CSA

Frontière Farm House Holiday Gift Guide 2019

With December here, many folks are still working on their holiday shopping. We can’t promise you that we have a gift for everyone on your list, but we can promise we will do our best! We will give you a type of gift recipient, and a suggestion on what you could get from us.

The Baker
What better gift to get for someone who loves to bake than a Duck Egg CSA? Duck eggs make for wonderfully fluffy and moist baked goods, and 12 dozen duck eggs is enough for a couple baking days for the next year! (And we have them on sale for $50 until the end of December 1!) If you would like to give this as a gift, contact us and we can print up information on how to redeem them to include with the punch card for your recipient.

The Health Nut
Bone broth has been incredibly popular among people following Keto or Paleo diets. It’s naturally gluten free, naturally low sodium, it can help improve your joint health, and it simply just tastes good. We sell Bone Broth Bundles for just $35, and you will get 10+ pounds of pasture raised chicken necks, gizzards, hearts, feet, and stewing hens. This is enough to make a whole bunch of bone broth, which can be consumed as-is, or used as the base of soups, gravies, or adding flavor and nutrition to just about anything.

What your Bone Broth Bundle could look like!

The Grill Master
In Michigan, many folks view grilling as a year-round activity. We have some amazing whole chickens that are perfect for cooking on the grill. With or without the beer can, they are a tasty alternative to store bought, confinement raised poultry.

The Canine Niece/Nephew/Granddog, and Their Human Parents
Not everyone gets gifts for the canines they love, but some of us do! Check with the pet parents if it’s okay, but our chicken feet and necks make great dog treats. Many folks are started to feed their dogs raw, and we have a freezer full of great quality meat for them.

The Special Teacher
We have a huge selection of hand knit scarves and accessories, and can do custom items with a pretty quick turnaround. If you’d like to have something made in some custom school colors, feel free to ask!

The Person Who Has Everything
Everyone has to eat! We are still selling our gift cards! They can be loaded in any amount, and we will have a special happening for the month of December. Stay tuned to see what that is!

We hope this gets a few ideas going for you. You can find us at the Marshall Area Farmers Market December 7, 14, and 21. If you need a special gift on a different day, send us a message on Facebook, or send us an email.

Animals · Meat · Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving from Frontière Farm House

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are being bombarded with ads for Black Friday. Which started… before Halloween? It seems so wrong that the day after we are expressing our thankfulness, we are expected to go buck-wild in a retail store and spend all our hard-earned money to show our loved ones how much we care. This is something I’ve seen repeated time and time again, so I will stop there.

But, at Frontière Farm House, we are very thankful for all of you. We are grateful for the support you’ve given us during this growing season. We have had more people ask us for our pastured turkey than we were able to provide. We have a few turkeys that have not been claimed, and we will be bringing them to the market this Saturday. They will be available first come, first served. This is the only way we can offer them fairly, and not risk going home with a truck full of turkeys because people haven’t shown up.

We have one request from all of you fine folks. Don’t forget about us. And we don’t just mean us as in Robert and Nicole. We mean “us” as in all the small farmers in your area. Follow them on Facebook, and Like or comment on a photo now and then. Like their photos on Instagram. Give them a retweet if something you enjoy comes up. And a big one that we love to see is when people tag us in the photos of their meals. For many of us, we are entering the slow season, even with freezers and coolers full of meat and produce. People get busy with holiday parties and preparing for family get-togethers. Going to the weekly farmers market becomes a task that is pushed to the back of your mind. But we are still out here, feeding our animals, growing veggies in hoop houses, and caring for our soil. We still need you.

Pick up another turkey for Christmas. Or get a duck, or a chicken and put it on your smoker. Get a ham from your local pork purveyor instead of one of those spiral sliced ones full of MSG and other weird preservatives. Get a bag of onions from the farmers market, because they will keep for a while. Get your honey and jam made by someone you’ve met, instead of off the shelf in the grocery store. There are so many ways to support your local farmers. And I promise that they ALL still need you.

