Chicken is Back!

chicken in the pan

We’ve raised pastured broilers for about 7 years now.  Chicken and eggs were what we started our farm with in 2010.   Back then we got in 100 baby broiler chicks a week and processed about 80 +/- per week.  This meant there was around 700-900 birds in the field at any one time.  We raised them year round including during the drought of 2011.  After that year we asked ourselves, is this sustainable for us and right for the birds?  During the summer in Texas, the Cornish cross birds we grew needed to be kept cool and this means misters in every pen and hundreds of gallons of water per day.  Every day we would go move their mobile protection pens to a new patch of grass and have to unhook and hook back up the water lines on all pens to keep the birds cool.  This breed was still susceptible to the  heat and our losses were greater than we could tolerate.   The solution was one of two things for us:  1) use a different breed that tolerated the heat better, or 2) stop raising them in the summer.

Ultimately, the latter is what we decided was best for both us and the birds.  So starting a few years ago, we processed the last batch in mid June and took a 2 month break before getting baby chicks again in August.

This has worked well for our farm plan and our stress levels and most important, the well being of the birds.

Chicken is now back in stock at Taylor Farm.  Raised on pasture, supplemented with certified organic non-soy feed from Coyote Creek Feed Mill right down the road.  Yes, this all costs a lot more than confinement house chicken but your health is worth it. The fresh taste and texture of this chicken is unlike anything you’ll find at a grocery store.

We have whole chickens, boneless skinless breasts, leg quarters, wings and stock packs.  There are limited supplies each week, so reserve yours today!

For the Love of Eggplant

With the end of summer, this heat loving favorite is a nice change for dinner.

It seems opinion falls into 2 camps on eggplant. Like or dislike. I venture to guess most in the dislike camp probably haven’t tried eggplant.

Outside of Eggplant Parmesan (simple recipe from allrecipes below), here’s a couple of great dishes that will showcase the versatility of this lovely summer vegetable. We start growing the plants in early summer, and they will last well into October providing pound after pound of delicious dishes for those daring to experiment!

Simple Eggplant Parmesan (from ALLRECIPES.COM)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. …
In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. …
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

This recipe was found in our local newspaper, the Lexington Leader from Chef Deedle. We tried it with several guests for dinner and all loved it!

1 small eggplant
1/2 lb. Sausage, hot (Taylor farm sausage is awesome in this recipe!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup fresh dry bread crumbs
1 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (we used Italian bread crumbs)
Note: you can add other vegetables to this. We added chopped sweet peppers and cooked them with the onions and sausage.
Peel eggplant and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cook in a small amount of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
Cook sausage and onions until onion is tender and sausage brown.
Combine eggplant, sausage mixture, egg and bread crumbs. Mix well and spoon into a greased 1 quart casserole.
Combine butter and cracker crumbs, sprinkle over casserole and bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Another awesome recipe is from Loretta Turner here in Lexington. The simplicity of this recipe makes it a quick and delicious way to prepare eggplant and also as a base for a variety to add-ins. For instance, add in other vegetables like squash or hot peppers, onions, spices…..the possibilities are endless! These also sound like a great appetizer when entertaining.

1 eggplant, peel cut and cook until tender. Drain and mash.
Add 1cup flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1 egg.
Mix well. Drop by spoonful in deep grease. Fry until brown.