You’re Invited!

You're Invited!
Don’t forget THIS SUNDAY is Bowdoinham Open Farm Day! Apple Creek will be open from 9 am – 12 noon and we look forward to seeing you! Make it a day trip by staying around for the local foods barbeque happening at the Mailly Waterfront Park 3 pm – 6 pm, the meal will include Apple Creek chicken smoked to perfection by event caterer, The Texas Barbeque Company.


What Can You Expect?

  • You’ll see baby animals including our (goat) kids, goslings, turkeys and bantam chicks.
  • You’ll see our poultry operation which includes both Cornish cross and Red bro chickens, our laying flock and our pullets.
  • You’ll see our ruminants including our cows, goats and sheep.
  • You’ll hear about how the farm was started and meet the whole farm crew including Abby, Jake, Janet and Pete.
  • You’ll learn more about how the farm supports wild life and the ecosystem; including birds in residence, forestry management and pollinator habitat.
  • There will be an on-farm store set-up so be sure to pack a cooler to pick up some Rosemary Mutton Sausage, sign-up for a Thanksgiving Turkey or a Christmas Goose.

Things to consider- Our farm is a working farm, we’ll mow the lawn but don’t expect everything to look picturesque! Please bring appropriate gear such as close-toed shoes or boots, a water bottle and snacks for your smalls. We’ll have a boot wash and ask that if you are coming from a farm with any critters that you wash up before you walk around. Likewise if you’re headed to another participating farm, we suggest you rinse off before heading out.

What won’t you see when you visit? Dogs! Having three on-farm dogs, we ask that you make other plans for your canine friends.

Celebrating FOOD INDEPENDENCE DAY!

What happened to Maine's Food Independence Day? Let's bring it back!
Artwork by Toki Oshima

The farm is always busy, but in July we really are out straight with our full cohort of critters, haying underway as well as weekly markets and daily chores. But 4th of July is always a highlight as it is Abby’s mom, Mary’s birthday and a holiday where food is central.

We can help you celebrate 4th of July AND Food Independence Day with FRESH CHICKEN this Saturday at both Bowdoinham Farmers Market and at Crystal Spring. Check out some delicious ways to cook a whole bird on our recipe board. We’ll also have a full range of beef cuts and promise our beef will make the tastiest burgers and the juiciest steaks.

It is also time to mark your calendars for Bowdoinham’s Open Farm Day on Sunday, July 19. We’ll have a farm store set-up and you can take yourself on a tour or hear from one of the farmers on the hour. Apple Creek will be open from 9 am to 12 noon so be sure to plan your day!

Quills

This essay is from Two Farms: Essays on a Maine Country Life by Janet Galle.
2006. it is available at Gulf of Maine Books, Brunswick or from Apple Creek Farm.

          With the extraordinary amount of snow this winter, the wild animals in the woods around Apple Creek Farm are clearly impacted in their daily lives and routines. This week, we have been visited by an unseen and, as yet, unrecognized animal, but we know he is about. Tracks and scat reveal his nightly prowls, but we can’t identify him.
           In addition, the 13 acre field, an immaculate expanse of white, presents even more of a puzzle. While cross-country skiing two days ago, we came upon a series of “scuffles” in the snow. These upheavals had no tracks, not deer, not coyote, not our dogs, leading to them. They just appeared in the middle of  an empty field. Closer examination shows bird wings around the edges of the stirred snow. An owl? The local ravens? Did they catch the mouse? No blood, no feathers, but definitely some action took place.
           All of these signs reminded me of a long ago time at our first farm, when our now adult children were small.

IMG_4836February, 1982 Quills

          Life in the country produces inevitable confrontations with wild critters. By hook or by crook, these clever creatures of the forest world find ways to benefit from our presence. Fat raccoons grow fatter eating our corn and chickens all summer. One young skunk spent an entire spring sleeping next to the grain bin in the barn, undisturbed by our daytime habits. A milk snake, who preferred to keep cool wrapped around our dog’s water dish, would not stay out of the house in spite of daily evictions.

          Midwinter this year brought a porcupine. The porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, does not hibernate, yet is not overly fond of snow. Once a cozy spot which provides warmth and food is located, he rarely ventures far afield. Our young Erethizon, as we were soon calling him, followed that pattern exactly. He established a den under our neighbor’s cottage with a short, direct path to our towering, tasty Scotch pine. We did not have many trees along our shore and this one was a beauty.

          One evening in late January, we spotted him munching away on the pine’s bark, and within a week the tree trunk was stripped bare. We tried to capture him with a salt-filled trap. No luck. Shooting was not a desired alternative. But as the snow deepened, and the tree’s condition worsened, we knew something had to be done.

20150222_154723          One day, at dusk we five — my husband Pete, the children, and I — set forth, armed for the confrontation. Our weapons? A broken hockey stick left over from previous raccoon engagements, a wooden club, a seven-foot length of giant tinker toys, a garbage can, and a smelt net. We positioned ourselves in a wide circle to block all possible escape routes as we advanced on the Scotch pine. If Erethizon hadn’t seen us coming, he certainly heard the nervous giggles, followed by shouts of “Quick! He’s crawling down,” and “Get him Mom,” and “Where’s the net?!”

