July 13th, 2013 Poultry Pick-Up Day is at Hand

Hello again everyone!  Summer is here, and she brought her heat with her.  Things have warmed up here at the farm, and we’re seeing the changes as we transition into a more mature summer pattern around here.
For those of you that reserved chicken(s) for the July batch, the pick-up day is on our doorstep.  The on-farm pick-up is THIS Saturday, July 13th! The chickens have enjoyed the abundance of mature grass seed-heads, tender wildflowers, and plump bugs.  We are hoping for good weather for butcher day… hot or not.  We plan to butcher the chickens from morning through early afternoon to have them ready for pick-up between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Saturday, July 13th.  While we encourage on-farm pick-up, we understand sometimes circumstances happen.  Please let us know if you need to make alternate arrangements on retrieving your chicken(s).  If you need delivery rather than picking up your chickens, let us know, and we’ll tally up your delivery fee. Your processed bird will be weighed at time of “check out” and the balance due will be tallied then.  To find us, our address is: 17974 Lawrence 1000, Wentworth, MO 64873.  Detailed driving directions can be sent upon request.
*Don’t forget to bring cash or check, and a cooler with some ice to haul your birds back home with you!

UPDATE: May 2013 Newsletter | Poultry Pick-up Day is Close!

Goff Greengate Farm, LLCHello everyone, and happy almost summer – at least it’s finally starting to feel warm around here!
Many of you had inquired about purchasing chicken(s) from the original set date of May 11th which was recently moved to May 25th… THIS Saturday!  The chickens have fattened up nicely and are out enjoying the abundance of green seed-headed grasses and hatching bugs.  We are hoping for good weather for butcher day. We plan to butcher the chickens from morning through early afternoon to have them ready for pick-up between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 25th.  Since we had to reschedule on you and considering it’s a holiday, please let us know if you need to make alternate arrangements on retrieving your chicken(s).  If you need delivery rather than picking up your chickens, let us know, and we’ll tally up a small delivery fee for you. Your processed bird will be weighed at time of “check out” and the balance due will be tallied then.  For all you GPS techies or Mapquesters, our address is: 17974 Lawrence 1000, Wentworth, MO 64873.  Detailed driving directions can be sent upon request.
*Don’t forget to bring cash or check, and a cooler with some ice to haul your birds back home with you!
I’m including the below excerpt from the last newsletter for you all as some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your bird!

Roasted ChickenSome tips and tricks for your newly acquired pastured poultry meat bird:

  • When buying a bird fresh on butcher day, always allow it to “rest” and “season” in your refrigerator for 48 hours.  This allows your bird to complete the natural cycle of letting the postmortem acids to break down in the muscle meat and makes for a MUCH more tender bird.  You may freeze the bird as usual after the “seasoning” time has completed.
  • When roasting a whole bird, consider searing the chicken in a hot oven.  Slather the bird down with oil, season to your liking, and pop in a HOT oven for the first 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.  Cut the heat back down to the recipe directions for the remainder of the time being careful not to overcook the bird.  And finally, always allow the chicken to “rest” for 10 min after you remove it from the oven.  This allows the chicken to “draw” the juices back up from the pan making for a nice, juicy roasted chicken.
  • Another option for cooking is to brine the chicken ahead of time by adding 1 cup of salt to every gallon of water.  Soak the chicken for 24 hours in this solution and pat dry before cooking.
  • The leftovers:  You roasted, cooked, pulled apart, etc. your chicken.  You’re left with a carcass that looks to be destined for the trash can.  Wait!  Don’t do it!  Take that carcass and put it in a slow cooker with liquid to cover and a few tablespoons of vinegar.  Throw in some onion, celery, garlic, or carrot scraps… maybe a dash of salt or pepper.  Place all in a slow cooker on low for 12 hours.  Try not to let it boil if you can.  When it’s done, allow to cool just a bit, carefully strain the hot liquid, and package for the refrigerator or freezer because congratulations, you now have some high quality chicken stock!
Lamb:  Lambing season has shifted into full swing.  We are happy to continue to see some very strong ram lambs out there though, so if you are interested in a half or a whole lamb, be sure to let us know and reserve your meat with a $75 deposit.  We plan to allow the live animal weight to reach 80 to 90 lbs before readying the meat for your table.  This tends to produce somewhere around 40 lbs of meat post-processing but still allows for the taste buds to enjoy the tenderness and flavor of quality lamb.
Beef is still not available directly through us for this season, but if you’re interested in beef this year, please let us know.  We partner with another farm using our same all-natural practices to provide your family with beef for this year.
Eggs are ready to go!  These are available at any time at the rate of $3.25 / dozen and will be available on-site the day of the chicken pick-up as well.  So, come and get your whole chicken and some eggs while you’re here!