Our friend Greg Gunthorp, of Gunthorp Farms, made a Facebook post today suggesting that folks make a 2020 New Years Resolution to purchase from their local farmers more often than they did in 2019. Or to sign up for a CSA. Or to become a regular at their local farmers market. Or to purchase a freezer bundle of tasty, high quality meats. And we would absolutely love if you did this. We are changing up the way we are doing things this year, and we don’t want to make any promises we can’t keep. But the one thing we can and will promise is that we will continue to provide the best quality meat and eggs for our customers that we are able to raise, for as long as we can. With your help and support, this will be for a long time to come.

Happy Thanksgiving from Frontière Farm House. We are thankful for you.

Market

Upcoming Event: Pick Up Your #TrunkMeat

To start things off: What is #TrunkMeat? I promise it’s not weird. Okay, maybe it is a little weird… The hashtag started as #TrunkEggs. The two of us drive across the state to attend soccer matches in Detroit. Many of our friends started asking about us bringing eggs with us. We sell them out of the trunk of the car, thus #TrunkEggs. Once we started bringing meat, it progressed into #TrunkMeat. Only a little weird, right?

Now that that’s out of the way, we are doing a small event in Detroit on November 24, 2019 at Detroit City Clubhouse from 1:00-4:00. We will be bringing meat and eggs for those who pre-order. To pre-order, fill out this form.

For those who are picking up their Thanksgiving turkey that day, here are some really good directions on how to thaw your bird for dinner! We really don’t suggest the microwave method, so be sure to check the weight of your bird and see how long it needs in the fridge or in water as soon as you bring it home!

It’s super simple. Place your order, we will contact you if we have any questions, and show up on that day! We can take cash or card payments to make things easy on you. See you there!

Chickens · Market · Meat · Production · Recipe · Tutorial

New Product Alert: Bone Broth Bundles!

November weather can be so gloomy, and is almost always so cold. We love keeping the house nice and warm by cooking foods that require long periods of time on the stove or in the oven. One of our favorites is making broth, and then turning that broth into soup.

We recently had a few dozen older laying hens and some extra roosters processed. These older birds have had a couple years to develop darker meat and extra flavor. They also have the prettiest, richest yellow fat I’ve ever seen on a bird.

Once the birds are this age, the meat gets tougher and stringier, and they are better suited to low and slow cooking, or pressure cooking. The meat can be shredded and used in many ways. The carcass is then amazing to turn into some delicious broth.

To help with your broth making endeavors we are now selling Bone Broth Bundles! These bundles are 10+ pounds of stewing hens, necks, feet, giblets, and whatever other parts and pieces we get back from our processor. We are selling them for a flat price of $35 per bundle. You will definitely be getting more than 10 lb of delicious pasture raised goodies, which will make FIVE GALLONS of bone broth, or chicken stock, or whatever you want to call it. If you use the bones twice, you will have even more!

This is what ten pounds of broth ingredients looks like. Your bundle may not be exactly the same. Some of them will have necks, some will have gizzards, others will have frames. They will all have at least one whole chicken, perfect for shredding into some tasty chicken noodle soup.

To make your broth, throw your stewing hens, necks, feet, giblets, and other parts into the biggest stock pot you own. You need it to hold about 10 cups of water per pound of bones and meat. Add a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar per pound of bones to help break down the bones and extract as much goodness as possible. Add veggies and herbs if you’d like. Carrots, onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, chives, or whatever you have handy that works well in broth. Make sure it’s all completely covered in water. Bring it up to a boil for a few minutes, and then lower the heat and let it simmer for as long as you can stand. I like to start mine super early in the morning, and let it go until almost bed time.

