Week 8 Summer is here!

Summer is here! Wow, we enjoy all the garden has to offer this time of year! So many healthy choices, eating local is always fun, but in the summer it’s hard to choose what to eat! We enjoy how many different ways to enjoy winter crops since there are less choices. Today we made zucchini boats by scooping out the flesh with a melon baller and chopping it up with garlic scapes and sauteing it with ground beef. Then we mixed in cheese and put it all back in the boats and baked them. Yum! A few nights ago we made the best ever chicken fried steak recipe. It takes a little time, but so worth it!

We have also been making our minute steaks in the instant pot (its perfect for making them tender quickly) and then slicing them up for stir fry with rice and summer squash. The onions are almost ready and I can’t wait! For Father’s Day we got a smoker and smoked some chickens on it. If I loved pasture raised chicken before, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! So juicy and tender and delish! Let’s just say the farmer was pleased with his gift!

We are still making garlic scape and chive pesto, but the real deal is right around the corner! Basil is here and there is plenty this week! Try this pesto when you can! Scapes can be substituted for garlic nicely. And pesto freezes well.

We made our first batch of hay this past weekend and ended up with 35 lovely round bales of nice organic hay that we will use for the cows and horses in the winter. It’s always a blessing when the rain holds off and the hay doesn’t get rained on during the process. Now we have two more properties to make the hay on and we’ll be done until it grows back late summer and we start the process again. Finding three days in a row with no rain can be a challenge, so we were thankful! We are working hard keeping the animals cool during this warm week, but it’s good to remember those cold days when water freezes and different things are hard!
Guess what was born this week???

Have a lovely week and enjoy the bounty!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 6 CSA

Wow, June already! We are enjoying this cool weather, after some really hot and really rainy times! This week your shares have a fun new(to some of you) veggie! Green Kohlrabi!! We love this little gem because it’s fun, and you can’t go wrong with how you eat it. Raw, baked, stir fried, no wrong way! Even the leaves are edible. We like to put them on grilled cheese sandwiches or chop and saute them. Try these ideas out!

If you haven’t made anything with your scapes yet, you have to try the pesto! We put some on homemade pizza last night and it was amazing! We used some summer squash that we sauteed first and ground beef, too. It was so good I can’t wait for pizza night again. Don’t worry there are still some scapes if you have already used yours!

We are also loving the salad and happy for that easy side dish almost every night. We alternate between a homemade oil and vinegar, ranch (made with our spice rub in the cabin and homemade sour cream or mayo) and a great asian dressing I make (I tweak this with honey instead of sugar and I use olive oil instead of peanut with a splash of sesame oil).

I also made a great salad the other day that made a perfect portable lunch for Sean and the CSA delivery helper this week. The children take turns each week dropping off CSA with him and this week he and Emily got to stop for a picnic at Mom’s Apple Pie in round hill after delivery our teas to them. I cooked and cooled some quinoa, cooked a frozen chicken in the instant pot and chopped and cooled the meat, then diced some raw summer squash and salted it and let it sit for 15 minutes. I chopped kale and added to the cooled quinoa and chicken, then rinsed and drained the squash and added it to the mix. Then I poured the asian dressing over it all. It was delicious!

OH and we sent some yummy cube steaks out this week, my favorite way to make them is this! I don’t make the gravy and we love it without. Scared of how to cook your ham roast? Don’t be! I use the instant pot and sautee each side first, then cook for 55 minutes at high pressure with a cup of apple cider and a sprinkle of our bacon rub, then finish in the oven to crisp it up. It’s perfect, you could modify with a crock pot as well. Don’t forget the bacon rub is also perfect on your bacon and even a chicken!

We hope you enjoy the bounty!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 4 Summer CSA

Well, the sunshine is back and the garden and farmers are thankful! We have some delicious salad and veggies coming your way this week! Baby leaf lettuce, head lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, baby bok choi, and lacinato kale! We have been enjoying lots of salads and we made rabbit pie with bok choi and chard. We had some very old and sad looking white sweet potatoes and here is what we did: (Inspired by attempting to make out of season shepherds pie.)
I cooked one rabbit (purchased from the Day Spring Farm kids) in the instant pot with 3/4 cup water and salt and herbs for 15 minutes. While it was cooking I chopped a bunch of chard, stems and all and 3 baby bok choi and sauteed them. Then added 2 cups of frozen marinara (from last summer) and covered to simmer. Then I took the rabbit out of the pot to cool and added the peeled sweet potatoes cut into 3 hunks. I let them cook on high in the instant pot for 20 minutes and I went out to harvest lettuce for CSA. When we headed in we pulled the rabbit off the bones and added to the simmering veggies and sauce. Then drained and mashed the sweet potato with some butter and salt and topped the dish with them. Pictures on facebook and instagram, let’s just say yum, it was a hit! So we named it rabbit pie! When the carrots are back in season, we will do shepherds pie!

