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.
I was off early in the AM today. Seems that is all we are doing lately. But it’s like this every fall …. batches of pigs to the butcher for folks getting half hogs. Hogs to the USDA butcher to be made into pork chops, sausages and bacon to sell from the farm, at the Embarrass convenience store and Natural Harvest. Cow to the butcher to be made into ground beef…trips to pick up all this meat, trips to DELIVER all this meat, a trip to get more baby pigs. It’s a good thing.
I download podcasts. Shannon likes Sirius radio. Sometimes it’s just me, sometimes Shannon’s alone, but it’s the most fun when it’s the two of us. Today I stopped at the Hive in Aurora….the new coffee shop and bakeshop. I got a egg, cheese and bacon bagel sandwhich, a big coffee, a chuck of lemon loaf and off I went. What a great start to my day.
When I got home, Shannon was here to help me organize all the meat. So much lifting!
For supper we tested out the Italian Sausage. While my noodles were boiling, I chopped up some peppers, onions, and halved a handful of cherry tomatoes and stuck it all in the pan when the sausages were half done. A bit later, I pulled out the meat, added a smidge of water to deglaze the pan, then a dollop of butter. Last – all I had to do was toss the drained noodles in it. Yummy. And so quick and easy.
Despite the grey and blustery weather, NH Co-op had a great turn-out for the grand opening. Have you been there yet? What a beautiful store! Light and bright….high ceilings….open and welcoming atmosphere …. I can’t say enough about it.
It is a testament to the fine people who came together decades ago and formed the co-op. They opened a tiny store on the Main Street and then accomplished the opening of that fabulous log building. What an achievement it was! I think most thought that the log building on the shores of Bailey’s Lake would be the be all and end all. But the co-op kept growing! The Local Food and Clean Food movement spread. Business grew every year and the Co-op outgrew the log building.
So the Board of Directors, a bunch of regular people in the community who love the co-op and are elected by the members, hired an architect and general contractor and sought cooperation from the city and area partners and made this dream come true. I can only imagine the work and stress that went into planning the building and making that move. The manager, Anja, and all the staff is to be commended!!