Road restrictions are on. Folks who don’t live on dirt roads are generally unconcerned with the Spring Load Restrictions – generally known as break up/ road restrictions/ road bans. For some of us, it is a time to be planned for. It’s the time that the frost is leaving the ground and heavy trucks are banned from roads that would be destroyed by them. We plan for it by ordering our feed well in advance. We also keep it in mind when we order anything else that may need to be delivered by a big truck. The state only gives three days notice when the restrictions go on, and I can only imagine that there is a mad dash by some to get their orders delivered. We prefer not to get caught short. MnDot has sites around the state where they monitor the frost line and will announce when the bans can be taken off. It feels like it will be an early spring.
The snow is almost gone (again). That last big snow we had dumped 11 inches on Embarrass. We know when the snow goes the first time that more snow will come and usually there is a big dumping at some point…..but it surely was a kick in the pants. Anyway, all that is nearly gone.
The pigs that we cared for over the winter grew well and are thriving. They are nearly butcher weight. The folks we buy new little pigs from are asking when we will be ready to start another batch. And so it will begin again.
We have had a couple of nice calves born successfully and a couple that were not successful. That is always disappointing, but that’s farming. Lots of highs and lows.
Don’t get me wrong. I surely miss the fun and heat of summer.. hitching up the trailer, heading to Market every week, and seeing our customers and fellow vendors is wonderful!
But in the fall we are delivering half hogs to folks we haven’t seen all year. Some of them have been buying meat from us for more than 10 years. We watch their kids grow up. It’s fun to catch up. Some people we do see a couple times a year when we also bring them a quarter beef.
It’s crazy busy – managing farm life, work life, family life and adding in butchering schedules, processing schedules, delivery schedules and starting new little pigs….but I just love it and I wouldn’t trade it.
Last night was the (Hopefully) First Annual Iron Range Pasty Festival which was a fundraiser for the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability in Mtn Iron.
What a wonderful turnout ! There was entertainment, informational booths about local food production, local craft beer, raffles, drawings, activities for kids, local history….and of course, the star of the show…the pasty.
$10 bucks got you all that fun and a nice big pasty and slaw meal…complete with homemade ketchup or gravy. The most wonderful part was that all of the ingredients were locally produced…the meat, vegetables and flour. Even the lard for the crust was local….it was from fat from Bear Creek Acres pigs…and man, was that some nice flaky crust!
A bunch of people worked hard to put on this event, hats off to them!
Sorry ….I ate my pasty….here a pic of someone else’s 🙂
Warm thick soup on a cold, wet, blustery day…so satisfying.
Recently I baked one of our hams, and there were plenty of pan drippings. I sauteed some carrots, onions, and celery, and then added my pan drippings and the odd bits of ham I had trimmed up. Next went in a nice big can of diced tomatoes, and I let it all simmer a while. I added a bit of water and a smidge of beef base and too much barley….I always err by adding too much barley. That stuff swells so much! Careful you keep an eye on the amount of liquid in your pan when cooking with barley…but a bit more water saved the day and the bottom of my pot. I had some cabbage chopped up to be added towards the end…but forgot to. Next time.
We are taking orders now for half hogs that will be delivered in October and November. That meat will be processed locally and paperwrapped. The cost is holding at $3.10 a pound which includes all fees with the exception of smoking. I would love to tell you more about how to order a half hog if that is something new to you. I also have lots of info at our website: http://www.bearcreekacres.com/half-hog-1.html
If you are interested in a smaller amount of meat we have samplers that will be available in October. There are two different $200 ones and two different $50 ones. Let me know what works for you, and I will get you on the list. The meat in the samplers is USDA inspected and wrapped as shown above.The sampler info is below.
As always, please call, text or email me your questions! There are no stupid questions, and I just love helping people understand how to eat meat locally.
$200 SAMPLER WITH RIBS 2 PKGS OF SPARE RIBS 5 PACKAGES OF 2 PORK CHOPS 5 POUNDS OF BACON 1 PORK ROAST (APROX 3 #) 3 PKGS BRAT PATTIES (EACH IS 4 QUARTER POUND PATTIES) 2 POUNDS PLAIN GROUND PORK 1 PKG OF 2 PORK MINUTE STEAKS 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF WILD RICE BRATS 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF ITALIAN SAUSAGE 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF BREAKFAST LINKS $200 SAMPLER WITHOUT RIBS 6 PACKAGES OF 2 PORK CHOPS 6 POUNDS OF BACON 1 PORK ROAST (APROX 3 #) 3 PKGS BRAT PATTIES (EACH IS 4 QUARTER POUND PATTIES) 2 POUNDS PLAIN GROUND PORK 1 PKG OF 2 PORK MINUTE STEAKS 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF WILD RICE BRATS 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF ITALIAN SAUSAGE 3 ONE POUND PKGS OF BREAKFAST LINKS F The Sampler Pricing is about 15 % off buying these packages individually. Some substitution are possible. Please inquire.
$50 SAMPLER 2 PACKAGES OF 2 PORK CHOPS 1 POUND OF BACON 1 PKG BRAT PATTIES (EACH IS 4 QUARTER POUND PATTIES) 1 POUND PLAIN GROUND PORK 1 ONE POUND PKG OF WILD RICE BRATS 1 ONE POUND PKG OF ITALIAN SAUSAGE 1 ONE POUND PKG OF BREAKFAST LINKS The $50 Sampler is about a 12% savings off buying these packages individually. Some substitutions are possible. Please inquire.
$50 JUST SAUSAGE SAMPLER FOR THOSE OF YOUR GETTING A HALF HOG AND WISHING YOU GOT SOME SAUSAGE, TOO OR FOR THOSE WHO JUST WANT SOME SAUSAGE! 2 PKGS BRAT PATTIES (EACH IS 4 QUARTER POUND PATTIES) 2 ONE POUND PKGS OF WILD RICE BRATS 2 ONE POUND PKGS OF ITALIAN SAUSAGE 2 ONE POUND PKGS OF BREAKFAST LINKS
At Bear Creek Acres we pride ourselves in raising them humanely. Pigs get to act like pigs. We are going to eat meat, and we want to eat it with a clear conscience.
If you ever get a chance to watch pigs, you should. They are a riot. They love to run around. They will root and root and root – rolling rocks and stumps up out of the ground eating all the tender grass they find. They love to lay in mud and play in water.
Conventional hogs (what I call grocery store pork) are raised in enormous buildings shoulder to shoulder over slatted floors so that their urine and manure falls into big pits below. They never ever see grass, mud or sunshine. It is efficient, and a great system designed to feed a lot of people on a small footprint of land. Pigs are hard on the ground, but inside these hog barns they can tremendously increase the number of animals per square foot. If you keep them in the buildings, they can’t wreck stuff. The slatted floor eliminates cleaning up under them. The farmers can control the climate.
When you buy a Batch of Four chickens from us, it comes with a bag of 4 chicken backs which are wonderful for soup. They have a bit of meat on them and the stock you get is lovely.
One cold Saturday recently, I took some backs and boiled them up for a few hours. I strained the liquid and returned the broth to the pot and let the bones cool so I could pick off the meat.
I wanted to preserve some very meaty stock, too. I boiled up a chicken in that stock along with some onion and carrot and celery. After a couple more hours, I skimmed the broth. The dogs love that on top of their food. Then strained the broth again. After I returned the broth to the pot, I picked the cooled backs and put the meat in the pot. When the chicken cooled, I picked the meat off and added that meat to the pot.
The day got away from me -I didn’t spend much actual time on this project. I did other things all day while this sat on the stove top simmering – I was ready to punch out and relax. Normally I will can the stock and meat in my pressure canner, but this day instead of canning, I froze this up in some plastic containers. Now I can use these as the start to soups or hotdishes.
It’s so exciting that the Hive Coffee and Bakeshop in Aurora made a breakfast biscuit sandwich using Bear Creek Acres ground pork last weekend. It’s such an honor. I hope they sold well.
We stopped in for one during our deliveries on Saturday and again on Sunday!
The Hive is a lovely space and the owners are welcoming. I have tried a few menu items and found then to be delicious and a generous portion. Sadly, I am not a coffee aficionado so I can’t speak to that but I know they take pride in roasting their own beans and have a gleaming stainless coffee machine with loads of levers and buttons and it makes the most dramatic noises that is MUST be delicious.