Now comes time for straining. We find it easiest to start fishing out the bigger bones with tongs. Then scoop the broth and strain it through a mesh strainer. This gets the smallest bits of bones and veggies out. Some people like to put it through cheesecloth or something, but that takes out some of the tasty stuff. It does give you a clearer broth, so it’s really up to you. Depending on how long you simmered the broth for, you will have anywhere from a 4 cups to 8 cups of finished product. Taste it. If it has a strong enough flavor, throw it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. If you want to have it longer, it can be easily frozen. If it doesn’t taste strong enough, you can simmer it longer to reduce it and concentrate those flavors

Making broth is SO easy, and SO much better for you that what you buy in cartons at the store. These Bone Broth Bundles will help you make around 5 gallons of broth, more if you cook the bones twice. The broth will be thick and delicious and full of nutrients. It’s perfect for using soup, like our Smoked Butternut Squash, Apple and Pork Soup, or making gravy, or just sipping out of a mug to keep yourself warm on these chilly days.

If you are interested in one of these bundles, contact us! We will have them available as often as possible. Please share photos of your broth making days with us!

Recipe

Recipe: Smoked Butternut Squash, Apple and Pork Soup

This past weekend on Instagram, we hinted at a recipe coming to the blog soon. Finally, I am getting a chance to sit down and actually write it out. This isn’t so much a “recipe” as it is an idea. I don’t usually measure when I cook, instead going with the “I can always add more” method of adding small amounts at a time until I hit the right flavor combo. This one is no different. This time of year is perfect for making squash soup, and pairing that with apples and pork seemed so obvious. Feel free to change it up as you see fit!

This recipe does need things like a smoker, dutch oven, and immersion blender. The latter two can be substituted, but you can’t really smoke squash in any other way.

Ingredients:
-1lb ground pasture raised pork (can be substituted with lamb, chicken, turkey, or a comparable amount of lentils or Textured Vegetable Protein, or can be omitted completely)
-some butternut squashes (we used three that were slightly on the smaller side)
-a couple tbsp cooking oil (if needed)
-1 onion, diced
-some cloves of garlic
-a couple carrots
-a couple tart-sweet apples, or whatever you have
-chicken or vegetable broth
-chili powder
-paprika
-salt and pepper

And now, for how to make it:

-Pre-heat your electric smoker to 225F. Follow your smoker’s instructions to add water, and use apple or peach wood for flavor.
-Peel, seed, and chop your butternut squash. Throw them in a baking pan that fits into your smoker. Set this aside
-Brown your ground meat of choice in a dutch oven. Remove the meat and set aside. Pour most of the fat out on top of the cubed squash.
-Toss squash to coat. Add a little cooking oil if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in smoker with some apple, peach, or other milder tasting wood for around 2 hours. It should look something like this when it’s done. You want it to be softened slightly, but not completely falling apart.

-While the squash is in the smoker, add the chopped onion to the pot and brown slightly. This will probably take a little longer than you think. Maybe like 20 minutes? But you have a couple hours to wait for the squash to be done anyway.
-Peel and chop up the carrots and add them into the pot with the slightly browned onions. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic as well. Let the veggies hang out on medium heat for a bit, stirring once in a while.
-Once the squash is finished, dump it, and any juices in the bottom of the pan, into the dutch oven. Add broth to cover everything. Chop up a couple apples and toss in there as well.

-Once everything but the protein is in the pot, add some chili powder and paprika. And some salt and pepper to taste.
-Simmer for a while, until the squash, apples, and carrots are fork tender.
-Get out that immersion blender and get to blending! You want it to be nice and smooth. If it starts getting too thick, add more broth, or even just some water.
-Add your protein back into the pot, and heat through. Taste, and add more seasonings as you see fit.

We served ours with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a little dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche. Would also be great with some fresh chopped chives on top. This refrigerates well, and reheats easily. It tastes like autumn, and goes well with so many other foods.

Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.

