Time to order

Just a quick note to let you know it is TIME TO ORDER for fall 2019:

Get your orders in before we’re all sold out for the season. We’d love to raise the nutrient dense food you want to serve to your family!

Here a link to our ordering information so you can contact us in the way that’s most convenient for you:  Order soon!

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“Nix Pork Quiche”

Egg season is coming up and the chickens will soon be laying overtime.

A dear friend of ours sent us this message awhile back and I wanted to share it with you all: “I’ve accidentally created a delicious quiche! Thought I’d share!” – Laura.

Thank you Laura, I look forward to enjoying this in the coming months.

Nix Pork Quiche

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Pie crust
1 lb ground pork
1/2 TBSP butter
1/2 yellow onion
1 tsp sage
1 TBSP brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Havarti cheese slices
5 eggs
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper

1. Sauté onions about 10 minutes in butter.
2. Add pork, sage, brown sugar, and salt and pepper.
3. Put pie crust in pie pan, and put the sausage onion mixture on the bottom.
4. Top with havarti cheese.
5. Mix together eggs, milk, and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl and pour over the cheese and sausage.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Enjoy!

Side Pork Ideas

As promised, I’m continuing on with the series on how to use a whole hog with emphasis on side pork today.side pork

If you don’t get all your side pork made into bacon, then side pork has been one of the more challenging cuts to use up. Many people like to do this to cut out the extras that bacon adds (like nitrates or nitrates and excess salt).

Unless your family grew up using side pork, it takes a bit of experimenting to see how you prefer eating it. The excess fat on side pork is the main reason for this. Either you cut the fat off and render it into lard and lardons (a.k.a. cracklin’s) or you cook it up and enjoy the rich fat along with the juicy meat. The following are some of the tastiest ways we’ve experimented with side pork.

Side Pork ideas we love:

  • Homemade Bacon! – There are numerous recipes out there. Most of them include way too much salt. If you find a recipe to use and it turns out too salty, just soak the finished product.
    • We’ve tried about five different recipes and my favorite includes maple sugar. It’s from the book Beyond Bacon by Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth. This book also includes excellent paleo apple fritters made with lard and almond flour and their “Perfect Pork Chop” is spot on. It’s a great book for those who would like to learn how to use all the cuts from a whole hog.
    • I will not include ideas for using bacon. There are about a million and I think most people do not have trouble using it up.
  • Roasted Side Pork – This was rich and filling, super easy, and fun to try.
  • Side Pork Cabbage Soup – My belly loved this soup. It was warm and nourishing, filling and fuel.

Side Pork ideas we’d love to try:

My problem currently is not the lack of side pork, but the lack of time to try new recipes. Over the next few months, maybe once a month for sanity’s sake, I plan to try out a few new recipes from a cookbook I found last fall.

  • From the cook book Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim:
    • “Ban Mi”
    • “Sichuan-Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly”
    • “Braised Pork Belly” with apple cider vinegar
    • “Black Vinegar-Glazed Pork Belly Buns”
    • “White Cooked Pork with Garlic Sauce”
  • Oven Baked Pork Belly Strips” – this recipe has a large amount of 5 star reviews
  • Olive Magazine has a lot of fun looking, but maybe too spicy for my kids, ideas. If you like pizzazz in your food, check out their recipe ideas for pork belly.

Though I only gave you three of my own proven options, I hope you found some inspiration for future cooking. Let me know your favorites and give us a call if your recipes don’t turn out, maybe we can help turn it for the better.

My first try with side pork was not anyone’s favorite, I cooked it like I would bacon without much seasoning. Instead of feeding it to the dog, I spiced it up a bit and added it to a chicken bacon ranch hot-dish that I like to make. It turned out great.

However, if you’re doing something crazy and new, I would recommend just using a small amount the first time. It’s easy to cut a slab of side pork in half or thirds. It’s also quite easy to trim the fat and render it to lard if you’re not a fan of eating so much in one bite. Lard is a healthy fat and great for frying or sauteing!

