After a morning eating too many sweets at The Dane County Farmers Market, my son and I checked the cattle and foraged for Pigweed and Golden Oyster Mushrooms. Isabel combined with onions and cooked them up and served them with a new product for us, Beef Bacon. Delicious!
Wild AbundanceJune 26, 2022
Planting Apple Trees With DerekMay 26, 2022
I meet some interesting folks at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. Derek’s family runs The Flower Factory stand, a couple blocks down from my stand.
Derek stopped by one Saturday last year and we got to talking. Turns out we have similar interests in permaculture and have read some of the same books, including Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard.
Mr. Shepard talks about starting apple trees from seed, which is always going to be interesting because apple trees from seed are always a hybrid of their two parents. If you want a known variety of apple tree, you need to graft it onto another tree or rootstock.
Derek mentioned he had started several apple trees from seeds, but wasn’t sure if he would find space to plant them. I had been thinking about planting apple trees, as my son and I love to eat fresh apples every day they are in season, and pigs love apples.
A plan was born to trade apple trees for meat, we just had to wait until spring. Well that time came last Sunday as you can see by the photos. 16 apple trees planted next to our pig pasture.
My Dad even got in on the act, hauling water on his ATV.
Derek, like me, is a curious person. We look forward to eating some of these hybrids. Maybe we’ll have the next great apple. Even if we don’t, I’m sure me and my son and the pigs will enjoy!
As promised, here’s the list of the apple trees that we planted at your farm. I have the maternal line as a D number, and then the apple variety that I collected seeds from after it. It will be interesting to see how much variation is within a maternal line.
Going North to South
D30 – Wolf River
D27 – Hudson’s Golden Gem
D34 – Turley Winesap
D30 – Wold River
D34 – Turley Winesap
D13 – Caville Blanc d’Hiver
D34 – Turley Winesap
D28 – Pink Perl
D35 – Buford’s Red Flesh
D30 – Wolf River
D26 – Snow
D26 – Snow
D26 – Snow
Back at Market! June 19thJune 4, 2021
We are back at the DCFM around the capitol square starting Saturday, June 19th. We are planning one more drop for those of you who like this protocol for Saturday, June 12th.
Thank you to all of you who helped us through this past year. We’ve been so blessed to be able to figure out new ways to continue to provide nutritious meat for your families.
We hosted a customer appreciation hog roast this past Memorial Day weekend. Everyone was really happy to get back out and socialize again. The weather was gorgeous. Thank you to all who attended and helped make the weekend possible.
Synergy/More Good EatsAugust 27, 2020
My friend Grant says this loaf of bread’s main ingredient is Curiousfarmer sweet corn. It tasted so good, I brought him more corn and commissioned more loaves.
Jeremy’s tomatoes are really starting to produce. My favorite is the yellow.
These two, plus Curiousfarmer sliced ham and mayonnaise, make a delicious supper most nights of the week.
Where’s the Beef? (and Pork)May 17, 2020
UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date June 6th. Email Matthew with order and/or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
On the hoof at our farm. Other, much larger farms, don’t have the flexibility of space, and farmers have euthanized their pigs and chickens as a last resort due to complications from Covid-19.
How did we get here? According to Temple Grandin, the huge, meat processing plants that dominate our industry now, are more fragile than the smaller, more numerous meat packers our industry used to have.
“Big is not bad, it is fragile.” Temple Grandin
When one of the huge meat packers shut down, the few others available to take more animals, struggle to absorb the overflow. Animals which are designed to be harvested on a certain date, overwhelm a highly efficient, yet fragile, system.
I’m so thankful to have a close, working relationship with Avon Locker in Darlington. They’ve picked up a lot of new business and had to turn some away. Their business is booming, as everyone nowadays is thinking about their food and how to have it hyperlocal, like in their freezer right now!
And with a little patience we will put meat in your freezer. I’m sharing photos of our cattle on pasture and a new litter, reassuring customers we are working as always.
As people think more about their food, many are appreciating resilient, local food. I’ll conclude this post with a quote from one of our best, long-time customers, Heather.
First Green of Spring: Stinging NettleApril 21, 2020
Craving fresh greens? Don’t want to shop? Look for a patch of Stinging Nettle, (Urtica dioica).
Wear gloves, or use the tough parts of your fingertips to pinch off the tender tops, being careful to not let your wrist brush against the little stinging hairs which line the stem. Don’t eat raw! It may kill you. But even a small amount of heat renders it harmless.
Saute` in butter. I missed the next step, but Isabel added mushrooms and onions. Delicious!
2020 Spring TillageMarch 24, 2020
Think spring! We are anticipating summer sweet corn and a big garden this year.
These lactating Chester White sows are doing some of the spring tillage work for me. I turned them into this new area today.
Their neck muscles are incredibly strong! One of the first things a swine herder learns is to keep their sorting panel low, if a swine gets their nose under your panel, you and your panel will be airborne with a flip of the head.
Oyster MushroomsJuly 31, 2019
My friend Jeremy helped me identify delicious, Oyster mushrooms, (genus Pleurotus). While I don’t consider them to be as good as Morel mushrooms, they are still very good and have many advantages.
One is they are saprotrophic, meaning they grow on dead material, which makes them much easier to find, as once you find them, they tend to continue producing throughout the summer. I like foraging, but I like it even better when its like going to the supermarket!
Another advantage is they are highly productive. Check out all the beauties on this one tree.
In my research, I learned something else new. Wikipedia says Oyster mushrooms and other fungi as well are Nematophagous, which means they catch and eat nematodes. Nematodes are round worms. Are you getting hungry?
Gross factor aside, I’m finding fungi more fascinating the more I learn. Would you like to eat Oyster mushrooms?
Sweet Corn!July 31, 2018
One of life’s four great pleasures, according to Garrison Keillor, our sweet corn is ready. And it is good!
We tried a new variety this year, an augmented supersweet, and the corn is not only undeniably sweet, but large. The ears pictured above are 22 and 20 rows around. Hu-u-u-ge!
Next Saturday will be the last chance you have to try some, as we will be sold out after that.
2018 Dane County Farmer’s MarketApril 14, 2018
Thank you to all who ventured out on a very cold, wet, windy Saturday for the start of the 2018 Dane County Farmer’s Market! Despite the weather, it was a great day reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones. We are looking forward to a new season.
Thank you to my buddy Jake, for assisting me at our stand and photo credit. And thank you to Sarah Elliot, DCFM market manager, for all her help as we start our new venture as Curiousfarmer, bringing you the same great beef and pork some of you have grown to love. Braden and Daniele have started their enterprises and are excited to bring you pastured poultry and vegetables starting about Memorial Day weekend also.
We plan to be at every market this season. We will try to set up near the same spot we are in today. We enjoy our neighbors at the DCFM. If any of you want to make sure we have something saved for you, email me with a preorder and we can be sure you will get it.