Ramps Pesto

Sure Signs of Spring: Ramps

As the cold melts away, one of the first signs of spring in the forests at Foxhollow Farm are ramps, a delicious wild leek that pops up in the woodlands of Kentucky in early spring. You will spot these wild edibles’ tulip-like leafy greens growing in patches in shaded areas of the woods.  Ramps are a nutritious allium high in vitamin A, C, and K. They are also high in iron and filled with beneficial minerals which protect your heart and support a healthy immune system.

What makes ramps so special?  A few things.  One, ramps have a fresh flavor that is a distinctive mix of garlic and onion.  Two, all parts of the ramp are edible, from the white bulbs to the purplish pink stems to the green leaves.  Three, they’re scarce!  They’re a wild species that grows slowly and is only in season a few weeks a year.

Because of this scarcity, we highly prize the wild ramps that grow at Foxhollow Farm and only harvest them sustainably.  If you are lucky enough to find some in your neck of the woods, be sure to only take no more than 1/8 of the bulbs in the patch to avoid over harvesting. You can cut the leaves and stems above ground for a more sustainable harvesting method.  Either way, you’ll be able to make a variety of recipes.

The pungent bulbs are similar to garlic in shape and application; a little goes a long way. The spicy leaves make delicious pestos and add an extra punch to sautéed greens and stir fried dishes.  We have a recipe for ramp pesto (below) that we love spread on a 100% grassfed beef burger, fresh off the grill.

Want to get your hands on some ramps?  Foxhollow Farm will be offering ramps by the pound in limited quantities.  Call 502-241-9674 or email info@foxhollow.com for details.

Ramp Pesto

1 Bunch of Ramp Leaves (about 2 cups roughly chopped)

3 Ramp Bulbs, quartered

1 Handful Fresh Spinach (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts

1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Pinch Foxhollow Farm Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all the above ingredients, excluding the olive oil, into a food processor. Pulse a couple times to start mixing, then turn on medium speed and slowly pour in the olive oil. Once all the olive oil is poured in continue to mix until it is a smooth consistency.

Enjoy as a spread with your 100% grassfed beef burger!


Derek Lawson, Louisville’s Favorite Farmer!

After weeks of spreading the word about our Master Cattleman and his dedicated work with our herd, we are thrilled to announce that Derek Lawson is officially Louisville’s Favorite Farmer in Edible’s Local Hero Awards!  We are so grateful to those who voted in support of sustainability, mission-driven farming, Derek, and Foxhollow Farm.  On the farm we have long called Derek our hero, and it’s wonderful for his work to be acknowledged by the community at large.

So what does it mean to be Louisville’s Favorite Farmer? As Edible Louisville describes it:

We define it as someone whose business offers high-quality local products and maintains high standards in social and environmental practices, food sourcing, regional economic impact and commitment to promoting a sustainable food system.

This truly describes Derek’s role at Foxhollow Farm, and we could not be happier that he received this honor. The icing on the cake, however, was being able to throw him a surprise party to announce his Favorite Farmer Local Hero award and celebrate his five years on the farm with friends and family. 

Also celebrating with us were several other nominees recognized by Edible in the Favorite Farmer category:  our Partner Growers Roots Underwood and Pavel’s Garden, and Foxhollow’s own head gardener Maggie Keith!  We set out to honor our Master Cattleman and have been overwhelmed with support for our farm community and mission.  Synergy—the increased effectiveness that results when two or more people or businesses work together—is central to our work on this land and we are proud to farm alongside these folks.

If you would like to learn more about Edible’s Local Hero Awards and see the list of winners and nominees, visit Edible Louisville’s website.  To get to know Derek Lawson a little better, check out our earlier blog post.


sunset concert series

2016 Sunset Concert Series

After months of planning our 2016 Sunset Concert Series, listening to many YouTube videos, and connecting with local artists, we are ready to share our concert line-up with you.  We are thrilled to be hosting some of the region’s best artists, some local names you might recognize, and some brand new collaborations as well.  We wanted to make sure there was something for everyone in our series, and these talented folks represent a wide range of musical styles.

