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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Shopping bags (we reuse the ones from the grocery store)
Scissors or a knife
Roll of paper towels
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!
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We raise our animals as livestock, but we still enjoy spoiling them with tasty treats now and then. Recently, we were asked to review Bugs for Birds! and our flock was more than happy to oblige.
First thing’s first: Do you know how hard it is to photograph a bunch of birds? I swear this is 80% luck, 15% skills, and 5% avoiding all the beaks and bills. For every photo I share on the blog, Instagram, Facebook page, or elsewhere, I have probably taken an additional 15. I am picky when it comes to the photos I share. When I have fistfuls of treats, this makes it more difficult, because everyone wants to be all up in my business even more than usual. These snacks were no different. The birds seemed especially aggressive once they all got a taste for them.
First off, I started with the whole bag, hoping to get this awesome photo of the birds surrounding it. Something Instagrammable, you know? And then the turkeys did what turkeys seem to do best… acted dumber than I thought possible. “What’s this? Can I eat it?” to literally everything. And the cute logo didn’t stand a chance.
So I quickly gave up on that idea. Thought I should put them in a feed pan. Maybe I’d get something nice of a few of them pecking from outside the bowl… That was a big nope. They actually ended up flipping this onto themselves, and freaked out. I left the pan there for a minute while I put the bag down on the outside of the fence. By the time I got back, the two birds that were trapped under it had eaten every last crumb!
Fine, I will just throw them on the ground and let the birds go to town. Well, you can barely see them in the grass. And I didn’t want to waste these treats. They’re too precious! That concern was pretty much pointless as the birds scratched and pecked to find every last morsel of these weird little bug larvae.
Finally, I settled on dumping some out on the dirt. The turkeys went ballistic, and squeezed out most of the chickens. This was fine, because I could make a second pile for the rest of the birds. We wanted to make sure the layers got some, as these little snacks have a TON of calcium and protein to help produce delicious, healthy eggs. They also have added probiotics which help keep birds healthy. And clearly, the birds loved them, considering I was concerned I would lose some fingers at certain points.
Overall, we really liked these treats. They come in compostable packaging, ship quickly, are affordable, and the birds love them. If you have pet chickens, a flock of layers, or any other birds, these are a great way to spoil them and give them extra nutrition. You can learn more about Bugs for Birds on their Facebook page. If you order some, be sure to let us know what your birds think!
The four pound bag of Bugs for Birds! BSFL was provided to us in exchange for a review. This is our honest opinion of the product, and we were not compensated beyond the cost of the product. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through that link, we make a small percentage of the sale which helps us keep a roof over our heads. Thank you for supporting a small farm.
Today, we are going to share instructions on how to build a nipple drinker for your pastured poultry. We use these primarily with our chickens, but it also works well for turkeys. Keep in mind, waterfowl need to dunk their bill into the water, so this doesn’t work for them. This project takes under 15 minutes, and is cheaper than the poultry fountain drinkers you can find in most farm stores, plus they are much easier to fill.
First off, let’s talk about what a poultry nipple is. We like these awesome side mounted drinkers from Lovatic. They don’t leak, work well even when it’s below freezing, and keep the water cleaner. They have a little metal center piece, a small lip on the bottom edge for the water to collect on, and they easily screw into the bucket. We have had these for a couple seasons, and they’ve outlasted one of the buckets. They can easily be removed and transferred to a new bucket should the bucket crack or otherwise be made unusable. The birds seem to figure them out pretty easily, but we show them how they are used several times over the course of a couple days just to be sure.
Earlier this month, we did a special farm event with our friends at Green Gardens Community Farm. We had several people ask for the recipes, so here is one of them! And I won’t give you a novel before I tell you how to make it. Asian chicken tacos with cabbage slaw are quick and easy, and can be made ahead of time, and assembled later. The measurements are approximate, so don’t worry too much about getting it precise.
Ingredients: One whole pasture raised chicken Salt and Pepper Corn tortillas
Cabbage Slaw: One head of cabbage 1/4 cup thin sliced green onions 1/2 cup cilantro 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Set oven to 375F. Spatchcock the chicken. If you don’t know how to spatchcock, get yourself a pair of poultry shears, and watch a video. It’s super easy, and reduces the cook time of the chicken tremendously. Flatten the bird onto a sheet pan lined with aluminium foil. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Stick in pre-heated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until food thermometer reads 160F when stuck into breast meat. Once finished, set aside to cool slightly. After chicken has cooled enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone. Chop it into chunks less than 1 inch.
While waiting for the chicken to cook, prepare the slaw. Quarter and core head of cabbage. Slice the quarters into 1/8 inch ribbons. Combine in large bowl with onions and cilantro. In smaller bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, both oils, and soy sauce. Pour over the cabbage mix, toss together, and place in fridge until ready to serve.
To serve, throw some chicken and some slaw on a tortilla. It’s easy. I don’t think you need instructions for that. Serve it with a side of pea shoot salad (Recipe coming soon!)
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.