Opportunities

We’ve been busy. Farm babies are coming nearly every day now. Goat kids and calves keep appearing. Of course we still have our puppies and piglets to care for too. It’s been a fun but always busy time of year.

I wanted to let you know about a few changes and additions to our website. Under our new “Opportunities” tab at the top of our page we now have a link to:

  • Our 2017 Events on the farm this summer
  • Our 2017 Newsletter if you missed it
  • A Survey to help us get to know you, a chance for you to tell us what you’d like us to share or give to you via email and a request for information for those who don’t want to miss out on news from the farm.
  • An updated Volunteer Opportunities page if you’d like to get involved on the farm this year.

Check out the changes and let us know what you think! We really would love to hear from you.

Enjoy the Spring weather to come,

Katie

Broiled Goat Chops

goatchops.jpg

For me I prefer my old go-to recipes. It is hard for me to try new recipes because of the time it often takes to implement something foreign to me. The new recipe I tried yesterday? Unbeatable. It took about twenty minutes, minus the marinading time, to get dinner on and that included all the sides (“Cream Corn Like No Other” and garlic cheese bread broiled with the chops).  I think the meat took ten minutes at most in the oven. Added bonus, the kids loved the meal. Another bonus, I’m finally not hungry. I’ve been so hungry the last few days and just can’t get enough to eat. Goat meat protein always fixes that craving need for me.

We’ve been getting a lot of interest in our goat meat from people who have never tried it. After explaining its qualities in a recent post, they want to take advantage of this healthy meat. After trying a great recipe for goat chops, I am highly recommending that you try it! We found an Indian blogger’s recipe entitled, “Broiled Goat Chops“.

The spice blend she recommends is just right. However, if you have picky kids, you may want to leave out the cayenne pepper. The other issue is that most American cooks do not have amchur (dried mango) powder in their spice cabinet. Luckily we have some we were given from an Indian friend a few years back. You can easily find it on amazon or at the Indian grocery if you live in the city.  Though you could leave amchur (amchoor) out, it does give it a tangy sweetness that really does add to the dish. Also, we used olive oil in place of avocado oil. This recipe was so perfect, I plan to try her recipe for Slow Cooker Goat Curry with one of our roasts very soon.

So now you know what to do with Goat Ribs and Goat Chops. We still have plenty of goat chops, shanks, shoulder roast and leg roast. Give us a call or email, we’d love to hear from you. Unfortunately, we have sold out of ribs and ground goat.

Happy eating! We’ll try to keep the recipes coming.

A Little of Our Story

There are so many reasons we came north to farm. Actually, not long before we made the move we thought we were to be missionaries in Cambodia, working alongside church planters to help others care for creation rather than continue the careless exploitation of the land that many have adopted. Why in the world are we here in rural Minnesota?

Well, maybe we needed to make the agricultural mistakes here first and learn a lot ourselves still. Maybe our boys will take over and we’ll still head out, maybe not. We have continually learned that we cannot determine our future in many aspects. Sickness happens, poverty happens, and good things happen too. We do know that we are to be faithful wherever God has us and in many ways we are doing exactly what we would be doing in Cambodia, but here among the rural people of Minnesota.

As we lived in the city we had worked with many over the years that had little knowledge of how to work and where food came from, so we started Gardens of Praise, an urban agricultural development project that strives to go beyond reconnecting urban people with nature to reconnecting them with their Creator and to bring the knowledge of how to produce their own food into the city through holistic farming experiences.

As that moved forward, we also sought to be part of a farm school project here on our farm. However, the community was quite against it since we failed to accurately portray who we were bringing to the farm. They thought inner city youth = thugs, druggies, etc. None of the youth we were thinking of were involved with drugs or had been in trouble with the law. Yes, their parents had, but these youth were trying to get out of the cycle.

As that was shot down, we still had the desire to bring young men and women that had been discipled in Christ, but were still in a hard spot, up to the farm to continue to be discipled and learn the value of work and where our food comes from. What about inviting mentors and youth up to a working farm to share a weekend working together, furthering relationship, and learning the amazing intricacies of how God has ordered this world? What about internships to teach young men and women the value of working as unto the Lord even when the work is tough and smelly? What about retreats where people can just get out of the city and find joy in God’s creation and those they retreat with?

