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Posted 6/15/2012 7:05pm by Roberta .

Father's Day always makes me miss my Dad more than usual.  I know he would love the farm, he'd be here helping all the time, and he would absolutely LOVE Bill. 

I’ve always felt my father’s presence on the farm.   The first time Bill let me run the hay baler I looked up at a sky so blue, the sun shining warm and bright, and I knew my Dad was smiling down at me in that field driving that big tractor.  Maybe he was remembering when I  learned to drive his truck in a sunny field.  He taught me how to shift the manual gears into First and Reverse, then got out and told me to practice, as he walked away and left me to drive solo (what a dream come true for me!).   First, Reverse,  First,  Reverse  -  I practiced until I couldn’t practice anymore.  Not that I didn’t want to keep “driving”, it was just that the truck wouldn’t  go anymore.  When I told him the truck seemed to be broken,  my Dad just shook his head, mentioned something about the clutch, gears and grinding, and told me that my mother would have to teach me to drive. 

As I drove the big tractor and baled the hay that first time, I also knew Dad was watching out that I didn't maim or kill myself with it, and was probably wondering who in the world would allow me to operate such a dangerous piece of machinery.  Bill really couldn't be blamed.  I confidently offered to drive the tractor and run the baler, and Bill had no idea of my accident-prone history, or that someone had actually once warned a store owner not to sell me the power saw I wanted so badly because I was sure to cut my hand or leg off.   But the hay got baled and put away and no one got hurt.   Which is how I know my Dad was watching out for me. 

With this beautiful weather the fields are being planted and there are tons (literally) of hay to be baled.  Even so, we’ll be enjoying downtime for at least part of Father's Day, grilling our BH steaks and burgers with Bill’s father (who is the burger king).  And if you’re in Matunuck and see the fields being hayed, that might just be me on the big tractor with the baler.

Wishing you all a day of celebrating and remembering your fathers.

Posted 5/4/2012 5:57pm by Bill & Roberta Browning.

Happy Friday everyone! 


Tomorrow is the first day of the OUTDOOR SK Farmers’ Market, which is held at the URI East Farm on Kingstown Road (Route 108) from  8:30 a.m. to Noon.   As promised last week, we will be introducing our own Browning Homestead Bacon and Smoked Beef Kielbasa tomorrow! 


Bacon
:  Raised on our farm, it is pure bacon with no nitrites or nitrates, not too salty, nice smoky flavor and definitely meatier than commercial bacon.  We loved it and, given that there was no bacon left on the platter that I had brought my father-in-law, Mr. Browning  loved it too.  Best of all, we were  treated to stories of the huge pigs Mr. Browning's uncles raised on this farm in the early twentieth century and how much the uncles (and the young Mr. Browning) loved their bacon!


Smoked Beef Kielbasa:
  A hit for dinner last night.  I prepared it quick and simple: sliced in 1/2 inch rounds, browned in olive oil on both sides, then added chopped tomatoes with juice, a splash of balsamic vinegar and simmered, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring to prevent catching. I used no additional spices - we wanted to taste Noack's spices and smoked flavor. Served with Texmati brown rice (grown in Texas) and those fresh hydroponic cucumbers we got last week at the Indoor market.  


Thank you to Noack's Meat Products in Meriden, CT for making these products for us.   Noack's is a USDA inspected producer of smoked and fresh meat products made using traditional German techniques.  It is a family owned business, now in its fifth generation. They generously gave us their time and assistance in our first foray into smoking our Browning Homestead meat, and we  look forward to a continued relationship with them.    (Check out their website to see what they can make.)

Posted 4/27/2012 4:47pm by Roberta Mulholland Browning.

Tomorrow (April 28th) is the last indoor market of Spring 2012, and what a busy indoor market it was this year.  Thanks to all of you, our freezers were emptied regularly.  We also have our pre-order system working pretty well, so that you don't get to the market and find we've sold out of what you came for - we hold your order until you arrive!  

We got a nice aged beef back in our freezers on Wednesday, so our freezers are full of beef again - ground beef, ground beef patties, Porterhouse and T-bone steaks and lots of other cuts are available. Email us to pre-order for the market or pick up at the farm!

