Stuff your freezer this fall

Again this season, Pinederosa Produce has a plethora on pasture.

Our family-run farm in Pine City is a great place to be — where natural, humanely raised animals live the good life.

From Angus cattle to lambs, pigs, chickens, turkeys and even goats, the Pinederosa wants you to get in on the good life of eating local food.

Feezzer-stuffing bulk buys are now available for Angus beef, pork, lamb and goat. We sell beef by quarter, half and whole and ground beef at 15 pounds or more. We sell halves and wholes of pork, lamb and goat.  We also have chickens and that Thanksgiving turkey. (See our price sheet for more information.)

For the first time this season, Pinederosa Produce sold ground beef, chickens, pork, lamb and goat at the Farmers’ Market in the Park in Pine City. Ground beef sold out nearly every time, with chickens, bacon, lamb and goat (yes, goat) also popular.

Order before Oct. 5 to take advantage of our 5 percent early-order discount.

By the end of October,  pork, lamb and goat will be available, with beef ready by about end of November. Turkeys will be ready in time for Thanksgiving. Chickens are ready now as supplies last.

Pinederosa’s customers live in the Twin Cities area and in east central Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Pick-up is available from the butcher in Amery, Wis., or delivery (including tip) are available to your home or business by appointment.

Happy Cows

The homes of most beef cattle would never publish photos. Feedlots aren’t very photogenic.

But Pinederosa Produce had too many good pics to pick from.

These chilled out Angus cattle rested in the sun on a bed of grasses with crimson, burnt orange and lime colored leaves as a backdrop on a recent fall day.

They’re healthy and chemical free. As you can see, they eat a salad bar of timothy, clover and alfalfa not force-fed grains their rumens can’t digest properly.

Someone recently asked me how much we make farming. I told him a few small, non-impressive numbers, biting at the most traditional way to measure success of a business. While we aren’t lining our pockets, we are rich in intangible earnings. We get to work outside and with our hands. We feed a few people healthy, local food. We get to have our hands licked by cattle. And so forth.

Because we want to know where our food comes from — yes — we will eat these steers.

If you want sustainable food raised locally in a human way, get in touch. We are accepting orders for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat, duck and geese throughout October.

Meat Options

Pinederosa Produce in Pine City has expanded its offering of grass-fed, outdoor-raised meats without antibiotics or hormones. It’s local and direct from our farm family to yours.

The Pinederosa offers a 5 percent early-order savings if submitted before Sept. 15.

We also offer 10 to 15 percent savings if you order in bulk. Split with family or friends for added savings.

Please contact us to discuss pricing, processing and availability as it is subject to change.

Our 2011 offering:

— Grass-fed beef, available Nov.-Dec., in ground beef, quarters, halves and whole.

— Pastured chickens, available now-fall, in whole birds or cut up.

— Grass-fed lamb, available Sept.-Oct., in halves and whole.

— Open-air pork, available Sept.-Oct., in halves and whole.

— Healthy goat, available Sept.-Oct., in halves and whole.

— Turkey, available Nov., in limited quantity.

— Ducks and Geese, available Oct.-Nov., in limited quantity.

Recent photos of the farm

New logo

Pinederosa Produce is proud to present our new logo.

Our friend, a graphic designer and supporter of sustainable agriculture, designed it for us. We gave her our natural-raised chicken; she gave us a great logo. A good old-fashioned exchange sans dollars. Feels good to help each other out.

Fresh batch(es) of chickens

One man went to Brainerd yesterday. He and 180 chickens came back to the farm in Pine City. He returned with 76 processed chickens and 104 day-old chicks.

The circle of life packed into one red Ford F-150.

The processed chickens are USDA E2 certified, meaning Pinederosa Produce complies with Minnesota state law to sell to restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets as well as to family, friends and other customers who buy directly from the farm.

As I returned to Pine City near dusk, I got the cute day-old chicks into their new home and the wrapped chickens into the freezer. But I wasn’t done there. I had to go put the 40 five-week-old chickens from the pasture into the portable coop and closing the doors on the main coop for the geese, ducks and turkeys.

As I was getting ready to do this, a hay farmer on the country music radio station I was listening to said, “If a farmer says he’s done, he needs to look behind him because he left something undone.”

