A Dignified Look at Chicken Butchering Day

Everyone likes a tasty chicken, but how about what happens during the time between the clucking, feathered bird and the freezer? Here’s a dignified look at a poultry processing day on our farm, feathers and all.

Dry Curing: The Tastiest Way to Preserve Meat

There are plenty of methods for preserving meat. Dry curing involves salting and then drying of meats until they are safe to eat and shelf-stable, even at room temperatures. With a little bit of salt, some time, and the right conditions, you, too, can turn your leg of venison into prosciutto or your farmstead's pork belly into pancetta.

Tips for Training Goats to Electric Net Fences

Portable fences made of electrifiable netting allow practical movement and protection of small livestock on pasture. It’s important to use and maintain the nets properly, and to train goats to respect the barrier for their own safety and security. Well-managed net fencing offers significant benefits to the health of herds and pastures, and to the homesteader’s peace of mind.

Signs of Spoiled Meat

If you’re questioning, from a food safety standpoint, whether the meat you have is safe to eat or truly rotten meat, you need to understand the proper cooking temperatures for meat and how they work to eliminate most meat spoilage bacteria.

Purchasing and Managing Pastured Pigs

Tim Rohrer talks about what he's learned while managing the pastured pigs at Joel Salatin’s farm and shares a few things to consider before purchasing your own pigs.

The Holiday Charcuterie Platter

The holidays are here and you want to put together a charcuterie platter for your next party. Make it an impressive feast of the eyes with your own cured pork belly and duck prosciutto. With some pink curing salt, kosher salt and a few common household herbs and spices, you can serve up a delightful and delicious tray of home cured meats and pickles that your guests will love, but beware, they may ask you to make something for their next party.

Pear Mincemeat Recipe for Water Bath Canning

Mincemeat is one of the best ways to preserve an abundance of fall pears. This delicious conserve makes a New England traditional spicy holiday pie. But it’s not just for pie — the chef of a Bon Appetit Top 50 Restaurants asked me for a quart of this to use as a garnish for a very special dinner. Consider a spoonful to garnish any pork or game entrée.

Home-Canned Chicken and Ways to Use It, Part 1

The author tells how to can chicken at home, and gives some ideas on meals to make with it. Last year, the author raised and butchered 75 chickens. But when you stare at more than 70 quarts of chicken in the pantry you start wishing you had more ideas for using canned chicken.

Scaling Up Our Pastured Poultry from Backyard to Commercial

Over the winter, we managed to secure a contract with an up-and-coming company in Massachusetts to raise pastured chickens for them. This company ended up pre-ordering a significant amount of chickens per month from us, which necessitated the building of six new coops. Here I outline how to scale up a poultry operation.

Raising Meat Rabbits on Pasture: Intensive Grazing with Bunnies

Rabbits are a fabulously healthful, economical and ecologically sound source of meat, and they don’t have to be kept in hanging cages. Rabbits can be raised on pasture to produce food for your family while improving the quality of your land.

How to Render Beef Tallow at Home

To ensure you have quality fat in the kitchen from pastured animals, learn how to render beef tallow at home. I’ve rendered beef fat into quart jars of tallow two years in a row and consider myself seasoned in the art of avoiding too much of a mess in making it. The fat lends a flavor to dishes that is particularly desirable for Mexican foods, fried potatoes and savory pie crusts. This fat keeps for three months in a refrigerator.

You Can't Compost Meat (And Other Ridiculous Myths)

Composting doesn't need to be complicated. It's time to throw out the guide book and start letting nature take its course. Meat? No problem. Bread? Don't worry about it. Human waste? Why not? It's easy!

Urban Meat, Part II: Pigs

Pigs can be a great source of healthy and humanely-raised meat in an urban setting thriving on the leftovers of humanity.

Meat Goats Two

There is no “one size fits all” bunch of information that works every time in every location, every person, and for every goat.

The Unsustainability of Local

A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”

Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics

Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.

Fig Obsessions and a Chicken Photo Contest

describing the upcoming fun photo contest with the theme being chickens and the fun they either have or give. Figs and more figs are at the heart of the obsession.

Fighting Tomato Blight with Copper Coated Pennies?

Tackling the old wives tale I heard recently down at the hardware store how a penny inserted into the flesh of a tomato plant stalk will help that plant fight off or maybe prevent a blight attack along with data on trying to trap a wild rabbit.

Goats: Getting Ready for Goat School!

Getting ready for Goat School is always a daunting task, but once all of our new friends start arriving, we get excited! What a great time learning all about goats!

What Good Is a Pig? Cuts of Pork, Nose to Tail

Vermont farmer Walter Jeffries details all the cuts of meat on a pig, as well as many other uses of the animal, from working the soil to providing delicious lard for baked goods.

I Just Couldn't Do It

I don't get grossed out very easy - but this special cut of beef made me cringe!

Organic Living During World War II

Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.

Now What?

Cole takes you through the first steps in learning to cut your own meat - sourcing.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Yummy Veggie Meatloaf

Veggie meatloaf makes for a hearty, delicious entree or side dish perfect for vegetarians and vegans at Thanksgiving. Check out these three varieties: one features chickpeas, one lentils and one vegetarian meat substitute.

Meat Loaf Musings

Cole describes some not-so-honest butcher practices involving meat loaf mix. Buyer Beware!

Unsafe Food

Cole remembers some of the not-so-great things he saw in supermarket meat departments.

Reheating Red Meats

The Gourmet Butcher explains the best ways to re-heat red meats.

A Community That Feeds Itself is Free

Why locally-raised clean meat costs more than feed-lot meat; the role large USDA-inspected meat processing facilities play in the food chain. Plus a bad joke.

USDA Knows of Link Between Factory Meat and MRSA

The US Department of Agriculture really, really doesn’t want us to read this report, which proves the connection between factory meat and MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that now kills more people each year than AIDS.  

Loss of Food Skills Ongoing

The further degradation of our societal food skills are examined here, with small town food craftsmen becoming an endangered species, in this case, my local butcher.

Pigs For the Summer

Keeping feeder pigs over the summer is a good way to use garden leftovers and produce great tasting home-grown pork!

Hog Butchering Day

Hog butchering was a common farm chore done in the early winter. It provided much of the family's meat in the wintertime. It provides healthful food, exercise and a wonderful experience of community.

Tender and Tasty Birds

Advice on how to get the most tender and flavorful meat from your chickens.

Steve's Meat

It's a challenge to describe the place where I take my livestock when it's time for them to cease being my companions, and to become my product instead. I call Steve's Meats in DeSoto, Kansas, the "packer." And, indeed, when I stopped off there this morning they had about 800 pounds of beef frozen and packed, ready for me to take home. It filled the freezer to the rim.