pasture Raised Turkey!  

Happy Thanksgiving!!  

One of our customers' roasted Turkey.

Danny with one of our Broad Breasted Turkeys that we deep fried.

Another customer who smoked their Turkey. 

Danny with one of our Heritage Turkeys that we roasted.  

Turkey Soup Bones.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slow Meat!!

In June Danny was sponsored by Slow Food Utah to attend the National Slow Meat Conference put on by Slow Food USA.  He learned a lot, met many wonderful people and got to eat a lot of very good local meat (Almost too much at times!).  There are so many good people around our country involved in this movement to bring healthy, clean and fair food to their communities.  If you aren't a member of Slow Food Utah yet or your local Slow Food chapter we recommend joining.  They(we) are at the forefront of the local food movement.   

Danny with Allen Savory founder of the Savory Institute.  Allen kicked off the weekend as the Keynote Speaker.  
Francois sharpening his knife to "demonstrate how to respect the pig's natural anatomy through the time-honored tradition of charcuterie preparation."  Just one of many great workshops Danny attended.  
Unfortunately there was only time for him to cut a shoulder.   

Danny with Francois Vecchio and his artwork ready to be made into some yummy charcuterie (Salami's Sausages, etc).

Danny with Mary Berry, founder and Executive Director of The Berry Center and daughter of author Wendell Berry.  Mary wrapped up the weekend as our keynote speaker during our final session.  

Bison fabrication by members of The Butchers Guild.  The bison was raised on pasture by a local Bill Rogers, owner of Sweet Water Bison 
Danny thinks that he got to try some of this buffalo for one of their meals.  

The following is a summary of the purpose of the weekend and it pretty much summed up what happened.  It was such a great experience to be surrounded by so many like minded people from around our country all moving in a positive direction together.  

"100 delegates from across the USA will be asked to share expertise in facilitated discussions to ultimately produce a menu of practical actions for Slow Food communities across the USA to deploy, measure, report and refine with the larger national community of advocates who seek change in our food system.
We are assembling those who recognize the importance of animal welfare and those whose livelihoods are directly related to animal husbandry. Our intention in doing this is to cultivate the kind of discourse that gives proper dignity to the animals, as it does to the craftsmanship associated with their care and slaughter."

A few other articles about the weekend can be found here and here

Thank you for supporting us and our farmers here at McDowell Family Farms and joining us in the local food movement right here in Utah!!