New Letters> December 2008
THANK YOU, SEASONS GREETINGS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Following another year of successful farmers markets, we want to thank all of you who have been our loyal customers. We take great pleasure in knowing that you enjoy our natural beef and in having a direct connection between the farm and our caring consumers. As I write, countless flakes add to the two feet of snow on the field I overlook through the window, but we send our warmest greetings to you with wishes for happy holidays and a good new year.
It has been good to see many of you weekly. We appreciate not only your patronage, but meeting you and introducing our helpful grandchildren: Brittany, Trent, and occasionally Whit. Kameron Kurtz has also been helpful at the Williamsville Market.
Barbara and Doug Bunker
with Dan and Sue Egan
GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE
Our gift certificate program is new this year. There is still time before Christmas to make a gift of Lake Country Premium Natural Beef to someone special. Simply call us with your order and we will send you or the recipient a certificate in the name of the recipient with the proper authentication. You can make your gift either for a set value or for a particular product or variety package. We will redeem the certificates shortly after the holidays by either local deliveries or FedEx Shipments to locations beyond Western New York. If you choose to make your gift for a particular cut or package, we will determine the value when the exact weight is known and send you an invoice for the amount due. If the gift is for a set amount, the recipient can contact us upon receipt to tell us what they would like to receive. This is a simple way to give a unique gift to a client, friend or family member. Gift certificates are available any time of year.
OUR HOME DELIVERY SERVICE IS OPERATING AND ACTIVE
We have been busy every week since the farmer’s markets closed making home deliveries of variety packages, selected cuts, and beef quarters and sides for thee freezer. Lake Country Premium Natural Beef is available simply by calling us at 716-965-9606, 716-965-2249 Or toll free at 888-332-9884. You do not have to pay until the order is delivered and payment may be made by check, cash or credit card. We will call you to confirm a delivery time to assure that someone will be home.
There has been some delay lately in filling orders for some items simply because demand for them outstripped our supply. But all cuts will be available shortly after the first of the year and our supply will be both ample and continuous.
We have been able to avoid delivery charges because orders have either been large enough or clustered by area so that our delivery costs are not out of proportion. We hope to continue that pattern, and will do so unless we face excessive costs in delivering small orders at widely separated sites.
Though custom cutting and orders for high demand cuts may take longer, our policy is to deliver orders within the week they are placed once our full supply is replenished. We will strive to meet your expectations with delivery service as well as with product quality.
BEEF CUTS THAT FIT THE SEASON
While we know that conditions vary from area to area, we have had a full dose of winter snow in Chautauqua County all ready. The cold, cutting winds call for hearty beef-based soups and stews. It is comforting to come out of the weather to food that warms from the inside. There are a variety of beef cuts for braising and crock pot preparations. Some that are richest in taste are among the least expensive. We often recommend two cuts that are particularly good for stews but are often overlooked. Cross-cut beef shanks, for one, have the merit of combining the taste of a good marrow bone with an ample surround of beef. If cooked slowly with some moisture in the pan or crockpot (We also like the cast iron creuset or dutch oven.), the meat will fall off the bone; and when vegetables are added, the flavor will profuse through the entire stew.
Our second nominee for good beef flavor at low cost is short ribs. They produce a rich broth and tender meat when slow braised. The good flavor comes from the meat being embedded in fatty strips around the ribs, but unwanted fat can be reduced by pouring or spooning off the liquefied excess before vegetables are added. Add your favorite herbs and/or red wine and the result is a savory stew which will cheer the palette and refuel the body for winter exposure.
Just up the scale are additional values in brisket, pot roasts from the chuck, and various round roasts for the oven. All profit from slow, moist cooking, and all offer that rich beef flavor as well as great winter nutrition.
WHAT IS GOING ON AT THE FARM THIS WINTER?
In the deep snow and cold, Dan Egan reports that the normal feeding and watering chores take about double the usual time. The first and last activities of each day are supplying hay and grain to animals. We have weaned all of the Spring calves, and they are being fed mainly in barns. They grow fast, putting 50 to 80 pounds on per month. Dan feeds the mother cows in their winter paddocks out of doors. A cow generates a lot of heat and they are healthier out of doors in winter than if confined in a crowded barn. Even the calves can go out in the weather. They all get ample feed for the calves to sustain growth and for the cows to maintain body condition and assure reproductive health.
Cows that calved in the spring have all been pregnancy checked by the vet, and their due dates recorded. Only four were “open,” and thus scheduled to be culled from the herd. They will be replaced by a new crop of about 30 heifers (young females) who have been exposed to a breeding bull and will have their first calf in the Spring.
Meanwhile the cows that calved in the fall still have their calves at their side. The calves will be weaned early in the year as they adapt to a full hay ration.
The steers that are being fattened for winter harvest are coming along nicely. They now range from about 15 to 19 months and the largest of them will be finished at 1200 to 1300 pounds in just a few weeks. There are enough of them to yield a steady supply of good natural beef into the fall of 2009, when the next group will be approaching optimal age and weight.
Though the crops are in with barns full of hay and corn in the bin, there is still plenty left to do at this time of year. When the calves are weaned they receive their broad spectrum vaccinations and health checks. At the same time, the mothers are treated with a pour-on for parasites and a booster vaccination. Our preventive health program keeps us disease free without any use of antibiotics.
While all the snow slows the work process some, it has its own beauty. A single file of sleek black angus beef animals following their path from the barn out to a hay feeder in the field is a great sight against the white snow. Dan keeps the feeders full, they do the rest.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN LAMB?
We have about a dozen lambs which we expect to be ready early in the new year. Give us a call if you want to want to place an order. Unless there are custom cuts you want, we will have the butcher prepare the standard array of leg roasts, shanks, loin chops, racks, should chops and roasts, and ground lamb. Lamb cuts will be available for home delivery with your beef order.
SPRING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER
While we are contentedly resigned to winter cold, I am cheered by thoughts of the greening of April and May. Each season has its charms, but nothing is more reassuring and lifting than the delicate greens of first leaves on the trees and the first spurts of growth in pasture grasses. Spring is a marvelous time to visit us at Hanova Hills Farm. Think about a family excursion. Just give us a call so that someone can be free to show you around.