Sunday, 9 October 2011

Farm Crawl 2011

Farm Crawl. It is basically a co-advertised open house day for area farms. But it is more than that too. It is the single event that pointed my farm search south, really got us excited about possibilities, and propelled us into this life. Last year it was surreal, BEING on Farm Crawl, even though our farm is too far south to actually be a location, we had a booth at Reichert's Dairy Air (the dairy that gifts us whey to feed our pigs).

This year the dairy had a petty zoo area with baby goats. My kid got in and stayed in most of the afternoon. She helped kids pet the goats, helped keep the goats happy too. She was not the only one though, there were two teenagers actually assigned to the task- but Lil'Bug jumped in and held her ground. She LOVES Lois' goats.

This was our little table. Note the incredible view behind us. Ah, fall in Southern Iowa. This year, I held back a whole ham to make something we call, "Pulled Ham," and it was again delicious. We ran out of bite sized samples in two hours. We could not keep up with the demand. *Recipe to follow.

Our table display is a bit outdated as far as pictures go. I need to add photos of the sheep, the new shelters, and the buckets of apples.

We worked the event as a family. Even with the three kids (to be fair, Lil'Bug left with friends before Blueberry Girl arrived with Grampa), it went well. We LOVE talking to people about our farm. We can handle the few conventional farmers who come through and mock what we do. We build relationships AND educate people about pastured pork, Berkshire pigs, what the whey and apples do for flavour, and about how to buy locally, directly from the farmer.

I heard there were 1300+ people that attended Farm Crawl. Wow.

One of the things I observed was that it also gave us a chance to meet new neighbors, some who are doing what we do or at least want to do what we do. It was like meeting us 4 years ago, over and over. We met a neighboring farm family who also have sheep, the daughter visited a couple days later and gave me a private spinning lesson on a drop spindle. So cool. (Waves, Hi Amanda! If you have a blog, I'll link it here, btw).

Farm Crawl rejuvenates us each year, helps us build our farm and our dream. Thank you, all you genius farmers who came up with the idea and thank you for including us. 

Recipe for Pulled Ham, or Holiday Ham

However many lbs of ham you need- adjust recipe.

This is how much I used: About 12-15 lbs. More or less. I had the ham cut into ham steaks, 1-1.5 lbs each- though I am pretty sure the bottom two were 2 lbs each. At least. 

I use a big roaster. It is like a crock pot, but has actual temperature settings. 10pm the night before I load the thawed meat in the roaster (though, it can go from frozen too). Then I added:

2 sticks of butter, salted
1/2 cup REAL maple syrup (not the fake pancake syrup. Very important)
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of chinese powdered mustard
2 teaspoons cayenne (Do NOT skip this, it is for flavour not spice)
1/4 cup REAL lemon juice (though orange juice works in a pinch, pineapple might too but I have not tried it)
2 tablespoons of granulated dried garlic

That is it folks.

Then set it for 250 degrees for 12 hours. At that time, right before serving, break apart the meat (the pulled part) and stir the carmelly sauce and the meat together. Turn up the temperature to 350 degrees and get it all bubbly. Then it is perfect, fall of the bone, melt in your mouth perfect.

You can adjust the spices, just don't leave any out.