We have Dan Van Vechten’s self-described “folkpop”; Brigid Kaelin’s “alt-country cabaret”; the bluegrassy harmonies of The Moonlight Peddlers; a collaborative tribute to the cross-generational alt-rock of Beck; and a night of blues and funk to cap off our season. You’ll find the full list by concert below, as well as links to the artists’ websites, if you’d like to do a little homework before concert day.

As always, our events are family-friendly—kids under 12 are even admitted free (while you’re at it, bring your leashed fur babies too).  Just reserve their free ticket here.  You can also purchase a Series Pass now, to ensure you have a spot at each concert.  These get you 10% off the face-value of tickets and are only available until May 13.  Got a favorite?  Tickets for individual concerts are also available.

Events are rain or shine.  Bring blankets and chairs, even a tent on rainy days, to set up comfortable concert viewing. Coolers and outside food or drink are not permitted.  For more concert FAQs visit here or email info@foxhollow.com

Without further ado, our line-up!

May 13:  Dan Van Vechten and Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters

June 10:  Brigid Kaelin & the Brigid Kaelin Band with The Birdies

July 8:  The Moonlight Peddlers and The Hart Strings

August 12:  Midnight Vultures:  The Music of Beck – Cheyenne Mize with Curio Key Club

September 9:  Laurie Jane & The 45’s and Soul River Brown & The Fountain Band

 


Spicy lamb meatballs

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

The weather is finally warming up, shouldn’t our meals too?  Add a little spice with this twist on a classic recipe. 

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Makes ~30 meatballs

(adapted slightly from epicurious.com)

Ingredients

½  teaspoon caraway seeds

½  teaspoon coriander seeds

½  teaspoon cumin seeds

1 to 2 teaspoons Foxhollow Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (you control the heat!)

1 small potato, peeled

1 pound Foxhollow 100% Grassfed Lamb

1 tablespoon minced onion (white or yellow)

1 ½ teaspoons finely grated Pecorino

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

Preheat broiler.

Place potato in a small saucepan; add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir first 4 ingredients in a small dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic and slightly darker in color, about 2 minutes.

Finely grate potato into a large bowl.  Add spice mixture, ground lamb, and next 4 ingredients to bowl; mix with your hands until well combined. Form mixture into tablespoon-size (1″-diameter) meatballs.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook meatballs, turning occasionally, until golden all over and done through the center, about 6 – 10 minutes.


Foxhollow Farm - Grassfed Beef & Biodynamic Farm

Our Local Hero

One of the most important pieces of advice we pass on to people who call us is to know your farmer. That’s important for a few reasons. Firstly, it means you’re buying local. Secondly, it gives you a chance to see if your food values match that of the person who raises your food. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it gives you the chance to understand and pay respect for the long hours and dedicated work that goes into feeding our community.

At Foxhollow Farm, our unsung hero is Derek Lawson, our Master Cattleman. For the past five years, he’s skillfully led the grassfed beef program here. To celebrate his fifth anniversary with the farm, we invite you to join us in nominating him for Edible Louisville’s Local Hero Award.

Derek grew up around conventional farms, but has chosen a very different path. He studied at Murray State, gaining a B.S in Food Animal and Equine Science. He finished his Masters, specializing in Beef Cattle Rotational Grazing, while working full time at Foxhollow. While he brings a wonderful educational background with him, it has been his passion, impeccable standards, and innovative practices that have made him invaluable to Foxhollow Farm and the community at large.

Derek’s approach to raising cattle manages to be practical while never compromising his philosophy. He is incredibly thoughtful and incorporates carefully selected typical and rare cattle breeds: including red and black Angus, Barzona, Short-Horn, Corriente, and Jersey. He studies and adapts genetics over generations of cattle to breed and raise animals that are perfectly suited to our land, the unpredictable Kentucky climate, and an all-grass diet.   Laura Riccardi Lyvers, a biodynamic consultant, describes Derek’s innovative methods: “He likes thinking out of the box.  And he dares to do things differently if there is hope for a healthier herd or pasture.” As Derek’s vision for our herd comes to fruition, his day-to-day practices, such as continuously moving the cattle to fresh pasture and his commitment to no hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs as well as his careful curation and meticulous practices result in healthy animals and incredible flavor.