Others came alongside us and pushed us this way. And now we’re here working out what it means to glorify God in farming day to day. We started with savings and the conviction to stay debt free. Mat’s family already had the land and some equipment that was necessary. Our objective was to become profitable within five years in order that we could then focus on our other goals of internships. We do have people up for retreats and such, but hope that with an established farm we would have more time and resources to devote to such things, such as building a larger housing area for groups or being able to spend more time teaching. Though we knew it would be a lot of work, I was surprised at the constant need to always be working. Our animals needed to be fed and cared for or they would not survive. Problems and equipment needed to be fixed or something would die, etc. We also had young children, so having people come actually set us back for the first few years. Also, with the constant work, it became a high stress job. A stressed out host isn’t much fun to be around.

Our story isn’t over, but we’ve come a long way in this farming endeavor. March 2017 will mark our fourth year on the farm. We started in March 2013. We have been so happy to host those interested in farming and to share what we can with them and our immediate community. Mathew is an amazing resource to myself, others and the church. What God has done through him here in Northern Minnesota has been a joy to see. Endurance is not always easy, but the fruit of endurance is so satisfying. Our practices are improving, our product has definitely become quality, and we’ve learned so much from our previous mistakes. Slowly we move forward.

So what am I getting at by telling you our story? Well, when you buy anything, you are supporting the farmers and producers and the practices of production behind that product. In buying our food you are supporting what we are trying to do here on the farm. We are in the business of practicing careful dominion over creation – land, animals, and people. Consider purchasing a portion of your meat supply from us this year.

How do you order from us? Visit our Ordering Information page (link also in top bar menu).

Keep up to date with what we’re doing through our regular Facebook or Instagram posts.

 

Valentine Eggs

Eggs! Our chickens are producing so many right now and we have very few customers. Our boys take good care of Chubb, Goldie, Floppy, Featherfoot, Nightshade, Featherina, Grouchy, Lanky, Bossy and all the rest that look too similar to name. We give our boys non-gmo and soy-free feed for their chickens and, in return, we receive all the eggs we would like.

img_1436The Nix boys would like to offer a dozen eggs for $3.50 to anyone interested. They range in size from large to jumbo. Most of the yolks are dark yellow, providing a high omega 3 ratio for a quality egg. The chickens are kept warm and run throughout our large high tunnel all winter and play among the grass and bugs the rest of the year.

Since we have dozens of eggs in our fridge, I found a fun recipe and an idea for our Valentine’s day celebration. Hope you have fun trying them out for yourselves!

First, my little guy and I made a delicious andimg_1614 flour-less (great for those who are gluten-free) chocolate cherry cake. I am not in the habit of creating baking recipes, but this woman sure knows her stuff:
Flourless Chocolate Cherry Cake
We sure enjoyed mixing this up together.

Second, I had fun making a simple, but surprisingly tasty lunch item for my men (little and big).img_16191 Basically, all you need is a hot dog or sausage cut almost to the end in two , a toothpick to cinch it together, and an egg for the center. Place the heart-shaped hot dog in a heated pan, drop an egg in each heart, cover and cook until they are done to your liking. It went well with an english muffin. Also, a little ketchup on the side is great for those of us who can’t eat a hot dog without it.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Eating!

Delicious Pastured Pork

I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated having a freezer full of meat. It’s like having a convenience store right next door. It reduces stress about what to feed my family and it reduces the amount of trips I take to the grocery store. Time saving – yes!

Having a whole hog wrapped and ready has also increased the health factor in our meals. We have been able to choose how our meat is processed and what ingredients go into our food. It has also led to a few fun new recipes.

Yesterday we tried roasting a slab of side pork and boy was it delicious! img_1590
Crispy, meaty, satisfying. Bacon, I’m never coming back. And now we have leftovers that I’m excited to try in an Asian stir fry tomorrow night. I’m not a big fan of cooking, but when I can produce results like this, it gets me excited!

The meat of pastured pigs is a different product than the conventional raised meat you would find in the grocery store. Here’s a little health information I found comparing wild boars (completely pasture raised) and conventionally raised animals (in a large barn with cement floors).

“Because pigs are monogastric animals (single stomach), they have the ability to convert vegetable and plant 18 carbon fatty acids (ALA) to the 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which reduce inflammation, reduce cardiovascular disease and promote good health for us all when we eat pork. Free ranging pork contains higher concentrations of these beneficial fatty acids than are found in their feed lot produced counterparts.”1

We continue to provide a non-GMO and soy free diet for our hogs as well as hay throughout the winter. They run and enjoy themselves by producing all sorts of havoc on our farm. Trust me, they’ve found lots of good forage as they’ve roamed past their boundaries this winter. Which leads me to make sure they don’t outgrow their welcome around here…

We still have a few half and whole hogs available for our spring butcher dates (March and April). $3 per pound hanging weight. Give us a call and we’ll tell you more: 218..927..1425.