Again, thank you all for supporting this local farm!!

May 2013 Farm Newsletter | Poultry Pick-Up Day Changed

MaySnowSheepHello everyone, and happy spring!  Well, it DID feel like a spring until just a few days ago.  This crazy weather has made it a little difficult to keep the farm moving forward during these spring months, but we’re looking forward to the warm-up coming in the next few days!
Many of you have inquired about purchasing chicken(s) from the original set date of May 11th for our pastured broiler batch.  Those that got in early and reserved birds will be happy to know that they have been enjoying the hatching bugs and the sprouting seeds of spring (before that weird snow event, that is…).  The exercise they get from pursuing nature’s food also gives them a nice tender muscle meat rather than some of the more mushy chicken you normally get in the store.  I have a feeling we’ll all benefit from the new greens they’re ingesting when the fare hits our dinner tables!  Because of some weather issues and a slower-than-expected growth rate on the soy-free feed, the chicken pick-up day here on the farm is being moved back 2 weeks.  The new day to pick up your fresh-from-the-farm chicken is now set for Saturday, May 25th.  We plan to butcher them that morning through the mid-day.  Your processed bird will be weighed at time of “check out” and the balance due will be tallied then.  The pick-up time frame will be from 4 to 7 PM here at the farm:  17974 Lawrence 1000, Wentworth, MO 64873.  Detailed directions will be sent upon request.
*Don’t forget to bring cash or check, and a cooler with some ice to haul your birds back home with you!

Roast-Chicken-Balsamic-Sage-300x245Some tips and tricks for your newly acquired pastured poultry meat bird:

  • When buying a bird fresh on butcher day, always allow it to “rest” and “season” in your refrigerator for 48 hours.  This allows your bird to complete the natural cycle of letting the postmortem acids to break down in the muscle meat and makes for a MUCH more tender bird.  You may freeze the bird as usual after the “seasoning” time has completed.

  • When roasting a whole bird, consider searing the chicken in a hot oven.  Slather the bird down with oil, season to your liking, and pop in a HOT oven for the first 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.  Cut the heat back down to the recipe directions for the remainder of the time being careful not to overcook the bird.  And finally, always allow the chicken to “rest” for 10 min after you remove it from the oven.  This allows the chicken to “draw” the juices back up from the pan making for a nice, juicy roasted chicken.

  • Another option for cooking is to brine the chicken ahead of time by adding 1 cup of salt to every gallon of water.  Soak the chicken for 24 hours in this solution and pat dry before cooking.

  • The leftovers:  You roasted, cooked, pulled apart, etc. your chicken.  You’re left with a carcass that looks to be destined for the trash can.  Wait!  Don’t do it!  Take that carcass and put it in a slow cooker with liquid to cover and a few tablespoons of vinegar.  Throw in some onion, celery, garlic, or carrot scraps… maybe a dash of salt or pepper.  Place all in a slow cooker on low for 12 hours.  Try not to let it boil if you can.  When it’s done, allow to cool just a bit, carefully strain the hot liquid, and package for the refrigerator or freezer because congratulations, you now have some high quality chicken stock!
Enough about chicken (although I do love to talk chicken…).
Lambing season seems to be a little hit and miss so far this spring.  We are happy to see some very strong ram lambs out there though, so if you are interested in a half or a whole lamb, be sure to let us know and reserve your meat with a $75 deposit.  We plan to allow the live animal weight to reach 80 to 90 lbs before readying the meat for your table (we estimate this to take about 9 months).  This tends to produce somewhere around 40 lbs of meat post-processing but still allows for the taste buds to enjoy the tenderness and flavor of quality lamb.
Beef is still not available directly through us for this season, but if you’re interested in beef this year, please let us know.  We partner with another farm using our same all-natural practices to provide your family with beef for this year.
Eggs are ready to go!  These are available at any time at the rate of $3.25 / dozen and will be available on-site the day of the chicken pick-up as well.

Thank you all for supporting this local farm!!

 

Diatomaceous Earth: A Real Fix or Just Another Snake Oil?