Derek holds his fellow cattlemen to the same rigorous standards. He is an active member of the Oldham County Cattleman’s Association. He is committed to teaching new farmers, and donates his time leading tours for people from all backgrounds; from the busloads of FFA members, to top investors attending the National Slow Money Conference, to local Garden Clubs. He personally visits and mentors farmers through our Community Raised Program, encouraging them to raise their cattle using the most earth-friendly and sustainable methods of rotational grazing that fit each individual farm. Paul Keith, a cattle farmer in our Community Raised Program, explains, “He’s helped me with a grazing plan and has it all outlined. He helped with explaining about minerals and what they do for my cattle—he’s not stingy with his information. If I have a problem I’ll call him and ask. He always has new insight on things.” He takes pride in what it means to be a beef farmer, to be responsible for the land, and to do right by your cattle.

His passion for his work as a cattleman is apparent. He and his family live on the farm, and Derek makes himself available to his cattle 24/7. He’s been known to search out a stray calf into the wee hours or give physical therapy to an injured calf. Over the course of so many hours spent, he develops a relationship with each animal. Driving through the pastures with Derek, odds are that he can not only name a cow’s parents and calves, but also tell you a funny story about some antics she got into last summer. Riccardi Lyvers says it best, “He has a way with cattle.  I have seen guys that can work cattle well, for sure.  But I hadn’t seen, until I worked with Derek, someone who actually seems connected to the herd or the individual animal.  He flows with the moment and the animal and in his quiet, peaceful way, the animal does what he wants or needs it to do.” For Derek, farming is personal.

At Foxhollow Farm, we could not be more grateful to Derek for the care he brings to his life as a farmer. That’s why we would love to honor him as one of Edible Louisville’s 2016 Local Heroes. Vote by visiting Edible’s Local Heroes survey and entering Derek Lawson as your *** “Favorite Bluegrass Farmer” ***

 


Safe Local Food Grows

You may have heard about Chipotle Mexican Grill’s recent food safety episode.  Chipotle is one of few national chains that choose to source locally, reject GMOs, and strive for “Food with Integrity.”  That is why it is so heartbreaking that, while there is no evidence linking these illnesses to locally sourced ingredients, Chipotle’s commitment to small local farmers is being blamed.

Like many of our small farm neighbors, we at Foxhollow Farm know that the food we grow is not only safe, but also free of antibiotics and hormones.  Our 100% grassfed beef is healthy for you and healthy for our land.  Please join us and our friends at @LocalFoodAssociation in urging Chipotle to remain a pioneer and advocate for sourcing locally by signing the Safe Local Food Grows petition here.

Vote Yes on December 29th

Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood has been in my family for four generations. In May 2007, I decided to move to the farm and immersed myself in the land and farm culture. I had always found comfort in nature; hiking in the woods and digging in the dirt. Pretty soon, I was hooked, and my previous career aspirations were a distant memory. I was enthusiastic to help my family convert our 1300-acre farm from a conventional three crop rotation operation into a thriving Biodynamic farm community, raising grassfed beef and organic produce. While I cherish the teachings those early days brought, it was hard work and sometimes a glass of bourbon was definitely in order at the end of a grueling day.

Oldham County is filled with beautiful farmland, friendly people, and scenic drives. Our family wanted to share our working farm and have had an “open gate” policy since day one. As word about the farm spread, we experimented with new “agritourism” attractions such as events and small tours. By 2011, we had a quaint grocery store and had started serving hamburgers. We enjoyed greeting visitors from both near and far, as they stopped in for healthful, delicious food and to connect with neighbors and like-minded people. Over the years, however, we realized many Oldham County folks were still heading to Louisville for their groceries and dining, and Louisville diners were hard to entice out on a regular basis. Our small but dedicated customer base was not enough to support the overhead of running a farm store and lunch counter, and so we closed the store in December 2013.

