Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008: A Somewhat Local Feast

I didn't realize I was so on the cutting edge, but this Thanksgiving I decided to try a heritage breed turkey for Thanksgiving, and when visiting the City Seed Farmer's Market in New Haven in October, I jumped at the chance to order a local turkey from Northfordy Farm in Northford, CT. Peter the farmer said his turkeys were Narragansett. Perfect!

Then, City Seed's weekly email highlighted a recent article in the New York Times about Connecticut eaters flocking to local food sources, especially for Thanksgiving turkeys. I'm glad I got my order in early! Read the article here. (It even lists a farm stand on Daniels Farm Road, the road where my grandfather grew up in Trumbull, CT. The road is all housing developments now, but apparently there's still some farmland. I'll have to check it out soon.)

Last year I ordered a turkey from Gozzi's in Guilford, and their birds are the standard white breed. I didn't notice much difference in taste from a supermarket turkey, but I did take comfort in knowing where my food came from.

Last year's recipe involved brining the bird for a day ahead of time. It was very good, but very involved. First, a turkey wing poked a hole in the brining bag, so I had salty spiced iced water dripping into the cooler I had decided to put the large bird in. Fortunately I had the foresight to figure that a bag with a turkey and a few gallons of salty water would not fit on the bottom shelf of the fridge. But I worried about keeping the turkey cold enough in the cooler in the garage when the outside temperature wasn't very cold. That was last year.

This year, I went with a simpler recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. We picked the 17 pound turkey up on Wednesday, so brining was out of the question. The mustard and brown sugar glazed turkey was moist and delicious!

The heritage breed tasted "turkier" than supermarket turkey--the white meat wasn't as white and the dark meat was pretty dark, but not gamey.

Not everything was local, but we tried:

Pleasant Cow Cheese, Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm, Lyme, CT
Goat Cheese, Northfordy Farm, Northford, CT
Heritage Breed Turkey, Northfordy Farm, Northford, CT
Potatoes, Maine
Apples for homemade apple pie, Lyman Orchards
Rhubarb for homemade rhubarb pie, Olde Gate Farm, Wallingford, CT

We didn't have a big group this year, just my husband's parents and brother, but it was a lovely and relaxing day.

I think a good meal was had by all, from oldest to youngest.

And by 6pm, the guests had left, the dishes were mostly done, and the beginnings of turkey soup were simmering on the stove.

And by the way, the turkey enchiladas we had tonight (with another batch in the freezer for another dinner) were a good way to sneak the leftovers upon those who protest, "Oh yuck! Not turkey AGAIN!!"

How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And Then There Were 4

A hawk got another chicken this morning. I saw it alight on a maple tree branch at about 10 am (and its legs had a pinkish hue), looked at the chicken coop and there were lots of feathers outside the enclosed coop area. There were feathers inside the coop, too, so I think the hawk went in the coop, dragged out the chicken and had a snack. A hawk leaves most of the body alone, preferring the neck.

We've gone 18 months with 6 chickens, but now our neighborhood raptor has learned where and how to snack on them. Our 4 remaining chickens will spend their days in the covered coop for a while. I'm researching baffles and other types of hawk protection. Bummer

Friday, November 14, 2008

And Then There Were 5

Sad news to report--on Thursday morning when Charlotte went to open the chickens, she found one dead under the house part of the coop. This was "Baldy" so named because she was at the bottom of the pecking order and had a bald head from being picked on.

We're not sure what happened. Maybe it was a hawk, or maybe her friends ganged up on her, or maybe she was sick. I was filling their feed hopper on Wednesday afternoon at about 3pm and didn't notice anything unusual, so I was as surprised as Charlotte to see one dead Thursday morning.

Sad, but as our wise blogging friends over at Sugar Creek Farm remind us, "If you're going to have livestock, you're also going to have dead stock."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's a Lot of Work to be a Baby

"Spike" hasn't had much blog facetime in his seven months. That could be due to the fact that when he's asleep I find it is easier to run and grab the camera when I'm doing something with the other two kids and might have an extra hand to snap a picture.

Or it could be because when he's awake he's waaay to cute and fun to put down so that I can grab the camera and capture the memory.

But I wish we could bottle this babyness.

Oh, but his look is high maintenance. Look at those lashes--do you know how hard it is to get an eyelash curler on a baby?

And what's the secret to baby-soft skin? I find a regular application of yogurt keeps it soft and supple.