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!!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Very Busy Spring & Summer

We and the Batty's (Our Farming Partners) have both had a very busy spring and early summer.  This after a winter that brought many surprises and blessings for both us & them, We are all thankful to report good health at this time.  Health is one of those things you can take for granted until you no longer have it, isn't it? 

Our blog posts are spontaneous and sporadic...so if we haven't posted in awhile, do not give up hope.  Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to some of this years animals on the farm.  Thanks for your support and patience with everything we are trying to do with this small scale local farming venture.

Some pictures of the piggies in the pasture...doing what pigs do (nice alliteration - sponsored by the letter P)

Pork can be purchased in wholes, halves, or separate cuts

It's so beautiful to see animals out in the pasture with the mountains in the foreground!  

We, the McDowells, have not eaten chicken for quite some time now.  We sold out in the winter.  So we are excited along with the rest of you to have chicken again (that is, if we have enough to keep for ourselves).  These are our broilers (meat birds) out in the pasture.  See if you can find Waldo hiding in the grass too.

Broilers (meat birds) in the pasture.  It is quite entertaining to see a bird drink you know.  Water, that is.

And last but not least, the little lambs.  They are not so little anymore.  That grass looks so delicious even I want to take a little bite!  Lambs can also be purchased in wholes, halves, or pieces as available.  We have had awesome reviews about the lamb.  Try it out yourself & see!

Danny recently was sponsored by the local Slow Food Utah Chapter of Slow Food USA to go to the Slow Meat Conference in Denver.  He learned a lot and was able to meet people from across the country each involved in their own way of changing the way meat is produced in the US.  Look for a report on that in our next post.

A moment of respect for these animals lives.  Thank you for sustaining our bodies with life - so we can enjoy these two sweet girls!

Our favorite little baby!!
Our favorite 4 year old!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Lambs & Piglets are here!!!

Spring arrived early to Utah this year and we thought we would share some photos of the early arrivals at the farm.  These pictures were taken in January and February days after these lambs & piglets were born.   They have been enjoying an early Spring like the rest of us.  More little lambs piglets are on their way.  (More pictures to come) 

We have been getting some rave reviews on our tasty lamb from many of you.  Thank you!  And thank you for your orders!  

We sell individual cuts of lamb or you can order a half or whole lamb.  See our Pricing post for details on both.  Halves and wholes will be ready this summer.  

Aren't these little piglets so cute?  And yes we farrow our own pigs.  Not too many farms do that these days.  They are a combination of primarily heritage Berkshire with some heritage Yorkshire and Duroc as well.  
Like the lamb we sell individual cuts along with wholes and halves throughout the year.
We love Pork!!  And you will love our Pork too!!   

p.s  Whenever we post pictures we have to include the caveat that if you feel squeamish about seeing your future meal, pause for a moment.  Take time to realize where your food comes from, how it is raised, and send a thank you to the animals for being part of our circle of life.  You can be a conscious omnivore and respect the animals by choosing to buy local and humanely raised food.  Thanks for supporting our farming adventure!!  

And here is our newest little lamb now one year old.  She is ready to get to work herding these sheep from pasture to pasture.