Our pork and lamb inventory is very small right now, so if you would like something, email us and we'll let you know if we have it, and if we don't have it, when we expect to be putting some in the freezer.  

We are very excited about being able to offer our own Browning Homestead bacon and smoked beef kielbasa soon.  It's being smoked as I type this, at Noacks Meats in Meriden, CT.   It's the closest USDA inspected smoke house to us, and we're told by other local farmers that they do a great job.  Take a look at their products list and tell us what you'd like us to have made!  From what they tell us, we should have it by mid-May. 

The farm is as busy as can be: spring calves, spring piglets and soon, spring lambs!  Here's Harriet and our first Browning Homestead born purebred American Guinea Hog piglets!

 Harriet and her first Browning Homestead piglets



Posted 4/4/2012 8:15pm by Roberta Mulholland Browning.

We got our lamb back yesterday afternoon and it's in our farm store freezers. By now everyone who ordered lamb for Easter should have received a personal email.

If you want to pick up your Easter orders before Saturday (and we recommend it for legs and half legs so you'll have plenty of time to defrost in the refrigerator) you can do so on Thursday, April 5th, between 3 and 6 pm.   If you can't make that time, don't worry! Just let us know a good time for you and we'll make an appointment for you to come to the farm.  

We'll put a sheet of tips for cooking lamb, along with the USDA cooking temperatures and times, in each bag.  The USDA information is right off the USDA website,  the other tips are from my experience. 

Another good source of information for cooking lamb is the American Lamb website.

PS:  And I always look forward to your recipes and tips! 





Posted 3/29/2012 8:06pm by Bill & Roberta Browning.
Good Spring Evening! 

We're happy to tell you that we will have more of our 2011 Browning Homestead lamb in the freezer before Easter.   I was on the telephone this afternoon with Bruno at Westerly Packing, going over the cuts and packaging of the lambs that Bill took to Johnston on Tuesday. We had some special orders and I went over each of them individually with Bruno, as Cody, the man who does the actual cutting, advised.

If you have given us an order at the South Kingstown Wintertime Market or ordered through our website, we will be confirming with you directly and arranging delivery at the market on April 7th, or by appointment at the farm before that date if you prefer.  I'll be sending individual confirmations right after this email. I won't know the actual sizes of cuts by weight until we pick them up at Westerly Packing. 

If you want to order lamb and have not, please send us an email (browninghomestead@yahoo.com) because, as you lamb lovers know, our lamb goes very fast. 

Thank you for choosing Browning Homestead Farm for your Matunuck raised meats. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Roberta
Posted 3/28/2012 7:22pm by Roberta.

We will have more of our 2011 Browning Homestead lamb in the freezer before Easter.  If you have given us an order at the South Kingstown Wintertime Market or ordered through our website, we will be confirming with you directly and arranging delivery at the market on April 7th, or by appointment at the farm.  If you want to order lamb and have not, please send us an email through our website (browninghomestead.com) because, as you lamb lovers know, it goes very fast.  If you're on our email list you should have received the email notice about lamb that you signed up for.  

Raising sheep and lambs is probably one of the more time consuming and difficult things that we do in terms of raising livestock.  When I first started raising sheep in the early 1990s, and was starting to read books about sheep,  I read of an old saying among sheepherders: 'some ewes can't count to two'.  It wasn't until my ewes started having lambs that first January that I started to appreciate that saying. January is a favored month for lambing among people who raise sheep, presumably to take advantage of the Easter market. My ewes were bred when I got them, so January lambing it was going to be.

Temperatures on January nights in Rhode Island are frequently well below freezing.  Cold, snowy, windy, bitterly cold and rainy nights were my ewes' favorite times to lamb that first year. There are differing philosophies when it comes to lambing and mortality rates in lambing - mine is one of zero tolerance.  Most of the sheep people I know are the same.  We do not leave ewes to struggle or lambs to die in the cold. "Survival of the fittest" during lambing time is not good animal husbandry.  

