‘Round The Farm
Our die hard sledding team 🛷
A moment of zen from on the James.
I think Flash is mocking me 👅
The coziest pig you ever did see 🐷
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When Lexi and I began this farming journey about 6 years ago, it started with a desire to be more self-sufficient. We wanted to grow our own food, make our own soaps, and build our own systems that would make us less reliant on grocery stores and services. We learned real quick that you can only do so much, and that time is the one resource we can’t make more of. Between the farm, raising three girls, and working part time off farm jobs, prioritizing time becomes an art that sometimes we do well, and sometimes, meh. That and, we’ll, let’s be honest. There are just some things we can’t produce here. Coffee, electronics, toilet paper, and fuel are two things that come to mind.
That being said, we have found some great ways to maximize what we are producing. Eggs are delicious and versatile, and we scatter the eggs shells around the yard as fertilizer. The garden provides many great veggies, but also extra veggies are canned or used as supplemental feed for the chickens and pigs. The spent plants and rotten veggies go into our bin to provide compost for future veggies / fruits. Below are a few ways we use lesser known products we produce to make abundant amounts of pasture raised goodness.
We try not to let anything go to waste. Beef Bones make an amazing broth that is not only good for the body, but good for the soul. Bones are cheap per pound and one 3-4 lb bag makes 2-3 quarts of delicious broth. Broth can be used as a hot drink, makes mouth watering soups, or home-made gravy. Here’s how we make our broth using The Spruce Eats. Be sure to roast the bones first (listed in the recipe but important not to skip this step). We also add a teaspoon of turmeric and 2-3 garlic cloves.
Beef Suet is simply beef fat. Once rendered (slow-cooked and strained), it’s referred to as beef tallow. Tallow is great for adding beef flavor to your favorite dishes. Add to soups, rice dishes, venison, or make gravy. We love to use a small amount for making scrambled eggs (not steak and eggs but pretty darn good). We used to render ours and store it in jars in the freezer. We received a great tip from one of our customers (thanks Mary!) to cut it into cubes (think Ice tray or 1-2 inch squares, then store so that you take out 1 or as many cubes as you need for a specific dish without wasting the whole jar. Here’s a great article on how to render, make, use, and store beef tallow.
A rarely used but really underrated stock. Pork broth is super inexpensive, makes a large amount, and great for a number of dishes. We use it with many different beans (green beans, pinto beans) as well as part of the base for chili and soup. It adds a richness that really compliments the aforementioned. It’s also great for many asian dishes (see link below). It’s also full of collagen, vitamins, and minerals which is always a plus.
An oldy but goody that’s making a comeback is good ole lard. Once thought to be the devil, it’s now being used again as margarines and plant based fats have come under fire as less healthy alternatives. Pork Back Fat is great in dishes when that subtle pork flavor is desired. Think the same dishes as above for pork broth. Pork Leaf Fat (fat around kidneys) is prized for making baked goods such as cookies and pies. Very little pork flavor but super rich. Prized by chefs and bakers alike. Below is a great history lesson on lard vs hydrogenated fats as well as how to render lard.
Last but now least
This really needs no introduction. Chicken broth is amazing alone on a cold day, a soul-lifting savior when we’re under the weather, and a great addition to pastas and casseroles. Let’s not forget gravy and soups. There’s so much it can be used for. Best of all, it’s an inexpensive product that really stretches a dollar. We use 3 different ingredients for making stock. Chicken backs and necks are great for stock and soups. There are bones to pick out, but you also get a fair amount of meat which tastes amazing. Feet are really the hidden gem. If you’ve made broth with feet before, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but if you haven’t, you’re missing out. Feet are actually peeled during processing, so what goes in your dish has never touched the ground. Feet are full of collagen. Forget collagen pills and powders. The fats and collagen in feet make a perfect broth and it’s our first choice when it comes to chicken broth. Check this out for some great recipes. We use the “slow cooker” recipe and add a teaspoon of turmeric in addition to what’s listed. Enjoy!
This is getting lengthy but hopefully this will be a reference of sort when looking for ways to make nutrient rich broths and are inexpensive and delicious. Do you have any recipes or experience making broths? Please share and thanks for reading!
Want to pick some Longbottom Farm beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and coffee as well as other locally produced goodies. These are the places to do it.
Key’s Corner Indoor Market – Every Saturday from 9 am – 12 noon. Now open to in person shopping. There is also a preorder drive through if you prefer to not leave your car. Just go to Charlottesville City Market To-Go.
A great way to stock up on some local food and treats while enjoying some fresh air. Thanks to all those that have come out to support local farms and artisans in our area. Hope to see you there!