You’ll definitely have to try this recipe with your next order!

Roasted Side Pork

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Time: 90 minutes plus marinate time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2-3 pound side pork
For Rub:
1 Tablespoon cracked peppercorns
1 Tablespoon salt (we use Real Salt brand)
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon Chinese five spice powder, or spice of your choice

Mix together rub ingredients. Rub generously and completely around the side pork slab. At this point, I recommend placing in the fridge for up to a day to let the seasoning do it’s work.
Once your slab has rested for a time (1 hour to 1 day), place the meat onto a “cooling rack” or other slotted roasting pan on top of a large baking sheet with the fattiest side up. Make sure there are raised sides on the baking sheet so the liquid fat does not drip into the oven. Roast at 325° F for 90 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145° F.  Cool slightly, slice and serve.

 

Cordain, Loren. http://thepaleodiet.com/bacon-anything-left-to-discuss/ June 16, 2014

 

We’ve Got Goat Meat!

Last week nearly two hundred pounds of goat meat arrived in our freezer. We were able to get it USDA inspected at a newer local facility in Sturgeon Lake, MN that we really enjoy. Of course we took out a package right away and Mathew cooked up a rack of goat ribs. It was savory and satisfying!

img_1501We found our recipe at mymidlifekitchen.com. With only five ingredients, it was simple,  quick to prepare and warmed the house nicely since it cooked for three hours. Perfect for a winter day in Minnesota!

Ingredients

Check out mymidlifekitchen.com for the full recipe and how to prepare it.

Goat meat is a great source of lean protein, B-12 vitamin and iron. It is also quite versatile if you enjoy a variety of tastes and flavors. According to a Universiy of California blog post, “What is the world’s most popular meat?” goat meat is actually the most commonly consumed meat in the world, with 63% of the world’s population eating it. This article also has a nutritional comparison of various meats, see below. We look forward to trying Indonesian, South American, French, Asian, Middle Eastern and African recipes. Each has their own special spices to add. Please share your favorite recipes with us so we can share them with the world!

Nutrient composition of goat and other types of meat1, 2
Nutrient Goat Chicken Beef Pork Lamb
Calories 122 162 179 180 175
Fat (g) 2.6 6.3 7.9 8.2 8.1
Saturated Fat (g) 0.79 1.7 3.0 2.9 2.9
Protein (g) 23 25 25 25 24
Cholesterol (mg) 63.8 76.0 73.1 73.1 78.2
1 Per 3 oz. of cooked meat
2 USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (2001)

Harper, John M. “What is the world’s most popular meat?http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=3679. November 3, 2010.

Give us a call or send us an email to order some today. We’d love to deliver some Goat Chops, Goat Shoulder Roast, Goat Leg Roast, neck or ground meat. direct to you. Our current price is $10.00 per pound.

Encouraging Thoughtfulness About Our Food Choices

 

Warning: The following contains information that may change your food habits. Please don’t hate me if you disagree.

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Ever since watching the documentary Food, Inc. we continually see stories of injustice in the world food system. Further research on GMOs has also gotten me more concerned about the future of our food and how it will affect future generations (see study on molecular difference in corn). For us this is a concern because of what we see in the Bible and how we are called to care for creation. Start in Genesis and you will see God makes all things, makes man in his image, then brings all things under man’s dominion. We have a responsibility to care for God’s creation. Shouldn’t we delight in all that He has made and care for it so that our fields and our guts are not depleted?

We also come to the injustice factor in our food systems. There are many large companies that are not hoping to build up our soil’s health and productivity resulting in healthier plants and animals, but are out to kill off the inconvenient weeds for a short term, yet quite large, profit. Spraying weed killer on my food is not what I would call healthy. The fact that the amount of weed killer only needs to be increased with time also exacerbates the situation, yet further increases the large company’s profit. As we can see in Food, Inc. and other documentaries, farmers have been sued rather than compensated when their field is cross-contaminated with GMO seeds. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not played out in these situations and many others around the world.

And so I urge you to think more about this whatever your worldview. Read up on different opinions, watch documentaries from your library or there are many free with amazon prime right now or engage those who are interested in the topic.

Another very important factor in food choices is to know your farmer, how they raise their food and if it’s up to your standards. There are so many quality farmers around the state of Minnesota that we have come to know through the Sustainable Farmer’s Association and through the MN Organic Conference. Seek them out. Show them where your support lies.

Reputable reading:

Other reading: