To say this was A.YEAR. would be an understatement.
Pandemics, hybrid schooling, shutdowns, modified shutdowns, wear your mask, stand 6 feet apart, etc. I’m sure we’re all ready to ring in a new year. In times when we’re kept away from loved ones, watching as some get sick and some never recover, it’s hard to find things to be thankful for.
As I reflect on this past year, I’m choosing to look at the strength we’ve shown as a community. I’ve watched people come together even as we need to stay apart. Finding new ways to stay connected with family and friends (yay Zoom and FaceTime!) I’ve also noticed the community focusing even more on supporting our local businesses and economy.
Personally, while my kids can be quite the handful, secretly I’ve been enjoying having more reasons to stay home. The days are long, but the years are short. With one heading off to University of Delaware in the fall:
And two that are in Kindergarten and Pre-school:
Now more than ever I’ve enjoyed being able to slow down, stay home, and just soak it all in.
Our cows have been quite the source of entertainment on the farm these days. This guy has taken a liking to standing on the snow pile almost like he’s overseeing the herd.
I tried my hand at bees this year as you can see in the background of the picture above. I’ve once again been humbled by an experience. It’s much more difficult than I thought it would be! And that’s not even referring to the stings received that assuredly ended up in a swelled body part with each inspection.
I also gave handmade tallow soaps and lotion bars a whirl. I must say, I enjoy making soaps and lotion bars much more than getting bee stings. 😆
When I left my career three years ago, I found it hard to process having a purpose other than caring for our kids. I felt like I needed more to feel fulfilled. I’m happy to say that this was the first year since I left that I haven’t felt that void. Between soap making, and community involvement I feel like I finally have a balance.
This year I successfully ran a campaign to be elected to the Lebanon County Republican Committee. I was also asked to be part of an initiative supporting women in farming. From those standpoints, I felt like I’ve been part of something bigger and at the same time have been doing things to make a difference for my kids.
The Mid-Atlantic office of American Farmland Trust came to the farm to interview me on my perspective as a woman farmer, and the end result of the video (created by Wonderscope) literally brought my husband to tears. We’ll forever have this video of our farm and kids to show to our next generations.
Before I share the video with all of you, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you how thankful we are for you– our customers, family and friends. We pray that you all have a blessed, healthy, and happy new year.
I hope this note finds you well and in good health during this unprecedented time. We’ve been keeping busy around these parts by doing a little something new and trying our hand at handmade soaps! It started as an effort to use more of what our cows provide. I decided I was going to use the tallow and make tallow soap. As I realized the enjoyment of soap making, and my supply of tallow dwindled, I decided I’d start making vegan friendly soaps as well!
With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I’d share with all of you to ability for you to order some of our small batch, handmade, tallow and vegan soaps. They can all be found in our online shop.
The tallow soaps are made with tallow, olive oil, coconut oil, lye, distilled water, and essential oils.
Our vegan soaps are made with ZERO animal byproducts. We use olive oil, coconut oil, rose hip oil, avocado oil, or almond oil in a variation of percentages along with lye, distilled water and essential oils.
And as a housekeeping item – I haven’t forgotten about our delicious grass-fed beef! This next round of cattle will be off to greener pastures at the end of May. I’ll be reaching out to previous beef customers in the next two weeks to give them a chance to put in their reservations first and after that will take orders from the public starting around February. Be on the look out for more updates!
In closing, I’d like the give a sincere thank you to any and all who support their local farmers by buying local. In these times of uncertainty- whether its health, our food supply chains (or even TP supplies!)– now more than ever it’s a good practice to know your farmer, know your food, and buy local!
I am completely humbled and honored by the response we’ve received this year for our beef. We are sold out for this season. We will have more available in June of 2021 and our herd size is doubled so there should be plenty to go around.
I can’t thank you enough for the response and support of the community wanting to buy local and “Know your farmer, know your food”.
I hope this finds you well and that you’re staying healthy and positive during this time of social distancing. By now, if you’re a previous customer you’ve most likely received our brochure letting you know we’re now accepting reservations for our beef.