We hope you enjoy experimenting with this sought after ingredient!

2018 in Review

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24

 

On this coldest of January days, it’s best to stay inside. So I wanted to send a quick update on our family and farm for those of you interested…


2017 proved to be a year of unknowns, instability, testing, trusting, and finally, hope.
2018 was a year of joy, striving, growth and peace.
Though we went through significant change, that change was used for our joy and to bring us closer to the God who formed us and whom we live with and for from day to day.

In Our Family

2018 has been about working together as a family and loving it. We have learned better how to love each other’s differences and get less uptight when things don’t get done. It has been encouraging to see our boys growing in wisdom and strength and look forward to what the future holds.

We are still homeschooling and love the flexibility and opportunities that this provides. Our boys also love that they can get done at their pace and learn about things that interest them. It has been a highlight to have Mat teach woodworking most Thursdays as well. We also love taking our annual camping trip. This year we went to Wisconsin.

Of course, the continued support of Mat’s parents keep us going. Having Mat’s dad here two or three times a month to help with projects around the farm is a delight for all of us. The boys love snagging him for a game of UNO too.

On the Farm

As for the land, the pasture and high tunnel ground has been flourishing under our intentional care for it. The bare spots in the pasture have become thick and long. The unproductive clay in the high tunnel has become rich and soft producing a much tastier fruit and higher yielding plants.

With the land production improving, our animals have been flourishing as well. Our herd has grown to a point that we have more beef and pork than what our customers are needing. For chicken and turkey, we have also gone to producing only what people order in the Spring. This helps our sanity in trying to sell chicken, but increases our need to find more customers for beef and pork. Since the majority of our sales are directly to the customer our main form of advertising has been through emails or by word of mouth from other satisfied buyers.

Continuing On

We will continue to grow within the means provided for us, not taking on debt or time consuming endeavors we can’t afford. With our land and animals maintaining a level of constant improvement, now we will focus on how to sell the abundance. If you have any tips for us in this area, we’d love to hear your knowledge.

Thank you for being part of our journey. We appreciate your words of encouragement, knowledge and support in buying the produce of the land. We hope this coming year is one of great joy and growth for you all.

Sincerely,

Katie, for the whole Nix family

Ambrosia a.k.a Sweet Roast

I know, I should be talking about how to use leftover turkey in a hotdish right now, being that the week after Thanksgiving every meal consists of turkey. However, we are sending the last of our fall butcher hogs to be processed on Tuesday (yes, we have 1/2 left if you get your order in soon!), so I still have pork on my mind.

We also have 3 and 3/4 Scottish Highland beef steers to send in this fall/winter if you’re looking for some grass-fed and grass-finished beef for your freezer. A full steer weighs about 400 pounds, so 1/4 would be about 100 pounds hanging weight and probably close to 75 pounds finished. So if you’re looking for some great roasts, hamburger, etc, that’s a great place to start.

Now onto the recipe. As a world famous travel writer, Mat’s aunt Stacey knows good food. I heard about the following recipe because she made this for Mat’s mom, Dena, and Dena raved about it. Of course, I had to ask for the recipe. And of course, I had to share it with you! It’s made for a beef chuck roast, but also works well with pork.

Here’s a super easy meal to help you recover from all the rushing about this holiday season. Enjoy!

  1. Ambrosia a.k.a. Sweet Roast

    • Servings: 6-8
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print
    3-4 pounds beef chuck roast or pork shoulder roast
    oil/lard
    1 onion, chopped
    10 3/4 oz. cream of chicken/mushroom soup
    1/2 cup water or chicken stock
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup vinegar
    2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. prepared mustard
    1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    1. Brown meat in oil on both sides in saucepan. Put in slow cooker.
    2. Blend together remaining ingredients. Pour over meat.
    3. Cover. Cook on Low 12-16 hours.