Microscopic Diatomaceous Earth Particles

Microscopic Diatomaceous Earth Particles

There are many claims to the wondrous miracles of diatomaceous earth out there right now making it sound like it’s either the best thing since sliced bread or that it’s the latest trick of another sleazy snake-oil salesman.  Is it worth it?  Does it really work?

We think so.

Goff Greengate Farm uses food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for many of the following applications:

1.  Naturally de-worming our animals of an array of intestinal parasites… anything from our cats and dog to our chickens and on up to the sheep and cow.  This is so much safer than giving toxic chemicals to our animals.  If I can safely ingest it, then I know they can as well.

2.  Fleas, mites, and other creepy crawlies… you know you hate them and so do your animals.  You don’t have to apply pesticides to your animals’ fur coats and bedding areas to beat these little guys.  We certainly don’t recommend it either!  Instead, carefully sprinkle and rub in DE to their fur coats avoiding inhalation by both yourself and your beloved animals.  You can also sprinkle this on bedding, nest boxes for chickens and dust-bathing areas as well as any area the animals may “lounge”.

3.  The garden variety of creepy crawlies can do great harm to the health of your plants as well as damaging your hard work and resulting crop.  DE has a way of killing many of those little bugs via tiny lacerations (the same way DE works on the intestinal parasites and fleas).  Sprinkle on and around plants to take down those dreaded green tomato horn worms and other crawling and flying unwelcomed visitors.  Be cautioned though:  DE will also damage some of the beneficial insects you value, so weigh the benefits versus consequences before using.

4.  New to us and some options we haven’t officially tried ourselves here at Goff Greengate Farm is the concept of using DE in ourselves… ingesting it that is.  I have been reading about the ideas of using DE as a detoxifying agent through our own human intestines (parasites, removal of “stuff”, stool balancing, etc).  Because I haven’t tried this myself, I’ll direct any of you that are curious to some of the following links to gain additional education regarding this idea of pulling heavy metals, bacteria, fungus, etc. out of your “guts” by using food-grade diatomaceous earth.  I think this is worthy of some more research and education though!

http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/benefits-of/diatomaceous-earth
http://www.morethanalive.com/Diatomaceous-Earth-Food-Grade-Powder

Please note:  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The statements are for informational purposes only and are not meant to replace the services or recommendations of a physician or qualified health care practitioner. Those with health problems, pregnancy or who are nursing are specifically advised that they should consult their physician before taking any nutritional supplement. Avoid inhaling this product.

 

Why Buy Pastured Eggs?

 

Supermarket eggs are ever-abundant and easily accessed, so why bother to get farm fresh, pastured eggs from a local farmer?
They are superior.  Period.
No really.  It’s not just our opinion either…

We would like to share with you the excerpt below from an article off the Mother Earth News’ site:

More Great News About Free-range Eggs

“The results are coming in from Mother Earth News’ latest round of  pastured egg nutrient tests. Once again, pastured egg producers are kicking the commercial industry’s butt — yippee, go free range! Our previous tests found  that eggs from hens raised on pasture — as compared to the official USDA data  for factory-farm eggs — contain:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • Two times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • Three times more vitamin E
  • Seven times more beta carotene

Now we’re looking at vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. New  research is showing that this common vitamin deficiency may be related to much  more than just weak bones — from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and  multiple sclerosis. (You can read more about this important health issue in Vitamin D: Sunshine and So Much More.)

Our bodies can get vitamin D in two ways: when sunlight strikes our skin, or  from our diet. Eggs are one of a small list of foods that are naturally rich in  vitamin D. The USDA says supermarket eggs contain an average of 34 International  Units per 100 grams. Our tests of eggs from four pastured farms in Texas,  Kansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania found that their eggs contained three to  six times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs. This means two scrambled eggs from pastured hens may give you 63 to 126 percent of the  recommended daily intake of 200 IU of vitamin D.”

And this video from the Cornucopia Institute is very helpful as well!

What to do with All Those Egg Shells {A Recycling and Repurposing Moment}

Goff Greengate Farm Egg Shells

Goff Greengate Farm Egg Shells

Egg shells:  When you eat and enjoy farm fresh, pastured eggs as much as we do, you realize quickly that all those egg shells can really pile up!  But don’t worry.  They aren’t just another thing to throw in the trash.  Those eggs shells are chock FULL of good nutrients to use around your place!

