Free Up Your Freezer Space...Make Bone Broth

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We love using bone broth throughout the year to make soup, gravy, and sauces. If you are running out of freezer space, it's time to pull out your beef bones and start making bone broth.

The basic recipe is simple...take your beef bones out of your freezer and rinse with cold water in a stock pot. I also take out my extra bones that I save and freeze throughout the year after I grill steaks and carve out the bones. The next step is optional...I roast the bones on my grill.

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After I get a nice char on the bones, I place the bones in a stock pot and include a few halved onions and carrots. I then fill the stock pot with enough water to cover the bones and vegetables plus a few extra inches. I also add about 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water added and let the bones and vegetables soak in cold water for several hours to get a jump start on leaching the minerals out of the bones. Then, I bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. I simmer for 2-3 days adding more water twice a day. You can shorten the simmering time, but I like the longer simmer which extracts every bit of goodness from the bones.

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After the simmering, I skim most of the fat and strain to create the end result... wonderful bone broth! I use standard methods to safely pressure can my bone broth to get nice shelf stable jars. Free up your freezer space and enjoy your broth....a win-win!

For my beef customers, please reach out with any questions...happy to help and even start your bone broth at your home if you are local!

 

For the Love of Our Cows and Customers

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I just got back from my annual road trip to California to deliver beef to our loyal customers. We had so much to deliver that we couldn't transport beef shares by coolers anymore. After extensive testing, Michael built our custom, insulated cooler for the back of the truck. Each quarter share has it's own compartment, makes the 700 mile trek packed with dry ice, and arrives frozen solid.

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This year's trip was exhilarating. I delivered about 2200 pounds of beef to 6 locations. The 100+ degree scorching heat didn't dampen the excitement from new and returning customers alike. Friendship, recipes, and cooking tips were shared among all. 

 Photo by Shauna McGuiness

Photo by Shauna McGuiness

Why do I take 2.5 days to drive 1,400 miles, purchase 180 pounds of dry ice, and pack/unload 2,200 pounds of beef? The answer is so simple....it's for the love of our cows and our customers. I'm looking forward to my trip next year and will definitely have improvements!

Eat well,

Rich

 Photo by Shauna McGuiness

Photo by Shauna McGuiness

Choose Food Freedom!

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We are bombarded with misleading ads promoting terms like “grass-fed”, “organic” and “sustainable” as being the best for your health. 

Here’s what these terms really mean…

“GRASS-FED” – All cattle are fed grass at some point in their lives. So don’t be fooled, even grain-fed cattle can be labeled “grass-fed”. To have all the healthy, beneficial Omega-3’s, look for beef that is 100% Grass-Fed AND Grass-Finished. Look for cattle that are raised on pasture.

“ORGANIC” – The rules for certified organic allow the use of over 200 synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Also many certified organic inputs and feed come from countries like China where there’s no guarantee they are truly “organic”. Ask for NO herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. Look for locally sourced inputs (if any are needed at all).

“SUSTAINABLE” & “HUMANELY RAISED” – There’s no legal definition for these terms. Very few cattle are slaughtered on the farm – most are shoved into cattle transports, wait in feedlots and are slaughtered on an industrial kill floor. Look for on farm slaughter; it’s more humane for the cattle and will produce better meat. Look for cattle that are pasture-raised; it’s more sustainable for the environment and you’ll have happier cattle which leads to better meat.

You can’t rely only on labels when making food decisions. Get to know your farmer and their farm so you can define these terms for yourself. Take a farm tour. Ask questions and become empowered. Choose Food Freedom!

Yes, I'm a Forage Nerd

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We had a great time a few weeks ago with our friends on a pasture walk led by our OSU extension agent. Lots of walking around, identifying plants, observing patterns, getting our hands dirty, sharing tips/advice, and planning for the fall planting. Collaboration at it's best! So thankful for my like-minded tribe of pasture folks.

The forage nerd in me finds it fun and educational. For better-than-organic farmers like us, it's crucial to be observant and mindful. We rely on smart grazing management, carefully timed plantings, and mother nature to help us succeed. 

Healthy pastures without chemicals make for happy cows!

Happy foraging,

Rich

 

Our Talented Artificial Insemination Team!

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In addition to working with our cattle, we also work with a great bunch of people! Adrienne Lulay and Alex Snider have been coaching Michael to be self-sufficient at artificially inseminating our cattle. Adrienne and Alex are fun, dedicated & skillful; they are experts at their craft. THANK YOU for coming out on late snowy nights and early foggy mornings! 

Congratulations to Michael who graduated this year and is now inseminating solo!

