Local, fresh food for CNY

Southwick Family Farm produces beef, pork, chicken, goat, eggs, and vegetables on 75 acres in Nedrow.

  • On-farm sales
  • Find us at:
    • Westcott Farmers Market – Wednesday 2-6 p.m.
    • Fayetteville Farmers Market – Thursday 12-6 p.m.
    • Brady Farm Stand – Saturday 8-1:30 p.m.
  • Call or text 315-200-2341 for product availability

Beef and Vegetable Medley

This week’s medley was quite colorful: nice reds, greens and yellows.

I cup up a sirloin tip steak and browned it. It is the one on the right. It has no bone. The one of the left is a sirloin steak. It has a rim of fat on the right and a bone that juts up on the left. It would have worked as well.

These are the kinds of vegetables that I used. Top to bottom: green beans, red beets and greens, cauliflower, broccoli, patty pan squash, yellow summer squash, Swiss chard, zucchini. All of these were harvested here this past week. (Photo taken after meal, proportions not accurate.)

This recipe I cooked to the pot. I cooked the meat, then added the vegetables that I had until I thought it was enough for the family. We ate it over rice or over lettuce. Some added salt and others added Matson Hill Spice Blend at the table. All in all, it was a good meal!

Vegetable Medley

Recently I made a vegetable medley. Follow the pics to see the process.

Meat Birds

Our meat birds arrived in the mail in mid-June. They lived in our barn in the brooder. These birds are Freedom Rangers, which are raised specifically to range on pasture. They were active on arrival and have done well in the brooder.

We recently moved them outdoors into these moveable cages. The cages are completely enclosed in the back third providing shade and shelter from the weather. The front is enclosed in wire mesh allowing fresh air and sunshine.

The chicks are able to eat grass and other vegetation, and scratch for bugs. We also supply water and locally grown organic grains from Gianforte Farm in Cazenovia. We move the cages once a day and will move twice and three times a day as the chicks get older.

These birds will remain in the field until mid-August when we process them.

Brady Farmstand

On Saturday mornings we have joined Brady Farm at their farm stand. Brady Farm is a nonprofit urban farm in the city of Syracuse at 150 Ford Ave., off of Valley Dr. They have similar practices to us and use their six acres well.

Our meats and eggs complement their vegetables. So we will join them this season on Saturdays at their farm from 8-1:30ish. Stop by and say hi if you are in the area.

Views of the Gardens

We planted some brassicas this year – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It isn’t a lot; more just a patch to practice and get a feel for how to raise these kinds of vegetables.

On the other hand we do have several onion beds for Stuttgarter (yellow) onion and Red Baron (red) onion. Onions do well here and are enjoyed by our customers, so we like to have several sections of them.

One of our vegetable beds had some deer damage. Really Red Deer Tongue leaf lettuce got eaten down to the ground. I guess the deer like their name sake!

We are walking the dog in that section using his smell to discourage the deer’s presence. And we may need to fence it in with higher fencing.

Potato Beetles

This year we have planted Red Maria, Yukon Gold, and Kennebec potatoes. They are up and growing. The predator we need to watch for this time of year are Colorado potato beetles.

Potato beetles have four stages, three that we watch for: eggs, larva, and mature adults. First we will see the adults. They are a hard-shelled insect. They mate, then the female lays yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves. These hatch into red larva, which eat the potato leaves. As they mature they get larger, but are still red. Eventually they drop and burrow into the ground and form a chrysalis? which then hatches into a mature adult.

We fight these insects several ways. First we change the field where we have our potatoes (rotating our crops). Beetles that have wintered over from last year will still hatch and will find at least some of our potato plants. Moving the potato location means that less plants get found.

Then we look for potato beetles, eggs and larva at least twice a week. We mash the eggs and drop the larva and adults into soapy water. If we start soon enough, we will see adults and eggs the first week, then eggs and larva the next week, and finally by the third or fourth week larva and adults. The more adults and eggs you can find at the beginning the lower the larva infestation.

I think that I counted 8 beetles on this plant. You can see parts of leaves that have been eaten away. But this isn’t bad. However, if they aren’t contained, they can eat all the foliage of the potato plants. This mean that you don’t have a good potato harvest. And we have had that happen in the past. Right now we have a very small infestation. Hopefully it will stay that way!

Here is an extension sheet that talks about potato beetles in more detail.

