Farmer Spotlight: Avrom Farms

To say that Hayden Holbert of Avrom Farms uses sustainable farming practices is an understatement. He speaks of his farm as an agro-ecosystem, each living thing an instrument playing its piece in the harmonious song of the land as Holbert orchestrates.

“Every organism here has a job,” Hayden explains. “We move our chickens across pasture daily so they may take advantage of the nutrients provided by the land, and also fertilize the pasture for future growth. By moving the chickens to new pasture every day and encouraging them to forage amongst the diverse polyculture of plants and insects, the result is a fundamentally different chicken.”

Holbert raises Freedom Rangers, a heritage breed of chicken known for its ability to utilize pasture and succulent flavor. These breeds tend to be higher in yellow omega 3 fat and contain less saturated fat than faster growing commercial breeds.

Freedom Rangers were initially bred out of protest of the fast-growing, industrialized breed of chicken, the Cornish Cross. They come from Northern France as part of the Label Rouge movement, which is similar to the USDA Organic Standards, but has much more stringent regulations on animal welfare with a focus on small, diversified farms. In addition to their superior flavor, Freedom Rangers are equipped to thrive in the outdoors and transform grasses, bugs, and grain into highly nutritious food.

“Choosing chicken breeds that are slow-growing is an important part of producing chicken with extraordinary flavor,” Holbert explains. “A chicken that has taken longer to grow will have more complex proteins, antioxidants, and vitamins than the 5 week old turbo-charged chickens common throughout nearly every grocery store in the United States.”

Hayden has been raising his Freedom Rangers chickens, heritage pork and even vegetables and mushrooms since he took over the family farm a few years ago. The land has been in Holbert’s family since his grandfather purchased the property in the 1950s.

“I’ve known since the age of six that I wanted to be a farmer,” Hayden says. “I grew up in Chicago but spent many summers enjoying the country life. Driving tractors, taking care of livestock – so agriculture has always been a big part of my world.”

Thanks for all you do for the for the sustainable agriculture community, Hayden! And thanks for the fantastic chicken!

Sausage of the Month: Blueberry Brat

While we may duke it our on the field or court, we can all agree that Michigan has its talents. They can grow some fantastic blueberries. It’s berry season for our western neighbors, and our butchers have incorporated these sweet delicacies into this month’s featured sausage, the Michigan Blueberry Brat!

Check out these fun facts about Michigan blueberries.

• Michigan grows around 100 million pounds of blueberries annually, making it one of the top producing state
in the U.S.
• Michigan produces 30 different varieties of blueberries.
• 21,000 acres of Michigan are dedicated to growing blueberries. Most are produced in Western Michigan in
near the Lower Peninsula where the sandy soil by the lake provides excellent conditions for growing berries.
Each acre produces around 5,000 berries.
• Blueberries are a super food. They contain more antioxidants than any other fruit and packed with vitamins
A and C.

Enjoy, Kettle Club!

Sausage of the Month: Bulk Breakfast

We’ve prepared our most delicious and versatile sausage for Kettle Club members this month, bulk breakfast. Heritage ground pork with flavorful hints of mace and sage. Grab the family and gather round the table for a hearty breakfast. Follow these simple and easy instructions for scratch sausage gravy.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Kettle Club Bulk Breakfast Sausage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups whole milk, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
6-8 Biscuits, warmed, for serving

 

Instructions:

  1. Crumble sausage into large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until browned and no longer pink, stirring frequently.
  2. With wire whisk, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir often.
  3. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over your favorite biscuit!

Cinta Senese: The Tuscan Beast

We’re featuring a special heritage swine breed for Kettle Club members this month, Cinta Senese from our friends at Curly Oak.

Originating from the woodlands of Tuscany, the breed is characterized by its black coat and white stripe (cinta in Italian) and genetically designed for free-range living. Their long snouts allow them to fulfill their passion for dirt digging while floppy ears protect them from any branches that might hinder their mission.

The breed is tightly tied to Italian tradition and is now listed among those culinary excellencies that render Tuscany so famous around the world.

How does it taste?

You’ll find rich flavors in the featured cuts from the Cinta Senese breed. The meat tends to be richer in color and contain a higher concentration of unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6. These concentrations give it a smooth consistency and intense, meaty flavor.

Interesting Fact

The breed was a focal point in a painting produced by Italian artist, Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338. The painting is now featured in the town hall of Sienna, Italy.

Did you know? By purchasing meat from Kettle Range Meats you’re keeping heritage breeds like Cinta Senese from becoming extinct?

Meat quality and environmental adaptability were important genetic traits desired by our agrarian ancestors. But today, commercial agriculture calls for a faster-growing pig, pushing heritage breeds like the Cinta Senese on to the endangered species list.

At Kettle Range, we understand that the preservation of heritage breeds is important for genetic diversity and the future of our agriculture systems. That’s why we support family farms who work hard to keep these species intact.

 

Recipe: Cajun Pork Shoulder W/Maque Choux

It’s Mardi Gras season! And we’ve got a great Cajun recipe for your Kettle Club pork shoulder. Marque Choux (pronounced Mock Shoe) is a classic Southern Louisiana dish comprised of braised corn, tomatoes, peppers and spices. Though traditionally served as a side dish, you can create a fantastic entrée in your slow cooker with this Cajun pork shoulder recipe. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Ingredients:
2 lb. Kettle Club Pork Shoulder
1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning seasoning
1 10 – ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
1 large green sweet pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 14 1/2 – ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

Directions:
1. Season pork shoulder with Cajun or Creole seasoning coasting all sides of the meat
2. Place meat in the slow cooker. Add frozen corn, sweet pepper, onion, sugar, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper. Pour tomatoes over mixture in cooker.
3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
4. Remove meat from cooker. Drain vegetables, discarding cooking liquid.
5. Serve meat with vegetables.

Makes: 4-5 servings