Summer lasts only about a 100 days (and not all of those sunny) and so this is our busiest time of year. We’ve been busy making hay, watching our new farm emerge from the forest and moving animals to maximize the lush green grass. Hay has been slow and steady with great yields due to our application of fall manure and this spring’s mix of rain and warm temperatures.
IMG_7863The land clearing began just about 2 weeks ago and we’re looking at 13 acres or so of future pasture and silvopasture. Jake and I spent several evenings walking the land and choosing a mix of big and small trees to leave for shade and future timber. The result will be a mixed hardwood forest with enough openings in the canopy to allow grass to grow while offering some shelter for our animals. We have been very pleased with the crew from Comprehensive Land Technologies.

Moving animals is a daily activity. Not every animal group moves each day, but each day there is a group to be moved. Our goats have been doing their annual road crew work, controlling the bittersweet along the road edge and clearing along the stone walls. The cows, seven of whom will calve in the fall are getting wider and wider with all the fresh grass they are consuming.

We hope you’ll come out and see us this weekend for Bowdoinham’s annual Open Farm Day & Art Trail which coincides with Maine’s Open Farm Day. We will be open from 9AM-1PM offering tours (including a look at our newly cleared land) and a pop-up farm store. What should you expect? Check out our previous Open Farm Day post.

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You can now order your Holiday Birds! Our Thanksgiving turkeys arrived this week and they are the most feisty birds I think we’ve every had. In just a few short weeks they will head out on pasture where they will be eating a mix of clovers and grasses supplemented by certified organic grain until they are ready to grace your table. We are raising two groups of geese this year to expand availability. Our summer geese have been acting as night watchmen, protecting our chickens from a Great Horned Owl that lives on the farm. The owl’s nocturnal visits usually come at the cost of a broiler so putting a pair of geese in with the broilers scares off the owl.
Follow these links to reserve your turkey or goose.

Copy of Christmas in July-2-1Christmas in July! We are offering 20% off all our sheepskins and goat hides July 22 – July 29. You can visit us at market or order online– use code JULY17.

MARKET SCHEDULE
Tuesdays 8 AM-2 PM Brunswick Farmers’ Market on the Mall Brunswick
Saturdays 8:30 AM- 12:30 PM BTLT’s Farmers’ Market  Brunswick
 

June Newsletter

May seemed like an especially long month, with so many different things keeping us busy. We received chicks every week, transitioned from barn life to pasture rotations, took Sam (the bull) up to Penobscot for the summer and let our summer turkeys out of their brooder. Everyone is doing well despite the cooler (then much hotter) temperatures and wet pastures. It remains delightful to have the hot sunny days of summer and rain too (since last year we had so little!)

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Our goose, TW has hatched out 7 goslings! We stopped selling goose eggs in April so we could let her set and she did a great job. She and her mates are very protective parents but the goslings are sooooo cute, nothing will deter me!  You can see more photos and a video of the goslings on Instagram. I got to hold all 7 goslings in my shirt for their move down to our East pasture. There they will grow up with a stream and fresh grass to mow.

PulletsOur newest batch of laying hens arrived on Friday. This group features all white breeds including White Rock, Austra Whites and Delaware. We are excited to try two new breeds in this group and thrilled to keep having Delawares on the farm. They remain my (Abby) favorite chicken. The Austra White breed is a cross between an Australorp and White Leghorn, these birds will lay white eggs and will (we hope) combine the efficiency of the Leghorn with the laid-back temperament of the Australorps.  Having unique breeds in each group will make it easy for us to keep track of how old the hens are when they get mingled together in their winter housing.

What’s in Season?

This is a big week, on June 17th we’ll have fresh chicken, rosemary mutton sausage and chicken mousse at Saturday market! Fresh chicken season is just getting started, look for it most Saturdays from now until September. We will again be offering whole and half birds as well as a full-range of cuts.

Some call it, “deliciously addictive” and our rosemary mutton sausage is good in just about everything from chili, breakfast omelets to burgers.

Turtle Rock Farm, run by the unparalleled Jenn Legnini is pleasing OUR taste buds with a smooth as butter chicken mousse. It is life-changing!

Look for turkey and goat to return by the end of August. We appreciate your patience and thank you for purchasing so much grass-fed & organic meat!

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IMG_6640We now offer a  Market Share CSA. The program is modeled after a traditional CSA meaning the farm receives payment upfront  for a share of the harvest throughout the season. In Apple Creek’s model you will receive a 10% bonus for every $100 share purchased. This means our $110 market share will be priced at $100, a $220 market share at $200 and so on.

You can purchase your share at market and upon doing so you will receive a swipe-able card loaded with your share amount. Simply bring the card to market, we’ll swipe it and you’ll draw down your share. We hope the CSA will make it even easier to shop at market, give you added value and reduce the fees paid to our credit card processor. Your card can be refilled at any time and is good for all our products.

Haying has begun! IMG_7283

Hatching An Eggs-Pansion!

 

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Update! We reached our funding goal!

Thank you so much to those that contributed, shared our campaign and let us know of their support for our farm’s growth. We are so appreciative.

IMG_3852 Though our hens produce more than 100 dozen eggs each week we are often sold out within the first 2 hours of our farmers’ markets. Our eggs, produced by free-roaming and adventurous hens are in high demand because of their golden yolks and unparalleled freshness.  We love our animals and want to provide them with the best possible living conditions. Through this project and others detailed in our “growing out” plan we can both improve animal well-being and create efficiencies. These changes will enable us to grow our business to provide more local, organic meats & eggs to the great Brunswick area and support us as full-time farmers.

