Our friend Susan Odom of Hillside Homestead recently appeared in this great article in a regional travel magazine. Included at the end of the article was a link to a video of Susan making pie crust!
Click on the image below to go to the MyNorth.com website and read Susan's summation of how she makes the crust. She makes it look so effortless... I feel like I could go make a pie crust right now!
MyNorth.com Video: Northern Michigan Local Foods Video: How to Make Perfect Pie Crust
Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to four new site
members who joined us in November! Here are some quick highlights
from their listings:
Kitts Marsh Farm
Prince Federick, Maryland
Patuxent riverfront cabin just feet from sandy shore and
pier. Fishing, crabbing, swimming, and kayaks available. Glamping
on our working farm - farming in beautiful Calvert County, MD since
1707. We sustainably raise grass fed Angus beef and a variety of
cage free laying hens, and we just added meat rabbits. We raise and
harvest our own hay for winter use. Lots of berries to pick in
season: raspberry, blueberry & blackberry. We also have a herb
& vegetable garden.
Snug Hollow Farm
The Homestead is a large house on six acres of lakefront
property with over a mile of nature trails, chickens, bees, two
teaching gardens, gray-water, rain catchment, and compost systems,
and a fruit tree orchard. The house, partially powered by solar,
includes 5 bedrooms, a large kitchen with a walk-out screened in
porch for nutrition/cooking classes, a large meeting space with a
view of the gardens and lake, an art space dedicated to all things
messy in the walk-out basement, and a children's education
classroom with an attached greenhouse. We encourage guests to stay
overnight for activities, workshops, and events.
Chelsea Sun Inn
Rolling hills, cornfields, deer and farm animals abound at
this farm stay located near the Delaware Water Gap. Year around
activities are available for adventure seekers as well as
opportunities for exploration or relaxation. This stunning bed and
breakfast, with its luxury accommodations, captures the flavor and
concept behind Tuscany's agri-tourism, all on an operating farm,
vineyard, and winery. Perfect for a weekend getaway, just 70 miles
from New York City or Philadelphia. Schedule a relaxing couples'
massage or enroll in an introductory wine-making course as you
participate in making your own case of select wine and custom
This is not a post for the vegetarians among us -- sorry!
Have you ever rendered your own lard? Would you do it if I said
that fresh lard has healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
fats, as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids? AND less
saturated fat than butter?
Lard you render yourself is different from the store-bought,
shelf-stable stuff. In order to have a long shelf-life, commercial
products have hydrogenated oils that are solid at room temperature.
These are your trans fats, which raise your "bad" cholesterol (LDL)
while at the same time, lowering your "good" cholesterol
Besides... lard... it just can't be beat for a good pie crust,
fried chicken, or those New Years Eve tamales, right?
Some of our farms and ranches touch on the topic of lard in
cooking, such as in the Folklore Foods class at Tierra Soul Urban Farm
in Portland. Others offer free receipes that use lard as an
ingredient, like Splendor Farms in Louisiana (click on their
website and find the recipe of the month). Still others sell lard,
or the fat to render your own, in their farm shops, like Tyner Pond
Farm in Indiana.
I love the idea of using as much of an animal as possible, so I've
been rendering my own lard for a few years now. It's easy:
The fat with the least amount of pork flavor is called leaf lard,
and this is what you would want for baking.
Above, I defrosted one of the packages that came with a whole pig
that I purchased, and cut the fat into smaller pieces. This was the
most labor intensive part of the entire process.
While the fat melted down, I washed my jars and rings in my
dishwasher on the sanitize setting. The jars came out of the
dishwasher still hot, and I was ready to package it all up.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and strain into the clean jars. The
processed lard is a clear golden color which cools to an almost
pristine white. (The final color can vary, so don't be concerned if
it's not completely pure white.)
I have my eye on this book, Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your
Grandmother's Secret Ingredient for more recipes, so that none
of this wonderful ingredient goes to waste! (Note: We use an
affiliate link with Changing Hands Bookstore, an independent,
locally owned book store in Tempe, AZ.)
Pie crust, anyone?
*There is a wealth of information on the internet about lard and
how it compares to other shortenings and shelf-stable products made
with trans fats. Read up, and as with all good things, use in
moderation. Happy cooking!
Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to four new site
members who joined us in October! Here are some quick highlights
from their listings:
Triple Creek Farm
Berger Guesthouse at Triple Creek Farm is located in
Franklin County Missouri in the middle of Missouri Wine Country....
