Uncategorized

Sheep, Fencing, Eggwasher (and join our CSA!)

Join Our CSA!!

The time is NOW, folks, to sign up for our next Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season and start receiving a box of your favorite Dry Ridge Farm meats (plus eggs!) every two weeks!  And by “NOW”, I mean you’ve got to sign up by this Wednesday, August 7th! Why not take two minutes (literally) now and go here https://dryridgefarm.org/join-our-csa/ to sign up?! You know you want to… Everything you need to know about it and a handy-dandy online sign up form is at that link!

I’ll keep this CSA plug short and sweet. Joining our CSA is the single most effective way to support our work and to enjoy all the variety of meat cuts we have to offer.  Here are the highlights:

– Each share box typically includes 3-4 main meal meats, a breakfast meat, and eggs.
– Half shares (portioned for two) and full shares (portioned for four) are available, for $100 or $200 per month, respectively.
– By signing up, you commit to a three-month season, with share pick-ups or delivery on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
– Pick ups are typically at French Broad Food Coop Tailgate Market, Wednesdays 2-6 pm, but if you’d rather pick up at City Market South or Oakley, just let us know!
– That’s right, we offer home delivery! To anyone with an Asheville address for only $25 per season!
– This season starts on August 14th and runs through October.
– You can pay in monthly installments or pre-pay for a whole season.

Need that link again? Here it is: https://dryridgefarm.org/join-our-csa/


Sheep, Fencing, and the Eggwasher Saga

It’s a beautiful Friday summer afternoon here at the farm.  After finishing another section of fencing this morning, Graham’s giving the truck and our Kubota mule a check up, while I sit on the porch reflecting on the past few months.  After a Spring that was very pig-centric — getting them settled into their new digs, getting a new boar, and having three new litters — June and July turned out to be sheep months.  We’ve (finally!) had a little bit of time to try to get ahead of the game and started on improvements, which means that Graham’s put in about a third of our new permanent fence lines!  The sheep have been great at letting us know where things aren’t quite right… where strands aren’t close enough together or too high off the ground; they find their way out of any inadequate fence within hours it seems, and for several weeks in early July, they were driving us straight batty.  But now, they seem to be content in their field, aware that the fence is very shocking, and have stayed put for about a week. Which leaves us breathing a little easier, knowing our fencing’s on the right track. Below are images of building fence. They’re misleading; Graham had already put days of work in to the fence before my parents and I helped finish it up… I just didn’t take any pictures of him working!

Fencing has been high on our priority list so we can get away from moving temporary electric netting for the sheep, and I’ve been impressed with the speed at which Graham’s been cranking it out (shout out to our buddy, Brandan, who’s been a huge help in the fencing department!). When I commented on Graham’s fencing speed, he said, “well, you know why I’ve been working so hard on it right?” Me: “To keep the sheep in?” Graham: “Well yeah… but I also said that when all the fencing’s done, I can get a few cows!” Now, the only time I can ever compare Graham to a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert…. is when he talks about cows. That might be a *slight* exaggeration, but man, does that boy love cows! And so, I made that fencing comment a few months back, to get him away from ogling cow listings on Craigslist; I figured fencing would take a while. But I’m a woman of my word, so it looks like we’ll be getting a handful of steers in the next few months (and be able to add beef to our CSAs!).

Back to sheep: we’ve also used them to clean up our weedy creek beds, and those weeds seem to be making our lambies grow like, well, weeds!  The January lambs are starting to look mighty delicious! And we’ll have lots of fresh lamb available starting at the end of this month!


EGGWASHER!!!

I feel like screaming that word from every balcony I can find! It has arrived. It’s beautiful.  And I was giggling as we broke down the box in which it came.  It’s been a long time coming; until today, we were 99% sure we’d been swindled out of a sizeable wad of cash, after our check got cashed (not deposited) by the person who’d promised it to us and then we didn’t hear from him for two months. The story goes like this: In May (yes, May) Graham found two used egg-washers for sale, one in disrepair, the other was “good to go! Ready to ship next week!” Wait, before I go any further and reveal our mistakes to you, here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Check Better Business Bureau ratings on any business you plan to buy from. They have ratings for a reason, and they’re useful!
2. Always pay on delivery.

