Turkey 2010

For Thanksgiving this year, we opted to try out a heritage turkey from our local meat farmer.  I’m not entirely sure which breed of turkey we ended up with, but it was a fantastic and delicious bird. 

before turkey

Although it might be hard to tell from the photograph, the breasts weren’t quite as wide as the turkeys we’ve gotten in the past and, even raw, you could see that the breast meat was a bit darker than the past turkeys.  (The breasts look lumpy here because I’ve wedged some butter underneath the skin.)

after turkey

You can sort of see that the breast meat is darker here.  The skin cooked up a beautiful colour and Art easily removed all of the meat from the bird with plenty for Thanksgiving dinner, a few plates of leftovers, and Turkey Tetrazzini

The flavor was simply fantastic. It just tasted more.. natural.  More flavorful.  I cooked it with my standard High-Heat Roasted Turkey method but, for future heritage birds, I’ll be reducing the cooking times during flipping from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.  Due to the fat distribution, the heritage bird cooked up a bit faster than previous birds. 

Without a doubt, I will be getting a heritage turkey again for next year.  This one was scrumptious!  If you have the option to get one for your own future Thanksgiving dinners, I can’t recommend it enough.

The First Half Pig

This is the year for local meat.  Earlier in the year, after a bit of research, we ended up with a half cow in our freezer.  Then, by some great stroke of fortune, a local farmer, Zekiah Farms, came to our market and began selling meat.  While we’re pretty much set on cow, we’ve gotten quite a bit of pig from Zekiah.  It has all been wonderful – sausage, bacon, chops, yum. 

After a bit of discussion with each other and communion with the freezer, we decided that we should purchase a half pig from Zekiah the next time they took pigs to butcher.  

Since Art has been enjoying his experimentation with smoking, we opted to get most of the pig in the large cuts shown below.  Our side of pig yielded 2 boneless pork loins, 1 tenderloin, 3 shoulder roasts, 3 fresh ham roasts, baby back ribs and spare ribs. 

Pig Cuts

The rest of the pig came to us in sweet Italian sausage, bacon, and a few ham hocks as shown below.  Lots and delicious bacon and sausage.  We opted to get the sausage loose because we always end up removing the casings anyway. 

Bacon and Sausage

Since it’s a grand thing to know where your food comes from, we were actually able to meet our pig at the Charles County Fair!  Art named him Bacon…


All of the meat is frozen solid, USDA inspected, and vacuum packed.  The bacon is nitrate free.  We ended up with around 100 pounds of meat, 27 of those pounds in sausage and bacon.  It fills the top shelf of the upright freezer plus some space on the door.  I can’t wait for Art to get smoking some of the larger cuts!

Local Food 9/18/2010


Our box had a great surprise in it – salad greens!  Those were used up in dinner the day of the market!  We also had red onion, white sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, yellow squash, cucumber, and lots of peppers.

other market

Elsewhere at the market I picked up some more potatoes, yellow onions, red bell peppers, and tomatoes. 

The market seems to be winding down a bit due to both lack of rain and approaching fall.  I’m beginning to think that I won’t be able to put away nearly as many tomatoes as I was able to roast and freeze last year.  Sigh.

Local Food 9/11/2010


Our box was full of peppers again, both hot and sweet.  It also had sweet and white potatoes, yellow squash, cucumber, okra and garlic. 


Local Food 9/4/2010


Our box was full of pepper – poblanos, bell, and thai.  It also had red onions, Chinese long beans, yellow squash, potatoes, okra, and little tomatoes.  Lots of deliciousness.

other market

Elsewhere at the market I picked up a few more red onions, some white onions, zucchini, the first acorn squash of the year, potatoes, and gorgeous garlic. I also bought a jar of peach-pineapple jam and another jar of amazing peach chutney.

Local Food 8/21/2010


Our box had lots and lots of hot peppers as well as some tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and long beans.


Elsewhere at the market I picked up some beef kielbasa and some hot Italian sausage as well as tomatoes, potatoes, and red bell peppers. 


Local Food 8/7/2010

Where is market week 14, you ask? Well, you see, I was out of town and Art overslept. So we missed our 14th box.  Oh well.


