You might say we take the mantra “Know Your Farmer” quite literally.
Dark Friday night on Columbus Day weekend, we pulled down the long driveway of Greene Kitchen Farm and piled into the house where we were greeted by farm owners Josh and Nichole Greene and kiddos.
After excited greetings, we put the kids to bed and fell asleep – I was a little giddy that right outside the window was… an entire farm!
I’d met Nichole and Josh in college, where Nichole and I shared many creative writing classes together (we each send a Christmas poem annually, although I confess to neglecting my poetic rite last year!).
Saturday morning I woke, flat on my back, admiring the black arms of a twisting tree rise through the cool mist outside the window. I smiled: we just slept at a farm! It’s the little things.
Farm chores start early, and I knew I had to get in photos before the sun got too high, so I headed out on a quick tour. In the driveway, a trio of ducks quarked and quacked, circling each other as we cut through thick pasture grass. Nichole and Josh move their pastured broiler hens to fresh grass for the day.
I stomped around taking pictures as the mist burned off: adolescent turkeys , hoop houses, young steers who took a few curious head butts at me.
Then there was Minos the bull – supposedly he just looks intimidating. I wasn’t going to find out.
The last stop on my quick morning tour was a visit to the two hogs foraging in the grass on the hillside woodlot. I had a few flashbacks of Fern from Charlotte’s Web (which incidentally, I just started reading to the boys!).
Inside the house, Nichole made us breakfast and our boys ran amuck delightedly (my favorite expression!) with the kids, making themselves right at home. By the way, this oh-so-perfect muffin? Nichole’s recipe! Delicious!
Buying Single-Sourced Meat
We’d traveled all the way out to Pennsylvania partly because we’d decided to buy a half a hog from Green Kitchen Farm. Where possible, we like to know the farms and farmers we buy meat from, as well as have the majority of our meat (for the year) come from a single animal. Plus, we have the option to get all nitrate-free bacon and hams! Oh, and partly-mostly because, the Greenes are just good people.
Over the years, Greene Kitchen Farm grew from backyard garden to city plots to an expansive acreage in middle Pennsylvania. From greens and produce, to chickens and eggs, now they offer CSA’s, farmer’s market fare, beef cows, pigs, sheep, and Thanksgiving turkeys!
The Greenes specialize in “uncertified organic” farming and pasture-raised poultry, pork, and cattle. Uncertified organic simply means the farmer has committed to following the same standards as labeled organic farms – no pesticides, hormones, etc. but without the expensive labeling. I can completely understand and appreciate this term, as the process and costs of obtaining the certified label can be financially crushing to a small family farm.
The Greenes let their animals range and forage on large sections of pasture all day, devouring heaps of grass and crickets. The poultry are protected by moveable fencing, so they get fresh pasture as soon as they eat through an area. It’s a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle. And makes for some great pork and poultry (maybe one day we’ll get to try their beef, but they’re just starting their beef cattle).
Our bacon and hams were still in the smoker most of Saturday (yes, that’s how fresh meat is when you get it directly from the farm!). So we had time to spend with the Greene family!
Besides knowing our farmer, it was a blessing to spend the day with the Greene family. The boys spent the day playing with their kids, watching soccer games and visiting another farm nearby. I spent most of the day with Nichole and her oldest daughter at a ladies’ seminar at her church, where the topic was Count it All Joy – so refreshing and encouraging. I got to meet the speaker, fellow writer, Sarah Lynn Phillips who blogs her story at Penned Without Ink!
We ended our night at Greene Kitchen Farm with a hearty vegetable soup and bread, most of which came right from the farm. Then a dusky ride around the farm property in the hay wagon! I told you we’ve been on a lot of hayrides this year! This hayride was a night though, across uncharted territory, a small stream and back via the turkey coop for some late night farm chores!
If you’re in the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania area, be sure to check out Greene Kitchen Farm – they have a produce CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and when available, you can purchase turkeys, eggs, hogs, and someday soon grass-fed, grass-finished lamb!
Until the next visit… say hello to those ducks for our boys!