We are located just a few miles east of Hermann, Missouri or a few
miles west of New Haven, Missouri. We are a working farm. We have
an apiary (bees), berries, vegetables, eggs and sell at the local
farmers market. We have a two suite guesthouse and love to welcome
visitors to the area all year round.
Territorial Bed and
Breakfast and Barn
Junction City, Oregon
We have a cute and cozy 50's style farmhouse and a working
stable located in the heart of Oregon wine
country. Immerse yourself in country living, enjoy a morning walk
in the pasture, pet the horses, play with the goats, and experience
farm life. Plenty of opportunities to groom and help care for the
horses, help out with barn chores, work in the garden and green
house, or sit back on the deck or patio in the back yard, watch the
animals, and enjoy a good book or a relaxed conversation.
Fox Haven is a historic farm located along the Catoctin
Creek in Jefferson, Maryland. Organic gardens, hens, walking trails
and wildlife make this farm a must-stay. You are likely to see
nesting bald eagles, beaver splashing, great blue herons, foxes and
a multitude of birds during your visit. You may choose to help in
the organic gardens, gather eggs for breakfast, help plant trees in
our American Chestnut research orchard, or simply enjoy the peace
and quiet of the breathtaking landscape with a cup of coffee and a
B and B
Fly Creek, New
B & B Ranch, Guest House & Spa is a Country Inn in
rural Fly Creek New York. It's also a Community Supported Farm, a
producer of natural gourmet foods, a horse stable and riding
center, and an exceptional Central New York vacation on 340 acres
of forest, farmland and open pasture. We raise Piedmontese beef,
Berkshire Pork and provide a wonderful break from the ordinary with
our 5 unique guest suites and an indoor swimming pool. We can
promise you rest, relaxation, and the best the country has to
We love to see what our farm and ranch stay members are
up to. Today's guest blog post comes from Krista Arias of
Tierra Soul Urban Farm Guesthouse in Portland,
Oregon. We were recently chatting about canning and other
food-related activities, and Krista shared this information about
her Folklore Foods Workshop.
Your food shall be your medicine and your medicine shall be
You want to find
your own culinary rhythm that resonates with ancestral culinary
wisdom. You are committed to nourishing your growing family and
want to get clear about what traditional, nutrient dense, sacred
and healing foods are and how to prepare them properly. You want to
know the history and lore behind food and see it as a central part
of your connection to yourself, to others, and to the earth. You
have an inkling that the act of eating itself is ceremonial and
want to embody that knowing more. You want the very best for your
I mean, how do you
even know if a particular new fangled program will
actually help you and your family. There is soooo much information
out there its hard to know what's true unless you're a scientist.
No matter how hard you try you are still feeling lousy! OR maybe
you feel great but it is soooo darn expensive to keep everyone on
all those special supplements, remedies, and treatments, or maybe
you just can't find a good rhythm with your busy life, or perhaps
you are wanting to increase your fertility, or maybe your child (or
aging mother) has chronic illness of some sort and you want to get
to the root, or maybe you just have an intuition that something
isn't quite right and you want more radiant living. Whatever it is,
you'll find a simple safe and advice-free space to explore
traditional healing foods for you and your family.
I discovered Sally
Fallon's Nourishing Traditions 6 years ago when my first
daughter was six months old. I was walking home from the park and
had an epiphany, Oh
Goodness, I am responsible for this life. Right there and then
I made a vow to spend some time figuring out what I really truly
thought was the best diet for my child. Well, I got to work right
away, but my search didn't last long. The first book I read was
Nourishing Traditions, and I immediately and with complete
certainty knew it was right. And I wanted all the
other earth mamas to
know about it too!
Yes, I am a bit of
a Traditional Foods zealot, but it's also been over 6 years and
I've mellowed into a healthy 80/20 mama (that's: by the book 80% of
the time and free-for-all, with a few no-no-never exceptions,
the remaining 20% of the time). That very day I began my own
bootcamp starting with Chapter 1 of the Good Book (Nourishing
Traditions) and taught myself the Traditional Foods basics from
cultured milk and kefir to liver paté and fermented veggies, from A
to Z I learned it... and along the way, since I am a housewife
these days (not the Food Cart Chef of my
past life), I also worked hard to simplify as many processes as I
I also spent
considerable time learning about Farming and Permaculture and
connecting Sally Fallon's recipes to Stories and Myths from around
the world, to local and global folklore.
It doesn't matter
how sick you feel, or how bad of a rut you've gotten into. It
doesn't even matter if you're too busy to contemplate spending more
time in the kitchen. I have spent much of my time in creating this
program planning for YOU, busy mama! We will start with the basics
- simplified, and move through all the most important sections of
the book. I have pre-digested all the information, practiced with,
and on, myself, and my family, and perfected a way for you to have
the success and joy I've had bringing sacred foods into your
everyday life. I
Visit our website to get started! To sign up,
scroll to the bottom of the page, and choose the DIY option, or the
on-site LIVE option.
Apple season is winding down soon here in Oregon, and everywhere
I look, I see windfalls of red, green, and gold fruit.
Neighbors are just giving them away.
Naughty donkeys are sneaking into the orchard to steal as many
bites as possible before being caught...
And, so, like many others, we decided to do some canning. We
found out that our local tool rental company rents a cider press by
the day. For $25, we got a press with an electric grinder (I think
this made the process a lot easier), and a manual press. By the
way, if you think a project of pressing apples won't take all day
-- a couple of hours, we thought! -- I'm here to say otherwise. I
didn't even think we had that many apples... so it's definitely
something you should set aside plenty of time for.
Also plan for lots of stickyness.
We collected all the juice and heated it to a boil, then canned it
with a boiling water bath. An internet search will bring up any
number of ways to can cider, for the uninitiated (like me, before
this long, long, loooooong day of apple cider pressing...)
We have a number of places listed on Farm Stay U.S. that offer
cider pressing as an activity to enjoy on their farm, which
would also be a great way to get this experience!
Soon enough, the apples will be gone, and we'll be adding some
mulling spices (and maybe a little rum?) for a toasty drink around
the fireplace with friends. Happy fall!
Writer and librarian Lili DeBarbieri recently published a wonderful
A Guide to Southern Arizona's Historic Farms and Ranches, Rustic
We talked with Lili about her book, Southern Arizona, her travel
adventures, and farm and ranching trends. Fascinating stuff --
please read on!
Lili: I think first became aware of the term 'farm stay' in
association with the volunteer opportunities that the organization
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) offers. This was
more than ten years ago but I distinctly remember reading an
article about volunteer vacations on Hawaiian farms through WWOOF.
I do have to give credit to my home state of Pennsylvania for
bringing the more leisurely alterative to WWOOF in the form of
'farm stays' again to my attention. Once I saw that staying on a
working farm (in Lancaster County) was the same if not cheaper in
price than a hotel or motel but offered such wonderful
learning opportunities as an added bonus I was sold! A few years
ago, I worked and lived on a historic guest ranch near Santa Fe and
that was my introduction to that vacation option.
I admit it... I can be a bit of a daydreamer. I guess, working
on a farm, I should call it woolgathering! Helping to run the Farm
Stay U.S. website is the perfect sort of job for doing a little
in-my-head-dream-vacation planning, with so many beautiful photos
of farms, ranches, and vineyards to admire.
Fall is my absolute
favorite time of year. The weather is perfect and the colors are
There is pumpkin-flavored-everything.
It's easy to immediately think of New England for fall travel, and who
can argue? They have all that amazing autumn foliage for leaf
peepers, and something about the region just screams crisp air and
ruddy cheeks. It says, bonfires, like at Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont, or an
afternoon spent antiquing before spending the night at Cold Moon Farm. Break out the scarves
and boots and let me tromp around the barn!
Fall is cranberry harvest time all across the United States.
Here in the Pacific region, there are
cranberry bogs to be found in the town of Grayland, Washington,
which is a little under two hours from The Inn at
Crippen Creek Farm in Skamokawa. Imagine a day snapping photos
along the Washington coast, and winding down with a 5-course
gourmet meal on the farm, cooked for you by the professional
How about a high-desert getaway this time of year?
New Mexico, too, has stunning fall foliage
and sweeping vistas. I'd choose to enjoy the views from horseback
and take a trail ride through a piece of Native American history at
Guest Ranch in Winston.
Alas, I can't spend the entire day with my head in the
clouds... just one more peek at our regional guide and I
land on the South (East
South Central) region, with an eye on Kentucky for some
antebellum charm. An afternoon spent harvesting apples at The Farm LLC, followed by some stargazing,
brings my daydream to a pleasant close.
Where would your daydreams take you? Leave us a comment!