I also can’t wait to make this cocoa as a treat now that I have more gelatin. Don’t get me wrong homemade bone broth from your bones and chicken backs is an excellent way to get nutrients, but this is one fun way!
Frothy Hot Cocoa(and if there are leftovers that you put in the fridge they become pudding!)
4 Cups Raw Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Grass Fed Gelatin
2 Tbs Grass-fed Butter
2 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
Heat 3 3/4 cups of milk in a pan. In a small bowl mix the remaining 1/4 cup milk with gelatin, honey and cocoa powder. Stir with a small whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Pour the cocoa paste into the heated milk and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and coconut oil. Whip in a blender or with an immersion blender until frothy. Serve with whipped cream for an extra fun treat! Yeild: 4 servings (We always double.)

For the holiday we will be mostly gardening and tending the animals, but we will set aside some time to grill some of our beef and play some games. Our favorite hamburgers are easy, just thaw your ground beef, mix in some of our garlic herb rub (located in the cabin store) and shape! Did you know if you push a dent into your burger before cooking that it won’t puff up and get rounded on top? Then it cooks evenly and isn’t too fat for a bun. Can’t wait!

We hope you have a great holiday weekend and enjoy your food!
Blessings,
The Bakers

CSA Week 2

This week you’ll enjoy:
Kale, Mustard Greens, Sage, Carrots, Lettuce, Sweet Potatoes (or some other fun items if you pick up here at the farm.)

We are enjoying the quick pace that spring has sprung on us! The leaves are now fully on the trees and everything in the garden is taking off. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are very happy and tons of eggplants, peppers and more tomatoes are waiting to go out into the fields to grow! Our second batch of meat chicks has arrived and is safely growing in their own hoop house. We are taking them veggie scraps and grass each day to teach them to actively search out healthy food in addition to the organic grains we grind for them. When they are three weeks old they will go out onto pasture each day and come into the safety of their house at night. The laying hens are also cranking out tons of great eggs, check the farm store for sales on eggs! Eating seasonally means eating more eggs in the spring when they lay more, have some egg salad or scrambled eggs today! When we get bored of scrambled eggs we just add sauteed veggies, onions and cheese and it’s like a quiche without all the work!

We have had some fun meals lately, the grill has been going with hamburgers and ribs! My favorite was grilled burgers, oven fries and sauteed chard with onions! Simple yet very satisfying. We also used a kombucha batter and lard to fry our onions from last week and the nasturtium blossoms!Remember healthy animal fats are good for you. YUM! Battered and friend flowers, what a fun treat! We also like them on salads. The carrots and sage are delicious together in this recipe, it’s a fun website that teaches you how to make things ahead and freeze and reheat. To save your herbs for later you can either spread them in a sunny window to dry on a paper towel or even blend and mix with sea salt to preserve them (recipe here). The mustard greens are great sauteed with onion or chives and butter, then at the last minute I love to add some cream or shredded cheese. We also discovered the chive pesto from last week, is good in everything! I added it to a crustless quiche, dipped cucumbers in it and also mixed it into mashed potatoes. Crazy good!

Remember the farm tour is coming up, the 19th and 20th we are open 10-4. Come on out and see where we raise your food! Pet some animals too.
Have a great week,
The Bakers

Summer CSA week 1

Fun finds in this weeks CSA:
Chives, Chard, Onions, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Braising greens with some flowers

We had some great meals this busy day. We needed a quick buy filling lunch. So we baked some sweet potatoes, sauteed some ground beef with garlic and then added this weeks braising greens. They are a mini pok choy with some lovely floweres ontop, the entire plant is edible but some of the stems are tough so use your judgement about which to toss and which to cook. We did the entire bag, mostly because the 8 year old was preparing them and we just picked out the tough stems and were grateful! Otherwise go here to learn about great ways to use these greens.
We also grilled pork chops for dinner along with onion slices (in your shares). The pork was rubbed with our honey, dried oregano, and bacon rub (from the cabin). They hit the spot! Tomorrow we are going to make chive pesto and serve it on some bread. We have a new soaked grains recipe we are perfecting. You can also make chive vinegar and make everyone think you are very fancy!