So lambing season is one of sleepless nights, getting up and checking ewes at all hours, trying to be there to help deliver if necessary (only twice in 20 years have I had to deliver a lamb), help dry lambs off if the mother is only drying one of a set of twins or triplets (hence the "some ewes can't count to two" saying), or starting the milk for the lambs by milking the ewe. Yes, I learned to milk a sheep that January.   I've also spent the better part of a day on a stall floor teaching a lamb to suck, so that I wouldn't end up with a bottle baby.  Twice I've had bottle babies when their moms developed mastitis.  Having colostrum and milk replacer on hand is part of lambing.  Sometimes a ewe just won't let a lamb eat, and that's another bottle baby lamb.  Bottle lambs need to be kept warm and fed often.  I did discover that a bottle lamb raised on fresh cow's milk grows fast and big, and that a cow that will feed lambs is something to see (that would be our cow Chloe).   

The most important thing I learned from my first lambing season was that if you don't love sheep, you should raise something that takes a lot less time and is much easier.  The second most important thing I learned that first lambing season?  No more January lambs!  Our sheep breeding program ("program" is a fancy way of describing when we put our ram in the field with our ewes) is timed so that our lambs come mid to late spring. Unless the ram didn't read the program... but that's another story.

 

 

Posted 3/15/2012 5:11pm by Socks M. Browning.

Yuck! I mean, no thank you. As soon as I heard the story on the news, I checked with Mom and Dad, and we do not have pink slime at our house.  I didn’t think so, since we only eat the same ground beef and burgers that we sell – always born and raised right here!  There is NOTHING added to our Browning Homestead ground beef.

In case you haven’t heard about it, pink slime is a food “product” that has been around for a long time. It’s called “lean finely textured beef” by the company that makes it, but it does looks like pink slime.  Essentially it’s a cheap “filler” made from fatty pieces of what’s left over after the meat cutting is done. Made by Beef Products Inc. (BPI), part of the process of making it involves spraying the leftover scraps with ammonium hydroxide gas.  (See the ABC News clip, link below. Fn1.)

Ammonium hydroxide gas sounds bad to me.  So I did some research and here’s something that surprised me: it’s used in a lot of food.  That doesn’t mean it’s okay for me, but I will let you decide for yourself what you think about it.  (After all, I’m just a little pot-bellied pig, I haven’t even been to school yet, so you should probably not take scientific advice from me.)  I put a link to information about ammonia use in food at the end of this column. (See  Fn2.)

The government says pink slime is okay to eat, so for years it’s been in ground meat sold in supermarkets, restaurants and school lunches. People have been eating it without even knowing it because the government says it doesn’t have to be on the label of the ground meat that contains it.  If you bought ground beef from the supermarket or have eaten at restaurants that use it, you’ve probably been eating it for years without even knowing it. 

And THAT is what I don’t like about the whole pink slime issue: people are selling food and not being honest about it!  Adding cheap waste meat processed into a slime brick to the ground beef is really just a way to increase the store’s profit on the ground beef they sell.  The consumer doesn’t know he’s paying for waste meat, and wouldn’t pay the price for the ground beef if he knew it was 15% waste product.   And I think if pink slime were really so good and “all meat”, they’d be selling 100% pink slime bricks.  Informed consumers could buy it and take it home and add it to their other meat to stretch it, or just eat pink slime.  But would you?

The best part of the pink slime stories on TV news and on the internet is that it gets people thinking about their food, where their food comes from, and what goes into their food. When you come to a farm like ours, or shop at the Farmers’ Market, you can ask the questions that need to be asked about the food you are buying.  Ask questions, verify the answers, and know your farmers and food!

UPDATE: Today  the USDA announced that it would give schools the option of buying ground beef with or without the pink slime. (See Fn3.) The USDA is contracted to buy 111.5 million pounds of ground beef for the national school lunch program. About 7 million pounds of that is from Beef Products Inc., though the pink product in question never accounts for more than 15 percent of a single serving of ground beef. See: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2012-03-15/Schools-will-get-to-opt-out-of-pink-slime-beef/53544636/1

Fn1.See the process diagrammed on ABC News link: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/70-percent-of-ground-beef-at-supermarkets-contains-pink-slime/

Fn2.  Ammonia use in food: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Questions_and_Answers_about_Ammonium_Hydroxide_Use_in_Food_Production

Fn3. USDA announces school choice:  http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDAOC-334e83 

BPI’s  webpage “Pink Slime is a Myth”   http://pinkslimeisamyth.com/2012/03/10/lean-beef-trimmings-high-quality-and-safe-2/

 

Posted 2/28/2012 4:45pm by Roberta .