Roasts, my go to convenience food

Today we continue our series on using all the cuts in a half hog, after looking at pork chop ideas last week. As one of the most easy-to-use cuts (in my opinion), now we explore Pork Roasts! As a busy mom, farmer, homeschool teacher, etc., I love anything super easy. I’m sure you can relate.

When I search for recipes and food ideas, just like at the grocery store, I get in and get out quickly. I get my ideas and then run off to make supper. I hope these recipes or ideas will be a quick guide and an asset to those of you looking how to support small farms and your budget by purchasing a half or whole hog.

First, it may be helpful for you to know the difference between pork shoulder and pork loin roasts. Here is an article that explains the cuts a little more: “A Complete Guide to Pork Cuts”, but here’s a quick synopsis:

  • Loin – the most tender cut. It is good for quick cooking at about 400 F because it doesn’t require a long time to become tender
  • Shoulder (aka pork butt) – cook slow on low heat (about 225 F for 6-8 hours).

Let’s get right to it.

Pork Loin Roast ideas (and how I do it):

  • Roast with veggies in the oven. The best way to cook a loin roast is thawed, rubbed with spices, and placed in a roaster/cast iron pot in the oven. Typically it will take an hour for a 3-4 pound roast to get up to 145 F if cooked at 400 F, but testing it at 45 minutes would be best because an overcooked loin roast is not so juicy (use it for soup or casseroles if this happens). As with most roasts, it’s best to pan sear it/brown the outsides in an oiled (or larded) pan on high heat for a few minutes before sticking it in the oven to cook. This keeps the juiciness of the meat intact. Cook it up and serve with your favorite side dish.
  • Roast with veggies in the slow cooker. There have been many times I’ve put one of these roasts in the slow cooker with some veggies and just walked away. I’ll typically stick them in still frozen because I forget to pull it out the night before. Carrots, root veggies, onion, or potatoes are our favorites. Sometimes it’s fun to add a little cooking wine. Sometimes a little tomato sauce changes things up for us. Typically it’s just meat and veggies though. We’ll stick it on a plate once it’s tender and it’s a meal for us. It’s best to not over cook a tenderloin roast, so check the temperature after about four or five hours (depending on size) to see how much longer you’ll need to cook it.
  • Another one of our old favorites for pork roast is Peanut Butter Pork with rice.
  • Here’s a list of slow cooker recipes to try too: Slowcooker 365
  • Recipes I’d like to try some day:

Pork Shoulder ideas (and how I do it):

  • Pulled pork (for fajitas, carnitas, taco meat, BBQ pork, casseroles, soups or pulled pork sandwiches). Chop an onion and line the bottom of a slow cooker with it. Rub pork with your favorite spices for pulled pork, such as bbq, fajita blend, tandori, etc. Some like to add pineapple or bbq sauce. I’d do this in the last hour of cooking though. Cover and cook on low heat (225 – 250 F) for 6 to 8 hours depending on the size of your roast. An hour before you hope to eat it, open to separate the meat with two forks or with a knife. Cover and cook until tender. This makes a wonderful amount of meat for a large crowd or for various meals throughout the week. Typically I will cook it with basic spices (like garlic, paprika, and pepper) and use it for tacos, casseroles, soups, nachos, pizza or pulled pork sandwiches.
  • Roast with veggies. Same as above but best made in a crock pot.
  • Soups or Chili. I love using part of a roast for making a hearty meat and veggies soup, white bean or traditional chili, or even Pho Vietnamese soup.
  • Casseroles. These are a Minnesota comfort food. Enchiladas, shepherds pie or pot pie are my favorites. Look up “pulled pork casserole” or “pulled pork hotdish” depending on your cultural preference and you’ll get enough options for the year I’m sure.
  • Recipes I’d like to try some day:

Ham Roast:

  • My favorite way to cook a ham roast (not a ham) is in a slow cooker with a jar of SAUERKRAUT and some apple sauce. It’s hard to beat that, so that’s my only idea for you.
  • Ham roasts are normally a bit tougher and are best marinaded, brined, or slow cooked.