Now read that line again, but this time in a thick country drawl.

Good.

From shit to strawberries

Peers: Pinederosa Produce possesses pastured poultry.

With the help of our first WWOOF volunteer, Nicole, we converted an old trailer into a portable shelter for chickens last week. There’s chicken wire along the sides, hog panels bent over the top and a tarp over that. They are enclosed in there at night, and have a small run of the pasture each day.

The goal is to have chickens that live as naturally as possible while trying to protect them from foxes, wolves, hawks and other predators.

The peeps can rest inside on hay or lay outside in the grass. Above, they are all outside because they saw me coming. They know when I come, I bring food.

The benefit of having them outside is that they will supplement some of their feed by eating worms, parasites and larvae of flies. They will trample down the grass and fertilize the soil with their potent shit.

“The area where the chickens just were will looked trashed for a week or so, then turn green and lush, so that you can see the track of  the chicken pens through the field by its deep green color,” writes Ann Larkin Hansen in The Organic Farming Manual.

The book recommends moving them every day or every other day, but I left them in this spot for about five days. We’ll see how fast it recovers.

I must move the chicken house more frequently because chicken shit is one of the most potent natural farm ingredients. At five parts carbon to one part nitrogen, it has more nitrogen than cattle or pig shit.

On a sweeter note

Here’s our first batch of strawberries from June 21. The season started late since it was cool and wet, but state experts estimate that while the season might be a little shorter this year, the conditions will make for a good crop.

My brother visited the farm this weekend and said, “That’s the best strawberry I’ve ever had.”

From oink to quack

The Pinederosa has been busy making and raising produce — and not producing anything for the blog in the last month. Sorry, but spring has been hectic.

We are still working on getting all the vegetables into the garden, while making sure our 200-plus animals are fed, watered and pastured.

To go with the cows, sheep, goats, chickens and dogs, we’ve also added pigs, ducks, geese and turkeys.

I will briefly opine on the swine, but I have some potatoes to plant and a chicken tractor to build, so it will be mostly pictures.

The 16 pigs are from a farm in Montrose. They were raised inside, so naturally, we set them up with a fresh-air pen — and plenty of cow manure to wallow in.

As the little piggies stuck their snouts in the muck, Rod said, “Oh, this is hog heaven.” Before I went to the next chore, I thought about my piece of Pinederosa heaven, and how I wish to spend some time in it before fall comes!

The next task was reinforcing fence, so the goats and sheep could munch on grass, clover, weeds.

And now, the cutest additions are the ducks and geese we picked up this week.

39 is the charm

The Pinederosa added 39 critters in the last two weeks. We bought 22 sheep from a farm in Bruno, 1o goats from a farm near Little Falls and seven goats from a farm near New London.

These little guys (and a few gals) are less than 50 pounds and will go out in the pasture once it greens up, and once we add some fence to keep them in.

The goats are a Boer cross breed, the seven from New London are pure Boer and were thought of as eligible for 4H projects and fairs. The sheep are a mix of Dorset, Suffolk and Claudette breeds.

Adding this many goats and sheep is a big step up for Pinederosa Produce. We had only five of each last year.

On a side note: Last night, we enjoyed a leg of lamb from one of last year’s animals. We put it in the slow cooker, and tada, succulent flavors.

Right now though, they are pretty cute and friendly.



A first-timer

Since 15 of the goats are bucklings (boys) and two are doelings (girls) and the previous farmers didn’t do it, we were left with the job of, ahem, castrating the little guys.

We had a little tool to spread rubber bands and slide over their man-parts. I held most of them, while Rod put the band on them.

It’s apparently relatively painless. The band cuts circulation, and after a few weeks, their berries fall off.

Most of the little guys didn’t protest. A few did, but it only took a few seconds.

I was holding one of the bigger ones, when Rod said, “Oh, these are a nice–”

I cut him off with laughter. “Nice” probably shouldn’t be an adjective used when you are cupping goat nuts!

After they were “banded,” some of the guys went in for a closer look.


It’s the image that counts

When I tell my friend in L.A. about my farming experiences, he thinks about me waking up to a rooster at the crack of dawn.

That’s not really how it goes down, but if it did, here’s the vocalist.