Sunday, September 30

New this week:
Green Tomatoes, Curly Kale, Purple & Yellow Green Onions, Swiss Chard    

Short Ribs, Dealer's Choice Steaks*, Pork Tenderloin, Boston Butt Roast, Picnic Ham Roast  

And last but not least, Fermented Okra and Beef Tallow.    


Notes: Veggies and Other Goods

The Picnic Hams are fresh, meaning they aren't cured or smoked. It's the leg of the animal, so has gotten a lot of use, which means lots of flavor. Low and slow cooking will do this cut justice. It's similar to the Boston Butt, but the Butt is from a little higher on the shoulder. It doesn't get as much use as the Hams, so might be a touch less flavorful but is probably a little more tender.

"Dealer's Choice" means we will choose from the selection of steaks that are available. Right now, we're selecting from Round Steak, Ribeyes, NY Strip, or Sirloin. It will be clearly labeled.  

We added an "Any Available Extra" column to the veggies. We've heard that sometimes you just want more than the available "3" shown on the order form, and very often there's some extra in the field that would love to find a home :) If we don't have any extra, we'll simply send the maximum ordered. Obviously, we can't always fulfill this request, but please don't let that stop you from asking!

Finally, here is this week's order form

+ Delivery for this order is WEDNESDAY. Expect us sometime between 4-7pm. 

+ Please complete this order by MONDAY night so we can harvest on Tuesday. 

+ Remember, you are ordering for two weeks. 

+ And please remember to set out a couple coolers so everything can stay crisp until you get home.  

+ Fruit and Veg storage tips and refrigerator organization

Pictured above: Becca and Ruth of Valley Spirit in the gardens. 
--Farm Update-- 

Wow, sooo much has been happening around each of the farms this week! As the seasons are transitioning so too are the farms. The trees are yellowing, the grasses seeding, the flower patch petering out, and the wood is getting split and stacked.   

At Valley Spirit, the high tunnel tomatoes have been removed, and (pictured above, Jospeh is diligently killing all the little tomato seedling that are sprouting from all the fallen tomatoes from the season. It's always bitter sweet to say goodbye to the tomatoes, but it means we get to have all those nice fall and winter greens all winter long. For the four season farm, the cycle of planting, harvesting and replacing doesn't stop.  

In other bigs news at Valley Spirit, they welcomed four little sheep. They will continue grazing and (hopefully) finish in time around Christmas time. So keep an eye out for a mix of lamb for your holiday table. 

Speaking of the holiday table (I may have gotten a little a head of myself!), Andre from Faul Riverside Farm, our poultry farmer who has been supplying those beautiful whole chickens, is raising a batch of Turkeys for you all for Thanksgiving! We will include whole turkeys for the Thanksgiving order period. 

Also this past week, we saw inches upon inches of rain. The four inches you see in the picture is what came after we emptied it when it filled up at five inches!  While the pastures mostly appreciated the rain, some of the earlier lettuce, spinach, and other green plantings didn't so much. Such is farming--the same weather brings benefits to one part of the farm and potential headache to another.

But sometimes, just sometimes, you also catch yourself, in the middle of beauty and chaos, in the middle of wild nature and tended culture, work and rest or tears and laughter, to find a sleeping bumble bee on zinnia petal at dusk and are quieted. Or maybe it's looking up and finding your very own daughter, standing happy, beautiful and proud, in the middle of all your hard work looking unflinching right back at you.

Welcome to Fall!  

Short Ribs w/ Polenta 

Braised Short Ribs are almost the epitome of Fall. When we were having all that rain, I took the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen, cook slowly, and get down with some comfort food. 

More or less, I followed this recipe.  

I'd brown the ribs in beef fat rather than olive oil, because, well, that just makes sense. Doesn't it? It's not really going to hurt anything if you let them braise for a bit over 2 and 1/2 hours. Just keep an eye on them and start checking in on them around that 2 hour mark. Let 'em go if you think they could be a little more tender. 

For polenta, use the LouisMill Grits and use a ratio of 1 part grits to 5 parts water (that's probably wetter than the LouisMill package says, but I think wetter works better). 

Polenta is kind of one of those things, like rolling out fresh pasta--it can sometimes take a few times cooking it to get a feel for it. But the key is: slowly add the corn to boiling water while vigorously whisking so as to prevent clumps. Then, you just have to keep stirring--it can have a tendency to stick to the bottom of your pot. Again, this will cook for like 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours. 

It's best to add your salt at the end, just because it can be tough to get the seasoning right while it's cooking that long. I also add lots of butter, but some tallow or lard or some combination, would be appropriate, too. 

With your leftovers this recipe is a good idea

With the leftover polenta, you can pat it into cakes and fry them for breakfast with an egg and cheese, or just reheat and rehydrate and add dried fruit and maple syrup for a sweeter take.  
Follow us on Instagram for more farm photos!
Your Valley Spirit Farmers! 
Caleb, Kelly, Judah & Rebekah Fiechter on the left. Joseph, Abbie, Ruth and Angus Monroe on the right.
And from Pink Elephant Farm & Kitchen, Jenny Vaughn and Justin Owings.
As a reminder, this is all new to all of us. Please feel free to reach out at any time with any and all questions or concerns. We want this to be a highly positive experience for all of us, and a big part of ensuring this is keeping the communication and feedback lines always open. Let us know what's going on--what you liked, what you cooked, how veggies are storing and holding up for you, etc.. 
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