Tag Archives: chickens

Know Your Food: Egg-Sighting Adventures in the North Fork

17 Mar

Be advised: this post starts off a bit serious — grim, even — but lightens up fairly quickly and has a happy finish!

Stonyfield Farms-– the organic dairy company from which I buy a lot of yogurt and receive too many magazines thanks to their rewards program — is running a Know Your Food campaign (“This Year I Will Know My Food”) that has stuck in my head. As it happens, the USDA is doing the same thing (Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food). Both limit themselves to farmers they work with…still, it is a start, isn’t it?

Leandro and I know a fair bit about who makes what we eat – when it comes to seasonal local stuff – but it’s hard to know everything. And it gets scarier and scarier, what with the pink slime in school lunch meat (can we get any more cavalier – or gruesome — about how we feed children?) and arsenic in apple juice and e. coli everywhere…I am sick, not just because it’s a horrible thing nutritionally, but because I am sick of reading about it, sick of worrying about it, and sick of how complicated it has become to get simple healthy food on the table these days. Heavy sigh.

Can you guess what this is?

But, let’s brighten up and lighten up here.

Here's another look!

We recently spent an amazing couple of days out on the North Fork of Long Island (our Bordeaux on the Sound, as it were), picking up wine from Paumanok, spending quality time with Deborah Pittorino Rivera at The Greenporter Hotel  which she and her husband, Bill, own and where she also serves up incredible food at La Cuvee Wine Bar & Restaurant (see her blog, Seasoned Fork,  here), riding the carousel — Leandro learned how to grab the rings — and watching the Shelter Island ferries shuttle cars back and forth.

We  stopped by one of my favorite places to get fresh, organic eggs. Ty Llwyd Farm has the best fresh eggs (duck eggs too! More on that later), organic vegetables, and sometimes flowers (pussy willows right now!) in Northville on Sound Ave. They also have manure and hay – they do a bit of everything and are moving into dairy. If you blink, you might miss the homely wooden sign – look for a big nursery (van der something or another) across the road and you are close.

It is an egg sorter!

This time I hit pay dirt! The last few times I have stopped for eggs, Leandro was asleep in the car, so he didn’t get to see the cool old egg sorter in operation. This time he was wide-awake – on fire and crunchy from too much enforced restaurant sitting, in fact – and the sorter was in use to sort eggs for the cognoscenti stopping by for the their weekly supply. So owner David Wines was kind enough to let the little guy sort his own eggs…you roll them onto a little chute and they travel along a line of egg-sized scales measuring jumbo, extra-large, large, etc. and the egg rolls off when it tips the correct weighted scale.

We then proceeded to visit all the animals – you may remember that Leandro is very found of chickens – only the egg-layers, though — so we saw the pullets, the free-rangers (who came running to see my little hen-whisperer), the cows, the geese marching in formation, the ducks…

The henhouse...a pretty nice set-up if you are a hen!

When I asked Dave how long he has been there, he said, “Oh, about 300 years” or something like that. Turns out, his people were farmers from Cornwall who came to the North Fork via Connecticut centuries ago and the family still farms. The name Ty Llwyd (pronounced tee clewed) is from his Welsh wife, Liz, also from a farming family.

It was a wonderful couple of hours we spent and we came home with two dozen fresh hens’ eggs and two duck eggs ($0.75 each) which I fried up a few days later.

The duck eggs

The taste is very similar to chicken’s eggs, but denser and richer somehow. One egg on one slice of toast was enough to fill me for hours. Very satisfying!

So no recipe for today, aside from a teaspoon of vegetable oil heated at medium high, crack two eggs in, sprinkle with good salt, lower heat and cook for four minutes or until they reach your preferred doneness. I covered the eggs to make the heat more even to be able to cook them at lower heat and more slowly. As adaptable as eggs are, a lot of high heat doesn’t do them any favors.

So, duck eggs (which are said to pack more nutritional punch that hens’ eggs) were a great success. People bake with them, but I don’t think that is cost effective. I’d rather enjoy them on their own!

Child Meets Chicken Dinner (Update)

27 May

Dinner at Three Weeks

Leandro thus far seems to have no problem with his exalted position at the top of the food chain.

He likes the laying hens and during this week’s trip to Restoration Farm, pestered Donna (Mother Hen) to no end until she took him over to visit the girls. The fact that they refused to come out from under the hen house was transformed into an exciting lesson in the predator vs. prey relationship when a pair of hungry hawks soared overhead. Chickens aren’t as dumb as they look!

He’s not as fond of Trisha’s chicks – the ones destined to become meals. He pronounced them stinky and boring. “One of them is going to be dinner for you one day soon,” I said, while we weeded the strawberry patch. “Dinner? What!?!” he responded. And then he sort of nodded, said, “Okay,” and went on with the business of sorting the good insects from the bad (and stompable).

"They're stinky!"

There are 30-odd chicks. They have just turned three weeks old, and they are still cute, if a bit pink in spots rather than feathered. They don’t stink, by the way. They are now out in the fields in a pasture box, fertilizing and weeding the berry patch with great enthusiasm, while Trish visits other farms and learns the art of slaughter. We volunteers can talk of nothing else but how to kill a chicken during lunch break, which might not be everyone’s idea of appropriate mealtime conversation, but I like it.

More on the chicken project as we move forward into the Hazy, Hot, and Humid Long Island summer.

Pastured Chickens: Should a 4-year-old meet his future dinner in the coop?

15 May

I'll be eating one of these in a few weeks

So we were down at Restoration Farm C.S.A. doing some work (or I was supposed to be doing some work, but we were chatting more than anything, what with the little guy wanting to run around). We’ve bought a chicken share; Trish Hardgrove, one of the growers, has initiated a pastured chicken project: $125, five months, five chickens. I was in, of course, but this brings the question of my son to bear.

A few generations back, it would be quite normal for kids to look at farm animals as a future meal. But today, it is a bit less usual. I am all for Leandro knowing where his meals come from and plan for us to follow the chicks’ progress from farm to (our) table. I figure, if it puts him off animal products for the rest of his life, is that such a terrible consequence?

Looking forward to hearing your opinions on the topic! If you clicked directly to this post, please note that there is a poll in the next post. Click the right hand arrow at the bottom of this post!

%d bloggers like this: