The Prairie Home Companion does an annual joke show and they often feature this song about chickens. It makes me laugh so hard I cry. I picture our hens fleeing our milk truck or large tractors as they are crossing our driveway. Wonder if we should have chicken crossing guards…
This weekend the whole family had a chance to experience the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Over 3300 farmers were in attendance making it the largest organic farming conference in the nation. This conference is one of my favorite conferences of the year. I am not sure if it is all the delicious organic food, the great chance to meet awesome and inspiring organic farmers, or all the new ideas that we take away. While wondering the trade show with a sleeping baby, I found the Organic Trade Association booth.
They have a new website that is a go to for all things in organic information. Need information on what the Organic label means? What to learn why did it is important to eat organic food? Need tips to make buying organic affordable? This website has it all: Organic. It’s Worth It.
There is a lot of great information on this website. I recommend it to anyone who has questions about organic food and organic farming. There is also a section with recipes (but any recipe can be organic, just use organic ingredients).
I just love Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. I think her and I could be best friends. We are both Italian, we have kids the same age and both love to cook. The only difference is she had a TV show and published cookbooks. Ohh well 😉
Two weeks ago I made an amazing, but simple recipe from her Everyday Italian cookbook.
Pour over chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the chicken uncovered until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Carefully pour the cooking liquid into a small, heavy saucepan and spoon off the excess oil from atop the cooking liquid. Boil until the liquid reduces by about half and thickens slightly, about 8 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle parsley and lemon zest over the chicken and serve.
This was fabulous!! Serve with mixed greens salad, brown rice and a cold glass of Organic Valley milk.
All of our pork customers have picked up their orders except for a few outliners like Katie at PinkePost and Val at Wag’nTales. We will not fault them, they do win the prize for the farthest Zweber Farms customers. So we know you have your freezers full of tasty pork chops. If you are new to the Zweber Farms meat, you might be uncertain about cooking chops with the bone in. Here is a great simple recipe I made up today to start you off.
Pork Chops with Apple Cider Glaze
4 bone-in Zweber Farms pork chops
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Mix apple cider, brown sugar and mustard into a small sauce pan. Bring to boil and reduce to 1/2 cup.
Heat oil in large fry pan. Salt and pepper both sides of chops. Brown chops on both sides.
Place chops on baking sheet (okay, I made six chops instead of four). Pour about a tablespoon of glaze over each chop. Save some glaze for finish. Bake for about 8-10 minutes in oven. The pork should be lightly pink inside.
I served the pork chops with cranberries, brown rice, romaine lettuce salad and tall glass of cold Organic Valley milk.
When Tim and I first had kids I thought traveling with them would be such a hassle. I was completely wrong. While our traveling experiences are no longer the same as pre-children (get there as fast as possible and relax), they are just as wonderful. Now we enjoy the trip just as much as the destination.
Hannah being a beach bum on vacation this year
Traveling with kids takes a bit more planning than just packing the suitcase. Now, several weeks before our trip I scope out destinations to stop at every two hours or so. I use Google, the Traveling with Children’s blog, and of course the state’s travel website. We travel to Wisconsin quite a bit for both vacation and the World Dairy Expo. TravelWisconsin.com is very valuable (plus they have a great smart phone app). South Dakota Tourism also has a great trip planner that I have used. But I always get the best info when I directly email the travel bureaus. For FREE they send you maps, help you plan your trip and give you information about great local events you cannot find on the websites. We have visited city festivals, a Cattlemen’s Rodeo event, explored a waterfall, ate artisan pizza in an historic barn and met some memorable people too.
Eating pizza at Stone Barn-click for website
At the beginning of the month we traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the World Dairy Expo. This was a last minute trip and getting a hotel room was next to impossible, but thanks to our friends in social media, we got to stay with the lovely Dairy Carrie. I also prepared for the day we were going to be at the Expo. Three kids under 5 is tough when Daddy wants to talk to agriculture salesmen. We kept the kids busy by having them find international visitors (they get to wear a red ribbon) and marking countries off on a map. We also visited the tractor lot more than once. We planned a full day for the kids, so that they would sleep the five hours back home that night.
BigFoot At World Dairy Expo-The Boys' Favorite Stop
Traveling with cattle is not that much different. Lots of preparation needs to take place before the trip. Today three of our springing cows and two heifers were sold to an organic farmer in Ohio. Ohio is at least a 12 hour trip from here without cows. For both short trips and long trips with cattle, safety and health of the cows is top priority. We make sure the cattle are in good health (they were checked by a vet today). The cattle are loaded calmly on the trailer and not over crowded. For long trips (like to Ohio) cattle must be fed and watered regularly. If the cattle are milking (which none of ours were) a portable milking unit is brought along too.
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Cattle can even travel internationally (we have never done it). Here are some photos and a video of cattle being shipped from ND to Kazakhstan: Cows On A Plane photos & video.
Do you travel with children or cattle? Please share your tips and tricks to make the trip enjoyable for all.
If you have been following along, you know that recently we had to treat one of our good milk cows, Miley, with antibiotics. You can read about Miley’s story here and here. We are happy to say that Miley’s story has a happy ending. This past weekend, Samantha’s boyfriend Nick purchased Miley. Miley will go live on his family farm just west of the Twin Cities.
Miley with Nick and Samantha
Miley is once again her old self. She was even dodging Sam and Nick when they tried to get her halter on. In the picture above she is trying to knock Nick over. This is something she would not have done when she was sick. We are sad to have her leave, but it is a must on our organic farm. Thankfully, she is going to a good home, where we know she will be treated well.
When the last of our pigs were butchered at Lorentz Meats, they informed us that they were no longer going to process pork. Instead they were going to focus their business on beef and buffalo only. We love Lorentz and will still use them for our beef, but that meant we needed to find a new pork butcher.
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We have used Odenthals Meats for small orders in the past and really like what they do. Lisa contacted the owners, Randy and Laura, and we are happy to bring our family business to their family business. Check out a cute video of them on their website’s homepage.
The Odenthals have been in business since 1999 and Randy’s philosophy was the same as it is today: “Please the customer by providing the highest quality and best tasting homemade products in the area.” Learn more about their family business here.
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An exciting element of switching butchers is that we can now offer new products. Randy is willing to work with us to develop new custom bratwurst flavors. (And don’t fear if you loved our wild rice brats, Randy Odenthal was given the recipe from Lorenz).
We want to hear from you about which flavors of bratwurst you are wanting to try. Even if you are not a customer, go ahead and vote. We love to hear what people love to eat.
Please leave a comment about your favorite brat flavor. Also, tell us which region of the country you are from. It is interesting to see what is favorites in different regions.
PS If you are a customer of ours, please get on our pork list quick. Butchering dates are coming up soon and we don’t want you to be left out of delicious nutritious pork this year. Call us at 952-461-3428. Check out our website to learn how custom ordering works.
It is squash time! This year both at Zweber Farms and my parents’ farm, we grew several types of squashes. The most interesting squash to me is the Spaghetti Squash. I love squash of all kinds and thought it intriguing that the flesh when baked looks like noodles. After, doing some quick searches for recipes on the internet, I formed a simple yet tasty recipe using the spaghetti squash and Zweber Farms ground pork.
1- 4lb spaghetti squash
1lb Zweber Farms ground pork (Italian style)
1 small onion chopped
4 tomatoes pureed or 1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup mushrooms chopped
1 sweet pepper chopped
1 cup shredded Organic Valley cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Bake rind side up for 25-35 minutes.
While squash is baking, chop onion, pepper and mushrooms. Brown pork sausage in skillet then add onion, pepper, mushrooms and 1/3 cup of tomato puree or spaghetti sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes
When squash is done, take it out of the oven (leave oven on) and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then scrape out flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add sausage mixture and 1/2 cup cheese.
Place into baking dish and top with additional cheese. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
Take out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes
Serve with crunchy garlic bread topped with Organic Valley butter and a tall glass of Organic Valley milk.
I hope you enjoy. Need some pork sausage? Call us today to order a half or quarter of a hog. Pork will be ready in October and November. We have a few spaces left, but they will not last long. Call: 952-461-3428 or visit the Zweber Farms website for details.
We are going to start a new series in my blog called Family Friday. We want to create a spot where we can talk about the other exciting things that are happening in our lives. The goals is not to say the “f” word (farming) or the “c” word (cows). There is more to our lives than farming and cows and we would like to share it with you.
Also, we want hear from you!! So please join us and take a peak into our lives outside of the farm.
Today, the kids, Samantha (Aunt Sam) and I headed to the Minnesota Zoo to check out the new African Penguin exhibit. I had heard mixed reviews. My brother gave it an “okay,” but Marketing Mama gave it a huge thumbs up. So we had to check it out ourselves.
I thought the exhibit was nice and the boys LOVED it. A few of the penguins were very active while we were there and the boys got to see them swim and dive. I enjoyed that the viewing area was very large. There is also a climbing rock so that there are multiple viewing levels. This helps smaller children get a fair chance to see and be up close.
I would recommend you go see the exhibit. Of course the Minnesota Zoo has much more to offer and their reconstruction is really improving the exhibits.
Have you visited the zoo (any zoo) recently? What is your must see exhibit?
Do you blog about family? Link up and see what others are saying!
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.
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Today was a first for the Zweber family. Samantha’s 8 year old cow, Ashley, won Grand Champion at our county fair. This means she had the best 4-H dairy cow at the fair. It is a nice way for Sam to finish her 4-H career.
Sam always works extra hard with her animals. She is involved in every step of the process. From telling Tim which bulls to breed to her cows to doing chores to fitting (making them look pretty) her animals.
Now she will go onto the MN State Fair and compete against 4-Hers from around the state.
Congratulations Sam! Your hard work has paid off!