Well different things happen on the farm all the time that throw off our plans for the day. We begin with a plan, but often things happen that are out of our control. Like a cow or pig being in labor, or a fence breaking. Sometimes that is hard and sometimes it’s no big deal, we just reorganize. Well when it’s the day before opening day of Summer CSA and we have purposely scheduled to harvest our chickens that day(basically because in VA starting them any earlier in the year isn’t good for the farmers or the chickens), and the freezer is empty of last years chickens, and we need to harvest them to fill the CSA boxes AND the equipment is broken…..you see where I am going with this.
We have lots of old members and some new ones at each turn of the season, and I just kept thinking how blessed we are that if I had to cancel the meat pick up until next week that everyone would be kind and understand! However it wouldn’t be very convenient for anyone, farmers included! And so the farmer continued all day to try and fix the broken part. After many hours of trouble shooting, prayers and a trip to town, we were up and running! Phew, in a perfect world we would have had a trial run last week and made sure it was all working, but seriously there isn’t time for that. We have thousands of plants that want to get into the garden, but maybe next year we’ll schedule that maintenance in! So thank you for being a part of our “farm-ily” and making this a community effort!

It is with much excitement that we are headed to bed with plenty of chickens nicely packaged and ready for pick up and delivery tomorrow. Enjoy your veggies and meat and especially the chicken! We will celebrate tomorrow by having some grilled chicken!

Almost grill time, always instant pot time!

I have been trying to write the post with delicious meat recipes for three weeks now! Not sure where time goes! We have had fun getting the spring push done! We planted 200 pounds of potatoes with the help of a GMU volunteer group! On our own we planted hundreds of raspberry and black berry plants, 1,000 strawberry plants and 6,000 onions! Oh my! This was in addition to several hundred veggie starts that go in every week. We are so thankful the rush is behind us!

As we bring the winter CSA to a close we are excited to begin again for the summer season (after a week off and a quick trip to Williamsburg!). Thank you all for your support! I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes. We love to eat what we grow, it keeps us going to be able to have enough energy to do all this! I try to make sure by 9 am I know what is for lunch and dinner and have all the ingredients ready. When that falls apart I grab for the instant pot and it all works out anyway!

Instant pot spanish rice goes great with some ground beef, sour cream, greens and there you go! Perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Our bacon rub deserves mentioning because we use it on so much! Our bacon is unseasoned to avoid chemicals and ingredients we can’t pronounce! So we sprinkle 1 TBS of rub onto our bacon and place it on a rack with a cookie sheet (with sides) under it. We bake at 400 for 16 minutes…..PERFECT BACON is what we get! The rub is also perfect for seasoning our hams which can be made in the instant pot with little work. My simple version is to place a ham (sprinkled with 1 TBS per pound of meat) into the pot with 1 cup kombucha and cook for 1 hour at high pressure. This recipe sounds fun if you want some more details. I also think it’s perfect on chicken!

With just a little prep ahead of time we love to enjoy some short ribs after a long day working! Each time we enter the house during the day we smell the deliciousness that will be on the table later! Put on top of some instant pot mashed potatoes and a side salad of rubbed kale and you have some happy farmers! We just take our homemade dressings and massage in into the kale, but for some fancy recipes try this!

Lastly my favorite last minute dinner is to throw packages of stew meat (even frozen stew cubes will work) into the pot with some broth (about a cup) for 30 minutes on high pressure. Then I use the quick release and add 2 cups rice and 4 cups liquid (either water or half water and half tomato sauce) and any seasonings you like. Then I do 20 more minutes at high and serve with a salad. It’s really so easy to eat simple, wholesome meals and we love it!

We enjoy sharing our ‘fruits’ with you, our ‘farm-ily”! Blessings,
The Bakers

Happy Spring!

We are so excited with all the baby plants around here! We are about to plant some basil out in the green house and I wish I could do a scratch and sniff Instagram post! Along with the baby tomatoes popping up, I am ready for summer and BLT’s! But without getting ahead of myself, I will tell you what else has been keeping us busy! We are all settled in with the new cow (Timmy named her Ducklegs)! She has decided she likes us afterall….whew, training new cows is always hard, but this one was particularly challenging. All is well now also with her calf “peekaboo” who would love a pat from you when you come to the farm store.