Take the Chill Off with Beef Stew

A cold winter day is a great time to make beef stew. We start with a nice chuck roast that is cubed and browned. Then we cook some diced onions and add flour. Next, we add some red wine and our home-made bone broth to our cubed chuck roast and simmer slowly for at least 3-4 hours. Finally, we add our home-grown carrots that have been in our cold storage and our green beans, peas and summer squash that were blanched and frozen this past summer.

We have a simple, healthy meal for my family that warms our kitchen and our hearts. We grew all the produce and raised the beef on our farm which makes this meal even more rewarding. 

Bone Broth...The Cure for the Wintertime Blues

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I use bone broth throughout the year for our soups, gravies and anytime our recipes call for broth. Winter is a great time to replenish our stock of bone broth.

All great bone broth starts with organic grass-fed beef bones, and we have that covered with our own Verdant Hills Farm beef bones. I changed up my recipe this year to include searing the beef bones over high heat on the grill for more flavor before simmering the bones for 2 days. I add carrots and onions from the garden the last day of simmering. The results....simple, glorious bone broth.

I'm happy to share details of the full recipe..just reach out. I'm here to help, so please don't hesitate to ask questions about the process or arrange a time for me to come out and help you start your first batch of bone broth.

Here's drinking to your health!

 Rich

Less Mooing and More Chewing with Gentle Weaning

A few weeks ago, we started weaning last Fall’s calves from their moms. Under Michael’s watchful care, our calves and momma cows are weaned humanely with a temporary wire between them. The calves and momma cows can touch noses without the calves being able to nurse. They are also near each other for support as the calves adjust to eating only fresh grass and clover on pasture. After two days of some mooing back and forth, the quiet chewing returned to our pastures.

Some people wean their calves at 6 months. However, we prefer to wait until the calves are more mature at 8 months before we start weaning. We feel waiting and using a gentle weaning technique is less stressful and healthier for both calves and momma cows. Yes, us humans also benefit with better sleep from our gentle weaning process...less mooing and more chewing.

A Cow's Life on Pasture!

After a very wet and long winter/spring, the cows are thrilled to be back onto pasture. We are thrilled too. Michael's daily chore of scooping manure will be a distant memory as he gladly adjusts to managing the herd with intensive rotational grazing.

Our cattle are well-loved and cared for. They are docile and friendly. There's no shortage of individual attention for each of them. As you can see, this one loves getting her back scratched! 

Others love posing for the camera! It's definitely a cow's life and fun one indeed. 

Baby Chicks Arrive

 Em Holding Azule

Em Holding Azule

Always fun to have baby chicks on the farm. No matter how rainy and dreary the weather gets, holding a baby chick instantly brightens your mood. We have 8 Austrolorp chicks to add to our egg-laying flock. Not only do we and our egg customers look forward to farm fresh eggs with orange yolks, our cows also thank the chickens when they keep the fly population under control during the summer months. Our lucky chickens are out on pasture throughout the year. We all win!

 Baby Chick (Ring) Wandering

Baby Chick (Ring) Wandering

Start Your Gardens...with a Covercrop

Sustainability starts with soil conservation. We use a red clover as our covercrop for our raised bed vegetable garden. The red cover grows through the winter and preserves our soil from the 50+ inches per year of rain while also adding nitrogen into the soil. As a bonus, we improve the soil structure by incorporating the red clover into the soil.

Here are spring peas that were planted right after the red clover was incorporated. 

If you didn't plant a covercrop last fall, there's still time to plant your garden this spring but you need to start planning NOW and planting SOON

Here's a preview of another glorious strawberry season to come!

Pastures Are Alive Again!

Spring (although very wet) has finally arrived, and our pastures are alive again! Our diverse pastures are the lifeblood of our farm. We have been planting, nurturing, and patiently watching the pastures throughout the fall and winter. Hacking through blackberry along the fence lines with a trail hoe and weeding tansy by hand is tough work but worth it. No chemicals needed here!

We no-till drilled tall fescue, red clover, annual clover, chicory, and plantain into our existing pastures last Fall and can see them emerging this spring. By no-till drilling, we save our existing pasture, reduce carbon loss in the soil, and preserve our earthworms and beneficial bacteria.

Why do we do all this? It’s for the love of our cattle and respect for our land and environment. Healthy, diverse pastures farmed organically help our land and environment by sequestering nitrates in our soil and converting the nutrients, sunlight and water into healthy, nutritious feed for our cattle. Our cattle help by grazing and depositing their manure throughout our pastures. We also harvest all the needed winter feed for our cattle from our pastures. It’s a continuous recycling process, and it’s pretty awesome!

Here's to the start of another great forage season! Please keep hunting our voles, Rudy!