           Porcupines do not climb very gracefully, up or down. Their powerful claws do the work going up. Mostly they tumble coming down. It wasn’t too difficult to scoop our porcupine into the smelt net. The harder part was keeping him there. Immediately he began hoisting himself over the net’s rim. Four of us danced around, keeping our distance, yelling worthless instructions to my husband, the net holder. Pete put an end to our foolishness with a sharp command to get the trap. Quick!

          We scurried back to the house and returned with our box-like trap, which at various times has contained raccoons, a skunk, several curious cats, and once thirteen chickens. It was the ideal spot for Erethizon. First, we dropped him into the garbage can, and then, with a tip and a push from the smelt net, our porcupine scuttled into the trap. The metal doors were locked, followed by five sighs of relief.

      20150222_152830    There remained one last adventure to complete our porcupine’s day — a truck ride (I imagined it was his first) to a distant deserted forest where he could nibble away to his heart’s content on some absentee landowner’s trees.
Meanwhile, I am becoming aware of a gnawing suspicion that close by a groundhog slumbers. His sleep grows restless as he grows thinner with each passing day. Undoubtedly, he is dreaming of my fresh lettuce and pea sprouts. I think I had better remove the quills from the smelt net. I may need it come spring, and not for fish.

Have a Delicious Holiday Season

20141205_141034We have a new (temporary) resident on the farm. He is Bull-Dozer, a Angus bull from Applewood Farm in New Gloucester. This is the third bull we’ve had from this farm and Dozer is mellow, friendly and enjoys long walks around the paddocks.

A new product has been added to our coolers, it is a chorizo goat sausage made up in Dover-Foxcroft by Herring Brothers Meats. This is a loose, ground sausage and is packed in one pound packages. We use this sausage for tacos, a spicy kale soup (made with Apple Creek chicken broth) or for a non-traditional meatball.

IMG_20141213_125942The holidays are a great time to craft memorable meals. We have a variety of beef roasts, legs of lamb and goat, chickens and geese and the recipes to ensure a delicious celebration.

We’re still taking reservations for Christmas geese for pick-up on Saturday, December 20th at the Fort Andros Winter Market in Brunswick. We are raising the African goose breed and these birds are not just good-looking but will yield luscious dark meat and a rich fat that makes for delicious roast vegetables or fried potatoes.  Our geese are fed certified organic grains from Maine Organic Milling and from Green Mountain Feeds in addition to snacks of kale and chard from Six River Farm. As with all of our poultry these birds will be processed in West Gardiner at Westons Meat Cutting & Poultry. Geese are priced at $10/lb with a range of weights available.

To see what’s happening on the farm today, visit our facebook page.

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Turkey

turkey-tails.jpgThank you for purchasing a turkey from Apple Creek Farm. Below are a few tips to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection. 

Bring the turkey to room temperature before roasting, this will ensure it cooks evenly.

Pastured birds cook faster, check frequently.

Use a meat thermometer- meat is done at 145 degrees. If the legs and thighs are not done, remove and finish in the oven while you make your gravy.

There are many opinions about whether high heat or low heat should be used, the following table can be used as a guide for cook time.
Start with oven at 325 degrees, after 1 hour lower heat to 300 degrees.
10-13 lb. – 1 ½ to 2 ¼ hr.
14-23 lb. – 2 to 3 hr.
24-27 lb. – 3 to 3 ¾ hr.
28-30 lb. – 3 ½ to 4 ½ hr.

Be sure to keep the turkey basted either in the traditional method with a baster or, by inserting plenty of butter (with herbs and garlic) under the skin.

To Brine or Not to Brine?  Here are some links to folks who brine and explain why.

Resources
American Grass-fed
Mark Bittman

Mother Earth News
Shannon Hayes

Open Farm Day: Sunday, July 20

We’re really excited to be part of Bowdoinham’s Open Farm Day again this year! What will you see if you come to the farm on Sunday, July 20 between 9:30 am – 12:00 noon?

  • You’ll see baby animals including our goslings, turkeys and bantam chicks.
  • You’ll see our poultry operation which includes both cornish cross and red bro chickens, our laying flock and our pullets.
  • You’ll see our ruminants including our cows, goats and sheep.
  • You’ll hear about how the farm was started and meet the whole farm crew including Abby, Jake, Janet and Pete.
  • You’ll learn more about how the farm supports wild life and the ecosystem; including bird sightings, forestry management and pollinator habitat.

There will be an on-farm store set-up so be sure to pack a cooler to pick up some meats for the grill, or stick around for the Barbecue, 3-6pm at the Mailly Waterfront Park. Catered by Chef Bryan Leary the meal will include Apple Creek Farm meats along with veggies and other goodies from Bowdoinham farms.

Things to consider- Our farm is a working farm, we’ll mow the lawn but don’t expect everything to look picturesque! Please bring appropriate gear such as close-toed shoes or boots, a water bottle and snacks for your smalls. We’ll have a boot wash and ask that if you are coming from a farm with any critters that you wash up before you walk around. Likewise if you’re headed to another participating farm, we suggest you rinse off before heading out.

What won’t you see when you visit? Dogs! Having three on-farm dogs, we ask that you make other plans for your canine friends.
Chicory Dog

Roll Call: Farm Babies

Spring is the time of year when you think of new life emerging and it certainly has here on the farm! We’re always energized by the arrival of lambs, kids and chicks even if we’re tired from late night checks on the mothers.