The response has been wonderful! We’re so very thankful that you choose to support your local farms. Right now we have 1 full cow, an 1/8th and a 1/4 left in inventory. The full cow could of course be split in to smaller shares. The cows will head to Smuckers Meats in Mount Joy on June 2nd and will be ready to be picked up most likely the second week in June. Those of you who have ordered– I will keep you posted on exact dates.
The cows are enjoying beautiful green pastures this spring and we’re thankful to now how our watering system up and running. Now I just hope we start to see more sunshine for the solar aspect of it all! This watering system allows us to divide our pastures up in to smaller sections which ensures that there is more of an even grazing pattern (cows like to go and return to the same spots to graze the “good grass” if you let them. Kind of like eating their “dessert” over and over before eating their “veggies”), better distribution of the “outgoing matter” from the cows and will continue to improve our soil which then continues to improve the forages that our cows consume. It’s quite an interesting and symbiotic relationship and never ceases to amaze me.
Again, thank you for supporting our farm! And if you’re on the fence (pun intended) about ordering- I wouldn’t wait! We’ve doubled the size of our herd for next year, but the next round of cows won’t be ready until June 2021.
In a world that’s unpredictable at the moment, I’m certain it’s hard to feel ready for grilling season or planning ahead, but alas, here we are. Our cows will be headed to the butcher in the beginning of June and will be ready to be picked up mid-June. We are in the midst of accepting reservations for beef. Details on pricing and reserving your beef online can be found here.
If you remember from our last post, we’re now offering a 10% military discount going forward. I’d like to expand that in this time of uncertainty to have it include our essential personnel. Without you, I don’t know where we’d be. Thank you so much for selflessly giving your time to help others in need.
I’d like you to “meet” someone very important to us. Were it not for him (and of course my mother-in-law), Goldfinch Meadows and my husband, would not exist. Allow me to introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend– George W. Albright. Also known as “PopPop” and “Reds”. Here he is working the land on the farm many moons ago:
PopPop was 51 when my husband Alfie was born. So all Alfie (and I) remember him with is grey hair. But apparently he had red hair at one time, hence the name “Reds”. Even though he never got to meet our little Roman, we see a lot of PopPop in him, which is why we sometimes refer to him as “Little Reds”. We’re fairly certain he’ll be the one to take over the farm one day and keep the legacy of the land alive.
PopPop was not only a farmer and salt of the earth good man, he was also a veteran.
PFC Albright served during WWII in the 101st Airborne, was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge and a Purple Heart recipient. He was laid to rest at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in 2008 which is why we’re so passionate about participating in Wreaths Across America for the last 10 years.
It’s also why, in honor of him, this year and every year going forward we’re offering a 10% discount to current military and our veterans. We can’t thank you enough for your service. It was an honor and a privilege to know my father-in-law– a hero from The Greatest Generation. We hope that this discount will show how much we appreciate what our military and what our veterans have sacrificed for us. And we hope that as you enjoy your meal with our beef, you’ll think of PFC Albright and smile.
This time of year we reflect on what has happened in the past year. We all have our trials and tribulations as well as our successes. I hope that the positives and successes out weigh any of the trials you’ve encountered in 2019.
We’d like to thank everyone for the love and support they’ve shown to our family this past year! You may not realize how much it means to us that you choose to buy local, but it means the world to us.
Within the next week, we’ll be doubling our herd. The oldest group will be headed to Smuckers on June 2nd so stay in touch as we’ll be taking reservations around March.
We’re hoping your 2020 is filled with good health, many blessings and prosperity.
It’s a toss up between fall and spring for me most of the time. But this year in particular I’m leaning more towards spring.
Perhaps it’s because I’m ahead of schedule with cleaning up flower beds and mulching. (With the help of a handsome little ginger boy)
Or maybe it’s because the toddlers are getting older and we’re getting to do more fun spring things. Like painting Easter eggs.
And trying out the new fishing poles the Easter Bunny brought for us.
It could be that as I’m getting older (I hit the big 4-0 in March!) I’m appreciating my surroundings more than i used to. Whatever the reason, I’m just enjoying this season. We’re getting new visitors to our pond.
