I couldn’t resist writing a “ghoul”ash recipe this Halloween. Perfect to prepare in advance and serve to a hungry family before, and after, the festivities. This sweet-sour combination is tough to beat on a chilly autumn night.
Season beef with salt and pepper and coat with flour.
Heat heavy bottomed pan medium high and add 1/3 of the olive oil.
Add 1/3 of the beef and brown on both sides.
Remove beef. Repeat twice more, until all beef has been browned.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until translucent.
Add tomato paste, caraway, and paprika.
Cook for 3 minutes, until tomato begins to caramelize.
Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
Add chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan.
Add vinegar and citrus zest.
Cover and simmer for 90 minutes, or until beef starts to become tender.
Add squash and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with boiled potatoes or butter noodles.
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
I walked through the space today with Claire Ducrocq and am finally seeing a restaurant take shape before my eyes.
The bars are being constructed, the kitchen is framed, and my brand new Mugnaini wood-fired oven is in place. Man, am I excited!
For those of you who don’t know, a lot of my food centers around wood-fired cooking. We will have a smoker, wood-fired oven and wood-fired grill at Farmstead, giving a sweet kiss of smoke to our beef, fruits, and vegetables.
Our oven was built in Reggello, a small hillside town in Tuscany. The Valoriani family has been crafting wood-fired ovens since 1890, and are known to make the best in the business.
It is important to know that this oven in particular will not be used as a “pizza oven,” and will be used primarily to roast meats and produce, along with beans and grits from time to time. (However, I may sneak one in for a family meal every once in a while.)
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
The beauty - and the madness - of our integrated farming operation is that we move seamlessly from one activity to another. Although we have just completed our grape (and potato) harvest, we held the fall roundup of our Shorthorn cattle herd on Thursday.
We pressed our last red wine on Wednesday afternoon, which means we have completed the initial fermentation of all of our wines. The 2009 red wines are already in the barrel in our cave and the grape crusher and press have been cleaned, sanitized, and stored not to be used again until next year.
But, on Thursday we were already off to our 500-acre property at Tomales Farm & Dairy to conduct our fall roundup of the Shorthorn cattle herd. We brought in our entire herd of heritage breed Shorthorn mother cows (about 75) and their calves. This is an important event as we examine every animal for its health status, take important steps to protect each animal against disease or nutrition problems, and remove the weakest animals from the herd.
We vaccinated every cow and calf and applied wormer to eliminate parasites, flies, and mites. We also placed two boluses (one selenium and one copper) in the first stomach of every animal to ensure proper mineral balance - because grasslands in Northern California are notoriously deficient of these critical micro-nutrients.
Since early July the cows have been exposed to our three outstanding Shorthorn bulls. At the fall roundup we remove the bulls from the herd and check every cow for pregnancy. Our vet, Dr. Nathan Keefer, palpates every animal ("the long reach of the arm") and gives us an estimate as to how far along the cow is in her preganancy. We record this information and use it for monitoring the cows in the spring. Our target calving date is April 15th (gestation is 284 days or 9 months and 10 days) and we want to know which cows might be early or late.
If a cow is not pregnant, we evaluate her age, body condition, and bloodline to determine whether she should remain in our herd.
At this roundup we decided to cull (or remove) 9 cows from our herd. This reduction is offset by 11 new cows ("first calf heifers") that we added to the herd in July.
We also weaned the calves, which means we separated the calves from their mothers. Our target is to wean the calves at about 200 days of age. At this stage they are very strong and independent and we want their mothers to focus their energy on the next calf - since they are already pregnant and at the end of their first trimester.
After a long day of handling almost 140 animals, we returned to Long Meadow Ranch with the bulls (where they are maintained for the winter). We were pleased with health status of the herd and also with the progress we are making in creating a first-class grass-fed beef program.
Next on our agenda, during the first week in November, we will be holding our fall roundup of Highland cattle at our leases at Ferndale in Humboldt County.