1.  Egg shells crushed and placed around the base of your garden plants and flowers can really deter slugs!

2.  Houseplants needing a boost?  Just soak eggs shells in water to use on those little green beauties.  Keep them handy by always having a jar ready to go…
3.  Got chickens?  Feed crushed shells to them.  They love them and need the calcium to produce more high quality eggs shells of their own!
4.  Did you know you can use that thin little membrane inside the shell as a first-aid bandage?  The protein really promotes healing and as it dries, it will draw out impurities like infections, etc.
5.  Dull blender blades?  Just toss some shells with some water into your blender and blend away to a razor finish.
6.  Compost much?  Add them to your pile and the calcium from the shells will beef up your compost for next spring.
7.  No compost pile?  Just crush them and put them directly in your garden’s soil.
8.  Now this is a new one even to me… are you a coffee drinker?  Well, I guess you can put your shells in your grinds and brew your coffee right through them to add calcium to your diet.  Hmmmm.  Like I said, I’ve not done this one myself, so there are no guarantees of your coffee’s taste from this blogger…
9.  Ever suffered with your tomatoes through a gardening season of blossom-end rot?  It’s no fun… and perfectly preventable.  It’s caused by not enough calcium in the tomato plant.  Try putting some shells in with your tomatoes when you plant your garden this year.  And then wait and see how beautiful those plants get!
10.  While we’re talking gardens… you might want to use those rinsed-out little egg shell cups to start some seedlings this year.
11.  Garbage disposal getting a little gunky?  Toss some egg shells down to do some scrubbing for you.
12.  Well, um.  Eat them.  No, really, you can.  I mean, many people will pop a calcium supplement in pill form with who-knows-what in the ingredient list.  You can crush and even make a powder out of your own high-quality Goff Greengate Farm egg shells!
13.  Kids love sidewalk chalk, but you don’t have to buy it at the store anymore… not if you have egg shells on hand.  Finely grind 5-8 egg shells and mix in 1 tsp of HOT water along with 1 tsp of flour and color with food coloring or natural colors as desired.  Pack into toilet paper rolls or cut down paper towel rolls and let dry and firm up.  A fun project for the kids too! 
14.  Continuing on the kid fun theme… arts and crafts can take on a whole new meaning when you use crushed shell to add texture to your pieces of fine art!
15.  We’ve been making a lot of chicken broths and stocks lately out here.  We always add the usual onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, but you can also add those eggs shells (strain out later) to increase the calcium content of your Goff Greengate Farm poultry broth and stocks!
16.  And because they have soooooooo many uses, remember to keep them… even freeze them, so they’re always ready and on-hand to help you with your next task around your place this year!
*Always be cautious when feeding or reusing eggs shells around your home and animals.  Be sure they’re clean and from a local farm implementing healthy and sustainable practices.  Those large-scale factory egg shells are not only lesser in nutritional value, but they also carry and harbor nasty little bacteria and other harmful substances.

What Do All Those Natural-Sounding Terms Really Mean?

 

The Lexicon of Sustainability | The Story of an Egg | PBS

“Can learning the meaning of a single term actually help change the food system?
David Evans and Alexis Koefoed think so. These poultry farmers explain the real story behind such terms as “cage free”, “free range”, and “pasture-raised” so that consumers can make informed decisions when they go to their local supermarket.”

Finally, a well-done video on all the marketing terms we’re bombarded with on a daily basis!!  And now for the truth and what you really can trust…

Forgiveness Farming {Joel Salatin}

Today’s blog post is our way of sharing with you why we have chosen the style of farming that we have here at Goff Greengate Farm.  It’s the complete cycle of how we use the earth, how the animals are managed in a humane and respectful way, and how we get some of the best farm products to you, our local consumer… no semi trucks needed.  Please enjoy this article from the infamous and fabulous Joel Salatin!

http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/Dec06_Salatin_Forgiveness.pdf

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm

A Lack of Transparency in the Poultry Industry

We here at Goff Greengate Farm believe in local, sustainable production of quality animals and their products.  We are convinced that education is key to helping us all better understand how things currently work and how they should work.  Today’s post is an educational link to the current poultry industry.  It’s not pretty folks.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/poultry-transparency/

Realities of Poultry Production
Realities of Poultry Production

“The primary concern behind the undercover investigations that the ag-gag laws target has been animal welfare. But the persistence with which drug-resistant organisms emerge from poultry production suggests that more transparency would benefit human welfare too.”

~There’s a reason cameras aren’t allowed in Missouri, Iowa, and Utah broiler houses anymore.

More information found here:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/01/why-we-havent-seen-inside-a-broiler-chicken-factory-farm-in-a-decade/#.URgvHDHnbug