The farmer girls have been hatching eggs in the incubator and having lots of fun with baby chicks, ducks and they even have some goose eggs that are fertile. It took three years for our geese to decide to like each other enough to have fertile eggs! Very exciting. Gracie is in charge of the hatching and doing a great job with it! But we all like to help her.

We have some new soap flavors coming to the cabin soon, so stay tuned! We are about to make a goat milk soap that we only offer seasonally when we have goat milk! Our “man” soap is back in stock finally, pick up a bar of ‘Real Blokes Soap’ next time for a special man in your life. It has a great woodsy smell.

Here are some great recipe ideas for this weeks share:
Young chard
Beets Mashed beets anyone?
Cabbage and purple radish slaw What a different slaw, so good!
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes Fries! But I always use lard or coconut oil instead of a vegetable oil!

Enjoy and have a great Easter!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 20 Winter CSA, Babies everywhere!

Well the brooder is full of 400 baby chicks, the baby goat kids are on display near the farm store (stop by and give them a pat) and the greenhouse is filling with seedlings! Winter may be blowing outside still, but the days are getting longer and everything is growing! We love seeing the customers come up to the fence to visit the puppies in the front yard. The Bernese Mountain Dogs are growing so much! Gus and Dolly are always up for a pat.

Last week we enjoyed spinach, mustard greens, onions, carrots, cabbage and potatoes in the shares. This week you will find spinach, beets, lettuce, broccoli, shallots or garlic and sweet potatoes. We have been enjoying steamed broccoli, with sausage and roasted beets and sweet potatoes. The white sweet potatoes are by far the sweetest this year. We are peeling them this time of year (as the peels are tougher than before), cubing and tossing in lard and roasting for an hour at 400. Makes the perfect side dish!

We love shredding up potatoes for homemade hash browns. This recipe takes the mystery out of how to get them to not stick! The sweet potatoes work as well and add a nice depth to the flavor. It so fun to have salad in the winter, though we are dreaming of cucumbers and tomatoes on top, we are enjoying shredded beets, radishes and carrots instead. It’s fun to do a nice oil and vinegar dressing on top. We use a simple recipe to start all our dressings. It’s 2 parts olive oil, 1 part honey or maple syrup and 1 part vinegar. Raw cider vinegar is our go to, but balsamic makes a nice change.

Keep your eyes out for the green eggs coming in now. The brown egg layers preform all winter (thankfully), but the green egg layers take a break and start again in spring. Have a great week and we’ll see you around!

Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 18 CSA

It’s week 18 already! Only 7 more weeks in the winter CSA, a week off and then begins the summer season on May 1st. Send your email to sign up if you haven’t already! Some yummy veggies headed your way this week!

Kale(This soup sounds great, but I would make your own broth first!)
Sweet and Spicey salad mix
Watermelon Radishes
Celeriac (Try this awesome soup) or just peel, dice and add to stir fry.
Garlic
Sweet Potatoes (White)

We made up a soup this week, that was so good! We made some broth from a turkey carcass(about 24 hours on the stove top with sea salt and a splash of vinegar and a few quarts of water) and strained it and added some peeled, cubed white potatoes (from last weeks share). There was about enough broth to cover the potatoes (we all know the ‘farm-her’ doesn’t measure). We simmered it until the potatoes were fork tender (can be done on stove top or instant pot). I had some left over roasted garlic that I added, about 2 heads. Then I used the stick blender and blended until almost all the lumps were gone. I stirred in some sour cream and topped it with some homemade cheese and left over bacon. You would have thought I had served steak and shrimp! We had some very thankful farmers that night! (And it was so easy!)

Ground beef uses?
The healthy sloppy joe has been added to our menu! We serve it over homemade mashed potatoes for a filling, but gluten free meal. With salad or slaw on the side. I skip the brown sugar and add more mustard since we make our own and it’s sweetened with honey.

It’s very windy out there with 40 mile an hour gusts, but we are thankful that everyone and everything is safe and sound so far. We have been moving generators all day keeping the fridges and freezers cold, the incubator and plant germination chambers and greenhouse warm and a few lights on in the house for the little farmers! We ran out of gas during milking and Farmer Boy and his two farmer girl helpers found themselves in the pitch black! Thankfully someone had a flash light and found more gas quickly. It’s never dull here!

