Farmed and Dangerous

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Due to time sensitive events in this, today's special second post, I had to double up! My amazing friend Cricket (a VERY talented writer) went to a sweet farm close to home and I asked her to do a guest post for me. Below is a result of that request! Enjoy!

lulu the cow

It’s springtime in dallas, and there’s nothing like getting out of the city and Meeting mother nature face-to-face.

Or nose to nose. Today, a friend of mine and I took our two five-year-old boys to meet LuLu, Lily and Peaches, cow and goats respectively, at a farm just an hour and twenty minutes north of dallas.

While we hadn’t planned on the deluge Mrs. nature sent our way, we were not deterred from our mission: picking as many fresh strawberries as we could carry. Decked out in rain boots and toting umbrellas, we tromped through the red-mud rows of the strawberry patch for hours. we scored ten pounds and paid $2.50/pound to take it home. The family-friendly farm even provides the buckets and take-home containers for you.

“I’d rather eat a strawberry pie than a mud pie.” –James, 5
The boys got to see the huge farm equipment like the hay bailer and the plow. They learned how the miniature jersey cows are milked, and they got to feed and pet the baby dairy goats. Adorable! We even spotted two barn swallows on our way out.

We stopped by the on-site shop before we split. farmers-to-be can purchase hormone- and antibiotic-free, organic goods such as free range eggs and fresh ground beef. R & C also sells cow and goat milk, cream, yogurt, kefir, eggnog, buttermilk, honey and cheese. In a word: YUM!

What to do with the spoils? My friend went rushing home to start canning strawberry Jam (she makes labels and gives them with a box of scone mix as Christmas gifts) and individually freezing the rest of the strawberries (dip one by one in water and spread on cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, transfer into ziplocks for storage) to use throughout the year. Me? I’m eating a heap of strawberries on top of vanilla ice cream. Oh, and I bought some goat milk for my dairy-free, soy-free baby.

Can’t make the trek? Here’s some urban ideas.
sample the local in-season produce and sweeten the deal at the sidewalk ice cream shop.

dallas arboretum hosts Family Fun days Mondays thru June 26th from 10am to 2pm.

Make :
your own butter. It’s so easy.
What you’ll need: heavy whipping cream, glass jar with airtight lid, glass marbles.  Your kids can do this with your help. Pour a cup of whipping cream into glass jar. Throw in the marbles and seal the jar. Check to make sure it’s on tight. Let your kids shake it, shake it, baby until you no longer hear the marbles jingling. Then shake a little more for good measure. Open the jar and pour off the liquid. Spoon out the butter and eat on fresh bread. Mmmmm, good!

Rock out:Did You Feed My Cow?” by Ella Jenkins (it’s African American folk music that you sing and your kids repeat. you can hear it on itunes; you’ll be glad you did!)
Dance it out: “do the funky chicken” by Rufus Thomas

Grow: tomatoes
Buy a tomato plant at a local nursery. Buy potting soil. Buy a 12-inch diameter terracotta pot. Fill pot with soil. Dig out a soup-can sized hole, dump over tomato plant and pinch off root ends and discard them. Turn plant right-side up and plop into pot. Cover edges with soil, making sure to make a v-shaped mound so that the water runs to the edges of the pot. Water. A lot. Then water every other day. It should get full sun about 6 hours a day. You’ll see little yellow flowers first, then the itty-bitty-mini-maters come out. Leave them on the vine until they turn red and that’s when they’re ready to eat!

Closer to Home:

you can tour the milk processing plant, roam the farm (located in North Garland), and buy cheese and dairy from the on-site store. They have some great recipes too!

Other Farms we plan to visit:

Lavender Festival May 29-31

Blackberries ready to pick starting June 1st.

Fresh air, sunshine, roaming on naturally fertilized pastures, and no chemicals make happy animals. delish steaks (sirloin, $10.75/lb) and chicken (boneless/skinless breast $9/lb) make happy humans.

Go Here For other farms near you
Make sure to call first if you’re planning a visit.

This post is geared toward Dallas locals, but I am sure the recipes and other fun ideas will translate anywhere. xo

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