Animals · Chickens · Market · Meat · Production · Tutorial · Video

How to Break Down A Chicken, and Why We Don’t Do It For You

As we near the end of the warmer months, we are wrapping up our pastured meat bird production for the year. There is one batch of chickens left to head to the processor, a couple dozen turkeys, and some retiring laying hens. We frequently get asked if we will sell just chicken breasts, or just legs, or quartered or halved birds. The answer is almost always “No.” We have a few reasons for this, and I promise none of them are to be annoying!

The number one reason is that we just don’t raise enough birds to be able to get a substantial number done in any of those types of cuts. It’s also really difficult to predict how many of each type folks would want. The easiest option is to keep them all whole, and then our customers can break them down themselves.

Another reason we don’t get them broken down is that we don’t want to frustrate our processors! We bring in roughly 60 birds at a time, and to say we want five birds done this way, and 10 birds done like that, and 22 with this special treatment gets complicated and annoying for the people doing the work. We don’t have many options for processors in our area, so we do our best to keep them happy.

In addition to keeping things simple, we want to keep costs down. We have to pay an extra $1 or more per bird to get them quartered or cut into 8 pieces. We raise the prices on any birds we get cut up, which makes it more expensive for the customer. Getting the birds broken down also leaves some pieces behind. When they are turned into eight pieces, it leaves the “frame” which is essentially the cavity that you’d stuff if you were making a roasted bird. This has some weight to it, which the customer isn’t buying, so we lose money there. It costs us the same amount to raise a bird that will be left whole or cut up.

Finally, we want you to use the whole bird. These birds worked hard to gain weight and taste delicious. The best way to honor them is to use them to the fullest extent. A whole bird can make several meals for a family. Roast or grill it and eat what you want. Make sandwiches with the leftover meat. Put the rest of the yummy morsels of meat into soup. And finally make broth with what’s left of the carcass. If you don’t get the whole bird, you aren’t going to be able to make that many meals out of them!

Breaking down a whole chicken isn’t super complicated. Our friend Jamie from J. Waldron Butchers recently did a tutorial on how to part out a chicken. It’s very in-depth, and will help you turn your bird from us into any chicken cuts you need!

We hope this helps you understand more on why we do things the way we do. We appreciate each and every one of our customers, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor. Thank you for supporting us this past year, and in previous years. It means the world to us

Market · Not Farming Related · Product Review · Tutorial

Being Farmers Market Vendors: How We Set Up

Lately, we have had seen several people asking about setting up at farmers markets, and what sorts of tents/tables/signage work the best. We are in our third year of vending at our local market, but I have been doing handmade markets for over a decade. I have seen many different setups that work, and many more that just… do not… We are going to share some of what we have for our market setup, and why we’ve chosen them. What works for us may not work for you. Consider this a jumping off point for your market booth.

We forgot our tablecloths this day. They were in the washer. This is why we suggest having two sets of tablecloths!

The most important item, for us anyway, is a really good, sturdy tent. We used to have a cheap canopy from Kmart, but we upgraded this year to a 10 x 10 Eurmax brand tent. It’s heavier, but it’s way sturdier, and looks much more professional. It’s available in a bunch of different colors. However, the downside to this is that the sun filtering through is tinted the color of the tent, and can make some of your products look weird and unappealing. You can purchase the tents that come with the side walls, or buy them afterwards. We bought one when we realized the sun was roasting our veggies while still on the table! The only thing we don’t use from this pack are the leg weights. They are heavy! You absolutely need tent weights though. Our “cheat”? Five gallon buckets filled with water! They come to the market empty, and weight next to nothing. We fill them with water at the market, and use a bungee cord to attach them to the top of the tent.

The next most important item are tables. We buy ours on sale from Menards, Home Depot, or wherever we find them. We like to buy them in person so we can see how heavy they are. Folding tables are easiest for us, but standard tables might work for you. They get set up in a T or L shape, depending on where our booth is located, and how much stock we have. Most customers don’t want to enter your tent, so having the tables at the front of the booth is ideal. However, if it’s really hot and sunny out, they will often appreciate the extra shade. Make sure your tables are sturdy, the same height, and able to support the weight you will put on them.