Despite this setback, we have continued to build Foxhollow into a community asset. Since 2006, when we first began this process, the core of our business has always been delicious grassfed beef and a commitment to healing the land. For the past few years, we’ve stuck to a simple but successful strategy to share the land with our neighbors: invite folks to the farm for lovingly curated seasonal events. Our summer Sunset Concert Series and annual Fall Festival have brought thousands of Louisville residents to Oldham County, and given our neighbors a viable option for a fun time right in their own backyard.

Hoping to grow these events, we’re encouraging Oldham County residents to vote YES on December 29th. Bar sales at these events would mean so much to our business, generating additional revenues to provide even more opportunities for local and regional outreach. To you, expanded alcohol sales may mean it’s easier to grab a bottle of wine on your way home… but to us, it means income that will help sustain this farm’s growth and offerings.

We hope to greet you this summer and say cheers!

Maggie Keith

4th Generation Steward of Foxhollow Farm


The Winter Path

The Earth takes a very specific journey throughout the seasons of the year. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamic agriculture, describes this journey as a gradual breathing out, followed by a slow in breath. He is speaking of the movement of the focused vitality or life force of the earth.

In early spring the outward breath begins, and we see the first signs of this life force in the green sprouts of new grasses and the pale green leaves popping out of tree branches. The outward breath continues in summer with the brightly colored fruits, vegetables and flowers.

We know from our own breathing process that an out breath must be complemented by an in breath. At Summer Solstice the tides are turned. As the earth begins her long and steady in breath we watch the grasses slow down their growth, and our garden plants wither back into the soil. Deciduous trees show us a flash of color before releasing their leaves back to the soil as a last hurrah before drawing the life forces into the center of the earth. This is not a picture of Earth dying in winter but an image of containing her vitality deep within herself ….an inner strengthening in preparation for spring’s rebirth, when the out breath begins anew.

It is my understanding that we human beings are most aligned with our true nature when we follow a similar journey through the year. For the past 15 years I have made a conscious commitment to slowing down my outer activity during this time of year. It takes some real “get to it” discipline – especially with holiday shopping and celebrating. However, the extra time that I devote to journaling, reading, and simply pondering by the fire during the winter months builds up an extra reserve of strength and creativity that pop out of me just about the same time that I notice those soft green baby leaves in the spring. It’s a practice you might want to try – I hope it yields wonderful results for you.

-Janey Newton, 3rd generation land steward and Foxhollow Farm “Vision Holder”


Heritage Turkey Brining Recipe

We welcome you to support local farmers and enjoy a heritage Turkey this season! These old fashion birds are raised on pasture, with plenty of grass and sunshine. Their juicy, rich flavor is outstanding but, they do need to be cooked differently than their modern, mega-farmed counterparts. You are probably familiar with the standard large-breasted turkeys of industrial agriculture. Heritage turkeys have smaller, natural sized breasts and delectable turkey flavor. Heritage turkeys are also leaner and smaller than sedentary commercial birds. This means that fast cooking at high temperatures is a better method than slow roasting. Due to the fact that heritage turkeys are not pumped full of water and other flavoring solutions, we advise you brine your turkey using the following instructions to give a more familiar flavor, texture, and moisture to your good ol’ fashion heritage turkey.

Cooking Directions:

The purpose of brining is to tenderize the meat while adding flavor. The basic formula for brine is ½ cup to 1 ½ cups sea salt for every gallon of liquid (water, juice, stock, or beer). You can also add any other seasoning to taste; try herbs, garlic, or peppercorns. Brining saturates the meat with the flavor of these seasonings. Unlike marinating, which flavors the outside, brining gives you deeper flavor and increases moisture.

The larger the bird, the longer it should brine; a whole turkey takes approximately 6 to 8 hours. Add ice to the Brine in a cooler if you do not have room in your refrigerator.