More tips:

  • Save the bones if there are a lot and make some pork stock for soups.
  • Don’t forget to check out our recipes page for more ideas.
  • If you want something more gourmet, check out Gordon Ramsay at youtube.com. Don’t worry, he’s quite tame in his how-to videos.

Pork Chops and new series of posts

As I mentioned on Tuesday, a new goal I have is to help make ordering and using a whole hog more user-friendly by providing recipes and information.

Here’s bit of info from our Pastured Pork page:

“When ordering a half or whole hog, here are the options you’ll choose from when calling the butcher:

  • Pork chops (about 23-26, 1 inch or you can ask for 2 inch cuts) – other options for chops include making them into baby back ribs (deboned chops), boneless tenderloin, ground or roasts
  • Shoulder Roasts (2) or Steaks (4-6) or Cottage Bacon (similar to ham in taste)
  • Loin Roasts (2) or Steaks (4-6)
  • Ground pork (6-12 lb of trim)
  • Ribs (2 lb)
  • Smoked Ham or Ham Roasts (can be halved or quartered)
  • Smoked Hocks or Fresh Hocks (2)
  • Side Pork (pork belly) or Smoked Bacon – thick or thin sliced (about 6-10 lbs)
  • Pork fat for rendering lard (we suggest you pay the small fee to have it ground, it renders more efficiently)
  • All meat cuts have other options like being ground or deboned if there is a cut you do not prefer”

Some of these things, like bacon and ground pork, have an endless number of recipes to choose from and are quickly used up. Others are a little more challenging depending on your background.

In the following weeks, I hope to add some links and various ideas on how to use the above cuts. Today I would like to start with pork chops!

Pork chops

  • Chops are excellent grilled. Typically I will sear them by starting the grill on high heat and then after each side has been browned for a few minutes, I will turn the temperature down to low. Be sure to watch them closely so the flame does not burn them up once the fat starts dripping.
  • Chops are also wonderful pan seared and then baked when grilling season is not an option (such as in January in Minnesota).
  • The spices I prefer to sprinkle on chops are as follows for 4 chops:
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper combined and rubbed into the meat before cooking
    • Your favorite bbq rub (I really like Penzey’s spices, but there are many good all purpose bbq rubs out there).
    • Here’s a more involved bbq mix to try. This is a guess because I don’t have a specific recipe: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/16 teaspoon cayenne, 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/16 teaspoon thyme, 1/16 teaspoon ginger
  • The way my mom made pork chops was super easy and tasty too. Basically, sear four pork chops and place in a 9 by 13 inch glassware dish. Pour some cream of chicken soup over the top (if it’s too thick, thin it with 1/2 cup of milk). We make our own. Here’s a recipe similar to ours: Pinch of Yum. Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper. Mix up some stuffing (the amount from a 6 ounce box should be enough). Place stuffing on top. Cover in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take foil off and bake another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 Fahrenheit. It’s a hearty, heavy meal… pure comfort food.
  • Tips:
    • Our pork chops come from a part Mangalista hog. The Mangalista breed of pig has a bit more back fat on it due to it’s excellent amount of vitamin rich lard. If you don’t enjoy eating this fat straight up, I recommend trimming the fat and then rendering it (melting it slowly then filtering it) to be used later for frying eggs or adding to recipes instead of butter or oil. It’s a great way to add Vitamin D to your diet this winter!
    • When cooking a pork chop. Melt some lard in the bottom of a pan on high heat. Set the chops in the pan for about a minute until slightly brown then turn the heat to low or transfer to a baking dish if you will be putting them in the oven. Searing and then cooking on low heat produces a juicier chop instead of a dry one.

These are some of our favorites, but I’d love to hear some of yours!! Please leave a comment and let us know your favorite recipes for pork chops.