The tables will look best if covered. We ordered some inexpensive grey tablecloths off Amazon that look great against our products. Again, you can get something more colorful, but keep in mind that the sunlight might make your products look a little weird. I would personally stay away from white, black, or anything patterned. You want your products to be the focus, and you don’t want them sitting on a table that will look filthy (white cloths) or absorb all the heat and cook everything (black). This seller has a ton of different table cloth options, in different colors and sizes. They are easy to wash, and we hang them to dry. They are polyester, so they dry really fast. We definitely suggest having at least one spare table cloth, or even an extra set. We seem to forget them at home a couple times a season, and having a backup set in your bin of market supplies can be a lifesaver!

Our market banner is from Staples. We used their online design option, and picked it up in store a couple days later. This is something we have been complimented on more times than I can count. We are planning on getting another one made that is a little more colorful, but this one was made in a rush, and we didn’t have time to find the photos we needed. The good thing is, it’s inexpensive enough to just have a handful of them for different markets. We have it attached to the tent frame with bungee cords. We can never have enough bungees on the farm, and both of our vehicles have a handful stored in them at all times. You never know when you need to hold something in place!

We also decided to splurge on a chalkboard sign. It isn’t super expensive, but it’s definitely a nice bonus item that has helped us out a lot. I spent an afternoon putting our social media links on one side of it, and we have the other side as our actual advertising side. At some point, we are going to have someone redo the permanent side, and seal it with clear coat. We also suggest using chalk markers instead of actual chalk. It is easier to read, easier to clean off, less likely to be smudged by people or in transit, and just generally cleaner. The pack we got has colors that are easy to read when it’s bright out, or not so bright.

The rest of our set up changes depending on what we have for sale. We have a couple coolers with ice packs for our frozen meat. We will be upgrading to actual freezers in the near future. We also have a cooler for our eggs, with ice packs. For this one, we made sure that egg cartons would fit in without too much wiggle room. This keeps the eggs secure while driving to the market. We have brought egg cartons into stores to test fit. It looks silly, but the peace of mind knowing they won’t slide around and smash everything is totally worth it.

We have picked up a few wooden crates, canning jars, as well as pots and pans to hold produce on the table. We like to have enough where it looks like a full display, but it isn’t so full it’s going to topple over. Many types of greens do best when kept in water, so we do that as needed.

For our own comfort, we usually bring a chair, and squishy stress relief mats to stand on. This, along with comfortable shoes, makes the market day much more bearable. We are also sure to stay hydrated with water, and try to eat something somewhat healthy. It’s easy to fill up on pastries from the other vendors, but we try to also have some fruit or veg, and protein.

Finally, one of the most important things: SIGNAGE! We have laminated some cards with our farm logo, and we use a dry erase marker to put the prices and item name on them. This looks neat and tidy, and makes it easier for people to see what the prices are and not have to ask us. We either weight them down with the items we are selling, or tape them to the table/cooler.

In addition to all these big things, we have a couple bins with market supplies. Some of the supplies include:

  • Locking cash box filled with small bills and quarters
  • Our Square readers
  • A box of business cards
  • Bungee cords
  • Produce bags
  • Shopping bags (we reuse the ones from the grocery store)
  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Scissors or a knife
  • Duct tape
  • Roll of paper towels
  • A rag
  • Snacks
  • A bottle of water

This is just a little peek into what we bring to the market every week. This changes slightly depending on weather, which market we are vending at, and if we remember to pack everything. We keep everything stored in one spot in the barn, so it’s easy to go out and grab all of it early in the morning before market days. Look at this post as more of guidelines rather than instructions to follow. What you bring to the market will be different depending on what you sell, but this seems like a good spot to start. We hope you find this helpful, and we wish you success at your markets!

Frontière Farm House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. If you click a link in this post, we may earn a small commission. This does not cost you anything, and helps us cover the costs associated with farming.