So, we wanted the “ready to go” egg-washer, and sent a big ole check to a man in Iowa.  A week later, it was cashed. Red flag. Who cashes such a sizable check.  We call. No answer. Leave a message. (Repeat three times). Get an email after a month, “yeah, it’s been raining a lot and we’ve had flooding. The washer just needs a few tweaks, then I’ll send it next week.”  This is when we check BBB. Despite sounding like a good guy on the phone and having a fancy, professional website, the business has an F rating, with four complaints filed in the past two years. Damn. This dude’s a con! Okay, week rolls by… no egg-washer. We call. No answer. Leave a message (repeat a lot). A month later, say mid-July, we get an email. “My best friend died and I’m gone for the weekend, but I’ll send your egg washer next week.” You see a trend?  This is when we decided to break out a can of Graham’s Uncle Lawyer on him, and after a very civil, but firm communication from Uncle Lawyer, the man began to listen. It probably helped that Uncle Lawyer mentioned that his “law partner attended Harvard Law with ____, the Iowa Attorney General and Iowa has stringent consumer protection laws with sever penalties.” A comment about which I said aloud to Graham, “well, that’s convenient!” And Graham just smiled.  The Iowa egg-washer man seemed to be as gullible as I am.  Within 10 days though and after a few more emails and a few more excuses (“my secretary got scared off by Uncle Lawyer’s email” and on the day we’d given as his deadline, “I was hospitalized today”), we finally got a bill of lading. It was shipped!

I imagine the person who sent it to us probably did have a bad few months, and part of me feels a little sorry for the guy. He obviously did end up coming through with the machine. But the fact remains that you don’t cash a check three months before sending the item that the check’s paying for.  I didn’t get excited until we took the box off the machine. We weren’t sure if we’d be getting anything resembling a real egg washer after the whole fiasco. BUT now I’m giddy about it. It’s gorgeous! We’ll be building an egg washing room for it, complete with shelving for dirty eggs, boxes, cartons, and all in the next couple weeks, and then… This little beauty will save us about six… yes, six… hours of time every week! More time for things like fencing! It works basically like a car wash for eggs; they travel on a little conveyor belt through jets of water and spinning brushes. And out they come on the other side, all shiny! It’s hard to verbalize the joy that this machine has brought us. It’s a huge relief and once Graham gets our egg-washing room built, we’ll put it to work (and I’ll send out a video). For now, pictures will have to do!

And finally, a little splash of beautiful and adorable and a little bit of random. Enjoy! Note: I’m working on figuring out the appropriate resolution for pictures. These might take some time to load, but they’re worth the wait!

Hogs, Lambs, Land Improvements, Monthly Updates, Uncategorized

A Busy Week & Our First Press!

We just wanted to do a quick post to let you know of a couple articles about the farm and to update you on goings-on this week.  Thanks to Bryan Sullivan for writing us up for the Carolina-Virginia Farmer, and to Adam Hayes for hooking us up generally.  Adam, of Red Stag, got us in touch with Bryan for this article and for the lamb class we presented to AND he’s to thank for our excellent farm feature dinner last weekend!

An article about our farm and the increase in pastured meat producers:

http://magissues.farmprogress.com/SCV/CV01Jan13/scv010.pdf

At the end of this post is the text from an Asheville Citizen Times article about the Future Farmers of America (FFA) lamb class to which we presented.

This week has honestly been a bit crazy, and the three weeks of rain has made for quite a bit of mud to contend with these days! Here’s a synopsis:

Our ewes moved into the lambing barn

lambing barn move2

Lambing barn move

 

That was after Graham made the barn door, which we hung like this (good thing Graham has rock-climbing experience and gear!):

P1030570 P1030569 P1030566

We had more piglets on Saturday, December 30th! She had 13, lost 3 in the first few hours, but we still have ten piglets, which makes us very happy! She’s an excellent mother, and it’s been fun to watch how careful she is with the little ones.  Often, the piglets are bundled on one side of the farrowing stall, and momma will dig a little trench next to them, lay down on the opposite side of it, then push them into the trench where they can snuggle up to her and eat. Animal mothers are truly fascinating to watch.

Piglets nursing - Rd. 2

Pig pile! A good way to stay warm.
Pig pile! A good way to stay warm.

Piglets Round 2 - 2 Piglets Round 2

We also had baby rabbits! 21 of them this time. Our numbers are getting better on bits!

P1030601 P1030602

We moved the growing hogs into a new field, where they seriously bounced for joy at all the new grass and the straw!

Moving the new home to the field.
Moving the new home to the field.
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home
From mud dirt....
From mud dirt….
To fresh grass! (or new mud to make)

And turned the growing hogs’ old barn into a laying hen barn, with new doors and roosts. 400 new layers moved in on Saturday night… in the midst of some serious wintery weather. We got pullets this time, which are about 5 months old, so just starting to lay.  We let them outside for the first time yesterday… and they’re getting used to feeling outdoor grass and sunshine for the first time in their lives!

Framing things out
Framing things out
Doors completed, roosts and feed hangers added, and girls moved in!
Doors completed, roosts and feed hangers added, and girls moved in!

Hen feeder

Their first taste of the great outdoors!
Their first taste of the great outdoors!

New Layers

That about sums it up. Happy holidays and happy New Year to all!