And then, of course, there is the olive harvest . . . in the meantime there is the planting of cover crops at LMR Rutherford Gardens, completing the winterizing ("erosion control") of all of our vineyards, and . . .
Posted by Ted Hall
The 2009 Harvest is "in the barn" at Long Meadow Ranch.
And, just in time for the seaon's first major rainstorm. As I write this note, we are expecting to receive 3 to 5 inches of rain on the ranch. We are very much looking forward to the rain to help refresh our vines and replenish the water table. (Our pastures could really use the rain, too.)
We have enjoyed a remarkable harvest at Long Meadow Ranch in terms of appropriate yields and grape quality. The 2009 Vintage should be very good - as best Ashley, Frank, and I can tell at this early stage. We had a long cool growing season with no notable problems from frost, rain, mildew, excessive heat or wind.
LMR passed a new milestone this season as we were involved in the harvest of about 350 tons of grapes!
With our new San Mateo Vineyard (located adjacent to LMR Rutherford Gardens in Rutherford) providing about 2/3 of our harvest total, we were a seller of Sauvignon Blanc grapes for the first time to several ultra premium wineries in addition to providing grapes for our own production.
With about 85 tons of red grapes "in the barn" we are looking forward to the next two weeks of fermentation. The first block to be harvested was our Merlot (about three weeks ago) and the last blocks picked were the middle and lower blocks of the historic Church vineyard, which we picked yesterday. Because of the somewhat compressed time period for the red harvest, every tank in the winery is full. And, the work pace will be very busy for the next few weeks as we "punch down" the caps and rack each tank before transferring the new wines to barrels in the cave.
In most of our vineyards we have already spread compost and reseeded our cover crops, so the rain will help us get an early start to refreshing our soils for the next season.
Soon we will be turning our attention to the olive harvest. There is an interesting story to be told about this year's olive harvest. More later.
Posted by Ted Hall
The Root of It All, our Mom, died last Saturday. Yesterday I spoke at her services. Here is what I had to say:
Today is the day to celebrate the root of it all: Mom.
As you have heard from others, she was a force of nature. She always told me that I could do anything; that I could be President of the United States – most of the time I believed her.
She shaped the everyday life of my immediate family, too. As many of you know, we (Laddie, Chris, and I) live and work on our ranch, Long Meadow Ranch, in the Napa Valley.
Anybody who has been on a tour of the ranch has heard me start the narrative with: "My mother was an organic gardening pioneer in the 1940s."
On Mother’s Day I spent the day with the source, Mom. Although our small family farm in Potter Township is long gone (we left in 1961), Mom was still going strong (at least in terms of her ability to tell me what to do about farming and everything else).
On Mother’s Day we reminisced about her early start with "organic" gardening. Her father and mother (my grandparents), Frank and Rose DeHass, operated a small grocery store in Beaver. It was a neighborhood store with a confectionary and sandwich shop. Mom isn't sure about its proper name because everyone called it "the little store." But, we think it was officially known as DeHass Grocery.
The family provided fresh produce for the store from its own gardens just a few blocks away. As children, my mother and her two brothers and sister worked in that garden. There was always a compost pile and my grandfather mixed a variety of potions, including soapy water and tobacco juice (my favorite), for pest control.
Sadly, my grandfather lost the store to bankruptcy in 1936 when he could no longer pay his own bills after providing credit to so many of his customers. Mom still cried when she talked about it. I think this may have been at the root of her enduring generosity. But, even with the store gone, the traditions and skills of growing for the market were already in place.
When my mother and father were married, they soon acquired a small rural property and, as they say, the rest is history. The bible, according to Mom, was "Five Acres and Independence," a book first published in 1935 which became popular with young couples following World War II. And, independent she was. One of my most prized possessions is my mother and father's copy of the book, which Mom presented to me a few years ago.
Mom reminded me that afternoon that I turned a compost pile for the first time when I was five years old.
Thank you, Mom.
Posted by Ted Hall