We had two baby goats born this week, they got to meet CSA members on Thursday and hope to be around Saturday too. They are very cute and we hope you get to meet them soon. Watch facebook or instagram for pictures soon. We also hope everyone is safe and at home eating yummy food!

Blessings,
The Bakers
Farming with our family for your family

Middleburg Life Article

Below is an article from ‘Middleburg Life’ written about Day Spring Farm.

Sean and Jessie Baker had a vision for Day Spring Farm.
“We wanted it to be based on the same ideas that farmers had hundreds of years ago,” Jessie said. “We wanted to humanely raise the finest animals that pro-duce the best meat, and to then provide that meat for family, friends and neighbors.”
Day Spring Farm in Middleburg is a family owned and operated grass-based farm producing organic beef and lamb, non-GMO fed pastured pork and chickens, eggs, vegeta-bles grown without chemicals, herbal products, dairy shares and other organic foods. And just in time for Thanksgiving, the farm offers pasture-raised turkeys, raised much the same way as the pasture-raised chickens.
Jessie Baker, whose parents, Rick and Karen Lowe, run Lowelands Farm next door, said that she “grew up in the herb garden” with her mother. “In fact herbs – they were sort of my first language.”
The Bakers produce soap with lard from the pigs they raise, and recently made a first effort at making soap using milk from their goats. They also offer classes on how to use herbs and have yarn and wool items made from the sheared wool of their own sheep.
“Our sheep make beautiful wool,” Jessie said. “We sell it in many forms, such as roving, yarn, socks, raw wool or even sheep skins.”
Day Spring operates as a CSA (Com-munity Supported Agriculture). “Most people know about vegetable CSAs,” Jessie said. “But we have meat CSAs as well. It’s like becoming partners with your farmer.”
Through Community Supported Agri-culture, Day Spring offers a “share” of what is produced on the farm, with members pur-chasing a subscription in return for receiving meat or other products every month. When the couple’s children were young, the Bakers decided that they wanted fresh milk, which led to Day Spring Farm’s raw milk share program, providing unpasteurized milk from five Jersey cows for approximately 70 families. Customers purchase a share, or part of a cow, and pay a fee to Day Spring Farm for boarding and other costs.
Jessie had been a vegetarian for ten years, but following the birth of the couple’s first child, Sean suggested the possibility of raising their own meat. “The thought of eating meat humanely raised and slaughtered seemed okay to me,” she said. “We allow the cows to graze naturally, the way they were designed to eat.”
The Bakers do not give their cows hor-mones, chemicals or unnecessary antibiotics. They eat grass and are supplemented with hay during winter. “By allowing the cows to graze and not be in a confined situation, they live a more stress-free life.”
The animals are kept on pasture.
“Because of that,” Jessie said, “they don’t get sick very often. When they do, we treat them naturally, with herbs, the same as we would ourselves.”
The couple embraced farm life “pretty quickly,” Jessie said. “It just felt right to grow food for ourselves and our families and neigh-bors. We think it’s important to eat more sea-sonally, and that is what we focus on.”
Instrumental to the running of the farm are guard dogs Ruthy and Buster, who keep deer from gobbling up the bountiful gardens. Just as importantly, the specially-trained dogs keep foxes, raccoons and other predators away from the chickens.
Several years ago, Day Spring Farm was featured on Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril Green” show for a Thanksgiving special. The epi-sode highlighted the pasture-based farm and heritage turkeys – two of which were roasted by Jessie and Chef Emeril during the filming at Whole Foods in Fair Lakes.
Sean and Jessie Baker’s five children range in age from one to 16. The family cares for the animals together and the Bakers are committed to home-schooling their children. On a recent visit, one of the daughters was bottle-feeding a young (and enthusiastic) miniature donkey.
“Our biggest desire is to have a relation-ship with our customers,” Jessie said.
On a recent weekend, Zack and Amber Condry and their two young daughters came to the farm. The couple started as CSA customers and quickly became friends with the owners. In fact, they provide a pick-up spot in Vienna so that Day Spring Farm’s CSA members who live closer to that area can pick up their shares.
“Sustainable agriculture ensures that our children and grandchildren will have good farmland left to raise food for their friends and families,” Jessie said. “That’s what really matters the most to us.”
Day Spring Farm is located at 21388 Steptoe Hill Road in Middleburg. The website is www.dayspringfarmva.com.
By Dulcy Hooper
For Middleburg Life

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