Fried Morels

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Well I may be a little late with this post but all that talk of poke sallet got me thinkin’ about wild food and next thing you know I had mushrooms on my mind. I didn’t know a thing about mushroom hunting until I met my husband. His folks are from Ohio where wild morels are a pretty big deal. Each spring his family takes to the woods in Vinton County with hopes of discovering these tasty morsels. Morels can be found across the US from April through mid June. They like to grow at the base of certain types of trees including elms and ash or in old apple orchards.

Here’s how our Ohio folks like to cook up a batch of morels:

First of all you’ve got to quarter your shrooms and soak them in salt water for several hours to get bugs off.

Then you drain them, pat ‘em dry and dredge them in seasoned (salt ‘n pepper) flour.

Then you fry ‘em up in butter and serve with steak and mashed potatoes or just eat them right out of the skillet.

While fried morels are a tasty springtime treat, my favorite thing about huntin’ for mushrooms is getting outside with my favorite peeps!

I’m linking this post to Hearth and Soul.

Farm Party Scarecrows

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Check out these awesome scarecrows made by the children at our party last Friday!

What should we name them?

“Inmate Row” gives new meaning to outlaw farming

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Here’s an article I ran across yesterday in the Buffalo River Review while mulching my garden with newspaper (and getting a sunburn). Another perk of using newspaper mulch is you get to catch up on all the local happenings. This piece made me smile. Maybe I’m not such an outlaw farmer after all.

There was the coolest picture in the printed article and when I am able to find it again I will upload it here. It is of the jail’s scarecrow.

Vegetable Garden At The County Jail

Sheriff Tommy Hickerson and Chief Deputy Nick Weems want the community know that a vegetable garden has been started at the Perry County Jail. The garden will be maintained by both male and female prisoners who will be growing vegetables that will be eaten as part of the jailhouse meals, including cabbage, okra, corn, tomatoes, green beans, and squash. The benefits of the garden are that it will keep the prisoners active, they will produce fresh vegetables for their own meals, and it will result in cost savings for the county. See More…

Outlaw Foodies God Bless ’em

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This stuff makes my heart sing!

New York Times

They Gather Secretly at Night, and Then They (Shhh!) Eat

Published: April 14, 2011
Across the country, underground food markets are popping up, giving chefs a chance to show their stuff and maybe make some money. Keep reading

Poke Sallet Scramble

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My friend at the feed store gave me this recipe. She and her husband drive around this time of year looking for wild patches of pokeweed. They love the stuff. She says the younger leaves make the best salad.

Oh, and I should mention that while pokeweed, including the roots and berries, has been widely used in folk remedies the entire plant especially the berries but also the tender greens, are considered toxic. That’s why you have to cook the tar out of it and drain off the water between boilings.

Poke Sallet Scramble:

Start with a mess of fresh poke greens

Shake debris from greens

Rinse twice

Parboil for 30 minutes

Drain

Parboil for another 30 minutes

Drain and squeeze dry

Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over med high heat

Add drained greens to hot bacon drippings and cook over med heat for several minutes

Lightly beat 12 eggs with ¼ cup sweet milk or goat milk

Pour egg mixture into skillet with greens and scramble until done

Here’s some more unverified info about pokeweed I found on wikipedia:

Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsillitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Dried berries were ingested whole as a treatment for boils, taken 1 berry per day for 7 days. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. Independent researchers are investigating phytolacca’s use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly.

Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypertension, severe convulsions, and death. However, consuming fewer than 10 uncooked berries is generally harmless to adults. Several investigators have reported deaths in children following the ingestion of uncooked berries or pokeberry juice. Severe poisonings have been reported in adults who ingested mature pokeweed leaves and following the ingestion of tea brewed from one-half teaspoonful of powdered pokeroot.

Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by aboriginal Americans to decorate their horses. Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

 This post is linked to Hearth and Soul.

Farm Party Potluck

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The big day is almost here, my first ever farm party! At this point I am more nervous than excited but I keep telling myself to relax and have FUN with it because that’s the whole point right?

The purpose of the event is to bring our county’s farmers and small business owners together for an afternoon of music, games and farm fresh goodies. I got this idea about a year ago when I noticed in a local publication just how many small farmers there are in Hickman County. I thought how great it would be to network, share marketing ideas and customers, get advice and just plain get to know one another. Hence the farm party concept was born.

Here’s the picture I have in mind:

Yeah right.

At this point I am realizing how unprepared I am. With just a few days to go I still need to gather scarecrow making supplies for the children’s craft project, follow up with the bluegrass band (I’m beginning to fear they are unavailable that day), set up the horseshoe pit, decorate the photography area and touch base with the other farms to see who’s bringing what. Then there’s sprucing up the barn (hahahaha) and scouring the milk parlor. Last but not least I’ve got to set up a vendor’s area and create the backyard farming handouts for the info booth.

BTW, I’ll be serving radish leaf pesto, a recipe I got from Kris at Attainable Sustainable.

So there it is, my to-do list which was the main motivation for this post. Gotta go now, bye!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop.

Sometimes Less is More, Right?

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Last night I put this ad on craigslist:

“I have a small registered nubian herd for sale. These goats would make a perfect starter herd for a home dairy…Will sell any 5 for $1000.”

What the hell am I thinking? This is 2/3’s of my herd! I am advertising does with the fullest utters I’ve ever seen.

But the thing is, sometimes in farming, as with any other aspect of life you’ve just got to rethink the whole situation. On the one hand I could keep everybody, pick up a few milk customers (which is completely illegal), fence off smaller paddocks and build another barn (which would cost more than I can recoup in farm sales this year unless I got a grant and that would put my name on a list, something I am loathe to do). On the other hand, I could downsize, keep only a few does and a buck or two. This option would actually put some extra cash in my pocket and keep me off those lists for the time being.

So yeah, the big decision’s been made. And I’m feeling pretty good about it. The main drawback so far has been all the phone calls. I actually have to interact with people, not one of my favorite things but good medicine none the less. They’ve all been nice enough so far.

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