Our 15th box, shown here, had delicious peaches.  There were still a few left when I got back home and they were fantastic – juicy, freestone, what more could a person want?  The box also had tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and okra.

Local Food 8/14/2010


And, finally, I’m home again to appreciate and use our vegetal bounty.  This week’s box had white eggplant, tomatoes, okra, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and a watermelon the size of my head.  Art has promised to eat this watermelon, but it’s already 10:30pm on Sunday and I have a feeling that he has forgotten about it.

more market

Elsewhere at the market I picked up some hot Italian sausage which I’ve been told “isn’t really that hot.”  (It better not be!)  I also bought potatoes – white, yellow, and sweet.  I got some pattypan squashes for grilling and two small bell peppers that you can just see peeking out from in front of the pattypans.  I picked up some extra tomatoes so that I would have plenty for making salsa, three heads of garlic, and the jar in the back is locally made peach lotion for my dry hands.

The First Half Cow

We love cow.  Steaks, roasts, ground up… you name it, we love it.  For many years we have been regular patrons at our local butcher.  However, in the recent year, we’ve wanted a better (or maybe just different?) option.  After quite a bit of reading, research, and googling, I found West Wind Farm and decided that this was what we should do.  

Earlier in the year we picked up some sampler packs from the farm to try before we made the significant investment that buying a half cow represents.  The sampler packs I selected gave us a nice assortment of steaks and roasts for testing, as well as some ground beef, short ribs, and stew meat.  We liked it enough that, when bulk order day came around, we placed an order for a half cow all of our own.  

This cow is pretty awesome.  It’s humanely raised, grass fed, free range, hormone-free, and all those good things you want in your food supply.  The slaughtering is done with USDA inspection, the meat is dry-aged, and it’s all labeled and flash frozen.  Can I tell the difference in taste between it and the grain fed stuff I used to get at the butcher?  Honestly?  No.  But I know that it’s healthier for me and my family and buying this meat makes me feel better about the choices I’m making.  I try not to get preachy when it comes to local eating and food sourcing choices, but this cow is a Good Choice.  

We got our bulk order form about a month ago and carefully made our selections regarding which cuts we wanted in steak or roast form and which cuts we wanted ground.  We also selected thickness of steaks and size of roasts.  We paid our deposit and waited.  

Cow delivery day finally came and we drove up to Columbia to pick everything up.  It all came packaged in five sturdy filing boxes.  Everything was wrapped and labeled.  (We had the option to get the ground meat in burger form or just bulk, we opted for 1-pound bulk packs because I can always make my own burgers.)  

The drive home was very cold – 250ish pounds of frozen cow radiates quite a bit of chill.

Once home I photographed the boxes, loaded everything into the upright “cow” freezer, and took a pictures of the loaded freezer.  The guys said I should have taken a before-loading picture of the freezer as well, but didn’t think about this until after I’d already unloaded two of the five boxes.  

I was happy to see the packages of shanks, which I’d forgotten about.  I have grand plans to cook through the CIA’s Professional Chef book at some point, so having shanks will be useful in stock making.  

The verdict?  We’ve got a LOT of ground beef.  I didn’t count the packs, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the 30-40 range.  My goal for the year is, of course, to eat it all so we can buy another half cow next year.  My plan to achieve this will be to eat cow twice a week until it’s all gone.  Wish me luck!










Local Food 7/24/2010


Our CSA box was full of beautiful vegetables this week! Lots of brilliant colours too, the tomatoes look like little jewels.  We received a purple cabbage, white eggplants, hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, white onions and a large zucchini which I hope will be turned into zucchini bread.  The box also had a cantaloupe which I traded for some garlic due to that whole fructose issue.  I hope I’ll be able to use at least some of it before I go on my trip.

Peach Stuff

I wasn’t planning on getting anything else, but there were some peaches calling Art’s name and he promised me that he’d eat them before they went bad.  I also picked up a jar of peach chutney!  One of our awesome farmers, Sue, is always trying out new things to can and I’m always buying them.  I’ll be making samosas at some point in the future when I’m home again.  I can’t wait.