Reading an article entitled "10 Bad Cooking Habits to Break" reminded me of a topic that comes up a few times during each farmers' market - taking your meat off before it gets to final temp and letting it rest before eating.  We try to remind new customers that meat will continue to cook when removed from the heat source, and to remove their meat 10 degrees below the final cook temperature. The rest also allows the juices to distribute evenly - making it all the more delicious.

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/10-bad-cooking-habits-break-162400734.html

Posted 2/23/2012 7:42pm by Socks.

 I was outside this afternoon and I didn't even need my sweatshirt.  Don't worry, I do have my own personal pot-bellied pig house to go into when the wind blows; that's where I like to take my naps when I'm outside.  When I'm inside my little house I lay with my head in the doorway, so I can see anything that is going on, and my snout gets the full sun. I love the sun on my snout. When I sleep inside my big house, like on the couch or in my blanket pile, I like to have my head covered but my snout out of the blankets. 

In case you didn't know, my snout is sort of like a people nose; I can breathe through it like people, but I also can do alot of other things with it that people can't do. For one thing I can dig with it!  People can't dig a hole with their nose, but I can dig a hole and push the dirt  with just the slightest movement of my snout.  Someday I'll do a video blog about my snout. 

Also, my snout is very sensitive. I don't like to bump it or have anyone pat it too hard, and I really don't like to put my snout on ice and snow - too cold!  Once last summer I got some ice cubes in my water dish. That wasn't too cold because it was a really hot day, and I had fun getting those ice cubes out of the dish onto the floor. It only took me a minute. 

Here's a photo of me and Mom waiting in the truck for Dad at Shaws. (That's a store that I can't go into.  They aren't nice like Critter Hut where they let me go right in.)   I got really close to the camera to show what a handsome snout I have!

Socks' waiting in the truck at Shaws

Posted 2/15/2012 7:39pm by Roberta .

In our photo gallery is a photo of corn that we grow, with the paranthetical "Not GMO".  Leading to the very good question: What's GMO?  As someone who has been regularly reading agricultural journals and publications for twenty years, but not a scientist,  I hardly knew where to start (and be able to end this in a few paragraphs). So I went to Google and submit this as the barest introduction to GMOs.

GMO stands for "genetically modified organism". It is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes." (wiki)

The Monsanto Company is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as Roundup. Monsanto is also the world’s leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it sells 90% of the USs GE seeds. (wiki)

GMO corn is genetically modified to withstand being sprayed with herbicides like Roundup - the weeds die but not the corn plant. Whether or not ingesting GMO corn has negative health affects on animals or people is being studied and debated, but what we do know is that where there are GMO crops there is Roundup (the corn is sold as "Roundup Ready") being sprayed. And glyphosate is a carcinogenic chemical.

"A recent study conducted by a German university found very high concentrations of Glyphosate, a carcinogenic chemical found in herbicides like Monsanto’’s Roundup, in all urine samples tested. The amount of glyphosate found in the urine was staggering, with each sample containing concentrations at 5 to 20-fold the limit established for drinking water." Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/monsantos-infertility-linked-roundup-found-in-all-urine-samples-tested/#ixzz1mVIe5wUm

For additional information about GMOs and particularly Monsanto’s role, I recommend a movie titled "Food Inc.". There are many impacts to consider of the genetic modification of living organisms, including the devastating affect it has had on farmers being able to grow and keep their own non-GMO seed stock. Watch what Monsanto does to a farmer when their GMO plants "infect" a farmer’s non-GMO field of grain, in Food Inc..

 

Happy Father's Day!June 14th, 2019

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th, and if you're thinking of making your Dad a steak, Bill will have some of our Boneless Sirloin Steaks in the farmers market freezers this weekend

New recipe: Lamb Burger with Onion Soup AioliMay 25th, 2019

This recipe surprised me. Onion soup mix was not a staple in my pantry, but after trying this, it is now.  While it calls for cucumbers and peppers, it's also great with just the aioli and a

Grilling Recipe Ideas from Browning Homestead FarmMay 24th, 2019

RECIPES AND TIPS FOR GRILLING Bill has taken our grill out from its winter storage and we're getting it ready for grilling season, which made me start to think about recipes.    Click h

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