Our hens are laying so many eggs that I’ve had to set up a little road-side egg stand. And I’m actually getting customers!
Speaking of the hens– they’re fully enjoying their foraging for bugs. I just wish they would all take a cue from this pretty girl and forage more in the PASTURES, then digging through the mulch in the flower beds and kicking it in to the yard.
The cows are happily grazing. In fact the grass is growing faster than what they can keep up with! Which is a nice problem to have. I just wish it stayed that way all year.
If you follow us on Facebook, I’m sure you know that this spring hasn’t been without sad moments. We lost our precious off track thoroughbred– Aisle Ring.
While we’ll never know what happened, I’m thankful for the time we had with him. And I’m glad he was in a familiar place. He took his first and last breath here on the farm. And we loved him dearly. I never claimed to be a horsewoman, but i hope my mother in law would have been proud of me for at least trying.
Anyway friends, that’s all for now. I leave you with a beautiful aerial photo that was taken recently of the farm. I hope you’re enjoying your spring as much as we are!
For me it used to be like Ahab and Moby Dick– constantly searching. Searching for the perfect way to cook my steak. It took YEARS! And if I’m being honest i really started seeking it out when we started raising our own beef.
As it turns out, I was over thinking it. And also as it turns out– great steaks don’t only come from the grill! Salt, pepper, olive oil, a cast iron skillet and your oven. That’s all you need for the perfect steak.
In this recipe I’m using filet mignon, but by using the same concept and adjusting your times (based on the thickness of your cut) you can achieve the same result with any cut you choose. I’ve tried this with our flat iron, ranch, t-bone, porterhouse and rib steaks and all were fantastic!
Two tips– 1. Bring your cut to room temperature before cooking. I always salt and pepper mine and then let it sit for about 30 minutes. And 2. When cooking your cut, don’t move it around the pan. Set it and forget it. (Well not really forget it– timing is everything!) but once you place it in the pan don’t move it. You want it to get that nice crust on the exterior!
And then that nice juicy pink center when you dive in.
Here we are again! It’s that time of year for us when the rubber hits the road and we set out looking for customers to enjoy our labor of love.
We kept our herd small again this year while we get our watering system established, so we only have 5 cows available to the public.
This is the part that always makes me anxious if I’m being honest. We lovingly grow our calves, but now we need to find the customers to enjoy them. We never have trouble finding customers, but still, it makes me nervous. I have a feeling that part of this process will never go away.
This time of year also makes me sad. The cows develop personalities and we name them a lot of the time so it’s sad to see them go. The part that gets me by is knowing they were loved while they were here, and now they will provide nourishment to others.
On a happier note, if you follow along with us in Instagram and Facebook, then you probably know that Aisle is quite the celebrity here on the farm. He’ll soon be expanding his reach and will be stealing hearts of folks all around Pennsylvania as “Mr. December”. What I mean is he’ll be featured as December in the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition’s 2019 calendar. 😊 This is the shot you’ll see:
Such a stud muffin….. this was taken last winter while he was out enjoying the snow.
Anyway! That’s it for now on our end! If you have any questions or are interested in reserving some of our beef, please let me know!
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! And thank you for supporting your local farms!
Find Us at These Events
Market on ChocolateJuly 3, 2021 at 8:00 am – 1:30 pm21 W Caracas AvenHershey, PA, United States
Awesome Artisan EventJuly 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm – 7:00 pmWhirling Dervish Bakery & Coffee Shopn50 W Main St, Annville, PA 17003, United States
Market On ChocolateJuly 17, 2021 at 8:00 am – 1:30 pm21 W Caracas AvenHershey, PA, United States
Market on ChocolateJuly 31, 2021 at 8:00 am – 1:30 pm21 W Caracas AvenHershey, PA, United States
Market on ChocolateAugust 14, 2021 at 8:00 am – 1:30 pm21 W Caracas AvenHershey, PA, United States
Market on ChocolateSeptember 4, 2021 at 8:00 am – 1:30 pm21 W Caracas AvenHershey, PA, United States