Animal Pens

We raise our animals outdoors, letting them have the fresh air and sunshine and eat fresh grass (cows, sheep, goats) or scratch the grass and dirt (chickens) or root in area that they are (pigs). Cows, sheep, and goats especially need to be moved regularly as grass is their food. Sheep and goats also need to be protected from predators. So how do we try to keep this in balance – being outdoors, being moved regularly, being protected from predators?

This year we are using small moveable pens. For the goats we have wooden frame with metal sheep fencing around the outside and wheels in the corners. The kids can and do get underneath, but that is happening less as they get older.

Model 2 is for the sheep. It is a bit bigger, has rough cut wood, and has no wire except at the door. Sheep are more content to stay in a fence and less likely to crawl through the fence, so they do well in this set up.

We can move these pens, giving the animals fresh grass, protecting them from predators, and keeping them in the space where we want them to be.

Hard-boiled Eggs

We have used several methods to hard-boil eggs over the years. Ron likes to steam boil them. Joe likes to put them in a pan of water and boil them for 15 minutes.

I have my own method, based on Ruffage: a practical guide to vegetables by Abra Berens. I tap the eggs, giving them a slight crack on the bottom, bring them to a boil for 1 minute, let them sit in hot water for 11 minutes, and cool them in 1 change of cold water.

After they have cooled, I crack them on all sides. Then I pull the shell off, rinsing the egg in water as needed. The pic on the left shows the cracked shells with one egg on the right still to have the shell pulled off. The pic on the left shows shelled eggs.

Hard-boiled eggs can be used a lot of ways:

  • Eaten straight up with/without salt
  • Chopped up and added to salad
  • Chopped up, mixed with mayo, mustard, cottage cheese, other seasonings and served on bread for egg salad sandwiches or mixed with cooked potatoes or elbow noodles for potato or pasta salad
  • Used for deviled eggs
  • Sliced and used for an edible garnish

Hard-boiled Eggs

Based on Ruffage: a practical guide to vegetables by Abra Berens. 

Ingredients
  

  • 12 eggs, or how ever many you want to hard-boil
  • Water to just cover

Instructions
 

  • Gently tap and crack the rounded end of the egg on the counter. You just want a small hairline crack. Do this for all the eggs.
  • Lay the eggs in a sauce pan. Just barely cover with water that is a similar temperature to the eggs.
  • Cover, put on the stove top, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit covered for 11 minutes.
  • Drain the water and cover with cold water. Let sit for 5-6 minutes. Drain water and repeat.
  • Drain the water and use the eggs as needed. They can be kept on the counter for several days, but will store best if refrigerated.
  • To peel the eggs, I like to crack them all around, then peel the shells off. There is a inner soft shell. Sometimes you need to get a fingernail under that layer to get all of the shell to come off. And sometimes I need to rinse them off in water to get little shell bits off of the egg.

A Farm History – The Farmer’s Backstory part 2

(Continued from here) In the fall of 2000 we moved to our current 75 acre property. We want to give our six kids space to run and we wanted to learn how to be more self-sufficient. (20 years later we would say we want to be more resilient…we all need community.) Our resources were my childhood experiences (and therefore my family’s knowledge) and a love of learning. It also helped that I worked as a 10 month employee in a K-12 school environment. This gave me plenty of time in the summer to play farmer.

Over time we added chickens, a garden, goats, and pigs. But it only used a small portion of our land. Getting cows helped change that. Larger animals need much more pasture.

We tried lots of things and failed at many of them. U-Pick. Farming full time. Berries. Organic certification (well, we succeeded with certification but voluntarily dropped out of the program for a number of reasons). Farm memberships with pre-order discounts.

Of course, some ideas worked out. The asparagus still comes up. Grants for fencing and a pasture water system were a huge help. We’ve made good friends through our NOFA contacts. Farmers Markets. And of course, our children had lots of access to fresh air and sunshine while learning to work and be responsible.

Then in 2019 a change came in employment. As the planting season started, I began working in a traditional 12-month full-time position. This combined with normal aging significantly affected how much I could assist on the farm.

As things have unfolded, some of our children have decided to go into a joint venture with us. Until now, the farm has been mine, operating under the DBA of Treasures of Joy. Soon it will be an LLC and newly branded as Southwick Family Farm.

This is fitting. Seeing my children join us with with their age-associated energy and ideas is itself a treasure of joy. – The Farmer (RAS)