For the Brine:

1 cup sea salt

2 oranges, quartered

2 lemons, quartered

6 sprigs thyme

4 sprigs rosemary

To make the brining solutions, dissolve sea salt in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as clean bucket or large stock pot, or a large cooler). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Remove the neck, giblet, and liver from cavity of the turkey and reserve for gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water. Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water, pat dry. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan. Rub breast side with orange segments and rub on all sides with butter and rosemary, stuffing some under the skin. Season lightly inside and out with sea salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Roast turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.

Remove from oven, turn, and baste with ½ cup stock. Continue roasting with breast side up until instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoid the bone), about 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with ½ to ¾ cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from oven and place on a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

-Maggie


Birds Should Be Birds

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, we took the opportunity to profile our Partner Growers, Matt and Hillary Sargent. Matt and Hillary are the farmers behind Roots Underwood, a soil to community wellness business at Foxhollow. They raise a variety of herbs, produce and pastured animals, including turkeys.

Matt and Hillary got started with turkeys on a lark several years ago. They were homesteading in Indiana and bought a few turkeys “for fun”. Soon they were hooked and decided to make turkeys part of their business. After investigating a few breeds they settled on Kentucky Bourbon Reds to take to market. This KY native, heritage bird was well acclimatized to our weather and conditions. Choosing a heritage animal, rather than a homogenized breed popular with conventional farms was important to the Sargent’s for several reasons. Firstly, they are working toward Biodynamic certification for their birds. In order to obtain this, they must create a “closed” flock – i.e. birds born and bred on this farm. Their turkeys can mate as nature intended while conventional birds are not able to mate without human intervention (I’ll spare you those details). Secondly, a heritage breed is less susceptible to disease.  The turkey flock historically moves alongside other bird flocks, and early exposure to other diseases allows it to build life-saving resistance.

Last but not least, it’s important to the Sargent’s to “eat what my grandparents ate.” Raising heritage birds is a lost art. Knowledge that would have been passed down through generations has been lost. Matt and Hillary hope to change that, one bird at a time.

It hasn’t been easy. They lost a few turkeys to coyotes and raccoons, so Matt slept outside next to the turkeys for a full two weeks to protect them. Talk about devotion to his flock! But they’re excited about the future of the heritage turkey business, and the positive impact it will have on the land. A recent soil test revealed that the field, previously used for hay, was low on some important minerals. With biodynamic principles guiding them, they rotate their animals and spray BD preps. Matt is striving to “increase the soil biology and make the minerals more available. The biggest role of animals is to move minerals to the surface of the soil.” Not only are they working in harmony with the land, but the move is smart for business. They will keep back some hens and toms over the winter and will breed them in the spring. They hope to grow the flock to two to three times its current size, and believe there is plenty of demand in the area for local turkeys to support the growth.

Case in point, ninety percent of their turkeys have already been reserved (update 9/9/15 – all Turkeys are now sold). In addition to being totally free from antibiotics, hormones and GMOs, Roots Underwood’s birds have roamed approximately 9 acres of pasture over their lifetime; feasting on peas, amaranth, oats, kale, clover and vetch the Sargent’s planted in the field for them.

Pasture raised birds are a little different than those you’d get in the grocery store, so I asked Matt and Hillary what I should expect when cooking their turkeys. Matt said we should allow less cooking time – “cook it like you cook a butterball and it will dry out.” Hillary said that the meat is much richer – “the white meat almost tastes like dark meat.” They recommended either using a spatchcock technique, or smoking.

Brining is also a great way to start off the cooking process and add familiar flavor profiles. Either way you choose, expect the meat to be juicy and flavorful.

In our family, we like to go around the table and say something for which we are thankful for before we eat. This year, I can think of a few things. Before anything else though, I’m thankful for Matt and Hillary and the other farmers at Foxhollow for the incredible dedication they show to the land and their community. A toast to you, farmers: May your hens be fat and your coyotes be lean!

Jenn Smith,

Office Ninja and Avid Turkey Fan

 

For more information about Roots Underwood, visit their website www.rootsunderwood.com. To reserve your turkey, contact 502.594.6947 UPDATE: ALL TURKEYS ARE NOW SOLD

For more information about Foxhollow Farm’s Partner Grower program, visit https://foxhollow.com/partner-grower