Below is the article from the Asheville Citizen-Times – Author: Casey Blake; Date: Nov. 19th

North Buncombe learns about lamb from farm to table

Adam Hayes hearts lamb.

At least that’s what the sticker he was wearing Wednesday said, as he led a special lamb butchery lesson for the students of North Buncombe High School.

About 40 students from cooking and agriculture classes at the school heard from local farmers about the lamb production process. They also watched a cooking demonstration by Hayes, executive chef at the Red Stag Grill for the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, in a presentation detailing the lamb’s journey from farm to table.

Wendy and Graham Brugh, of the new Dry Ridge Farm in Mars Hill, told students how they raise the lamb, what kind of work goes into small family farms and about the direct marketing process to local chefs and farmers’ markets.

Hayes demonstrated how to prepare the different cuts of lamb meat, how chefs can be creative with the dishes and even served up samples of lamb entrees that go for $30 -$45 at the Red Stag Grill.

“A lot of these kids have never even tasted lamb before, so it’s great to be able to expose them to something new,” Hayes said. “It’s a different experience to be able to see things first-hand.”

Wendy Brugh told the classes about their decision to work with sheep and talked about the declining number of small family farms, especially among young people.

“For us this was really a lifestyle choice,” Brugh told the class. “We both like working outdoors and working with animals, and we really enjoy the relationship building that comes with direct marketing the products,” she said.

“Small family farms have really been declining in recent years,” she said, “especially with younger people. Eighty-three percent of farmers are older than 45 and the average age of a farmer these days is 57 years old. So we’re very interested in bringing younger farmers in and showing how you can really make a living at it.”

The presentation was organized by North Buncombe Future Farmers of America alumnus Bryan Sullivan, co-owner of Write Away Inc. editorial company, and a former chef himself.

Sullivan was writing an article for Carolina-Virginia Farmer on a local chapter of FFA, and learned that while kids in one class at North Buncombe were learning about the basics of lamb production, they had little idea of what happens to the product once it leaves their hands.

“The interest in helping these kids learn more about the overall business and marketing side of lamb farming was so well received by not only local groups, but regional and national participants as well,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan lobbied The American Lamb Board, based in Denver, to donate reading materials, lamb-cut charts, posters, cookbooks and the stickers modeled by Hayes and got the Virginia-based Border Springs Farm to donate lamb for the class demonstration.

“I think it’s just really interesting to know where my food comes from,” said senior Sydney Shrimplin, “and the lamb was pretty amazing. I’ve had lamb before but never like that.”

“Honestly, this is what happens when you have a great alumni association,” agricultural education teacher Justin Gillespie said.

“It makes a big difference for the kids to be able to learn about this stuff from people who do it every day, to see that application aspect,” he said. “If they know what the application will be, they pay a lot more attention and we saw that today.”

Uncategorized

First Dry Ridge Farm Feature Dinner! This Weekend!

Can’t wait to get your first taste of DRF pork? Well, you’re in luck!  You won’t have to wait until our first market dates in January; you can get your fix THIS SUNDAY at our first dinner featuring Dry Ridge Farm meat!

There are still seats left for this deliciousness.  Yesterday, Wendy delivered almost half a hog to Adam Hayes of Red Stag Grille at the Grand Bohemian Hotel… and to wet your appetite, look below for the menu and wine pairings! That’s right… there’s even pork in the dessert.  We’ll be there too, so come join us!

Reserve you spot today by calling Maggie B’s 828 645-1111.

2nd Annual Swine & Wine Dinner at Maggie B’s

Sunday, December 16th

Welcome Reception 6:00

Dinner 6:30

$75 per person

Maggie B’s Wine & Specialty Store

10 C South Main Street

Weaverville

 

Featuring:

Pork from Dry Ridge Farm

Wine Pairings: Elspeth Brown

Menu Curator: Adam Hayes

Welcome Reception:

Grilled Rappahannock Oysters, smoked cocktail sauce, mountain apple mignonette,  chef’s hot sauce

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

1st COURSE

Pork Pot au Feu

Braised pork shoulder, ribs, marrow bones, parsnip dumplings

Domaine Du Margalleau Vouvray 2010

2nd COURSE

Meatball with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

micro basil, aged balsamic, shaved Reggiano cheese

Tezza “Brolo Delle Giare” Valpolicella 2005

3rd COURSE:

Appalachian Roulade

Bacon wrapped pork loin, country sausage, collard greens,

grit cream, roasted apple sauce

Nadia Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

4th Course

Chocolate Chicharrones

Crispy cured bacon, pork rinds, Mexican dark chocolate, red chili sauce

Quinta Noval 10 Year Port

Uncategorized

Holiday Gift Ideas from Dry Ridge Farm

Since some of you have asked about specific products for holiday gift giving, we’ve decided to add a few potential gift ideas to your list of possibilities.