(Photo Credits: morgueFile, Geronimo Trail Guest
Some quick highlights from their listings:
Briggs Farm Adventures offers authentic farmhouse country
living with quality, comfortably furnished accommodations. Our farm
adventures include hands-on authentic farm yard life: feed the
sheep, goats, chickens, and other farm animals; collect chicken
eggs for breakfast; garden planting and harvesting, and much
Honey Hollow Farm
Earlton, New York
Come stay in our lovely, newly-renovated cottage. Look out
the window and see our Shetland ponies grazing, along with our
Nubian goat herd, who would love for you to come and pet them, and
maybe feed them your apple cores. Meanwhile, down a small hill,
there is a pony paddock, a chicken pen, and a stable. Further down,
another pasture holds two horses. There is also a private garden
for the exclusive use of the cottage guests.
Newbury, New Hampshire
Mother Earth News Homestead of the Year, Hopewell Farms is a
quintessential New England family farm providing a charming guest
cottage with an extraordinary view. Located next to Lake Sunapee,
the farm is 70 acres of pasture, forest, and a well maintained
sugar bush that produces hundreds of gallons of maple syrup each
East Fork Farm
Marshall, North Carolina
East Fork Farm cottages overlook our small family farm
hidden away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North
Carolina. Quaint cottages are decorated with antique farm relics,
furnished with handmade items, and local artisans' crafts.
Experience the quiet serenity of the mountains on your private
patio with an all natural cedar outdoor mineral soaker tub. Enjoy
all the comforts of home while taking in the peacefulness and
beauty of a natural farm cottage!
This month we feature an interview with a very dynamic duo,
ranch stay members Ron and Chris Wilson of Lazy T Ranch in the Flint
Hills of Kansas.
A 4-H member, FFA officer, farm radio broadcaster,
Congressional staffer, association executive, rural
director, corporate vice-president, small business co-founder,
ticket-taker, Sunday School teacher, diaper changer, bottle
tractor driver, posthole digger, thistle chopper, haybale
fence fixer, calf holder, manure scooper, and tail
Ron & Chris: Five years ago we moved back to the ranch and
built a new home. Mom moved up with us two years ago, leaving
her house empty so it was available to remodel and serve as a guest
Ron & Chris: You've heard of flat, treeless Kansas?
This is the exact opposite. We are nestled in a region
called the Flint Hills, with tall hills, deep draws, plenty of
native stone, and lots of trees and brush. We have four
distinct seasons, each of which has its appeal.
Ron & Chris: Guests can enjoy their privacy if they like,
because we are in a secluded spot although close to Manhattan, but
usually our guests choose to visit our historic stone barn, feed
horses and goats, and enjoy the landscape. Sometimes a family
will gather eggs from our chickens and have them for breakfast.
Ron & Chris: This is generally cow-calf country, with herds
of brood cows populating the rangeland. Cattle feeding is not
predominant here, although there are some feedyards. Cattle
feeding has become concentrated, particularly in western Kansas
where several large packers have located. Beef is our state's
largest single ag industry, still dominated by decentralized groups
of producers (as opposed to pork and poultry, which have become
more unified or vertically integrated). In addition to
ranchers, there are lots of farmer-stockmen raising grain and
Ron: I grew up here on the ranch and have always been a cowboy
at heart. Years ago I was at a conference in Colorado where
they had a cowboy poet as entertainment. I had never heard or
seen such a goofy thing, but it was definitely entertaining.
Years later I tried my hand at writing and performing it
myself, and have had a great time since. Overnight guests
don't get cowboy poetry as such, but they do if they schedule one
of our beef barbecue suppers.
Ron & Chris: Most of our activities are done by appointment,
such as when tour groups or organizations book an evening for
supper and entertainment. However, during weekends in
October, we hold our Fall Festival which is open admission for pony
rides, pumpkin patch, hayrack ride, kid activities, etc. In
2012, for the first time, we hosted a National Day of the Cowboy
celebration and had about 50 people come out for speakers, picnic
supper, and western entertainment. It was a lot of fun and
would hope to do it again.
Ron & Chris: The guest house is a remodeled and expanded
family farm home, with three bedrooms and a large common living
room. It has satellite television, but it also has card games
and marks on the wall to mark the kids height on their birthdays
through the years. The front porch is native stone and the
house is nestled into our corner of the river valley, surrounded by
the Flint Hills.
Ron & Chris: We offer lunch and supper but supper is our
most common offering: beef barbecue with all the trimmings.
Ron & Chris: A
friend of ours has a saying: Horses are magic. We have
had visitors who apparently have never seen a horse up close and
personal, and they seem to find them fascinating. People love
to pet and feed them. The goats will eat feed right out of
kids' hands, which tickles their palms and causes them to have a
blast. Kids have described their birthday parties here as
their best ever.
For more information on Lazy T Ranch, visit their Farm Stay U.S. listing or
their website: http://www.lazytranchadventures.com/
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