We're Hatching AnLast week we launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $12,000. The funds are specifically to build housing to double the number of hens we keep from 250 to 500. We also see this as an opportunity to raise awareness about the farm, our products and kickstart the farm’s expansion. At present we lease the majority of our farm buildings. Over the last 3 years our business has grown, fueled by local demand, and we’ve outgrown our leased barns. We’re ready to begin expanding the farm to land we own in order to build the larger barns, processing areas and the cold storage we need to farm long into the future.

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We have great markets, unparalleled products and a love for our work- with your support we can make this vision a reality. Please pledge & share our campaign. 

November Newsletter

 

The fall has been downright gorgeous with so many colorful trees around the farm! It has been a glorious backdrop for all our late summer and fall activities. We’ve been raking up huge bags of leaves to feed the goats through the winter. They delight in the crunch so much we call them goat “chips.” We’ve also been putting ewes into breeding groups and have incorporated a new, Clun Forest Ram. If you recall Sam our bull then you’ll want to check out the photos on the farm’s Facebook page to see his calves. We have had two so far and are waiting on three more. Our goats spent the end of summer grazing at Six River Farm, helping to clean up some woods edges and cover crops. We are so glad for the collaboration with other farms particularly when grass was in short supply. Because of this, it was fortunate that we are not raising geese this year. We will resume raising them in 2017. If you had been planning on a goose for your holiday table let us know, we can help you choose another one of our delicious options.

If you haven’t seen us at market recently then you’ve missed meeting our new canine ambassador, Rye. He is a rescue pup from Arkansas who has filled the giant holes in our lives and hearts left by our previous dog, Chicory. Since Rye won’t be able to attend Brunswick Winter Market inside Fort Andross be sure to stop by on Tuesdays at Brunswick Farmers Market or on Saturdays at Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s Market at Crystal Spring Farm. We are still taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys and our market schedule is below.

 

 

 

Early August

For me the weather in July seemed more like August, so it feels a bit like we’re getting an extra month of summer! We’ll be busy this month with our last two groups of broilers, introducing the turkeys to pasture and hopefully enjoying a day or two at the beach with visiting family members.

We had a fun Open Farm Day and thank everyone that came out despite the rain. The day cleared shortly afternoon and we were able to enjoy the local foods bbq with family, friends and neighbors. We are hoping another such rainy morning will come along soon as our pastures are getting quite dry. If you have been to the farm you know we have many beautiful trees and this year there are distinct patches of dry grass around them. If you’re curious about where we stand with rain visit the US Drought Monitor. We are fortunate to have options to mitigate the dry conditions though this does mean feeding hay earlier and grazing what has in the past been an on-farm hay field.

No GeeseDue to a variety of circumstances we won’t be raising geese. While this a big disappointment (they are the most adorable babies) it also a blessing as the dry weather means there is less grass coming up. The geese are fantastic grazers and grow best with plenty of pasture.

We will be raising turkeys for Thanksgiving again this year. These Turkey Promobirds are available to order now, so be sure to make a note. Birds are priced at $5/lb with average sizes between 12-15 lbs. We sold out last year so don’t delay!

So what else has been happening on the farm?

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Turkeys 2015

We are sold out of Thanksgiving turkeys for 2015. Thank you to everyone that ordered with us this year, we appreciate your support!  If you have ordered a bird you will be receiving a reminder about your pick-up date and location by email.

We wish everyone a joyous and delicious Thanksgiving!

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!

Everything but the Cluck!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the concept of  “Nose to Tail” eating; by which I mean consuming all the parts of an animal. But I think some folks might be inclined to think of that concept in a way that recalls an episode of “Fear Factor” where participants choke down spoonfuls of mealworms or something equally cringe-worthy. We however, embrace Nose to Tail in its many delicious forms. Recently we posted on our facebook page an image of Buffalo Chicken Necks. ImageThis was recipe testing and market research rolled into one, but got me thinking about how we could sell some of our patrons on unusual parts by providing some practical and delicious ways to use them. So first, those chicken necks.  The necks are primarily dark meat and contrary to initial consideration the meat is tender and not at all stringy. We prepare a sauce made of equal parts hot sauce and melted butter, pour over the necks and bake, covered 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then remove the cover and bake or broil to reduce the liquid.

ImageAnother dish that is seductive enough to tempt even those who protest, “I have never liked liver” is Cheryl Wixson’s recipe for John Thomas pate. Now I find amusement in the name itself, but this pate is no joke. I’ve made it up for several poultry processing days, potlucks and similar events and have always found one attendee who claimed they wouldn’t touch liver eating this pate with a spoon. You can reduce the butter if you are feeling health conscious by not leaving enough for the top “crust,” but save this recipe for a decadent or draining occasion when you won’t be calorie-counting, because it is worth it. I also must admit to being less than careful with this one and have yet to add cognac, but season to taste and make something you enjoy eating.

John Thomas Pate

1lb chicken liver (or other liver)

½ lb salted butter (at least ½ a stick of this is for the topping)

6 garlic cloves (I usually use an entire head)

1 large onion, sliced

1 tablespoon Fines Herbs * see note

2 teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons Cognac (optional in my opinion)

Combine all ingredients except Cognac. Simmer in a saucepan for 20-25 minutes, until livers turn light pink in color. Remove from heat and let cool (up to a half hour). Blend the mixture thoroughly in a food processor. Add the Cognac and blend again. Pour into crocks annd cover with melted butter. Cool in fridge, but serve at room temperature with sturdy cracker or crusty bread.

*Fines Herbes are a mixture of very finely chopped herbs. The classic French quartet is chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon. If you don’t have fresh chervil you can use equal parts of the other three.

It is my hope that these dishes will entice eaters out of their comfort zone, but if not a simple roast chicken is always delicious, followed by a rich homemade chicken soup to use up the leftovers.