What better gift is there for your omnivorous friends than food they can enjoy with company, knowing that it was raised humanely and healthily?!

Local deliveries will be scheduled as orders come in and we will make one delivery the week before Christmas to the Raleigh/Durham area, and anywhere on the way.

You’re obviously welcome to buy any products we carry, but here are a few specific ideas.

Mild (or Hot) Breakfast Sausage – Perfect for vacation brunches, and a great gift for all the folks on your list for whom you’d like to get a “little something.” $6 per pound. $50 for 10 pounds (in 10 one-pound packs). This is our most popular sausage and sure to please everyone!

Other Sausage Varieties – A bit fancier than breakfast sausage because they’re linked, these are great for the pork lovers you know who just LOVE a particular sausage. We have bratwurst, polish, chorizo, and sweet or hot italian sausages. $8 per pound or $70 for 10 pounds (each 1 pound pack contains four sausages).

A selection of our sausage varieties.
Our assorted color eggs. A beautiful and delicious gift!

Sausage Variety Pack – Feeling indecisive? Why not get one of each! Your choice of five packs of sausage. $35.

Eggs – What better way to spread some holiday cheer in the office than by getting a dozen eggs for each of your co-workers? Everyone loves fresh farm eggs, and we’ll make sure each dozen has a blue egg as a delightful surprise! $4/dozen – limited supply; order early.

The Export Rack – Feeling generous? There’s nothing that shows some love like the gift of an export rack.  Also called a bone-in rib roast, it’s the highest end cut you can get.  It’s the tenderloin with the ribs still attached, so you end up with the juiciest, savory-est rib, chop, tenderloin feast of your life. As I said, there’s nothing that says love like an export rack. A hefty 7 pounds (yes, your gift will have to be shared with a large party) – $60. Very limited supply so order now!

Meat Donations in the name of your loved one – Looking to give the gift of giving? We’ve organized with Manna Food Bank to deliver meat donations in December.  If you would like to give the gift of food to those who lack it, and honor a loved one by donating in their name, just let us know the value you would like to donate, and we’ll send that value of product to Manna.  We’ll also send a card to your loved one to let them know you’ve contributed on their behalf. AND we’ll donate an additional 5% of your donations ourselves! That means if you buy $20 worth of product, we’ll donate $21 dollars worth!

Looking for a gift basket? We’re not there yet, but we highly recommend Goodwill, which always has very nice wicker baskets for an affordable price.

Please place your orders by December 10th, by emailing Wendy at wendy@dryridgefarm.org! We’re bringing hogs in on the 11th, so you can’t get anything fresher, and we’ll deliver to specified locations around town on the 15th-17th. (If you want to order after December 10th, let us know anyway and we’ll tell you if your request is still available!)

The Beginning, Uncategorized

Home on the Farm

We’ve had a lot of moves on the farm this month. And since photos have been in demand, that’s the bulk of this post! I’ve saved the best for last, so if you’re short on time, scroll straight to the bottom to see the cutest pictures in the world.

In addition to Graham and Wendy now being settled in on the land…

Our broilers have gone from here…

To now being cozy in their moveable hut.

…and getting to scratch on a new patch of grass daily.
The layers replaced them in the brooder while eggmobile construction started…

… first by deconstructing a hay wagon deck.

Then framing…
 Roofing and nest box construction…
 A bit of wire stapling, plywood, and paint later, it was move in day!
Things got even more exciting, when in mid-March, we had our first baby farm animals arrive on the scene!
Our five young rabbits are now about a month old (I’ll take pictures earlier next time!)
And then, this weekend! Lambs! Giggling and cooing have abounded this weekend.
 Our first lamb was born on Friday.
   A little speckled female.
   Our first ram lamb on Saturday. He’ll likely be our first lamb to market.
Ram lamb #2 was born this morning, while it was snowing (I kid you not. March was like summer, April’s been a bit wintery). He was still cold and wet when we tagged him but is now up and about and eating like a champ!
And just a few hours ago, a darling light brown ewe, with a white-tipped tail and white back feet.
It’s probably needless to say… it’s been a really fun few days! Having our first farm-born baby animals is a thrill, and we’re delighted that they’re all doing well so far.
All mothers are being protective and attentive, had no problems birthing, and the lambs are eating and walking well.  Our second ram’s mother is particularly impressive and our brown female lamb is impressively strong and milks aggressively.
It might be obvious that I have my favorites.  I’m hoping our female lambs will continue to impress us and stay on the farm as breeders, but I’m not going so far as naming them!
More photos and news to come. I’ll be posting much more frequently in the future, and I’ve learned to carry my camera with me at all times… we’re expecting another 21 to 42 lambs (depending on how many are carrying twins) in the next three weeks, so get ready for a deluge of cute!